It has been raining a lot…as in LOT around here lately and, as much as I love my stilettos, perpetual puddle jumping does eventually make me begin to question the wisdom of them. Ditto sneakers…nothing worse than running around with squelchy, wet feet all day. What I usually do is wear something practical (slightly hideous? :)), but waterproof and then carry my heels in a tote so I can change at my destination. Still, some days are crazy enough where ya just don’t feel like doing the big shoe reveal. That is when you need a pair of cute rain boots that you can just be warm and fairly stylish in all day.
Enter, the classic: Hunters. They are a staple in the closet of every fashionista and fashion blogger and for good reason. They’re durable, do their job and come a range of fun colors. The higher shaft on the tall boot (16”, compared to most other brands’ 14-15”) gives them a more stylish vibe than most. A couple notes: if you’re in between sizes, size down, as they run a tad large. Also, over time, the boots can develop a powdery finish, which is characteristic of quality, natural rubber. Hunter makes a buffer and a shine that can restore the original finish. Hunter makes a shorter version as well if tall shafts aren’t your thing or boot-weight is crucial for you. Equally awesome brand UGG makes a short boot as well in an array of fabulous colors (coral, lilac, aqua, oh my!). In the ankle boot category comes in the most fab rain boot I’ve ever seen: the Hurricane from Jeffrey Campbell with a slightly squared toe and block heel. Like omg..an actual, fashion boot done in rain material! #Bliss If the multi-silver glitter doesn’t have you drooling, there is also cobalt blue, apple red, orange, lemon yellow (yum!) and clear. Are you running for your credit card yet? :). Note: the edge of the ankle on this pair has a tendency to rub if you go bare in these; plan to add socks below. On a more classic front is the Tally from Ralph Lauren. I love the red gusset though –what a super-fun bit of spice that is! Last up is the Tinsley from Sam Edelman, which bridges fun and practical with a low heel, pull-on style and dark but cute colors: this sangria shade as well as navy and olive. There’s also one light shade: a pretty dove gray.
1. Hunter Tall, Hunter Tall Floral (cuz who doesn't need flowers on a rainy day?!),Hunter Tall in Starcloud (multi-glitter on black. Glitter = heart eyes ) via Zappos
2. Hunter Tall, Refined: a slimmer silhouette which I love! There are fewer colors, but they include this pretty pink and a gorge pastel powder blue
3. UGG Sienna via Zappos
4. Hurricane by Jeffrey Campbell (is it raining again or am I salivating that much? :))
5. Tally by Ralph Lauren via Zappos
6. Tinsley by Sam Edelman via 6pm
With spring comes new trends, new looks, new fashion! It’s super exciting and if you love fashion, it’s hard to step out of the cycle. Sometimes, though, circumstances are such that investments in new clothing just can’t be a priority. I was in that situation several years ago when I was very sick for a long period of time and unable to work a steady job. I just didn’t have the money to spend on fashion. One of the hardest things for me was the negativity that came from seeing things I loved and but couldn’t afford. If you’re in one of those economic periods, don’t succumb to the negativity – it’s the path to the dark side! ;) I found that instead, I needed to focus on what I did have and the things I could do. For example…
-Work with the classic pieces that are in your wardrobe. Separate out the iconic items you already own and think of it as creating a capsule collection. Pieces that never go out of style give you a solid base to work from when building looks.
-Use accessories to change up your look and keep an eye out for them in unexpected places (I ransacked my childhood dress-up jewelry box and found some surprisingly awesome pieces that worked really well). Excavate pieces you haven’t worn in awhile; an old item rediscovered can feel like something new and helps to keep you feeling creative.
-DIY where you can. I made a fun (and super simple!) pendant necklace from an old belt buckle and black cording by adding a couple of knots in appropriate places. It’s not fancy, but it’s unique and very personal. I get compliments on it every time I wear it.
-Keep your footwear clean and polished. Polish can cover scuffs and reinvigorate well-worn pairs. I found I always felt better wearing shoes that looked fresh and presentable – a lesson I’ve made use of even now that I’ve been back working for a few years.
-Treat yourself to some inexpensive new item now and again. Stick with pieces that are likely to have lower price points: tops, jewelry, scarves, shoes as opposed to investment items like overcoats or suits . Make it an “unbirthday” gift to yourself, or a treat for accomplishing something worthwhile (finishing a project, getting to the gym every day for a week, sending out ten resumes). It doesn’t have to cost a lot to have something new to enjoy that satisfies the desire for freshness and helps release that feeling of being trapped by not having a lot of money. Think of it as buying really well instead of being on a limited budget. Having a positive concept associated with what you’re doing makes it feel completely different than looking at it negatively.
-When you do that, have a spend-limit in mind and shop for new additions only in particular places, curated to help you stay within budget. I would only let myself look at sale items, nothing new. I would sort items by price and stop looking at anything over my spend-limit.
-Don’t give up on style – keep challenging yourself. If you have pieces you find difficult or rarely wear, try to find ways to make them work. I figured out so much about layering during this time in my life because I was so desperate for something different that I kept playing with pieces I never had time to figure out how to use before. Also, stop saving pieces for special occasions and work them into your wardrobe; it can feel like a massive option-expansion when they’re suddenly on the table. Toss a jacket over a formal dress and add boots to dress it down. Grab those gorgeous satin evening sandals and pair them with jeans. Also, be aware of your go-tos and consciously try something different. If you wear a lot of jewelry habitually, try going bauble-free. If you rarely wear it, try layering it up. Try color combinations you ordinarily wouldn’t – if you live in neutrals, create a look entirely without them. If you’re always all about color, try wearing monochromatic black. Also, try layering in unexpected ways: a sweater under a sleeveless dress, a cropped piece over something longer. Or, give your accessories new jobs: wear a scarf around your wrist or waist instead of at your neck, use a brooch as the closure for a cardigan or jacket.
