Monday must haves: denim, leopard, & accessories

Dress by Madewell, Cornelia Webb choker, Sogoli bracelet, & Loeffler Randal sandal.
Madewell dress, Cornelia Webb choker, Sogoli bracelet, & Loeffler Randall sandal.

Summer doesn’t technically begin until June 20th, but in my mind Memorial Day weekend is the true start date, at least as far as wardrobe is concerned. So, here are some essential pieces to kick start your summer. I love the denim courier shirtdress by Madewell, Suggested Retail $98The cotton/linen blend makes this dress soft & comfortable, & I always appreciate a chic look that isn’t fitted (summer is so much more enjoyable when you can have ice cream without worrying that your super fitted dress will reveal how many scoops you just ate). Cornelia Webb’s gold-plated labradorite choker will give you an “I’m cool without trying” look, Net-a-Porter, Suggested Retail $135. Labradorite, for those of you who are into the healing powers of gems & stones, is said to protect the wearer along with bringing her insight, clarity, & success. I have long been a fan of Sogoli jewelry, all of which is designed and made in the USA; so  it’s really your patriotic duty for Memorial Day to treat yourself to a piece or two of Sogol Tabrizian’s beautiful creations. The black & gold bracelet with smokey metallic druzy stone, pictured above, can be worn as a bracelet or necklace, Sogoli, Suggested Retail $140. By now, you probably already own some version of the gladiator sandals (or perhaps several—ahem, guilty). However, you probably don’t have leopard print sandals, so I’m here to tell you that you really must. Loeffler Randall’s sarie leopard print sandal is my recommendation; it’s a classic flat sandal that is timeless & chic, Neiman Marcus, Suggested Retail $195. You will look & feel fabulous in all 4 of these “must-haves.”

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The Met’s steps: the red carpet at the Met Gala

Best dressed at the Met Gala: Cindy Crawford, Beyoncé, & Gigi Hadid.
Best dressed at the Met Gala: Cindy Crawford, Beyoncé, & Gigi Hadid.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Annual Costume Gala in New York City is fashion’s red carpet with a cause. This year’s exhibit is “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” While the exhibit itself will take a point of view, the beautiful thing about this theme & about fashion in general is that this is art, & as such, it has a vague ambiguity about it, leaving the subject open to interpretation.  Our favorites looks on the Met’s red carpet steps were: Cindy Crawford in Balmain—there is a reason this woman was a supermodel, this look is flawless, elegant & modern, Cindy knew that earring were the only piece of jewelry needed too;  Beyoncé is gorgeous in this Givenchy dress with Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, her hair & make-up were perfection with the ensemble; Gigi Hadid mixed old Hollywood with a nod to futuristic edge in Tommy Hilfiger with Lynn Ban jewels. Bravo, ladies. These were our best dressed picks & as always, while there were some looks that rather confused us, madison & mercer does not believe in printing negative comments about women, so just enjoy the positive vibes.

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Good day, sunshine! You will need shades, these are it…

The Fly, Big Mouth, & Madness, sunglasses by Perverse.
Fly, Big Mouth, & Madness, sunglasses by Perverse.

Spring has finally arrived & I can’t think of a better excuse to treat yourself to new sunglasses; seriously, this purchase is just as functional as it is fun, & that’s not something you can say often. I’m introducing you to one of my favorite new (and socially responsible) companies: meet PERVERSE. They must have been in my head when I asked, “Why can’t there be one great resource for fabulous sunglasses without crazy high prices?!?!” PERVERSE answered just last year in 2015 with “you’re totally right, there should be, & here we are! Yay!!!” There is a vast assortment of styles, so I promise that you will find at least one pair that you love, & with these prices you have my blessing to buy several if you happen to fall in love with two…or three….or, okay I’ll stop myself; I’m trying to be a good influence. Some of my favorites are above: Fly in color Mrs. Grey-Light Grey (Suggested Retail:$45), Big Mouth in color Clara-Brown (Suggested Retail:$35), & Madness in Silver-Black with Silver (Suggested Retail: $65). I’m not the only fan of this truly amazing label; Cara Delevingne, who is a little…okay, fine WAY cooler than I am, has also been spotted wearing these must have shades. Need I say more?

Cara Delevingne wearing PERVERSE sunglasses.
Cara Delevingne wearing PERVERSE sunglasses.
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The Red Carpet: 2016 Golden Globes

2016 Golden Globes best dressed: Jennifer Lawrence,   Taraji Henson, Rachel McAdams, & Alicia Vikander.
2016 Golden Globes best dressed: Jennifer Lawrence, Taraji Henson, Rachel McAdams, & Alicia Vikander.

I’ll whole heartedly admit that at least 50% (okay, fine 90%) of the reason I watch any of the award shows is to see what everyone is wearing. I completely respect all that these talented individuals have accomplished on the silver screen, however, I’m kind of obsessed with fashion, so….my winners for best dressed are the following: Jennifer Lawrence captured old Hollywood in a new & modern way in her Dior gown; she was sexy but classy from her low twist bun & red lips to the Chopard jewelry. Taraji P. Henson looked gorgeous in custom Stella McCartney; the dress & train, combined with her hair & make-up, & her dangling emerald earrings were perfection. Rachel McAdams was stunning in a printed Lanvin gown; wearing a print for a formal occasion can be a little risky, but she pulled off the look effortlessly. The most sophisticated & chic starlet of the night was Alicia Vikander in Louis Vuitton. There were several celebrities who missed the mark, but at Madison & Mercer we do not believe in publishing negative comments about women. We’re ready for the next red carpet, please!

