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The Wardrobe Rack: Tatiana

“The private and very personalized shopping session we had was exceptional! I still can’t believe you helped me find such great deals and most importantly are helping me truly refine my style.”

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My client Tatiana, who I call Tati, is a crossover opera and pop singer in Germany. While recording a song for her new album and visiting family in Tampa, she reached out to me asking for help in establishing her professional attire.

Personal image is important in the music industry. How you present yourself says a lot about who you are as an artist and a brand. Dressing a certain way for performances and auditions is part of how you conduct yourself as a product worth consuming.

We met over coffee for our 30 minute Style Consultation…and did some catching up on life. I enjoy this part of my styling sessions. It gives both my clients and I a chance to relax and meet with one another on a more personal level. Tati is an old friend of mine from high school so you can imagine how much catching up we had to do over coffee. We shared a few laughs over her growing collection of skater skirts and lack of pants over the years, which don’t truly reflect the woman Tati really is and the lifestyle she desires to live. Straight away I knew pants would be an essential item to look for on our shopping trip.

I care deeply about my clients and helping them achieve their dreams. I want them to be confident and take pride in what makes them uniquely them. The questions I ask during my consultation aren’t just what size are you and what are your favorite colors? I like to dig deeper and go beyond the surface and ask more personal questions. Clothes are about the woman wearing them. How they make her feel, how they hug her curves and how they express her essence. Most people make the mistake of shopping for what they’re looking for rather than who they’re looking for.  It’s important to help my clients envision the life they want to live and how they are dressed for that lifestyle.

Tati envisioned herself as a professional artist who expresses an appreciation for art and nature. She wanted to see herself walking confidently into meetings and auditions and being taken seriously. Her desire was to build a professional wardrobe that reflected her softer, more feminine side while still expressing a strong, entrepreneurial woman.

We discussed a shopping plan around Tati’s budget and needs. To make the most of her budget we chose Tampa Premium Outlets as our destination. First stop on our itinerary was Banana Republic Factory for basics.

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We set out to find figure flattering pieces that accentuated Tati’s feminine figure and pieces that she could wear for meetings and everyday wear.  I had Tati try on styles of pants I thought would fit her well. I pulled three pairs, each for a different occasion (for work and everyday).  And guess what? She LOVED them! We discovered peplum tops were most flattering on her figure. While it wasn’t on our list, Tati fell in love with the wedge shoes I just had her try on with the pants, another find and fun discovery!

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Our second stop took us to New York & Company for dresses and camisoles. We focused on shape and color. Tati had a professional photo shoot coming up and wanted to explore wearing a jumpsuit, which has been a big trend. After trying on a couple of jumpsuits Tati decided they weren’t for her. Don’t be afraid to try something new but don’t feel discouraged if  it doesn’t speak to you either. Not every trend is for everyone.

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At the end of our shopping day we put on a mini fashion show for her family to show off our finds! The biggest take away were the 3 pairs of pants Tati purchased. Finding bottoms with the right fit were her greatest challenge so she avoided wearing pants  altogether. Tati now has the staple pieces she needs to build her professional work wardrobe from.

 

OUR SUCCESS:

-3 pairs of pants (black slacks, dark wash jeans, light wash jeans) from Banana Republic Factory

-2 floral print work blouses from Banana Republic Factory

-A pair of black suede-like wedges from Banana Republic Factory

-A casual-nice, a-line dress in a feminine pink from New York & Company Outlet

-2  Basic camisoles from New York & Company Outlet

…and a warm cup of coffee;)

TOTAL: ALL for under $200.00! (I believe the exact price was somewhere around $187)

 

 I would love to get to know you and your style aspirations. Contact me and let me know how I can help you! Book your next style session

 

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Uncategorized

The Wardrobe Rack

 The Wardrobe Rack Blog Image
Welcome to “The Wardrobe Rack,” my new blog series where I give you the “inside” on style success stories with real clients! There is a lot of curiosity in what really goes on during a personal styling session and what the outcomes are. Having your own personal stylist is a luxury most people only dream about. Working with a stylist is thought to be a service only celebrities and the ultra rich can afford.
I want to clear you of those misconceptions and invite you into the wardrobes of clients and everyday women, just like you! Through “The Wardrobe Rack” you’ll hear about style challenges my clients struggle with, their personal goals and the women they aspire to be. Some of which you’ll find a lot in common with.
From new moms looking to revive and refine their personal style, to business women with a desire to bring personality and flare into their work wardrobe, I’ll take you step by step through our process in transforming their style and closets into a haven for inspiration!
What you can expect: Real women, real challenges and real solutions to common wardrobe problems.
*To schedule your styling session contact me here! Let me know how I can help you.
XO,
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Inspiration, Style

