I’m not sure how the weather is where you live, but here in California, the weather can’t seem to make up their mind.  Last week were were in the 50s and this week we are in the 80s.  However, most mornings begin in the 30s.  That being said, with these constant shifts in temperature, dressing can be slightly difficult!  There are two keys for dressing during this change in the seasons:  checking the weather and layering.

  1. Trade your boots for flats/heels.

With the changes in temperature, boots can be too warm for this season.  It’s time to return to flats/heels.  Your feet won’t freeze in the morning and your feet will thank you during the warmer afternoon weather.

2.  Trade your heavy coat for a light trench.

Gone are the wintery days of heavy coats.   In an effort to deal with the temperature changes, a light trench will be your best friend.  It easy packs with you and is the perfect weight for those chilly mornings or evening breezes after the sun sets.  It’s something that I consistently have with me during the Spring months.

3.  Accessories are key.

Add a scarf for the morning/evening hours to help keep you warm.  It’s an easy layer that can easily be removed as the day goes on.  In the afternoon, you can change it for a statement necklace to add a little personality to your look instead.

4.  Add a pop of color.

Spring means  adding color back into your wardrobe.  I adore adding color with my accessories.  A bright bag or fun shoe is always a win in my book for Spring.

5.  Layer in Thin Layers.

Thin, light layers will be your friend during this month.  Instead of wearing a heavy sweater, opt for one that is featherweight.  Opt for a light jacket over a thick wool one.  Layering in multiple thin pieces will allow you to transition as the weather changes without the day with greater ease.  Here, I’ve opted for a thin sweater, thin trench coat, and scarf.  While this is something that I would wear in the morning/evening, throughout the day, this look lends itself easily to removing layers and still looking stylish.

|  Handbag:  Vintage Chanel  |  Stole:  Banana Republic  (old; similar here)  |  Denim:  Joes  |  Top:  Equipment  |  Trench:  Burberry(nearly identical for much less here)  |  Flats:  Christian Louboutin  (look for less here)  |

What are some of your favorite tips for dressing for the transition from Winter to Spring?

xoxo,

Abbie

While at first glance, those leather leggings in your closet might look only appropriate for a night out on the town.  Not so!  In fact, they are an amazing choice for daytime!  However, in order to make them daytime appropriate, a few simple styling tips should be followed.  

1.  Pay Attention to Proportions.

Leggings are tight.  This means that no other component of your outfit should be skin tight.  In fact, pairing leggings with looser silhouettes is ideal.

2.  Pair with Feminine Colors and Textures.

Leather is a “tough” fabric.  It looks best, in my opinion, when paired with more feminine pieces.  For example, pair yours with a blush pink sweater, a lacy top, a cozy light colored sweater, or heels.  However, I wouldn’t advise pairing them with a leather jacket as that also adds toughness to your look…and too much of something is rarely a good thing.

3.  Pair with a Long Button Down or Tunic Style Top.

Remember, these are leggings.  Now, leather pants are different and can be treated as pants.  However, if they have a stretchy waistband or no zipper, they are leggings and should be treated as such.  Always pair leggings with top that covers your bum.  

4.  Grab a Blazer.

Pairing a blazer on top of leather leggings is an excellent way to add some personality and dressiness to them.  Still, ensure you’ve got a longline blazer on or a top that is on the longer side.  

5.  Choose Neutral Colored Leather Leggings.

Leather leggings are already a statement.  Choose black, dark burgundy (almost black), or another dark neutral.  Leave the printed, bright colored, or pastel leather pants on the rack.  They make enough of a statement without added emphasis of color.  Anything other than black is difficult to make chic as they tend to look more Halloween appropriate instead.

Leather pants can be your daytime friend with ease.  They are a fashionista’s dream when styled well.  I cannot stop wearing them.  They add so much personality and flair to any look.  What is your favorite chic way to wear leather leggings?

xoxo,

Abbie

| Sweater:  old; similar here  |  Shirt:  Nordstrom  |  Pants:  Express  |  Heels:  Banana Republic  |  Handbag:  Vintage Chanel  |

Picture this…or don’t picture it because you actually live it every single morning like I do:  You’ve enjoyed a few extra minutes of sleep and as a result have limited your time outfit planning.  You’re due to leave the house in five minutes and yet you don’t have an outfit pulled together quite yet.  Safe to say, you’re in a rush and need to be able to build an adorable compliment getting outfit with great ease.  (Honestly, I don’t know about you, but I’m trying to get better about this.  Planning outfits the night before is a HUGE goal that I hold, but I can’t quite seem to metastasize it quite yet.  All in good time, right?!)  In the meantime, I have quite the easy solution for you! Good outfits essentially boil down to a fail proof formula that help to elevate them from “okay…” to “Wow!”

