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!

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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

CLUTCHWalmart

 

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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspiration, Style

Fall Style Inspiration: Tory Burch Try On

Come take a window’s peak with me into what’s fashionable and trendy this fall at Tory Burch 

A spontaneous shopping trip to the Tory Burch store with a friend led to this inspirational and helpful blog post. While everyone might not have the budget to spend thousands of dollars on clothing each season, you can still look to designer labels and runway looks for inspiration and guidance on what’s trending. From there you can create outfits based on your own interpretation of those trends. Keep in mind what’s “in” isn’t always for everyone. Sticking to classic pieces are sometimes best.

 

FALL FUR

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The Beverly Vest is the perfect transitional piece for your closet. The spotted fox fur is luxurious yet simple. It’s sleeveless and lightweight which made it easy to throw over my black tank and denim jeans. During fall/winter fashion week fur was seen throughout the runway in almost every collection. This year; however, was different from past seasons. It was all about the fur and less about bold prints and wild colors. Designers kept them classic. You can recreate a more relaxed luxe look as I have done here or throw the Beverly vest over a long sleeve turtleneck and slacks for cozy layering. Follow my “Fall Fur” board on Pinterest for more ideas on how to style fur this fall and winter.

Shop the look for less:

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Via Spiga Collarless Faux Fur Vest

Blanknyc Ripped Ankle Jeans

Ralph Lauren Janis Sneakers

BLUE FLORALS

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While the season’s florals air on the darker side of hues, the blue and white florals in this demure Giovanna dress bring a softer, lighter side to fall. The Rosemont flowers were inspired by vintage blooms and Tory’s love for the blue and white color combination. The fit and tailoring in this dress isn’t so stuffy. It’s light and comfortable. You can really get a lot of wear out of it throughout the year. I’m wearing the Giovanna dress with a classic blue pump. A fun style tip: Strut a sexy heel with a more classic dress to add flirty flare;)

Shop the look for less:

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Brooks Brothers Floral Print Dress

Bonnie Ankle Strap Sandal

 

MIX MATCHED LAYERS

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For the daring and advanced! Part of the fun in putting outfits together is playing with different textures, prints and colors. Many of my clients say this is one of their greatest style challenges. It’s not always easy and takes a good eye to pair the unexpected together. What tie these three pieces together is the color red. The busier lace pattern on the Nicola sweater is toned down with this smaller link pattern on the silk Hailee skirt. Since there’s more white in the skirt it almost acts like a neutral piece. There is always a third element that helps pull everything together. A jacket.  This solid navy Ryder jacket gives this outfit a classic-modern finish.

Shop the look for less:

PicMonkey Image

Red Rivet Moto Jacket

J.Crew Black Lace Crop Top

NY Collection Striped Midi Skirt

 

 

 

 

Style

The Secret to a Healthier Wardrobe

 

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Psst…I’m gonna let you in on a little secret stylists have known for some time. It’s a remedy to your closet woes and clutter. One that will cure you of your overspending and lack of outfits.

Build a capsule wardrobe.

Some of you may be thinking…Huh? This “inside” buzzword in the world of styling, refers to your closet go-to’s. These are things you wear all the time that can easily be mixed and matched with other items. Building a capsule of these key pieces is a way of minimizing your wardrobe into a small collection of clothes you love and actually wear!

The term “capsule wardrobe” was first coined in the seventies by London boutique owner, Susie Faux. The goal is to simplify your closet and life. The less clutter you have and money you spend on the extra stuff the happier you’ll be. Less is more.

Care to give it a go?

The Key Ingredients: Back to Basics

Here are some general rules to follow:

  • Scale Down: About 30-40 items. Includes clothes, shoes and outerwear. Pajamas, accessories, fitness apparel and special-occasion outfits are not included.
  • Shop by season: The items should last you a season (about 3 months) until you’ll need to refresh.
  • Simplify: You want to minimize. Store or donate what you don’t need.

The Closet Cleanse: Discovering Your Personal Style

One of the exciting things about my own closet cleanse was what I learned about my wardrobe. The holes that needed filling in my closet (what I needed but didn’t have) and my personal style (the things I gravitate to).

Get down and strip down to the essentials. It’s important that you be honest with yourself when decluttering your closet. Remember, you want a working wardrobe and pieces you’re going to love yourself in.

First step, divide and conquer! Separate your clothes into three piles: Never wear, Sometimes wear, Often wear. Donate what you don’t wear. Are there items in your “sometimes” pile that don’t fit? Give them away. If you love an item from this pile it’s likely you don’t have anything to pair it with. Put it aside for now, this might actually go with something from your “often wear” pile. If not, make a note of what’s missing to grab on your next shopping trip.

Floral Romper
Pretty and polished. I mixed prints by layering this floral romper with a blue striped button up top. These ankle-strap heels add delicate sophistication. A simple chambray blue clutch keeps things light and easy.

Here comes the fun part, start pairing things together from the group of clothes you wear often. Sometimes it’s hard to visualize what you want and need for your closet. A stylist can help you ask the right questions and hone in on your personal style. They’ll show you what the holes are in your wardrobe and what fits you best. You’ll be surprised with how many outfits you come up with! And those outfits, madame, will make up your capsule wardrobe. And the best part is you won’t spend a dime! You can add to these key pieces as the seasons change.

Here’s a glimpse of some outfits I put together from the capsule wardrobe I built during my closet overhaul.

Chic Shorts Outfit
Feminine Chic. These black and white striped shorts pair lovely with these soft and sheer blouses. Mix old with new. There’s something vintage and elegant about those suede booties from Audley shoes. The scallop details are so feminine!
Chic Stripes Outfits
Coastal Chic. This outfit just goes to prove that key pieces can be paired with multiple items in your closet. This sheer black and white beach halter is a personal favorite with those striped shorts and Paul Green sandals.
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Trendy Traveler. I layered this olive jacket over a romper in a darker hue within the same color family. The leopard scarf helped break up the colors and add a fun contrast. The brown gladiator sandals are comfortable and casual without being boring. The reptile handbag plays on the “wild animal” print theme.
Fall Outfit
Fall of the Wild. Animal and reptile prints can be bold and loud. The same olive jacket from the previous outfit brings balance and tones down this snake print tank. Worn over another staple – these dark denim jeans, which I cuffed at the bottom, show off these rock’n suede booties. A great outfit for fall.

 

The Shopping Diet: Build Around Your Lifestyle and Budget

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Having a better understanding of what you need and want will help curb your clothes spending and keep you from buying things that will sit in your closet and take up space. When shopping think about your lifestyle and ask yourself, what do I feel most comfortable in during the week and on the weekends? What fabrics are easiest for me to care for? Maybe it’s not in your budget to go shopping. That’s okay, just hold off until you start planning for the next season. Typically you should update with a few trendy pieces and seasonal items 2-3 times a year. Before you go shopping set a realistic budget for yourself and know exactly what you’re looking for. Don’t feel like you have to buy everything your first trip. Buy quality not quantity. Take your time finding what you really want. Seeking advice from someone who is knowledgeable to help guide you in the process of refining your wardrobe can pay off! Susie Faux explains in her blog, often “when people feel they’ve over-bought, it’s generally because they’ve gone shopping without a good plan and budget for what they need.” Your aim is to find clothes that showcase your true beauty and what you have to offer the world.

Cheers to a healthier wardrobe and a fabulous you!