7 Game-Changing Style Resolutions

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You’ve reflected and set your goals for 2018. Now it’s time you create a wardrobe that inspires you and reflects your intentions for this new year. Proclaim 2018 as your year to to become a better you.  I’ve equipped you with 7 game-changing style resolutions to help you refresh, refine and rebuild your wardrobe. This is much more than a closet clean-out.

1.Take proper care of your clothes. I understand you get busy and the last thing on your mind is tending to another item off  your “to do list” after a long day of work. You’re lucky if you have enough energy to muster up a bowl of cereal for dinner. We’ve all been there! But if you’re also putting a lot of that hard earned money into your closet purchases, you should think of them as investments. It pays off in more ways than one to put a little more time in taking care of your clothes. Here are some practical and simple habits you can start:

  • Put away clothes instead of tossing them on the floor after work.
  • When it’s time to wash clothes separate them in piles by color before putting them in the washing machine.
  • Hand-wash delicate items rather than throwing them into the wash.
  • Neatly fold your clothes after you’ve pulled them from the dryer (the longer you leave them thrown in a basket the more work you’ll give yourself trying to get all the wrinkles  out).
  • Speaking of wrinkles…Always iron your clothes. Make sure to check for the fabric info on your tags to know which setting to put your iron on. For more delicate clothes I recommend using a hand steamer. You can find them at any Target and WalMart.
  • Avoid overstuffed drawers, they won’t be so kind on your threads. Be honest with yourself and ruthless if necessary, and get rid of things you no longer wear.

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2.Do a full closet clean-out.  #newyearbetteryou Let 2018 be your year to get organized and be styled! Don’t hang onto the past, move on and get rid of things you haven’t worn in the past year. Trust me, you’ll probably never wear them again. If it’s too big, too small or doesn’t jive with your sense of style, make room for the new and say au revoir! Be honest and ruthless. The same goes for damaged pieces. If you haven’t gotten them repaired by now (ie. holes, stains etc) you didn’t miss them enough in the first place. Invite a friend over or hire a personal stylist to help you edit your wardrobe. Have a glass of bubbling or turn it into a fashion show. It makes the process less painful, more effective and a lot more fun!

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3.Be the discerning shopper. The saying is true, less is more! Inventory your closet before making any purchases. What are the holes in your closet? Buy only what you need and the best quality you can afford. “Being stylish and on trend shouldn’t break the bank, and cheap clothing is too expensive. Buy quality and shop less.” Impulse purchases and always buying fast fashion adds up. Instead save your weekly spending allowance for those higher end shoes you’ve been coveting. Invest in everyday essentials to get the most wear out of your clothes.

 

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4.Double Down on key pieces. Accessories make your outfit and can elevate you’re whole look. You don’t have to do a closet overhaul right away. A carefully and well thought out collection of “extras” goes a long way.  Incorporating a few new statement pieces and everyday essentials is game changing. Accessories are fairly easy to buy and afford especially from thrift stores, vintage shops (for unique and hard to find items) and higher end shops. You can get a lot for your money.

 

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5.Pop it with color. Introducing color (or prints) into your repertoire is agreeably one of the easiest ways to freshen up your seasonal wardrobe. Be bold. Be daring. Adventure out and explore a new color palette. Claim your neutrals for the season (stick to a tight color palette 1-2 colors). And when you have proclaim them with colorful power pumps or blazer. 

