An ongoing love affaire with all things fashionable, tasty and fun

Posts tagged “Real Girls Need Real Closets

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving isn’t just about spending time with you family & friends – or food – It’s also a time to be grateful and to give thanks for all of the amazing things in your life.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t say a great big THANK YOU to all of my readers for your continued support – I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be where I am today without each and every one of you.

And as a token of my appreciation here’s a collection of sales and shopping destinations to check out if you’re interested in celebrating Black Friday or Cyber Monday:

What sales am I most looking forward to? I’ve already placed my ASOS order {as I tweeted Wednesday – 20% off w/ the code ASOSxBLAIR} and I’m hoping for some quality time on the Bloomingdale’s & Piperlime sites – Below are some of my picks!
What sites and/or stores are you planning to check out this year for Black Friday or Cyber Monday? Any pieces you’ve been dying to get and are waiting to see if they’ll go on sale?

Website Review – FootCandy Shoes

Due to long hours, lots of time spent in front of a computer on a daily basis, and a general dislike of crowded stores – I’ve become quite the connoisseur of the “art” of online shopping. Recently I was thinking about what I like, what I don’t like, which sites I frequent, and what qualities I look for when I’m shopping online and wanted to share some of the wisdom I’ve accumulated over the years.

What makes a good online retailer?

  1. Great selection of pieces so I’ll always find something that I like
  2. Carries brands that I know & love (and which I already know my size in…)
  3. Acceptable pricing & great and/or frequent sales
  4. Shipments arrive in good time
  5. Quick, easy & hassle-free returns

My favorite places to shop online?

  1. ASOS
  2. Bloomingdale’s
  3. Piperlime
  4. BCBG
  5. Nordstrom

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Shopstyle.com – Even though you don’t order directly from the website itself, this is the best place to find something that you’re looking for since they’ll search ALL online retailers for you. Ridiculously helpful.

Now that we’ve talked about online shopping in general, let’s discuss shoe shopping. As I’m sure you’ve picked up, I like shoes {Real Girls Need Real Closets & Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition} so today I want to share a new website that I recently discovered called FootCandy Shoes – An independent, high-end retailer that has put together a great website that carries a pretty spectacular selection of shoes.

Pros:

  • Free shipping on orders over $100
  • Great sale section & “Bargain Basement” tabs with shoes under $50, $100, $150…
  • Carries designer shoes as well as the more common, less expensive brands
  • They also carry handbags and other small accessories

Cons:

  • There are some PRICEY pieces on this site so be prepared

And the most fun part of reviewing a shoe site, here are my loves, must haves, and recommendations for Fall!

{Left to Right: Kate Spade Bison Booties – $120, Moschino White & Black Pumps – $150, Pollini Striped Oxfords – $190 & Tory Burch Buckled Ankle Boots – $215}

And as an added bonus FootCandy Shoes would like to share a couple great shoe-related articles with us – Since they know how much we all love our shoes!

{The following was written by Foot Candy Shoes for MCLV}

Top 4 Ways to spot a fake Christian Louboutin Shoe

Today, it seems as though there are many individuals that are trying to mimic the iconic designer shoes of Christian Louboutin. With his eye for incredible design, texture, fabric, and of course his infamous red sole, who wouldn’t want to be the next Christian Louboutin? Well… there is a difference between inspiration and plagiarism. He is a mogul that he himself created. Since day one he has put everything he had into his shoes. From dreams to scribbles, Louboutin is a trendsetter that no other person other than the glorious man himself can replicate. He truly is a one of a kind designer and this is clearly why every fashionista across the globe is obsessed with his label. Unfortunately, there are many people out there that want a piece of his opulence and they themselves have started to counterfeit his designs.

Here are four tips that will help every fashionista out there distinguish between Authentic Christian Louboutin’s and Imitations:

1. The Box: Some may find this tip silly but its close attention to detail that will differentiate genuine Louboutin’s from the fake ones. When looking closely at the box it is important to note the word “Paris.” It should be located near the edge of right side of the box. It should not be underneath the Christian Louboutin logo. In addition, the item description sticker should be on the box. It should clearly state the European size, name of the shoe, and have a sku bar and number all located on this one sticker. Lastly, the Christian Louboutin logo should be written in white lettering.

