Bag Obsessed | Check Out My Top 10 Handbags under $250.

Two years in a designer handbag buying office at Neiman Marcus does something to a person. Sure, I'm a bit warped, I can admit it. A $695 price tag on a handbag was far from gasp-worthy to me back then. Actually, I'd see that price and think, "deal!" I know, I said it was warped didn't I?

Did I spend $695 on a bag? No, I had access to samples sales. When you work in retail you never pay retail. And evidently, when you leave corporate retail, that stays with you. Well, I can only speak for myself, so I'll say, it stayed with me.

Handbags are tricky. It is not an easy feat in fashion to find a great (read: original aesthetically speaking) looking bag under $500.   You don't have to throw down a mortgage payment, but I still believe a handbag is where you should invest (read: up to $500, it's my new normal).

If you're going to invest it would help to have some shopping direction from a fashion-industry veteran, let alone personal stylist right? So, here I am. Get excited because I've found 10 amazing handbag picks from my favorite names out there (at my favorite shopping spots) that fall well under the $500 mark.

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Today's top 10 shopping list of handbags show everything you'd ever want/need/lust for in a bag for under $250. No, seriously, under $250. If you get a great leather bag and take care of it (find your favorite cobbler spot, they can make anything look new again) you will have it for the rest of your days. Spending a bit more is worth it. It's hard to swallow at times, but it's the truth. I tell my clients this, and of course, I 'walk the talk' myself in my own wardrobe.

Take this top 10 shopping list and use it as a starting point. If you see something you love, click the pic to see more details. If you're getting warmed up and want to continue the handbag shopping, there's a link below to the mother-load of all handbags (favorite  bags from my favorite sites out there) living along the virtual shelves of the StyleShaker Closet.

For now, it's time to meet today's top 10 handbags under $250. Enjoy!

1. Kooba Jonnie Suede/Leather Hobo Bag (www.cusp.com) /  2. Giada Forte My Bag Shopper (www.elizabeth-charles.com) /  3. Tano Zip Top Hobo Bag (www.dillards.com) / 4. Pour La Victoire Soma Hobo (www.6pm.com) /  5. Ivanka Trump Olivia Bucket Hobo (www.6pm.pm) /  6. Olivia and Joy Handbag Instigator Double Handle Hobo (www.macys.com) /  7.Vince Camuto 'Grace' Leather Hobo (www.nordstrom.com) /  8. Deux lux Greenwich Studded Hobo (www.shopbop.com) /  9. Fossil 'Austin' Shoulder Bag (www.shop.nordstrom.com) /  10. MARC by Marc Jacobs Mini FuchsiaDrawstring Bag (www.ssense.com)

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1 Kooba Jonnie Suede Leather Hobo Bag

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2 Giada Forte My Bag Shopper

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3 Tano Zip Top Hobo Bag

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4 Pour La Victoire Soma Hobo

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5 Ivanka Trump Olivia Bucket Hobo

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6 Olivia and Joy Instigator Double Handle Hobo

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7 Vince Camuto 'Grace' Leather Hobo

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8 Deux lux Greenwich Studded Hobo

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9 Fossil 'Austin' Shoulder Bag

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10 Marc by Marc Jacobs Drawstring Tote

The top 10 are just that, 10 edited picks to get you warmed up. Keep shopping handbags and other fashion categories in my 'happy place' on the site, otherwise known as the StyleShaker Closet. See more favorite picks pulled weekly from my favorite site on the web. Click the pics below to get started:

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Don't stop there. See more when it comes to what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop right here.get inspired

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mine all mine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Today's Top 10 Shopping List Adds Go High/Low from Balenciaga to Mango & Rick Owens to Tibi

Today's top 10 shopping list picks are lined up and ready to go...

 As you well know by now, I love a good list. Should the word shopping precede the word list, even better. It all starts with the fashion pick grid:

The name of the game for today (and really, everyday for me) is high/low shopping. It's pretty simple. Mix in some high level investment pieces with a few basic lower-pricepoints (low shouldn't equate to poor, disposable, quality here) on your shopping list, and your bases are covered. I'm sure you've heard it all before, nothing new, but it doesn't hurt to have a quick refresher now and then right?