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6.Get proper fitted undergarments. Having worked in a lingerie shop I’ve learned a thing or to on the importance of upgrading your intimates. When we think of freshening up our wardrobes, our undergarments are too often forgotten. While lingerie is not “officially” a closet item it has everything to do with your ensemble.  An ill-fit underneath your clothes can most certainly affect the fit of your clothes on the outside. So, out with the old and ill-fit, and in with the new and fitted! An easy place to start is by getting properly measured. Victoria Secrets offers complimentary bra fittings. You may also want to try any other reputable retailers to get measured. You want a flawless and seamless fit. You’ll be amazed at how fabulous you’ll feel feel in the right underwear and bra. Oh and while you’re out, treat yourself to a fancy set of bra and panties;)

7.Try a trend you love. Lastly, I encourage you to be open to exploring your possibilities by trying new styles and trends. Be wise and spend thoughtfully. This year choose 1-2 trends to try each season. Make sure they compliment what you already own and fall in line with your personal style. Maybe that statement necklace you’ve had on your Pinterest board the past few months will punctuate your spring wardrobe. Have fun with fashion and give it a go!

Inspiration, Style

Dress For Success: The Power of First Impresions

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Creating a professional image is key to your success. Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur or a burgeoning freelancer, first impressions are crucial to gaining new clients and keeping your reputation. How you present yourself plays a very important part in making a great first impression during an initial meeting with a client or during an introduction at a networking function.
As shallow as it may seem, your physical appearance does matter. It says a lot about who are you and what you have to offer others. How you are perceived by others can make or break a deal. Giving off a strong first impression is the first step to gaining the trust of others and getting hired by the clients you hope to reach.

Think of first impressions as business etiquette. You’re setting the tone for a future business relationship and setting your expectations. You want people to see the best in you from the get-go. The three components of creating a first impression is the way you dress, the way you act and the way you speak.

According to Business Insider it takes 7 seconds to make a first impression. After that 7 seconds a mental image is formed in a person’s mind based on that first encounter. 55% of that message is transmitted by the speaker’s appearance and body language.

Following these general guidelines will set you on the path to success and getting that client to hire you!

1.) Dress the Part 
Clothing is ranked as one of the top things people notice first when they make an initial judgment of a person. Your image should reflect your company’s personality, industry and expectations. You want people to respect you and take you seriously. An article by Forbes stated people with nicer appearances are generally thought to be more productive and have more energy. If you’re not taking care of yourself you’re perceived as undisciplined.

Fashion is a form of self-expression and should also be fun! Dress in something you feel confident, competent and comfortable in. Don’t feel you need to wear a full suit or jacket if you don’t normally wear a blazer. There are of course exceptions to the rule. When you feel comfortable and presentable you seem in control of the situation. In turn others will have more confidence in you. You’ve invested in your business and how it’s run, it’s also good business sense to invest in yourself. A powerful professional wardrobe enhances your status and can lead you towards success.

Style Tip: When in doubt, err on the conservative side and dress up for the occasion. It’s better to overdress than under dress.

2.) You Are What You Wear
When you look good, you feel good. That positive affect translates into your work and interactions with others. When you’re not focused on how you look you’re focused on your performance and others. A first impression survey conducted by Censuswide in 2016 showed a link between how people dressed and how they felt. 52.2% stated being smartly dressed made them feel confident, 35.4% said they felt positive and 31.3% said they felt professional. By dressing the part you perceive you are capable of a task and you enhance your ability to actually achieve goals. When you exude confidence you walk tall, make eye contact and shake hands firmly. People want to know you’re engaged and confident.

3.) Top Off Your Look with a Smile
Talk with a smile. In most cases, you will find when you smile at a person they often smile back. Smiling is warm and inviting. It makes others feel comfortable around you and helps take off the edge. It’s important to show your client or the other person you’re happy to be there and looking forward to the opportunity ahead. Harvard Business School social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, found in her studies that when people meet the first time they judge by “how warm and trusting a person is” which tells them “what a person’s intentions are towards them.”

Be natural and authentic. A smile can also be the most memorable feature a person takes away after meeting for the first time. You want the first impression people get of your brand to be a positive one.

Managing your image helps create a great first impression, and helps you achieve your career goals and ambitions. What does your current image say about you and your business? Does your image project trustworthiness and competence or resonate with the clients you hope to reach?

Cocreativ is hosting a Dress for Success workshop at the South Tampa office space. Trust us, you won’t want to miss out on this event! Contact Andrea Romero the speaker for more details.

