Spring style: the casual goddess

The casual goddess: Sass & Bide dress, Jacquie Aiche earrings, Chloe cuff, & Saint Laurent sandal.
The casual goddess: Sass & Bide dress, Jacquie Aiche earrings, Chloe cuff, & Saint Laurent sandal.

Spring should be about enjoying nature’s beauty. The snow has finally melted (at least in most places) & greenery is starting to reappear & give life to the sad, barren branches we’ve been haunted by all winter long.  I find that in order to fully appreciate the season, & most things in life, it’s essential to find the right balance of style & comfort. These pieces are an example of that perfect equilibrium. Sass & Bide’s embellished crepe maxi dress, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail:$390. Jacquie Aiche’s pink raw tourmaline & rose gold studs, Stanley Korshak, Suggested Retail: $415. Chloé gold tone bar cuff Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail:$550. Saint Laurent Jane flat sandal, Barney’s, Suggested Retail $895. So, welcome spring with open arms, an open mind, & an open wallet.

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Glass slippers, fairy godmothers, & proms

Volunteering last Saturday: with Margaret Bode, top left, & seniors with their prom dresses.
Volunteering last Saturday: with Margaret Bode, top left, & seniors with their prom dresses.

We all have at least one special occasion dress, or pair of shoes, that have only been worn once, & we will never wear again, for whatever reason (think bridesmaid dresses). Instead of wasting precious closet space, give these dresses a far better home by donating them to organizations that provide students with a full outfit that they can enjoy for one of the most memorable social events of their high school years—THE PROM! If you’d like to feel even more like a fairy godmother, you can volunteer this time of year & directly assist the girls while they are searching for that special dress; it’s truly a rewarding experience for everyone.  The Glass Slipper in Chicago is still accepting volunteers for the next few Saturdays, April 12th & April 26th. Check out a non-profit near you to participate.

New York: Donate My Dress, Operation Prom 

Chicago: The Glass Slipper

Los Angeles: The Prom Dress Project

Nationwide: Donate My Dress

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Peter Som for Kohl’s

Peter Som for Kohl's, available April 10th. Photos courtesy of the internet & Kohl's.
Peter Som for Kohl’s, available April 10th. Photos courtesy of the internet & Kohl’s.

Ladies, set your iphones for Thursday April 10th; we have an important date with Kohl’s. My wallet & my normally out-of-the-budget designer taste will actually be on the the same page, a very rare occurrence; it’s almost like seeing a unicorn.  American designer & San Francisco native, Peter Som, has collaborated with Kohl’s for their DesigNation program.  The result is an effortlessly chic collection that will take you through spring & summer in style.  The collection was inspired by the colors, culture, & blissful island attitude of none other than St. Barths, & features Som’s aesthetic of casual elegance, as he brings a sophistication to relaxed style. The collection is only available for a limited time, & let’s be honest, in most cities the collection will sell-out within a day or two, so seriously get there ASAP. Prices range from $38.00-$88.00.

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Precious metals

Spring metallics from Proenza, 3.1 Phillip Lim, & Gucci.
Spring metallics from Proenza, 3.1 Phillip Lim, & Gucci.

This spring, metals are no longer strictly confined to your jewelry; in fact, metallics are one of the “must-have” trends of the season. It’s not a head-to-toe look, instead think of this trend more in terms of accents or statement pieces.  For example, Proenza Schouler’s pleated skirt in white, platinum, & silver looks great with a white or ivory top, Suggested Retail: $1,250.  3.1 Phillip Lim’s collared sleeveless lightweight leather front top in magnolia-lilac has a modern silhouette that will give you the perfect amount of shimmer weather you pair it with trousers or a pencil skirt, Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $795.  Gucci truly captured the trend. Choose the lamé trench for a glamourous way to get noticed, or get the Gucci 58 holographic cracked-leather clutch for a more subtle, but very sophisticated, way to illuminate your outfit, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail: $3,000 & $1,290 respectively. So, don’t restrict precious metals to your accessories, & don’t forget to like us on facebook & follow us on twitter!

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Spring whites

White tops from Forever 21 & Zara.
White tops from Forever 21 & Zara.