2. The Dust Bags: An authentic dust bag should be a bright red color made of a cotton fabric with the Christian Louboutin logo noticeably written straight across the bag. Fake dust bags tend to look almost sun faded or pink in tone. In addition, the fake dust bags have the Christian Louboutin logo that is written diagonally. Lastly, the fake dust bags usually are made of a fake silky material.

3. The Red Sole: A genuine Christian Louboutin red sole is always a bright red hue with a high gloss finish. Fake red soles are a deeper red hue and tend to have a matte looking finish rather than glossy one. Pay close attention to the lettering inscribed on the red sole. An authentic Christian Louboutin will clearly have “Christian Louboutin,” “Made in Italy,” and the European size located on it. Many times the fake shoes will have the word “MadeInItaly” as one word with no spaces. Lastly, the loop on the “L” located on an authentic Christian Louboutin shoe will appear almost touching the rest of the “L.” In the replica the “L” will not touch and there is a notable space in-between.

 4. The Authenticity Card: An enormous clue that will distinguish if the shoe you are purchasing is genuine or not has to do with the authenticity card. Fake shoes will come with a red PLASTIC authenticity card. However, genuine Christian Louboutin shoes do not send out any booklets or authenticity cards!

We hope these tips help! Happy Christian Louboutin Hunting!!

This article was written by Foot Candy Shoes, online retailers for Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Manolo Blahnik and more.


Looks of the Week – Workwear Edition

I thought that I’d take our usual Monday Looks of the Week post and specialize it just a bit this week. Rather than including just the street style looks that catch my fancy, this week is going to be all about fashionable looks that you can try out at the office. They’ll run the gamut from power suits for you corporate ladies out there to great separates, and inspiration for working pants and pencil skirts into your work wardrobe.

Frequently my sartorial excitement is focused on my weekend and evening looks – those are the ones that I plan in advance and day-dream about. Unfortunately that can mean that on workday mornings I just throw on a black dress and pumps without giving my choice much thought, even though I’ll be wearing them for 12+ hours.

Sound familiar?

My goal with this post is to inject a little enthusiasm and inspiration into our how we dress for work. Why not add some spice to the pieces and outfits that you end up spending most of your day in?

The Pencil Skirt:

This is SUCH a versatile piece, a building block for an unlimited number of outfits and styles. You can try a retro silhouette, put together a traditional suit look, or spice things up with a printed or brightly colored version for a more fun spin.

Whatever you’re in the mood for!

Think stripes or prints wont work for the office? Think again. A subtle pattern can go a long way.

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Don’t be afraid of color! This is a great example of a stylish look that’s fashionable and fun, but still office-appropriate.

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The Wrap Dress:

A basic wrap dress is one of my favorites for the office. You can go with basic black, a fun color, or even a print like the one I donned below from Banana Republic during the Mission: Put Together 2012 challenge.

Printed Wrap Dress: Banana Republic, Shoes: Zara & Jewelry: JewelMint, Banana Republic, Forever 21 & Juicy Couture

The Slacks:

When you’re mixing separates like slacks, a button down, and a blazer, you have more freedom to be creative than with a suit or a dress. So take some chances and make the most of it by includes bold hues, mixing colors, or even adding prints & patterns.

Tired of basic slacks? Why not roll the cuffs? Or add a contrasting blazer? Or both? 🙂

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This is a gorgeous, colorful look. No need to stick to boring black this Summer, why not draw inspiration from this look and try out some fun colors?

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Wide leg trousers can be chic chic chic – Just see how The Glamourai spices hers up!

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The Suit:

Luckily the suit has come a long way from its initial inception, we’re no longer constrained to a boring, basic black pants and jacket blazer combination like we were in the past. These days there are an endless number of choices out there and all sorts of different colors, cuts, patterns, fabrics, and silhouettes to choose from.

Head-to-toe color is a great way to stand out. This chic emerald-green suit is phenomenal and I love that she accessorized with white rather than black.

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You don’t have to match your suit jacket to your pants, so why not wear slacks with a shell and pair the look with a contrasting coat?