Inspiration, Style

3 Empowering New Year’s Eve Outfit Ideas to Start 2018

2018 is the year of Alpha females. Instead of ringing in the New Year with the usual glitz and sparkles, start the year as your own Leading Lady in these empowering colors! Be bold and take a stand. Claim 2018 as your year!

Blue Inner security and confidence; order and direction

Black- Strength and authority; elegance and mystery

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“LADY IN LEATHER” This outfit exudes power and femininity. Although it’s not easily seen, this blue EXPRESS top has a sweetheart neckline. The top part of the neckline is mesh. The faux leather A-line skirt gives off a sense of strength and confidence. The ESSENTIAL bag brings an element of playfulness. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

SKIRT – Lucy Paris 

MESH SWEETHEART TOP – Express

ESSENTIAL HANDBAG – Quinn

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“ZIP IT UP” I love the metallic embellishment on this blue blouse. An alternative to sequins. These foxy, faux leather leggings and leather jacket add a mysterious edge.

METALLIC EMBELLISHED TOP – The Limited

FAUX LEATHER JACKETMacy’s

FAUX LEATHER LEGGINGS – SPANX

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“SHEER STRENGTH” If you carry most of your weight in your mid-section this is a great outfit idea for you! Tops cut at an angle hide your tummy area and give the illusion of a smaller midsection. I love how the angle of this blouse cascades down to the legs. It flows beautifully as you move. When paired with faux leather leggings, you have a statement worthy outfit, both chic and bold.

BLUE BLOUSE – ROSS

FAUX LEATHER LEGGINGS – Spanx

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Shop, Style

Top 4 Shops to Hit for Holiday Dresses in a Pinch

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Red BCBG MaxAzria party dress from my personal collection.

While gift shopping I also did a little bit of holiday window shopping. If you’re looking for a holiday or New Year’s party dress in a pinch, I’ve whipped up my list of favorite go-to’s when I’m on a time crunch.

1.) White House | Black Market

If you’re looking for luxe this is the place to go. I was mezmorised by the outfits in their holiday window displays. Check out their Holiday Boutique online and in stores. The White House Black Market collection this season is absolutely luscious! I’ve never been big fan of velvet but after taking a look at their pieces, I was converted. You’ll find a beautiful blend of velvet, florals and lace. (Currently running a 40% entire purchase SALE).

2.) Dillard’s

Dillard’s offers a wide selection of dresses in all shapes, sizes and styles. The prices are very reasonable too. My favorite section to hit up is BCBG. The brand is fresh and contemporary.  I love how fashionable and stylish the designs are. You’ll find a fun mix of colors, textures and prints.

3.) Francesca’s 

They’re currently having a 40% Off on select holiday dresses. The store only carries 4-5 sizes in each style, so it’s not very likely anyone else will be wearing your dress at your party. Need accessories? Sparkles and pearls are a plenty.  You’ll be sure to stand out in style!

 

4.) ROSS

I’m surprised at how much luck I find at ROSS. I almost always find a dress here for most occasions, and for much less. I found a gorgeous evergreen romper in a sheer and lace fabric a few months back. I snagged it for just $12.99! I’ll have to post a share a pic on my instagram @thewindowshoppingdiva for you all. The shoes are hit or miss.

Style Tip: For a New Year’s outfit I recommend shopping on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas). Most evening wear and dressy attire go on sale this time of year and the markdowns are hard to beat!

Style

Holiday Gift Cards: ‘Tis the Season to be Styled!

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Still looking for the perfect holiday gift? The Window Shopping Diva now offers Personal Style Gift Cards! You don’t get any more personalized than that! Spread the joy and style this Christmas. Give a gift that keeps on giving.

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She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs without fear of the future.

Proverbs 31:25-26 is a verse that has always resonated with me. I came back from a mission trip six years ago. A friend from the trip had written each one of us a card. In mine he wrote, God gave me this verse for you:

She is clothed with strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future.

I got chills after reading his card. Those words spoke to me personally and came to life. In 2011 I began volunteering as a Personal Shopper at Dress For Success Tampa Bay. I worked one on one with women coming out of prison and poverty, to help them find clothes and suits for upcoming job interviews. I found volunteering very rewarding. I wasn’t just helping these women find an outfit, I was empowering them and giving them new hope for a better future.