While spring technically starts tomorrow, on March 20th, the weather in some cities has yet to get the memo (ahem, Chicago). So, it’s not surprising that you might feel a little awkward jumping into bright colors & bold patterns just because the calendar says you’re allowed to indulge. The best way to ease into the season is with whites & neutrals. My picks are the crochet lace top, Forever 21, Suggested Retail: $17.80, & the romantic lace blouse, Zara, Suggested Retail: $59.90 (both above). You can wear them with blue or white denim, or with my new favorite light pink skinny cargo biker trousers (below), Zara, Suggested Retail: $79.90. So, welcome spring with open arms & white tops.

Zara's skinny cargo biker pant.
Zara’s skinny cargo biker pant.
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The Oscars’ Best Dressed

The Best Dressed at the 2014 Oscars. Photos courtesy of the Internet.
The Best Dressed at the 2014 Oscars. Photos courtesy of the Internet.

Regardless of weather or not these leading ladies went home with an Oscar, they were winners on the red carpet. Lupita Nyong’o looked radiant in her Prada gown in a color she dubbed Nairobi blue, & the Fred Leighton jewels completed the outfit. There are some people who you might have always thought were beautiful, & then when you hear them speak & get a glimpse into who they are as a person, they become even more attractive; Lupita is in that category. In her acceptance speech for “Best Supporting Actress” for her role in 12 Years a Slave, she eloquently expressed how grateful & historically aware she is, “It doesn’t escape me for one moment that so much joy in my life is due to so much pain in someone else’s,” Lupita said in reference to the film, which was based on a real-life memoir. She concluded on an inspiring & encouraging note, “No matter where you’re from, your dreams are valid.” Somehow, after hearing her speech she looked even more spectacular. Cate Blanchett was gorgeous in Armani Privé, with Chopard jewelery; I loved her opal chandelier earrings; her hair & make-up were perfection. It was also impressive that she advocated on behalf of “women -centric” films  in her speech, claiming that it is false to categorize them as “niche” or chick-flicks. Jennifer Garner invoked 1920s glam in her Oscar de la Renta dress, which was the perfect shade of silver, making her skin glow rather than washing her out, as silvers can often do to the best of us. Jennifer Lawrence, looked chic & sophisticated in a red, structured Dior Haute Couture gown with Neil Lane jewelry, & a Salvatore Ferragamo clutch. Lastly, if there had been an award for “Best Dressed Couple” it would have gone to Matthew McConaughey, in Dolce & Gabbana, & his gorgeous wife Camila Alves, in Gabriela Cadena & Lorraine Schwartz jewelry (see photo below).

Best dressed couple Matthew McConaughey & Camila Alves. Photos courtesy of the Internet.
Best dressed couple Matthew McConaughey & Camila Alves. Photos courtesy of the Internet.
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Cuff love

Ear cuffs by Ryan Storer & Ca & Lou.
Ear cuffs by Ryan Storer & Ca & Lou.

For special occasions, or even just for a fancy dinner, if you want to add a little extra sparkle in a way that’s a bit more unique than usual, the ear cuff will accomplish that exactly.  No extra piercings are required, the cuffs come with fasteners in one or two places so that they stay put securely on your ears. You can wear the cuff on just one ear, with a matching stud on the other, or one in each ear, or you can opt for the more subtle approach of the the “almost cuff” earrings (above bottom row, far right).  Whichever you choose, you can be confident that you will be one of the most sophisticated women in the room with these pieces inspired by a combination of the 1920s & 1980s. My favorites, from top left: Ryan Storer’s silver-plated Swarovski crystal ear cuff, which comes with the single stud as well, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail $320. Ryan Storer’s Swarovski crystal & pearl ear cuff, accompanied by a pearl stud, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail $630. Ryan Storer’s rose gold-plated Swarovski crystal ear cuff & stud, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail $300. Ca & Lou’s Carine Swarovski crystal & yellow-gold earrings, Neiman Marcus, Suggested Retail $520. Don’t forget to follow us on twitter & like us on Facebook!

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Handbags for work, play, & everyday

The perfect & affordable bags for work & play by Zara & Madewell.
The perfect & affordable bags for work & play by Zara & Madewell.