Speaking of, let's get started on the list with a strong shopping pick from Balenciaga. I mean, c'mon, gorge-ous....

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I usually sway away from the thought of blowing mass quantities of cash on a trend-driven look, but then again, shopping can be an emotional thing, practically Pavlovian. See the Balenciaga pump below, and before you know it you're drooling. It's instinctual (unless of course the neon pink/tangerine orange color combo makes you want to run screaming in the opposite direction). This one is about inspiration. I'm all about investing in the real deal, just not at the expense of missing a mortgage payment. Option B: just take it in, let the color wash over you, and shop more shoe favorites for something that feels just as colorful and significantly less painful when adding to your on-line shopping cart. I get it, but I also appreciate noteworthy fashion, regardless of price point. Blame it on ten years at Neiman Marcus.

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So here's the 'low' when it comes to high/low. Low is referring to price and not at all the look, don't let the negative connotation of the word fool you. You get major bang for your buck on the 'low' end of the retail spectrum when it's done right, . A label is just a label, whereas style can be found on several levels using the label for a little direction (not the definition of what style actually is). For instance, Mango is a solid label I happen to adore. There's a lot of look for what you shell out here. And let's be honest, when will I ever turn down a tuxedo blazer like this one? Um, not going to happen.

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Pleating, a hugely transitional green hue, and a cinched waist. Need I say more? No, but I'm going to because I can't stop myself. Tibi is a go-to for me when it comes to finding pieces that have amazing color, print, and universally flattering cuts. My one caveat on this Guinevere dress, if you're bigger than a C-cup, I'd recommend looking elsewhere. The pleating at the front will separate according to your shape, which for some is a great thing, but for others (i.e. those with amazing racks; crude, but true) the dress loses it's overall aesthetic and goes from romantic to a bit distracting in all the wrong ways.

Other than that, this is a gorgeous dress to wear through Spring, into Fall with a cardi, and through winter with some tights and boots. Seasonal, definitely.

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Ob-sessed with this chain link necklace. So you think I would have figured this out by now, both parents having worked in the retail industry, me having spent the past decade in luxury fashion, but no. I took the scenic route to my own styling evolution, and finally decided that jewelry (or really all accessories) are the best, and I mean best (most efficient as well if you want to bring out my inner-organizational nerd), method of pulling together a basic look and making it your own. When I consult with my clients, I repeat the significance of a solid core closet, stocked seasonally with go-to quality wardrobe basics, to the point of sounding like a broken record. It's tough fashion love. But once you have your core, all you need are some amazing jewelry picks (cue the Adia Kibur necklace), scarves, wraps, you name it, and you can extend your wardrobe from 10 to 20 or 30 looks. No joke. It's not only possible, it's genius. Again, took me awhile to get here, but now that I am, I'm all over it like white on rice.

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Hi, hey, what's up, ready to see the most amazing suede clutch ever imagined by a designer? Am I building it up too much? Do I care? Nope. In, love with this Matthew Williamson clutch for all the delish details. You've got to be a fan of green, and unfortunately, now that I'm looking at it, also yellow, which saddens me solely because those are the colors of the Green Bay Packers and I'm not a fan (if I lose a couple of readers on that one, so be it).

I grew up in the Chicago 'burbs, amongst several other areas (retail, not army brat if you must know), but while cities changed, my arch football nemesis remained the same, the Packers. Once a Bears fan, always a Bears fan, which is saying something because I know nothing about football, hardly ever watch the games (first and ten huh?what?) and couldn't tell you who's currently having a good season (mind you, I live in Texas at the moment, so to say that I don't fit into the culture would be a massive understatement). I do recall my older brother an I doing the Superbowl Shuffle in the '80's though, and to me, that's enough.

I can't even believe I'm talking about foozball right now in the middle of featuring a Matthew Williamson clutch. I think I've gone off the deep-end. Need, to, find, my, way, back...Fringe lining! Ok, I'm back. Sorry about that.