As a personal stylist and consultant it is my mission to carry out that verse through my work as well, by helping others find confidence in themselves and their wardrobe.  Through The Window Shopping Diva style services clients discover clothes that bring out who they really are and empower them to be the best version of themselves at work and in life. I love making my clients (and soon to be NEW clients) happy! This gift card will do just THAT! Think shopping gift cards to her/his favorite stores and a personal stylist, all rolled into one! OR a closet cleanse to refresh his/her wardrobe with pieces they love and feel inspired by!

My passion for fashion has led me to something more, a need in our community and a chance to give back. The communities I’ve been a part of have offered me opportunity, encouragement, love and growth. Each one of us deserves to be poured into and should in turn pour into others. All clothes donations from each Closet Cleanse and Personal Shopping session  will go to Dress For Success in an effort to restore dignity and hope in women. I make giving easy by personally taking the items he/she wishes to donate to Tampa DFS.

Gift cards can be applied to any service, starting cost at $50. Contact me here to make your gift card purchase.

Dress For Success, Tampa Bay

Dress for Success is a non-profit organization with a mission to empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

 

 

Travel

3 Practical Packing Tips for the Smart & Stylish Traveler

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Travel with purpose.

As the holidays are approaching many of you are making plans to travel. Snowbirds will be flocking down to warmer weather. And for those of you in the deeper south you’ll be looking for holiday snowfall. Whether you’re getting away for just a weekend or week long stay, packing takes time and planning. With the Christmas rush and long list of to-do’s, things are likely to be forgotten. I want to share some simple packing tips I’ve learned from my travels, especially when it comes to packing light and keeping organized. These practical solutions will help you pack only the essentials and save you the stress, and possibly having to check in a bag.

PACKING TIP #1: How to coordinate your outfits.

Stick to a narrow color palette and build your outfits around that. You’ll be surprised with how much you can do with less. On my recent 10 day trip I planned 5 outfits (and  travel day outfit) focusing around the colors red and black. Trying to figure out what to wear takes thought and can be stressful. So many things go into planning an outfit: top, bottoms, shoes, jewelry and jackets! Narrowing down my color palette helped limit the number of clothes and shoes I had to pack, saving me luggage space for other essential items like my curling iron and hair straightener. I had actually forgotten a pair of pants and a top (not pictured below), and was still able to create additional outfits on my trip because everything I packed was versatile and easy to mix and match.

*Style Tip: Colder seasons are one of the hardest times to pack for. Everything is bulky and takes up space. Save room in your luggage by just wearing or carrying your coat to the airport. For comfort and warmth I wore a workout outfit that went well with my heavy jacket.

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PACKING TIP #2: How to pack delicate items (hats, shoes, accessories)

Shoes :

I find shoes to be pretty durable. But for my delicate or more expensive shoes I prefer to keep them in shoe bags for protection. I typically pack them in the netted pocket inside my luggage. This keeps my shoes organized in one place and makes pulling them out for outfits much easier.

*Style Tip – For weekend getaways I like to use my shoe bags to store my undergarments in or for my dirty laundry. 

Accessories:

  • Jewelry – Velvet jewelry pouches aren’t just pretty, they’re soft and gentler on your jewelry (this may be my personal preference). I’m embarrassed to admit I used to pack my jewelry in plastic ziplock bags. Eek! There are pockets and places inside your luggage you can place your accessories in but for those expensive pieces I suggest keeping them with you in your carry-on.

*Style Tip- Pack ONLY what you need – a couple of necklaces and earrings that easily go with each outfit.

  • Hats – You learn to get a little creative with packing hats. There are a couple of ways you can do it. The first way is the simplest, pack them in your carry-on tote. Or the second way…On my last trip to the islands I brought a sunhat. I laid my hat upside-down on the flat side of my luggage and packed socks inside so it didn’t cave in. You can also pack scarves or a couple of tops inside them too. If you plan to bring more than one delicate hat I recommend packing them inside one another by size. Then place everything else around the crown of your hat in your luggage.