-To help with all of that, keep yourself inspired. Don’t tune fashion out, but look for places that offer inspiration for using what you already have. Instead of retailer blogs or magazines that tend to be about the latest everything, look to fashion bloggers (insert shameless plug for Diva-Fierce here, if you choose :)…Sea of Shoes would be one of my top choices as well) and style icons. The right bloggers connect you to wearable, functional street fashion and the icons connect you to classic style.
Please don’t let a lack of funds make you feel like you can’t be stylish. Creativity, experimentation and a real love for and appreciation of fashion are all free! Keep trying things and having fun. Style isn’t about expenditure; it’s about what you put together and how you wear it; you can do that at any budget.
One of Givenchy’s trademark looks was tailored skirt suits. Audrey Hepburn wore a slew of them in How To Steal A Million; her sophisticated character, Nicole Bonnet, seems to have closet full, ranging from a gorgeous citron set to a lemon yellow ensemble to a patterned tan wool pairing to a chic navy number. It’s that fabulous navy that caught me this time around, especially styled as it is with bright white accessories – so perfect for right now! Givenchy’s suits generally incorporated pencil skirts, so definitely feel free to go that refined, sophisticated route with this look. I can totally see Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle doing exactly that! I chose to re-imagine the styling with a bit of a twist – the idea of a skirt suit rather than precisely a skirt suit. I love the concept of adding a contrast to the pulled-together polish of a blazer: a dash of femininity via a tulle skirt, a touch of laidback Americana with denim midi or some extra movement with a pleated piece. All three stay chic, while bringing an unexpected element to the classic blazer that makes it feel softer and freer. This double breasted version has a powerful and somewhat masculine vibe due to its nautical beginnings. It’s major on-trend at the moment and definitely worth giving some air time to. On the other hand, all of these variants work wonderfully with a single-breasted blazer as well. Echo Audrey’s white collar by layering a button-down below it. Add simple earrings in the metal tone that matches your blazer’s buttons – think round studs, minimalist geometric pieces or rope knots that enhance the nautical vibe . (If your blazer has non-metallic buttons, just pick your favorite metal, or go with pearls). Finish the look with white pointy-toe flats or kitten-heeled pumps. (Chic white hat optional :)) If you haven’t yet added white shoes to your wardrobe, nbd – consider navy, metallic, nude or never-fail-you black as alternatives. Also, if you're navy-blazer-free or navy-skirt-free, try this with any closely-matched neutrals. I hope this inspires you to give a skirt-suit(ish) look a try sometime soon! I can’t promise you’ll meet an attractive, art-fraud investigator when you do…but looking insanely sophisticated definitely can’t hurt your chances ;). Happy styling!
One of the colors making waves in fashion atm is lilac, a gorgeous shade of pastel blue-purple! I’ve actually been waiting for it to have its fashion moment ever since 2011 when Mila Kunis stunned at the Oscars wearing an ethereal gown in the color. It’s taken all this time, but with the incoming pastel trend, it appears that lilac is finally about to have the spotlight :). That’s a fantastic happening in my book because I adore the color and lament that it’s so hard to find – I collect bits of it whenever I can! Lilac is dreamy and sweet, but the blue tones keep it cooler in feel than blush. It works fabulously with other pastels (ice pink, powder blue, soft banana, lime), as well as most neutrals. While it plays wonderfully against black, one of my favorite dark tones to mix with it is navy because the blue tones complement each other and create a very chic vibe. Its femininity makes it work as a playful counterpoint to polka dots and stripes. I also love lilac as an accessory shade – it lightens and uplifts charcoals and other deep tones, adds a cool sweetness to pale beige, brightens taupe hues and complements cerulean, aqua, peach, coral and daffodil. Touches of it also bring a spring vibe to transitional looks that incorporate deep violet, grape and plum hues. All of these wonderful attributes led me to go searching for a pair of lilac shoes to add to my current collection. If you too are craving a pair of lilac lovelies for your feet, behold the results of my search ;):
1. Frostbite Sandal by Nine West ( I love that these are lilac leather, instead of suede!)
2. Downstage Ruffled Flat x Seychelles via Zappos (whew.. is it tough to find pretty flats in this color rn!)
3. Harlow Pump x Sam Edelman via DSW
4. Camylla Sandal x Vince Camuto via DSW
5. Kaos 2.0 x Wilson via Zappos
6. Dizzy Slingback x Steve Madden via Dillards
7. Stephanie Sneakers x Aldo via Dillards (I'm not a huuuge sneaker gal, but omg how cute are these?!)
8. Stecy x Steve Madden via Dillards (the wider-strapped Carrson also comes in lilac, if you prefer a chunky heel)
9. Hazel Pump x Sam Edelman via Dillards (I can’t recommend these pumps highly enough! They’re well-made and super-comfortable and I’ve been in a pitched battle with my wallet over whether or not to buy one in every color ever since I got my first pair. See my full review here). If you want a slightly lower priced alternate, check out the Tatiana by Nine West.
Happy hunting! XO
Brie (Hi!) More re: me under About. I'm the moving spirit behind this little life-meets-fashion fairy tale world, the home of my non-wrestling-related style musings and loves.