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If you need some more workwear ideas check out The Everygirl’s Transcend The Office Dress Code With IFB, Harper’s Bazaar’s Fabulous at Every Age: Workwear Refresh, or my Workin’ That Tee or What NOT To Wear To Work.

Does this inspire you to try something that’s new for you, or add some color, prints, and fresh silhouettes to your everyday work outfits? Did this post give you some fun ideas for how to update your wardrobe?


Links You’ll Love

Happy Earth Day!

I had a long, relaxing, amazing weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city and I hope that you all enjoyed your weekends just as much.

Health/Fitness:

Trying to clean up your act this Spring? Check out FitSugar’s Easy Ways to Green Your Fitness and Daily Routineand Fit Bottomed Girls’ Behold the Power of Bamboo: 3 Eco-Friendly Fitness Goodies.

If you’re aiming for a healthier diet this Spring, it’s all about fresh fruits and vegetables! One Green Planet has you covered with one of the healthiest greens out there – Kale: Health Benefits, Tips and Recipes. They’ve got all the goods, from the rockstar health benefits to awesome recipes like Lentil-Kale Risotto and Roasted Sweet Potatoes w/ Shallots & Kale Ribbons. Or you can check out Holly Would If She Could’s No Fail Kale: 25 Delicious Recipes To Make Your Friends Green With Envy.

If you have a lemon tree in your yard this is the article for you – Glowing Lemon Hand Scrub & 11 Other Ways To Use Lemons from OhSheGlows.

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the weather warms up its all I can do to stay inside. That’s the only reason I ever took up running, to get out of the gym and enjoy my favorite city bathed in sunshine. Hiking, running, long walks – Any excuse to suck up some Vitamin D. Fit Bottomed Girls & FitSugar both agree – Getting Out in Nature Makes Me a Better Person & Outdoor Cardio Workout.

gluten free chocolate chip cookie recipe

Try a new type of cookie next time you’re baking – one make with almond meal. Pure 2 Raw has a great gluten-free recipe for Almond Meal Chip Cookies that’s quick and easy – only 5 minutes of prep time! Or you can even try FitSugar’s surprisingly healthy Peanut Butter Oatmeal Raisin (and Bean!) Cookies.

Fashion:

 

Time to work some patterns into your wardrobe for Spring! Check out Beauty & the Budget’s Pattern of the Month, PLUS 6 Ways to Wear It.

There’s so much negativity in the world and it’s easy to slip into patterns of negativity and doubt. One of my major goals for 2012 is to really put an effort into Being Positive and approaching my life with joy and enthusiasm. Do you want to start your radical self-love journey? Gala Darling is here to help you get started on your journey to self-love. Not only does she have a Radical Self Love Bootcamp, she’s also helpfully provided us with a list of articles on the subject of self-love that you can read through on your own. Including 100 Ways You Can Start Loving Yourself Right Now, I Am Not Sorry, How To Be Confident, and How To Get Calm In A World Full Of Crazy!

Still wishing you were part of Coachella? Why not make yourself an Embellished Friendship Bracelet as a consolation prize? Trust me, they’re pretty perfect!

Need some inspiration for collecting and storing jewelry? Take a cue from Kayture‘s gorgeous collection! I love jewelry and I think it’s a vital part of any outfit that you’re putting together – I talked about some of the basics a girl should keep in her jewelry box in my Real Girls Need Real Closets & Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition. I’ll also be doing an entire post dedicated to my collection soon, in the meantime the photo below is a sneak peek of what I have in store for you! 🙂

Interested in rompers and jumpsuits but not sure if you can pull them off, or even – gasp – whether you should even try? Check out FabSugar’s Yes, You Can Pull Off Jumpsuits and Rompers — 15 Real-Life Street Snaps to Show You How. These shots of real girls on the streets looking fabulous will definitely get you in the mood.


The Little Black Dress

“You can never be over – or underdressed in a Little Black Dress.” – Karl Lagerfeld

As far as I’m concerned, truer words have never been spoken. When Coco Chanel invented the Little Black Dress (aka LBD) in the 1920’s she had no idea what she was opening the fashion world up to. And with that brilliant idea the color of mourning was transformed into the chicest color of them all and the cocktail dress became the epitome of style and elegance.