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PACKING TIP #3: How to keep your essentials organized 

Give everything a home. Clear plastic pouches keep like items together and make them easy to find. I can’t tell you the number of times I left behind a phone charger or couldn’t find an item I needed because it was hiding somewhere under a pile of folded clothes. That’s the worst when you need something in a flash. For smaller accessories like nail polish, toiletries, makeup or sunglasses use smaller pouches. For things you need a quick access to like your phone charger, iPad, passport or credit cards use a larger pouch. I love the transparency of clear pouches. You can see what you need and they look chic.

*Style Tip- For higher quality and TSA approved pouch sets shop these favorites! 

Wit & Delight Travel Pouch

Clarity Clutch

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In need of trusty carry-on bag? I’ve been very pleased with my classic Samantha Brown travel bag. I used to watch TLC’s “Passport to Travel” with host Samantha Brown. She has traveled around the world and knows a thing or two about travel essentials and luggage. You can imagine my excitement when I learned of her stylish travel collection. I got my bag as a Christmas gift about 4 years ago. It has stood the test of time and travel. This travel bag is versatile and also makes a great weekender bag. I use it all the time. When traveling durability and weight is important. This has both, and its exterior is water and stain resistant.

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These tips just go to show you don’t have to compromise style for being practical. You can purchase Samantha Brown’s travel 3-piece set online at HSN or for a discounted price at the HSN outlet store in Brandon, Florida.

Do you have other travel related questions or tips you’d like to share? Comment below.  I’ll be happy to cover them on the blog.

 

 

Travel

Look Like A Local : Shopping & Food Guide

LOCATION: Kansas, Missouri & Tennessee | November 3rd- November 13th

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I recently went on a ten day trip with my boyfriend, Jeremy, to meet his family and close friends for the first time, which gave our trip special meaning. I was also excited to visit two states and a city I had never been to before: Kansas, Missouri and Franklin, Tennessee. The Midwest is not all flat land and farms. During our visit I fell in love with some of the areas in Missouri and Kansas. There are gems to be found and beautiful places to admire.

Whenever I travel or go on trips I love to check out the shopping scene. I get so much inspiration and new ideas on how to style outfits as well as insight on what the trends are in other places. Part of that fun is sharing those discoveries with my clients and friends back at home. The places I’ll be sharing will resonate with vintage lovers and those who like to stay on top of the trends. If that’s not you, stay with me! Be open to exploring new things. You may surprise yourself and find something you like.

ST. JOSEPH, MISSOURI

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…Also known as St. Joe. On our second day we went out for breakfast with Jeremy’s family at a place called Le Peep. Not too far from there is a local consignment shop Jeremy’s mom often shops at, The Spotted Dog. The original plan was to make it just a girls shopping trip but to our surprise the men opted to join in. At The Spotted Dog you will find a hodge-podge of things from furniture, home accessories and organic soaps to clothes, shoes and jewelry. I found myself lost in the purses. Near the front cashier desk were a collection of  brand names and higher-end hand bags. I spotted a vintage Dooney & Bourke saddle bag on one of the racks. The leather and hardware was in excellent condition. Jeremy’s mom was so sweet to get it for me as an early birthday gift.

Shopping Tip: Second-hand stores and consignment shops are great places to shop for designer hand bags. You’ll find them at a fraction of the price you would pay if you bought them brand new. I found a beautiful red, genuine leather Furla clutch at the Salvation Army once. But a word of caution, avoid buying fake designer bags by double checking for authenticity before making a purchase.  

LEAWOOD, KANSAS

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We made a stop at Leawood’s Town Center Plaza for a bite at t.Loft before heading to Jeremy’s cousin’s house in Kansas City.  Jeremy lived in this area before he moved to Florida and said it was a must see. When you think of Kansas Dorothy’s home in Wizard of Oz may come to mind. Who knew that Kansas had such a place like Leawood and stylish boutiques? Many of the nearby neighborhoods have beautiful traditional style homes in the craftsman and tudor style. The main streets are lined with colorful trees in burnt reds, oranges and yellows. It made for a nice drive. At the Town Center Plaza there were two boutiques in particular we went to that caught my eye, Alyssa Rene and Etiquette.

alysa collage 1Alyssa Rene is a higher-end boutique but carries affordable designer and brand names ideal for women in their mid to late 30’s. The average price on these items were between the $50-$80’s range. I recognized several collections they carried and took some photos of items I think transition well for the fall and winter season in Florida. The shop is filled with inspiring outfits and beautiful displays. There were two women working that day. I found them to be very helpful and informative. I spoke with one of the women for awhile. We talked about the places we were from, clothing lines and suggestions she had on other shops to visit in the area. If and when you’re in the area I recommend shopping at Alysa Rene boutique for stylish and unique items.  It’s worth investing in a couple of  fun and inspiring pieces to freshen up your seasonal wardrobe.