Simply stated, your typical outfit comprises of two elements… (1) a top and  (2) a bottom or a dress and (3) shoes.  Easy right?!  Well, it can be safely stated that if you walked out of the house with just those three things on, your outfit might be cute, but it most likely doesn’t get much in terms of compliments.  With just that, there is a certain element missing.  Thankfully, it is incredibly easy to add on in the rushed hurried nature that is most of our mornings.  I guarantee this fix takes under 3 seconds to add onto your outfit and compliments geared towards your outfit will skyrocket.

It’s simple.  Take your normal top, bottom and shoes combo and add a completer piece.  What is a completer piece you might ask?  A completer piece is an item added to your outfit that might not necessarily be necessary but adds another layer and dimension to your outfit.  A completer piece is an item that is added in addition to the top/pants/shoes combination that you are already wearing.

Examples of such include:

Layering Clothing:  Blazers, Coats, Jackets, Vests, Shawls, Sweaters, Cardigans, Etc.

Accessories:  Hats, Belts, Statement Necklaces, Brooches, Bracelet Stacks, Scarves, etc.

In this outfit, I started with a simple blush pink sweater and boyfriend jeans with statement flats.  However, the outfit lacked some personality, so I employed the rule of the completer piece to elevate it.  I added this thin topcoat draped over my shoulders for added style.  I also scored a few bonus points by adding in a statement belt and doing a small tuck with my sweater to expose it.  This small change really took my outfit from basic to stylized in seconds.  The completer piece truly transforms the outfit and gives it added personality.

Next time your getting dressed in a rush, while you have a pair of pants and a top on, think of how you might add a completer piece to elevate your look to the next level.  Even the simple addition of a hat or a blazer as a completer piece can take your outfit from basic to fashionable in seconds.  What is your favorite completer piece to use?  Share the ways that you love to implement your completer pieces!

xoxo,

Abbie

|  Coat:  Old Navy  (old; similar here)  |  Cashmere:  Vince (nearly identical here)  |  Denim:  Joes (see this post on how to find the perfect size for you)  |  Flats:  Valentino (affordable dupe here)  |  Handbag:  Valentino  |  Sunnies:  Chanel  |

Monochromatic outfits (i.e.-single color outfits) are always so chic and have an effortless vibe to them.  Since they are one seamless color from head to toe, they have the ability to make you appear taller and leaner as they create a long visual line.  They are always some of my favorites to wear on a daily basis as they are typically quick to pull together as long as you take a few little things into account when doing so.  Here are my tips for creating a perfect monochromatic outfit. 1.  Choose a Color You’re Comfortable In & Evaluate What You Have in Your Closet.

Choosing a color to base your outfit off of that makes you feel comfortable is key.  Be sure to choose a color that makes you feel confident.  Start pulling pieces from your closet from the same color family.  Evaluate if you have enough to comprise an entire outfit.  One easy place to start is with neutrals:  white, brown, navy, black, or gray.  These colors tend to lend you the most options when it comes to pairings.

2.  Choose Shades From The Same Color Family. 

Essentially, it goes without saying that when creating a monochromatic outfit, you should wear clothes that are the same color.  However, exact tones don’t need to match.  In fact, I wouldn’t really worry about it much at all.  Instead, go for clothes in the same color family.  Here I have varying shades of white, eggshell, cream, and nude in this monochromatic outfit.  The differing colors look intentional and work together despite not being the exact same shade of white.  In fact, your outfit will actually look better if it involves variations of the same color rather than a matchy matchy pairing of colors as it creates more visual interest.   Remember to also think about incorporating shoes into the outfit as well!