In the years since its origination the LBD has come in many guises – formal, informal, short, midi, strapless, long sleeves, cotton, velvet, silk, lace, satin…

Evening-Appropriate:

The original LBD was intended for an evening out on the town and that tradition definitely lives on in this day in age.

Short, sassy, chic.

Perfection! It's fun and sexy and one-of-a-kind. What more could you ask for in a cocktail dress?

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Kristin's look is everything you want from a LBD - Fun and eye-catching. The fabric makes it unusual and catches your attention when she walks by and her accessories perfectly add that needed zing to the look. Also, the tights make it warm enough to wear year-around.

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This is the perfect example of showing some skin in a LBD but keeping the look chic rather than tacky. She looks sexy as hell, but classy and tasteful.

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And of course, we’ve got to discuss the 2012 red carpet It Girl who wore LBDs almost exclusively for her Girl With The Dragon Tattoo appearances and premieres…

If you want to up the drama for evening try cut outs, lace, or panels of sheer fabric. They give the illusion of showing more skin than you really are and give a dress a unique and one-of-a-kind feel. I love that despite the modernity of this Prabal Gurung dress, she still looks like Audrey Hepburn!

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The quickest & easiest way to make a dress evening-ready is to add jewelry and killer heels! Just keep them in your day bag and pull then out when cocktail hour arrives.

Work-Appropriate:

Wearing a LBD for work is all about length and appropriateness. You’ll want to stick with a drama-free dress, something sleek and approaching knee-length would be ideal.

A slinky sheath dress is the ultimate LBD for the office. The clean lines and chic silhouette are perfect for work and depending on the neckline and sleeves all you may need is a blazer to be meeting-ready.

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Obviously Cara's boots aren't the perfect office shoes, but this is a really cute dress that could easily fit into a business-casual office with the addition of tights and a pair of basic pumps in either black or a fun color.

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A wrap or criss-cross front dress is a great option for the office. Depending on the formality of your dress code you may need to add a blazer, cardigan, or closed-toe shoes to this beautiful Bottega Veneta dress.

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A LBD with sleeves is an easy choice if you're heading into work, virtually any hemline below mini skirt level will balance out with sleeves. And a dramatic shoulder like this gorgeous velvet Nina Ricci dress will make it stand out all the more!

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And the best part of wearing a LBD to work? Take off your blazer or tights and switch up your shoes and you’re ready for a night out on the town!

Day-Appropriate:

Wearing a LBD during the day is a breeze, it’s all about picking one that suits your plans since they come in all shapes, sizes, and styles these days. Brunch, sight-seeing in a new city, traveling – You can easily add a little class to these activities with the perfect frock, dressed up or down.

You'll stand out in a crowd in a dress like this one! This type of dress could easily go from day to-night and she did a great job of keeping things casual by adding low-key accessories. Great platform t-straps and I like her decision to add the faux fur and leather jacket to stay warm. And that purse! 🙂

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You can easily add a boho feel to your LBD with a cardigan or duster and layers and layers of funky jewelry. These boots are a great, unexpected way to finish this look off.

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Adding brightly colored or patterned tights to a LBD is a great way to spice it up and make your look wholly original. I love love love the little white Peter Pan Collar on this Asos dress, it's definitely something I would wear with ballet flats!

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Such a cute dress! The oversized pockets show you how little details can set a LBD apart from other dresses. And those shoes! Too cute - A fun, interesting alternative to ballet flats.

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In my Real Girls Need Real Closets post I discussed the basics that a well-rounded wardrobe should contain – including the LBD. Similarly you can check out My Ten Essential Closet Pieces from Wendy’s Lookbook.

So what do you think? Are you ready to try adding a Little Black Dress to another part of your life?

Have a great weekend, I’ll be back from sunny Sea Ranch on Sunday with some great vacation clothes shots! If you’re interested in real-time updates, photos, and reading links that I’m loving, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.