  1. Antoinette Off the Shoulder Sweater by Minkpink (color: Peach) $70.00 | London Town Thermal by We The Free $68.00
  2. Snakeskin print ankle booties (contact the boutique for pricing details)
  3. Michael Stars Geo Ruana Wrap $88.00

florals

  1. Solistic Sheer Cardigan by Gypsy Junkies $118.00
  2. Michael Stars Cosmic Floral Ruana $88.00
  3. Blue Flower Print Tart Collection Dress (contact the boutique for pricing details)

*If you’re a client of mine and would like to learn more about the lines they carry and placing orders please contact me

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Etiquette boutique carries styles that are a more on the edgier side. What I did find were some high quality basic pieces I think every woman should own for layering and warmth. The styles were mostly casual with a few evening separates sprinkled into the racks. I pulled my favorites and took some photos. I also put together these cute outfits to show you how they can be worn. The tops and sweaters were between the $40-$50 range. The pants were between $80-$100. You certainly get what you pay for. The fabric on the jeans were very soft to the touch, had stretch and fit very well. When you buy quality over quantity you buy items that give you the most wear for your buck and most often  fit you best. This is especially important to keep in mind when you shop for basics. They go with most of the things in your closet and are worn most often.  So you want them to last.

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On our last night we met with Jeremy’s sister and cousin for dinner at The Oliver in Kansas City Plaza. Its a stylish American restaurant that recently opened up 6 months ago. If you’re a fan of the Oxford exchange I think you’ll enjoy this place.

Other Recommendations:

  • Union Station
  • Q39 (Kansas is know for its barbecue. The locals rave about this place!)

FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE

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Main St, Franklin, Tennessee | Photo originally posted on http://www.franklinis.com

I fell in love with Franklin. Beautiful foothills and fall trees surround this historic town. The city was established in 1799. Some of the original plantation homes still stand and have been renovated. Downtown is quaint and has it’s old charm. The women are fashionable and dress impeccably. I picked up on a few great styles and outfit mixes during my visit. You’ll find them listed below.

I have to admit I had every intention of taking more photos of downtown and the shops but I got a little caught up in the moment of window shopping. So these will have to do.

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The first shop we walked into was Finnley’s. The styles were eclectic but the boho style was evident. Chunky sweaters and suede skirts were staple items here. The staff was friendly and very approachable. The prices were pretty affordable too! While researching Downtown Franklin before our trip I came across The Iron Gate. The Iron Gate is an interior home store. The shop offers a gallery of well furnished and curated spaces filled with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces with a rustic-chic French flare. I snapped a shot of this elegant evergreen tree dress on display.  It’s a must see!

feathersThe last shop we stopped in was Habit. It smelled heavenly inside. They were burning their own Sweet Grace candle. It seemed to be a customer favorite judging by all the praises I heard as people walked in. Much of what I saw on the racks were in tones of creams, taupes and blush.  I really liked the stylish yet effortless look of the clothes.  Simple silhouettes were dressed up with unique jewelry pieces. I felt Habit captured the style of Franklin and Nashville. Boho Chic. One thing I noticed that was unique to Franklin was how polished the women wore the boho chic style. At Habit the prices are definitely on the higher-end. The average cost of items were between the $100-$200 range. There were a few fur vests and knit sweaters I spotted between $80-$90. If prices like these aren’t in your budget I still like to encourage you to take a peak inside. Part of the fun of window shopping is scoping out some of the season’s trends. It’s also a great way to get inspired and think of new styles or pieces you might like to introduce into your wardrobe.