 

3.  Add Texture.

Texture is your best friend when creating a monochromatic outfit.  With the outfit is the same color family, without varying textures, the outfit has the potential to get a little boring.  In having textures vary, you ensure that your outfit has a little personality.  My denim white pants and cotton tee are completely upgraded by the added texture of the fur and studs on the bag.  Texture is what makes this outfit.  Look for denim, chiffon, leather, silk, suede, sequins,  wool, linen, textured fabrics, fur, and other pieces that have visual interest.

4.  Balance with Proportions.

This is a rule for every outfit.  Be sure your outfit has balance.  If you are wearing a looser top, as I am here, be sure to wear something closer fitting on the bottom.  Whereas, if you’re wearing a full skirt, be sure to pair it with a fitted top.  Balance & proportions when creating outfits is key.

 

5.  Add Visual Interest With Patterns.

If you feel as though your outfit could use a little added personality, don’t be afraid to add some print to your outfit using the color family that you’ve created your outfit from.  A beautiful scarf, printed shoe, or patterned top could all be fabulous ways to add interest to a monochromatic outfit.   Monochromatic outfits make getting dressed in the morning a breeze (not to mention make you look insanely chic) as long as they are done with some intention.  Adding visual flare using varying shades of the same hue & texture, acknowledging proportions, and a splash of confidence are sure to skyrocket your look to result in compliments!  Have you tried wearing monochromatic outfits?  What are your thoughts on them?

|  Fur:  Revolve  |  Denim:  Paige  |  Heels:  Louboutin (similar for less here)  |  Handbag:  Valentino  |  Sunnies:  Karen Walker  |

xoxo,

Abbie

Boyfriend jeans are currently one of my very favorite items in my wardrobe to wear.  However, it wasn’t until recently that I actually liked them.  I struggled for YEARS to find a pair that I actually adored.  Here’s my secret to finding the perfect pair of your own.

In my opinion, right off the rack, regular “boyfriend” & “girlfriend” jeans just don’t fit right.  In my case, while the waist may fit, the legs are often not “boyfriend” enough or they are all together just extra frumpy.  You might be surprised to find out that these aren’t your typical pair of off the rack “boyfriend” denim.  Here’s the breakdown of finding a pair that fits like my pair here:

Secret #1:  Find a pair of regular good old skinny jeans that you love the fit of on you!

We all have our favorite jeans.  The regular sized ones that we all love the fit of.  For me, I adore Joes and AG jeans.  They always hug my body in the best way and I always feel so confident in them.  These jeans will be the basis for selecting your perfect boyfriend jeans.

Secret #2:  Purchase that same pair of skinny jeans 3 to 4 sizes larger than your normal size.

Since you already love the shape of these jeans and how they flatter you, when you purchase them a few sizes larger, the overall silhouette will still be there but they will have a boyfriend vibe.  While these jeans will fit slightly large on the hips, we can combat this easily with styling them.

Secret #3:  Find a Belt you Love.

A good belt is key to ensuring that your jeans stay up throughout the day.  I personally love my Louis Vuitton belt, but before I had it, I adored pairing my jeans with a simple brown belt too!  The belt will help to keep your jeans properly situated and slim your waist down too! Secret #4:  It’s all about the cuff.

Boyfriend jeans look best when cuffed at the bottom.  An unfinished cuff is best as the look needs a perfectly imperfect finishing touch.  I recommend making a small even cuff once on each leg and then cuffing them again halfway focusing just rolling half of each leg of the jeans.  See pictures for details.  

Secret #5:  Pair your boyfriend jeans with girlie elements.

Add a feminine touch to your jeans.  Be it with a girlie handbag, heels, jewelry, or some bright lipstick.

|  Trench:  Burberry (look for less here)  |  Sweater:  J.Crew  |  Boyfriend Jeans:  Joes (size up 3-4 sizes for a fit like this)  |  Flats:  Valentino (a few season’s old; look for MUCH less here)  |  Handbag:  Vintage Chanel (a post detailing this bag is here)  |

Best of luck finding your own perfect pair of boyfriend jeans!

xoxo,

Abbie

It goes without saying that handbags are my passion.  I adore collecting & using them with such fervor that it can barely be contained.  If you get me started discussing the craftsmanship of a bag, you will see a twinkle in my eye enlighten and a smile flash across my face.  As you might imagine, they’re quite possibly my favorite piece of the wardrobe.