Trendy vs. Chic: How to be Stylish

Anyone can be a slave to new trends, it doesn’t take creativity or style to dress in a runway look head to toe. So what is style? What does it mean to be chic and stylish rather than a fashion victim?

Style is a very personal concept, it can be different for everyone. It’s about knowing you body type, knowing what looks good on you and knowing what you’ll be comfortable wearing. You can ignore every trend that ever graces a magazine cover and still be a fashion icon.

Good style is eternal.

Whether you consider Jane Birkin, Audrey Hepburn, Diana Vreeland or Lauren Hutton to be your ultimate style icon, there is something  that each of these women possess. She is true to herself and has created a style that is inherently “her.”

What are the basic guidelines that every lady must follow in order to be stylish?

[1.] Know thy self – Take a good, hard look in the mirror and understand your assets & limitations. What are your best characteristics – Great shoulders? Long, lean legs? Christina Hendricks curves? Find a style that plays up your assets. Yes, you can mix up your style each season and incorporate great new looks to keep things fresh, but you need to first have a good understanding of what you can, can’t and shouldn’t bother trying to pull off. Do you have short legs? Stay away from skinny jeans and don’t even think about wearing mid-calf boots, both will make your legs look truncated. On the curvier side? Stay away from ruffles and busy tops, they will make you look top-heavy. You don’t need to look like Gisele to look polished and put together, you just need to know how to work with what you have!

[2.] Find your sweet spot – Once you know what works best for you, the next step is to create a style that is totally your own, a home base of sorts that you can always start with or go back to. Whether you love Twiggy-style shift dresses, sexy menswear, a darker pallet, retro ladylike silhouettes or Alexa Chung-inspired hipster looks, make the look yours by adding personal flares. If you’re comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll have every eye on you as soon as you step into a room. Wear your clothes, don’t let them wear you! My personal look is very classic and a little formal, I love dresses and skirts, but with a bit of an edge. My favorite looks are traditional with a modern twist, like a chic LBD with funky pearls and patent leather booties.

[3.] Invest! It’s always fun to try new trends – if you’re careful with them – but a large portion of your clothing/accessories budget should be devoted to classic, long-term pieces. High quality basics that you will be able to use season after season, which can easily be spiced up with the newest handbag or sunglasses. A trench coat, great jeans, a button down shirt, a Little Black Dress, (see Real Girls Need Real Closets & Real Girls Need Real Closets – Accessories Edition) these are the building blocks to a great wardrobe, regardless of your style. When you see pictures of Jane Birkin’s bangs and little tunic dresses, Audrey’s trenches, Coco’s pearls or Bianca Jagger’s suits they still all look chic and modern. Why? Because they were stylish women, not slaves to trends.

Some words of wisdom to think about when you’re considering you personal look:

  • “Style isn’t about change; that’s fashion’s job. Style is about knowing yourself, knowing the image you want to project, and finding the look that suits you the best for your goals.” TLo from Tom & Lorenzo: Fabulous & Opinionated
  • “Fashion fades, only style remains the same.” Coco Chanel
  • “Over the years I have learned that what is important in a dress is the woman who is wearing it.” Yves Saint Laurent
  • “Attitude is everything.” Diane von Furstenberg

Have you seen the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face?

There’s this phenomenal dance number with Kay Thompson, who is one of the highlights of the film, called How To Be Lovely. Whenever I think of being stylish and chic, I think of this scene and it makes me laugh. This is a great reminder that fashion is supposed to be fun!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2pKD8TY0rY

Enjoy!


Real Girls Need Real Closets

I don’t know about you, but I adore closets. Adore. I’ve been keeping scrapbooks filled with magazine clippings for years {Fashion Inspiration} – Clothing, home decor, art, handbags, accessories & jewelry, hairstyles, fabulous photography, hotels & vacation destinations… And closets. So many beautiful closets. I may be alone in this, but I genuinely get the chills when I look at a well-organized closet.

And on that note, today I want to discuss closet basics with you. The building blocks – if you will – to a creating your very own, chill-inducing closet.