IMG_6216Trends I Saw:

  • Block-heeled booties in grey or taupe suede with side cutouts
  •  Plaid Capes
  • Kimono cardigans in velvet floral prints
  • Athleisure wear – outdoor wear mixed with workout wear (ex. knit or quilted sleeveless vest over workout top and leggings)
  • Monochromatic colors – cream, grey and blush
  • Feather necklaces and fur vests

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If you like shopping for antiques and vintage items you’ll enjoy The Factory. Not only does it house about 25 different vendors and the Franklin Farmers Market on Saturdays, but it also hosts live music performances every Wednesday night by Music City Roots, “Nashville’s acclaimed roots and Americana variety show.”

Places to Eat in Franklin:

  • Frothy Monkey for coffee and morning bite
  • Merridee’s Breadbasket for lunch (Their chicken salad sandwich rocks! We ate twice here we loved it so much)
  • 1892,  in Leiper’s Fork, for dinner  (book reservations in advance, tables fill up fast)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration, Style

How to Wear Ankle Boots: Styles & Outfits (Part I)

Ankle boots and booties have become autumn’s favorite footwear and a key piece in fall outfitting. But trying to figure out what to wear with booties can sometimes take more thought and planning.  I think many of us get stuck in a rut and just throw on the usual skinny jeans because that’s what’s always been done and it’s an easy go to.

I was recently asked if I could do a blog post on how to wear ankle booties. Having styled some looks of my own and done some research on all the types of booties out there, and there are many,  I thought I’d break this post up into a three part mini series. I’ll be covering the most common styles: the wedge, the block heel and the heeled ankle bootie.

This week’s post will cover the wedge ankle bootie. I’m going to show you how best to style your booties and make them work for your wardrobe. You can use these outfits as a guide and inspiration for your fall repertoire.

The Wedge Bootie | Low and High

The weather doesn’t get much cooler in fall here in Florida. The months are all that really change. But a wedge ankle bootie in brown or black suede add warm texture and certainly has the look of fall.

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Flat or low ankle booties have a more casual, boho-chic look. Just recently I’ve gotten into wearing boyfriend jeans. I often find them to be frumpy looking. But the slim boyfriend jeans pair well with the casual, low wedge booties. I’ve grown to love my Coclico’s  more and more. I wasn’t sure how flattering they’d look on me but I wear these a lot in fall, especially with shorter dresses.

Style Tip 1: Because boyfriend jeans tend to sit lower on the hip and have a wider pant leg, I leave about 2 inches of space between the bottom of my pant hem and the top of the bootie. You don’t want your legs to look shortened or chopped off.

Style Tip 2: With boyfriends jeans I typically like to style v-neck tees and this flute sleeve top with a tied knot on the side for extra style and fit. Try it!

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Style your booties with a short, lightweight dress layered with a knit vest over top. I love this outfit. It’s my seasonal go to! This is a great example of how you can dress up your low wedge booties.

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Low wedge booties can also update last season’s favorite floral or lace dress. Just throw on a jacket and viola, you have the perfect fall outfit! How cute is this lace dress with that olive green jacket?

Style Tip 3: With a lower ankle bootie, you want the hem of your dress or skirt to fall above or just below the knee to keep a longer leg line.

Shoe Recommendation: Sam Edelman Petty Bootie (ON SALE)

Higher wedge booties have a slightly dressier look to them and usually come higher up on the ankle. Two best ways to style these types of booties are to wear them with cuffed skinnies or with leggings.

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Depending on how slim-fit your denims are one cuff or two cuffs are the general rule to wearing skinnies with your booties. If you try tucking your pants in your shoes they often pucker and look funny.  You generally want to leave an inch of space between the bottom of your pant and the top of your bootie. Just enough to expose your ankle.

Nothing says cozy like a knit poncho. I don’t see many of them worn but I think they can add sophistication to an outfit. As it does here, worn with my cuffed skinnies and high wedge booties. This outfit is perfect for traveling! I plan on packing this ensemble for my trip to Kansas and Nashville this November.

Style Tip 4: For longer skinny jeans a larger cuff (2-3 inches) looks best.

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Some people shy away from wearing ankle booties because they feel it makes them look choppy. But tucking your leggings or tights into your booties actually elongates your legs and creates a seamless look. The key is wearing the same color, black on black. Stiletto or heeled booties are best for evening wear but I styled this outfit to show you how a high wedge bootie can also work for you at night. Here I’m wearing them with a graphic print Salaam dress. This outfit is more street-chic and city.

Shoe Recommendation: TOMS Desert Wedge