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Rick Owens, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways, starting with a cold-shoulder, draped jersey top that is going to be my no-brainer, going-out-for-cocktails-or-what-have-you, top. Rick Owens is a favorite, and I'm not talking price wise (ouchie), but there's something about his style aesthetic that is on-point. It reminds me of how every woman will always have a 'thing' (secretly or not, it happens at least once in a lifetime; own it) for the 'bad boy.' Rick would be the bad boy in this equation. You know you should watch yourself, maybe take a step back, but you dive in head first, and indulge anyway. You have to.

The exception here is, with Rick, once you get to know his designs, the thrill stays. In fact, it only gets better the closer you get to the designer's work. With a real-life bad boy, the opposite is usually the case. It gets old, fast. Been there, won't be doing that again, but it was so worth it.

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And finally, a Tibi tank in a ridiculously 'pretty' pink silk that I normally don't go for. The shape borders on halter with the racer-back, which is a hugely flattering line for most body-types. Tip: bring out the strapless or bandeau bra in a fun color if you're wondering. It's just simple, that's why I love this tank. Throw it over some skinny jeans, toss on a massively gorgeous statement necklace, and let the compliments roll in. Sure, that's not entirely why you're wearing it, it should make you feel good first and foremost, but little love notes never hurt throughout the day. Make sure you pay it forward.

via: 1. Balenciaga Tri-Colour Cut-Out Shoes (www.matchesfashion.com), 2. Mango Tuxedo Blazer (www.shop.mango.com), 3. Haute Hippie Ruffled Silk-Georgette Halterneck Top (www.net-a-porter.com), 4. Tibi Guinevere Sleeveless Dress (www.tibi.com), 5. Adia Kibur Chain Link Multi Necklace (www.shopbop.com), 6. Madison Harding Women's Hanna Boot (www.amazon.com), 7. Matthew Williamson Swarovski Crystal-Embellished Suede Clutch (www.net-a-porter.com), 8. Rick Owens One-Shoulder Draped Jersey Top (www.net-a-porter.com), 9. 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Croc-Effect Leather Tote (www.net-a-porter.com), 10. Tibi Silk-Crepe Racer-Back Top (www.theoutnet.com

The Top 10 shopping list picks are one thing, but the buck never stops there. You've got options. This list is all about simplifying, a place to start the shopping momentum and get inspired. To keep the flow going, shop more hand-picked favorites from the StyleShaker Closet here:

Time for a little quote action. All this talk about love and 'bad boys,' has me thinking about the good ones out there that I've been lucky enough to meet and have in my life.

She says it so well you know? And it's so, damn, true. Or at least for me it is.

These quotes obviously hit the StyleShaker pages because they resonate with me, but always in hopes that they will do the same for you, or at least get you thinking. Fashion is wonderful, it's the air I breathe, but there's more to life (gasp) and it's important to keep it all in perspective. I get carried away with a Balenciaga bootie as quickly as I do with a quote from Marilyn Monroe. Both are loves in my life, and there are plenty more out there. I encourage you to find yours, or at least, reacquaint yourself with what you love, cause it's in there. It definitely can't be found externally in those ridiculously long Monday meetings, or the power point decks that go on for days (why people, why; you know you'll lose my interest after slide 3). You won't find it in those excel spreadsheets that cross your eyes, or the beige-covered cubical walls that, ps, are not walls at all.

Look inward, the good stuff is always there, living in the non-beige part of you. Go find it.

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

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

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

Cue the montage (and coffee):

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

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

See what I'm talking about:

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

3.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10 Picks to Add to Your Shopping List, from Isabel Marant to Iro...

Today's shopping list loves everything from a classic chambray shirt to a French Connection skirt.

Check out the edited list of goodies...

I'm absolutely obsessed with IRO for several reasons, one of which just happens to be the 'Kristen' jacket. Suffice it to say, today's list starts out strong, and builds from there, finishing things up with an Erickson Beamon ring that has me swooning. What else is new? See what I'm gushing about and scroll away:

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Shop more in the StyleShaker Closet:

Seem ore on what to wear, how to wear, how to wear it here.