A few months back, I started a special series that will be regularly posting on my blog, “The Handbag Diaries.”  Being the handbag aficionado that I am, this series is always something that I look for when purchasing new handbags, but rarely find.  It is my hope that this little series helps you to figure out what handbags are worth the money, which ones need to stay on the shelves, and which ones you simply cannot live without!  This week, I will be doing a review and what’s in my bag for the vintage Chanel small flap handbag (great resource for vintage Chanel here).

Visit past handbag diaries posts hereherehere, and here.

Structure:

This bag is very structured.  It will stand on its own.  It’s flexible but I would limit overstuffing it in an effort to preserve it’s structure.  It has a chain that can be worn two ways:  straps doubled or long long single strap.  I find that I wear it most often by one long single strap.

Leather Quality:

It is made of lambskin leather.  It is the most luxurious leather and if I’m completely honest, given that it’s a vintage piece, I actually think the craftsmanship is better! Due to the lambskin leather, it is a bit fragile.  This leather will scratch if not paid attention to.  While you do not need to overly baby this bag, I would highly recommend having a general awareness of your nails when opening & closing the bag, paying attention when setting the bag down on a surface & ensuring you don’t bump it into things while wearing it as scratches can happen.  Lambskin is more of a high maintenance leather.  I have not experienced any color transfer with it.

Hardware:

Vintage Chanel means better hardware.  Period.  Hardware on Chanel bags is the whole reason as to why I would much rather purchase a vintage piece rather than new.

Today’s Chanel gold hardwares are merely gold colored metal.  They are not actual real gold.  However, it wasn’t always this way.  Up until about 2008/2009 Chanel plated all of their hardware with real gold.  The telltale sign to discover whether or not a bag has real gold plated hardware is the little square inside the CC on the left hand side.  If the square exists, you’re in luck and have found a gold plated piece.  If that little square does not exist, you merely have gold colored hardware.

Versatility:

This bag can be worn in the hand with the straps tucked in, doubled up on the shoulder, or with the chain pulled through to create single strap on the shoulder.  It is very easy to carry. It is perfect for a day of shopping or a dinner out.  In my opinion, it is a bag that looks just as good with a fancy dress as it does it jeans.  The size keeps it flexible to many outfit possibilities.

What It Holds:

This bag is small & doesn’t hold a ton.  It fit my Karen Walker sunglasses (with a soft small case), Saint Laurent card holder,  Louis Vuitton Cles (for my keys),  iPhone, Goyard pouch , lipliner and lipstick and had very little room left.  It will NOT fit a full size wallet.  In addition, a regular sunglass case would be an incredibly tight fit.  Furthermore, a makeup bag is out of the question with this bag.  It is a handbag that you have to choose what to take with you.  However, with the use of a card case, it is useable for daily use.

Verdict:

This handbag is one of my favorites of my collection.  The ability that it has to transport itself from day to night is amazing.  I absolutely adore it and it is such a classic.  It is a bag that I plan to keep in my collection forever and potentially pass down.

Hope you found this helpful!  Feel free to ask me any questions you may have about her!

Visit past handbag diaries posts here, here, here, and here.

xoxo,

Abbie

If there’s one thing that I love about Winter fashion, it’s adding a little fur to your ensemble. As a kid, I always associated fur with luxury. Now, as an adult, I am gravitated towards it as I DO feel so much more pulled together and luxurious with it added to my outfit. That being said, fur can be daunting to incorporate into your wardrobe (especially if you haven’t tried it before). Here are a few tips for ensuring that you have a formula for a beautiful look with fur incorporated! 1. Stick to neutral colors. Let your fur take center stage. Keep the rest of your outfit simple. A simple neutral colored top (black, white or gray are excellent choices) and neutral pants (denim, black, white, or gray) keep the emphasis on the fur. With fur being such a strong statement, it looks much chicer when it isn’t competing for attention with another element from your wardrobe.  2.  Keep a body hugging silhouette under your fur coat. Oversized pieces will make you look bigger than you are when paired with a fluffy fur coat. That’s not to say make the rest of your outfit skin tight. Instead, be sure to wear an outfit that skims your frame and emphasizes your shape.