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Top investments: Isabel Marant

Fabulous fall treats by Isabel Marant, available at Barney's.
Fabulous fall treats by Isabel Marant, available at Barney’s.

When it comes to shopping, I like to make sure that my purchases aren’t based purely on emotion. I do have to be excited by the item(s), but that alone isn’t always enough, especially when the price is above a certain number… So, I often find myself asking the following questions before making an investment: 1- “Do I already have something like this in my closet?” 2- “Is this piece truly special, unique, or different enough to make it worth while?” 3- “Do I have other items in my closet that will go with this or will I then have to buy other items as well? (it’s okay if you have to buy other items to go with it, but you should be aware of this upfront.) 4- “Can I think of at least two different occasions I can wear this to, happening soon? If the stars all align, then I pull the credit card.  This season, the three tops by Isabel Marant (above) fit the bill: the black embroidered organza Vatelle blouse (Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $405), the navy pleated Rauline blouse with black trim (Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $670), & the white Allen top (Barney’s, Suggested Retail: $780). These tops are quite special, so let them be the standout of your look; keep the bottoms simple & tailored. Each one of these would be a good investment, & if you want a diverse portfolio (ahem, closet) you have my blessing to purchase all three!

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Your weekend shopping list: the Adam Lippes collection at Target

Looks from Adam Lippes collection for Target.
Looks from Adam Lippes collection for Target.

This weekend I’m giving you a “to-do” list that you will actually enjoy: go to Target & shop the Adam Lippes collection.  The designs of Adam Lippes are always impeccably tailored & have a relaxed, understated elegance. His brand mixes Americana with a global sophistication, perhaps as a result of Lippes’ impressive resume—having worked at both Ralph Lauren & Oscar de la Renta. The Target-Lippes collection was inspired by his passion for the Berkshires, which perfectly captures the beauty of fall. If you haven’t been, add it to your “to-do” list (the fun one that I’m giving you) & stay at either the Red Lion Inn, or treat yourself to a spa weekend there at Canyon Ranch. The collection launches this Sunday, September 27th, & since these designer collaborations tend to sell-out quickly, get there early with your pumpkin spice latte in hand, or get ready to fill your online shopping cart before you watch Meet the Press. Enjoy completing the best “to-do” list ever (did I mention that most pieces are under $60)!!!

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Tuesday’s with Thakoon: Kohl’s & Thakoon

Looks from Thakoon for Kohl's, DesigNation.
Looks from Thakoon for Kohl’s, DesigNation.

There is no better way to start the month than with affordable “designer” clothes; Thakoon is making that possible via his collaboration with Kohl’s for September’s DesigNation. Thakoon Panichgul is a Thai-American designer esteemed in the fashion world for his talent in merging feminine designs with a modern tomboy edge. This London-inspired collection, which launches this week, September 10th, features pieces ranging from $48-$200, so plan your Thursday accordingly. Happy shopping!

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Statement cuffs

Statement cuffs by Anndra Neen & Rosantica.
Statement cuffs by Anndra Neen & Rosantica.

Mid-August, already? August is one of my favorite months, but there’s something bittersweet about it because we say farewell to summer in just a few short weeks, & with it goes the carefree, relaxed mentality that epitomizes the season. This transitional period also makes shopping a bit challenging, especially when you want something you can enjoy now & also wear into the fall without looking like you forgot what month it is. What’s a girl to do? When in doubt, make a statement with jewelry, preferably one of these statement cuffs. Here are some fabulous pieces that you can wear now & well into the fall. I love Anndra Neen’s horizon gold & silver-tone cuff, Net-a-porter, Suggested Retail: $450. The cut-out details give this cuff a modern twist.  Rosantica’s Coralli gold plated cuff is a chic way to wear artwork inspired by nature, Net-a-porter, Suggested Retail: $325. So enjoy the rest of your summer with fabulous wrist candy that will stay with you long after the tan lines fade.

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Things happening in April: Lilly Pulitzer for Target

Lilly Pulitzer for Target starting April 19th.
Lilly Pulitzer for Target starting April 19th.

April 19th is not a sleeping-in kind of Sunday; instead you will want to be at your nearest Target store, or at the very least, sitting in front of your laptop filling your shopping cart with great finds from Target’s collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer. The label, known for it’s iconic Palm Beach inspired prints & colors, is offering a fabulous collection, which includes footwear & accessories as well, all priced under $40.  You can find accent fabulous pieces for the home too, so mark your calendars now.

Swimwear from Lilly Pulitzer for Target.
Swimwear from Lilly Pulitzer for Target.
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When in Rome…or just anytime this spring & summer

Chloé Lace-Up Tall Gladiator Sandals.
Chloé Lace-Up Tall Gladiator Sandals.

While it might still be cold or even snowing in some parts of the country (ahem, Chicago), it is officially spring so I’m ignoring the weather outside of my window & getting us ready for the well deserved warmer months ahead.  The biggest trend in footwear for spring/summer is inspired by our Roman warrior friends.  You might recall seeing shorter versions of the gladiator sandal in the past, but this season, the sandal is taller & more “authentic” than in the past. If you are able to splurge, the Chloé lace-up tall Gladiator sandal is absolutely fabulous, Barneys, Suggested Retail: $1,370 (above).  I love these sandals with flowy spring dresses; it creates a bohemian, “I’m chic without trying,” look.  If you’re on a budget, Zara’s leather Roman sandal is a great choice, Zara, Suggested Retail:$159.  Now, if we can just get the weather gods to recognize that it’s supposed to be spring, we’ll be all set. 

Looks from the Chloé Spring 2015 Runway.
Looks from the Chloé Spring 2015 Runway.
Zara's Leather Roman Sandals.
Zara’s Leather Roman Sandals.
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