One day, about 3 years ago, I woke up & all of a sudden the price tags on each one the fabulous handbags I had wanted jumped to $2,000 and above, just like magic, overnight, or so it seemed. Unfortunately, $2,000 did not also magically appear in my wallet or bank account, overnight; I have checked everyday since then just to be sure. So, what is a fiscally responsible girl (who chooses to pay her rent over purchasing the handbag she covets) to do? Well she has options, albeit polyurethane ones instead of leather in some instances, but think of how proud PETA will be.  For work, Zara’s combined office city bag in black, white, & red or in grey, white, & black is the perfect mix of polish & sophistication, (above, 1st row)) Zara, Suggested Retail: $79.90.  For days off, I love Madewell’s Eaton leather clutch in two-tone amber & black (it comes with a slide-in wrist strap), & Zara’s striped messenger bag, (above, 2nd row) Suggested Retail: $128 (get 30% off with code SPRING) & $79.90 respectively. Lastly, for everyday, I need a stylish handbag that is versatile enough to take me from day to dinner, can comfortably fit over my shoulder, & will work well back to most of my wardrobe. That bag is the Emme shopper by Christian Siriano for Payless (below) Payless, Suggested Retail: $34.99. So, until $2,000 miraculously finds a way into my wallet, these are the handbags that will be in my spring rotation.

For everyday, the Emme Shopper by Christian Siriano for Payless.
For everyday, the Emme Shopper by Christian Siriano for Payless.
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I heart fashion

Donna Karan dress & Elizabeth & James top.
Donna Karan dress & Elizabeth & James top.

If you feel like you’re seeing red everywhere these days, it’s not just because of Valentine’s Day. There is a far better reason; the month of February is dedicated to heart disease awareness. Not only is heart disease the leading cause of death in the United States, it is also the top killer of women. The fashion community has come together again to promote awareness through a selection of products at the Go Red for Women website and via the Heart Truth Red Dress Collection show hosted in New York last week. The show was sponsored by the American Heart Association, “Go Red For Women” campaign & featured celebrities (ranging from Joan Jett & Ireland Baldwin, to Lindsey Vonn on crutches) on the runway in beautiful red dresses provided by top designers with big hearts, such as Donna Karan and Dolce & Gabbana.  So, although I generally prefer wearing black to red, this month I’ll make an exception to spread awareness & support the cause. My top picks: Donna Karan’s long sleeve v-nk draped jersey dress, (above) Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail: $2,495; the Pamela silk blouse by Elizabeth & James, (above) Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail: $295the short sleeve fine knit top, (below) H&M, Suggested Retail: $24.95; OPI’s Big Apple Red nail polish, (below) Amazon, Suggested Retail: $6.39. So show your support this month & wear red!

Top by H&M, & OPI Big Apple Red polish.
Top by H&M, & OPI Big Apple Red polish.
Celebrity models in "The Heart Truth" red dress fashion show.
Celebrity models in “The Heart Truth” red dress fashion show.
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They’re back & better than ever: the slip on sneaker

Sneakers with a cause by SUNO.
Sneakers with a cause by SUNO.

If you’re having flashbacks of side ponytails & scrunchies, you’re not alone. (If you’re not having flashbacks because you weren’t alive back then, please don’t tell me; I’d rather not feel old.) Yes, the favorite slip-on sneaker, which everyone owned at least one pair of back in the 1980s, is back & I’m welcoming our comfortable old friend with open arms & happy feet.  There are several places to purchase them, but my favorites are from the SUNO collection, Suggested Retail $65.00.  They are all made in Kenya with SUNO fabrics & recycled rubber, & 15% of your purchase will be donated by SUNO to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, a Kenyan preservation devoted to the protection of endangered elephants & rhinos. SUNO is the New York based womenswear label founded by Max Osterweis with designer Erin Beatty in 2008. The label uses vintage Kenyan textiles that Osterweis had been collecting for years, & their first collection was produced predominantly in Kenya, a second home to Osterweis. SUNO has since evolved its business to expand production in Kenya, India, Peru & New York, the company’s home base. They combine traditional, local techniques and high-end tailoring to offer a global perspective of the luxury world in an accessible way. So, purchase the SUNO slip-on sneakers & be a shopper with a cause.

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