3.  Find a fur coat to overwhelming for your taste? Try incorporating fur touches via accessories such as a fur stole, fur pom on your handbag or fur lined boots! Remember to only wear one fur piece at a time to maintain a chic look!

|  Fur Coat:  Elliatt  |  Denim:  Joes  |  Sweater:  J.Crew  |  Flats:  J.Crew  |  Belt:  Louis Vuitton  |  Handbag:  Vintage Chanel  |

Xoxo,

Abbie

Handbags are my favorite thing to collect.  Well, let me rephrase.  Handbags and shoes are my favorites to collect.  A bag can make or break an outfit.  There are a few in my wardrobe that I gravitate towards a little more than all of the rest.  Here are my 6 favorite handbags I own with a quick chat about why I adore each of them:

 1.  Louis Vuitton Pouchette Metis:

When I purchased this handbag, it was on a whim because they were so hard to get a hold of.  I didn’t really have the chance to mull it over as it was so rare at the time.  While I thought it was adorable, I wasn’t completely sure as to how it would apply to my wardrobe.  After about a year of ownership, I can safely say that this is one of my favorite bags.  It’s stayed strong and has VERY minimal signs of wear despite my constant use.  My favorite thing about it has to be it’s organizational component.  It has 3 different sections that help you to keep your bag organized.  Also, it fits more than you ever thought that it would!  It actually fits just as much (if not more) than my Chanel Jumbos!

2.  Chanel Jumbo in Black:

You know how there is the epic little black dress?  Well I also think there should be an LBB, little black bag.  When I’m not sure what bag to use or am having difficulty pairing a bag to my outfit, this is my go to.  It’s effortlessly chic and pairs well with anything you mix it with.  It looks just as stunning with a dress on your way to a gala as it does with destroyed denim & kitty flats.  This is the holy grail handbag.  If I could only choose one handbag in my collection, this would be it.

3.  Vintage Chanel Jumbo in Cream:

My second love for my handbag collection is without doubt my Vintage Chanel in cream.  Simply put, they don’t make anything like they did vintage Chanel?  Did you know that the hardware on vintage pieces are actually coated in real gold,  whereas the newer versions only have gold colored hardware?  A simple way to identify if a “vintage” piece is old enough to have real gold hardware is by looking at the gold logo hardware on the front of the bag.  If the logo has a small square in the top left hand corner of the CC, it’s gold plated and you’ve found yourself a gem!  If maintained well, vintage pieces have the ability to look even better than newer selections.  Due to their craftsmanship, character and rarity, I much prefer vintage Chanel to what’s currently in stores.

4.  Goyard Tote:

The Goyard tote is by far my most used handbag.  It’s incredibly practical and can make going to work a breeze.  Days when I have trainings/meetings where I have to take my laptop & additional supplies, this is my go to.  This was also an incredible bag to have while teaching.  It held everything I needed to carry home and had room to spare.  This is also a great bag to travel with.

5.  Prada Double

This is one of my bags that still steals my heart everytime I see it.  The blush color with the darker pink inside is enough to make any girly girl smile with glee.  The overall structure of the bag and option for a shoulder strap is worthwhile as well.   The structure of it makes it to be an excellent work bag but it also looks incredible when dressed down with denim.

6. Saint Laurent Monogram Tote: 

I love a good tote.  This one has the ability to sit in the crook of your arm or on your shoulder.  It looks chicest when carried in the crook of your arm.  The chevron detailing gives it some interest, while still having such a beautiful classic silhouette.  The neutral color makes it pair incredibly easily with all outfits.  In addition, the caviar-esque leather is ideal as it prevents scratches during daily use.

Those are my favorite handbags as of late.  What are some of yours?  Which ones are you currently dreaming of adding to your collection?

xoxo,

Abbie

Rainy weather seems as though it’s here to stay in California.  I have officially worn my wellies more days in the past three weeks than I have in three years.  While initially, we just want nothing more than to hole up at home under the covers with a delectable cup of hot coffee & a good book, we must keep living life and going to work.  Rain can be difficult to dress for as there are so many extra things that must be considered as we form the outfits for a downpour.  That being said, rainy weather should never keep you for being stylish.  In fact, some of the my favorite outfits are created based off of the notion that I must dress for the rain.  Here are ten tips for making getting dressed for a rainy day a complete breeze:

1.  Invest in a Classic Trench.

You seriously cannot go wrong.  The trench is the perfect outfit staple for rainy weather (and sunny skies, in my opinion). This coat will be your ally for YEARS to come.  I’ve had mine for about three years now and I wear it all the time.  It’s completely timeless.  Assuming I’ll still fit in it, I will still be wearing this ten years from now.  Whether you choose to go luxe (a la Burberry) or something a little more high street, you won’t regret your purchase!