I Have No Clue How You Will Make it Through Fall Without One of These | Meet Our Top 10 Sweaters

Fall Is Upon Us & That Means, Sweater Time. Check Out Our Top 10 Sweaters, The Chunkier, The Better:

I love a good chunky sweater as much as the next girl, and I rarely  get to wear one living in Dallas at the moment. Ridiculous temperatures or not, the shopping hunt to find the perfect piece to have in my closet when it comes time to throw the cozy knit on over some leggings and riding boots this season, continues on.

The team and I have narrowed it down to our top 10. Let's get started...

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Since 10 is really never enough, there's plenty more to shop when it comes to sweaters, and it's all right here:

 


Now, it's all fine and good to hone in on 'what to wear,' but  the significant style question of 'how to wear it,' also needs to be addressed. In an effort to keep the momentum going strong, check out a few images that show some quick and simple, along with utterly sophisticated, ways to wear your favorite chunky sweater.

 

1. www.peoplestylewatch.com

2. www.thestyleshaker.tumblr.com

3. www.peoplestylewatch.com

4. www.thestyleshaker.tumblr.com

5. www.peoplestylewatch.com

6. www.style.com

7. www.thestyleshaker.tumblr.com

8. www.thestyleshaker.tumblr.com

 

There's more when it comes to shopping for the latest trends and classic essentials you'll want in your closet for Fall. See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop for it, all right here, served up every week for your fashion viewing pleasure.

The Top 10 Riding Boots That Should Be On Your Fall Shopping List

Today's Top 10 Riding Boots for Fall

Can you believe we're already in September? Can you believe we always say the same thing every year expecting, somehow, that time is going to slow down and seasons won't show up faster and faster? Yea, well, September has arrived and I am beyond ecstatic. I love Fall, adore it in fact. It's probably my favorite time of year.

There are a couple of major holidays that revolve around eating copious amounts of candy or turkey (which means I'll be eating everything but the turkey because that's the best part) and I finally get to tap into my jackets (they have their own closet and get stuck in the dark for month upon month since I currently reside in the sauna that is Dallas, TX). How could I not be obsessed with the season, right?  Right.

 

This Top 10 is not about jackets, sweaters, or layering anything (we'll get there soon enough). This is about a huge trend for fall, the riding boot. They can go from a full-on, equestrian-detailed boot, to your everyday flat boot that will be worn all over the place as the temps continue to drop.

 

I narrowed down the list to ten at the request of a personal styling client (a.k.a. my co-hosts on this site). Having just re-organized her closet, it was evident, glaringly so, that the woman needed some everyday boots for Fall, so Christy, this is for you. Shop the top 10 riding boots below & get 8 celebrity looks that will show you ways to wear the trend (bonus!):

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The 'what-to-wear' piece of the puzzle is covered. Now it's on to how to wear a riding boot. Here's a little inspiration to get you going:

 

1. source:  www.peoplestylewatch.com
2. source: www.littlebluedeer.com
3. www.peoplestylewatch.com
4. www.peoplestylewatch.com
5. www.intermixonline.com
6. www.peoplestylewatch.com
7. www.style.com: Aquascutum Fall 2011
8. ww.peoplestylewatch.com

So the flat riding boot is now covered and checked of the Fall Essentials Shopping List. That's just one pieces of the equation to get prepped for the season. See more on what to wear, how to wear it, and where to shop for it here.

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Top 10 | My On-line Shopping List 6.22.12

 Happy Friday to all of you. Welcome to today's round of Top 10 shopping picks that answer that pesky, yet lovable, what-to-wear question oh so well. And like all other Top 10 moments on the site, this one has that lucky number 11, the zen moment, that this time around features a quote by Arthur Ashe. Yep, I worked him into the fashion line up, unexpected but true.

We all have dreams and hopes, shopping has plenty to do with that. But the older I get (and I do so very gracefully thank you, or I attempt to) I hear more and more stories about what could have happened as opposed to what did. Dreams tend to get left on the cutting room floor for one reason or another. For myself, it's always been about knowing where to begin when it comes to executing 'impossible' dreams (that ps, later come to be known as very possible). A good list can give you a clear place to begin, like this Top 10, it's as easy as #1. Life however, could be a bit more complicated hence the addition of the last pick from Mr. Ashe. Hopefully he can simplify and shed some inspirational light on figuring out your own starting point.