I’ve read countless books, blog posts, newspaper pieces, and magazine articles on what the essentials of a woman’s wardrobe should be. And while I adore Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Rachel Zoe’s Style A to Zoe and the like, their recommendations can seem like they’re geared towards a fantasy jet-setting lifestyle or an heiresses’ allowance.

Neither of which I have.

Below is the real girl’s guide to picking out the key elements to incorporate into your wardrobe, including suggestions for where to look for these items, hopefully everyone can find something that appeals to both their personal style and their pocketbook!

Button-down:

A white button down is quite versatile and a great piece to have in your closet. It can be worn tucked into slacks or a pencil skirt for work, or you can wear it with a pair of shorts or slim pants on weekends. This is an especially key piece given all of the menswear inspired collections the last few seasons.

{I love the pristine formality of this tuxedo-style button down, it makes me feel like Fred Astaire when I wear it!}

The key to the right button down is a combination of fabric and cut. You want to make sure that the fabric isn’t too thin or overly see-through – unless that’s your goal, you little minx – and that the buttons don’t gap when it’s done up. I would suggest trying a few on in stores to ensure the fit. Great places to find a good, basic button down? In the past I’ve had success finding good versions at Gap, Banana Republic, and Zara {the version above is Zara}.

Trench Coat:

No matter how frumpy I’m feeling all I need to do is throw on a trench and I feel like Audrey Hepburn.  Tan, black and navy are all good choices for your closet, or red if you’re feeling daring.

The trench above is one of my favorites, I especially adore the polka-dotted lining. I got it at H&M in London YEARS ago and am still wearing it to death. Trench coats can really run the gamut price wise. You can find a decent one for under $150 at Nordstrom or online at bluefly.com, while the Ferrari of trench coats, Burberry, will cost you closer to $1,500. I recommend keeping an eye out for sales at department stores like Bloomingdale, Neiman Marcus, Saks, and even Macys, since they’ll have a larger selection and you can find exactly what you’re looking for (double-breasted, wool, knit, flared, cropped, ankle-length etc).

Jeans:

If you’ve been following MCLV for a while you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’m not much of a jeans girl by now. That being said, I do believe that everyone should have, at the very least, a pair or two of nice jeans in their repertoire.

Just in case.

My current favorites are these cropped black Juicy denim pants – They’re cute with pumps or flats, can be dressed up or down with ease, and fit like a dream. Jeans are another article of clothing that I believe must be tried on rather than ordered online. Fit, length, snugness… All these aspects are crucial to finding the right pair. Stores like Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom are great because they have large denim departments so you can try on various pairs and have your very own Goldilocks moment. Too big. Too tight. Juuust right!

Pearls:

A pearl necklace is a must and instantly adds a touch of Breakfast At Tiffany’s to any ensemble. Don’t panic though, there’s plenty of costume jewelry on the market that will perfectly suit your needs and wont break the bank. Macy’s, Ann Taylor and J.Crew have great classic versions and Lord & Taylor, Kenneth Jay Lane and Max & Cleo have some funkier versions if you’re looking for something with a modern edge. And don’t worry if a single strand, a la grandma, isn’t your style. Try multiple twisted strands, versions with metal and stones intertwined with the pearls or even a drop pendant.

{Kenneth Jay Lane for Bergdorf Goodman}

LBD:

Originated by Coco Chanel in the 1920’s, the Little Black Dress became an overnight sensation and an instant classic. Whatever your personal style, there’s a LBD with your name on it out there. Strapless, long-sleeved, knee-length, mid-thigh, lace insets, sheer panels, cutouts, interesting fabrics and textures… So many choices, only 7 nights in a week! I love a little lace for nighttime, so I was thrilled when I found the Jill Stuart dress above, which fulfilled all of my current loves: flattering cut, eye-catching details and a design that is just a little bit naughty. The nude panels and lace make a relatively conservative cut younger and more fun. Paired with booties and a fitted blazer, parfait for a night out on the town! You can find a LBD at most stores, but my recommendation would be to keep an eye on websites like shopbop.com, theoutnet.com, bluefly.com and Zappos Couture for steals on designer frocks.