It's just how we roll: impeccably curated shopping lists and answering life's tough questions. Scroll away:

1. little sandal, big name (shop more shoe favorites)

2. a mini Pashli by Lim (shop more handbag favorites)

 

3. white out (shop more of my favorites in tops)

4. waterfalls you should go chasing after  (shop more earring and jewelry favorites)

5. what?@! I don't even know, but I kinda love (shop more shoe favorites)

6. comfort is a must, as are stripes evidently (shop more of my favorites in dresses)

7. flora & fauna (shop more blouse favorites here)

8. well, hello there (shop more dress favorites)

9. braids, check (shop more satchel favorites)

10.  lime love (shop more jean favorites)

11. Zen Moment

1. Alexander Wang Nadia Sandal (shop online: www.alexanderwang.com)  2. 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Mini Satchel (shop online: www.lagarconne.com)  3. Diane von Furstenberg Mackeda Checkered Lace and Jersey Tank (shop online: www.net-a-porter.com)  4. Kenneth Jay Lane Waterfall Earrings (shop online: www.zappos.com)  5. Charlotte Olympia Matryoshka Suede Sandal (shop online: www.neimanmarcus.com)  6. Madison Marcus Versed Striped Dress (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  7. Tolani Jordan Floral Top (shop online: www.revolveclothing.com)  8. keepsake One Way Window Dress (shop online: www.shopplanetblue.com)  9. Urban Expressions Braid Satchel (shop online: www.urbanoutfitters.com)  10. Alice + Olivia 5 Pocket Skinny Jean (shop online: www.revolveclothing.com)  11. Zen Moment

See more Top 10 moments that line up shopping hit lists filled with what-to-wear answers, and then go check out how to wear them. It's all right here.

Top 10 | My On-line Shopping List 6.21.12

It's Thursday and I could not be happier. Oh wait, no I could be, that's a lie. I get to post the latest round of Top 10 shopping picks so that has me pretty headed from happy to elated. Check out the latest line up that goes from Kirkwood to Burberry, and drop-earrings to printed dresses you will swoon over, well,  I did at least.

And don't forget the bonus  round, the Zen Moment at the end of the list to keep things in perspective and/or inject a little inspiration into your day. So, should you be asking yourself, 'what to wear,' this morning, look no further...

1. I've got my eyelets on you (shop more of my dress favorites)

2. optical illusion (shop more sunglass picks)

3. Meet the super skinny 'Hannah' (shop more jean favorites)

4. stop, drop, and adorn (shop more favorites in jewelry land)

5. Burberry pulls out a pleated peplum like no other (shop more of my favorite tops and blouses)

6. two words, one name, Nicholas Kirkwood (shop more shoe favorites)

7. red means go in some cases (shop more handbag favorites)

8. ready and 'Abel' (shop more of my favorite tops)

9. working on the chain (shop more bracelet favorites)

10. DVF makes an Edna (shop more of my favorite dresses)

11. Zen Moment

1. Tibi Printed Eyelet Shift Dress (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  2. RAEN Optics Lenox Polarized '12 Sunglasses (shop online: www.zappos.com)  3. Siwy Jeans Hannah Skinny (shop online: www.revolveclothing.com)  4. Adia Kibur Two Stone Drop Earrings (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  5. Burberry Pleated Peplum Blouse (shop online: www.us.burberry.com)  6. Nicholas Kirkwood Suede Slingback Sandals (shop online: www.net-a-porter.com)  7. Fendi Medium Satchel Bag in Red (shop online: www.forwardforward.com)  8. Rory Beca Abel Embroidered Tank (shop online: www.revolveclothing.com)  9. Maison Martin Margiela Multi Chain Bracelet (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  10. Diane Von Furstenberg New Edna Print Dress (shop online: www.shopbop.com)  11. Zen Moment

Check out more fashion favorites that answer the what-to-wear question, oh, and see how to wear them all lined up for you here.