Blazer:

A well-made, fitted blazer in black or navy is crucial to a girl’s wardrobe. Paired with slacks or a skirt, or worn over a dress for work, over jeans or a cocktail dress during your off-hours. I love the juxtaposition of silhouettes when a cropped blazer tops off a short, flirty frock. As with trenches, a blazer come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Boyfriend length, shrunken, ruffled, embellished, linen, knit, tuxedo-inspired. The options are unlimited.

If you get a quality piece and stick with a more classic cut, a blazer can truly last. The one above was purchased during my first mom-sponsored work shopping trip before I started the interview circuit my senior year of college and in the last six weeks I’ve worn it with black slacks and a sweater to work, and over cropped, slim black pants and a tunic on a weekend. This one is from Banana Republic, I would also check out Zara, Anne Taylor and J.Crew for other classic versions.

Handbag:

I should probably preface this section by confessing that I have a slight purse problem. Don’t worry though. I’m looking for a 12 step program.

Every girl needs a good, basic handbag. Something that will go with virtually any outfit, during any season. It’s fun to switch up your bag as seasons and trends come and go, but having a well-made bag that you can always count on is a must.

The first picture is the love of my life, found on super-sale at Barney’s New York. There are many shapes and sizes out there, so heading into a store to see how a new design looks on your arm is a good idea (you wouldn’t take your arm candy out for a night on the town without seeing how he looks in the mirror, would you?) I recommend keeping an eye on the handbag sales at Bloomingdale, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue for great deals.

Clutch:

The perfect way to accessorize your LBD is a clutch. There are many choices out there, crystal and stone embellished satin, jeweled, envelope, metal box clutches, classic black snake-skin… There’s something for everyone! The black beaded clutch above was handed down to me from my grandmother and I love the old-fashioned glamour it evokes.

And luckily for all the purse-lovers out there, clutches aren’t just for nighttime anymore. Day clutches have been making appearances over the last few seasons, especially in lighter colors and fun patterns. And as much as I love my giant carryalls, it’ll probably be good for my posture, shoulders and neck if I stop carrying around half of my apartment with me each day. The Asos Portfolio Clutch pictured above is currently en route to my apartment and I plan to love the lining out of it all Spring!

Black pumps:

The right shoe can change your life! {At this point my mother is reading this and shaking her head sadly, wondering where she went wrong with me}

But really. It can.

There was a time when I did not believe this and *gasp* wore cheap shoes. But I have seen the light! It is worth the time, effort and money to find shoes that genuinely fit your feet and are well made. Always try on shoes before buying them to make sure. My favorite brands for work heels are Franco Sarto, Cole Haan, BCBG, BCBGirl, Max Studio, Fendi and Calvin Klein.

My number one tip for picking the right shoe? Know your limits! Have you ever seen a woman shuffle-strutting down the street with tiny, delicate steps? Her heels are too high. Don’t be that woman! Stay in your comfort zone so that you can walk easily and naturally.

Boots:

I think that a woman should have a few different types of boots in her closet. Booties to wear with pants or a cocktail dress, knee-high black boots for dresses and skirts, a neutral colored boot that can be worn during non-boot seasons and, if necessary for your region, rainboots.

{As a semi-aquatic resident of the lake formerly known as San Francisco, rain boots are a must. I tested my new Hunters out a few weekends ago in Sonoma, splashing and wading through puddles and generally making a nuisance of myself. And I’m happy to report that they are, in fact, waterproof.}

{The booties below are my current favorites, I always feel a little rock n’ roll when I throw them on}

{This is a Spring look that I put together with the help of Shopstyle to show lighter colored boots worn in a non-Wintery way}

Flats

From Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe to Michelle Obama and Carla Buni-Sarkozy, everyone loves a good pair of flats. My personal favorites are Ruby & Bloom, J.Crew, H&M, and, yes, Jessica Simpson. For me, breaking in flats results in drastically more blisters and uncomfortable moments than heels, so the key for me is to find flats that are soft. Below are my not initially soft, but finally broken in sparkly Dorothy flats from the Vera Wang for Kohl’s collection.

And with these tips, I leave you. Go forth and conquer your closets!

Veni, vidi, vici!

{Photographs are mine unless otherwise cited – Click on the images from other sites and you will be taken to the original source}