2.  Wear Something That Won’t Drag On The Ground.

Skirts and dresses are my favorite on rainy days.  The don’t come anywhere near touching the ground & I never have to wait for soaked clothes to dry so my legs actually stay fairly warm (only a very small percentage of them is exposed during the rain).  I typically pair chunky knee high boot socks with them.  I adore the look of them peaking over the top of my boots!  I actually wore them with this outfit here but forgot to pack them when we shot this one.  This combo is hands down a winner over long pants that seem to instantly mop up all of the water while you walk.

3.  Keep your Feet Warm!

Wellies are an amazing pick for rainy days!  With the addition of thick socks, your toes stay nice and toasty.  If wellies aren’t your style, duck boots or rain chelsea boots are a great alternative.  They all look super adorable with skirts, dresses and skinnies alike!

 

4.  Add a Fun Piece of Personality.

Every dreary day outfit needs a piece of flare to brighten up the look.  My favorite way to add a little happiness and personality to my outfits is with a fur stole.  This piece should be something that becomes the focal point of your look.  On rainy days, a scarf or bright wellies in a fun texture or bold color are an excellent way to infuse this touch of personality!

5.  Wear Your Hair in a Bun.

Buns are the best hairstyle during a rainy day.  A messy sock bun looks so chic and pulled together without really having to try to hard.  Truth be told, we shot several outfits this day.  However, when I wore this look in real life, my hair went up into a bun!  I felt as though it exuded Audrey Hepburn elegance when my hair was like that!  Trust me, nothing is worse than spending time on your hair only to have the rain make you look like a drowned rat within minutes.  Buns always look chic even when caught in a thunderstorm.

6.  Black is Your Friend.

Black always looks chic no matter what the weather.  In that I mean, light colors  can sometimes be difficult to wear in the rain.  Light colors not only have the potential to be ruined in the rain but they also show every raindrop.  Dark fabrics hide raindrops while they dry making you look chic even if you’ve been caught in the rain for longer than you’d anticipated.  Just in case your wondering, yes it is okay to wear this white dress in the rain.  When it starts raining, I simply button up and tie my trench covering it up with ease!

7.  Evaluate Fabrics Choices.

Avoid silky delicate fabrics in the rain as they have the strong possibility of getting ruined easily.  Instead, opt for sturdier fabrics as you won’t have to worry!  In addition, when it’s pouring out, stay away from suede and leather.  Be sure to swap out your leather bag for a water resistant coated canvas tote, patent leather bag, or other water resistant bag.   When I wore this outfit in real life, I wore it with my Goyard tote as its a lot more practical than this leather hand to have in the rain.

8.  Accessorize With Your Umbrella.

Pick an umbrella you adore.  Make it coordinate with your outfit.  A simple patterned one in a neutral color would go with most outfits.  In addition, a solid bright colored umbrella would really add some pizzaz to your ensemble.

9.  Add a Hat.

A wide brimmed hat will help to shield your locks from the rain and add a stylish edge to your look in the process.  If wide brimmed hats aren’t your think, a knit beanie in a neutral color is sure to be your rainy day friend!

 10.  When In Doubt, Pair Your Wellies With Dressier Pieces.

If all else fails, evaluate what you are pairing your wellies with. Rainy day outfits that are comprised of dressier pieces will without doubt look chicer than those that have strong casual vibes.  Items such as a classic trench, dress, white denim will always look chicer than a windbreaker, yoga pants or boyfriend jeans when paired with wellies.  So, when in doubt, dress up your outfit a  bit more on rainy days to add some extra chic vibes.

While rainy weather outfit creation may take a little extra thought, it is no excuse for not being stylish.  What are your favorite tips for staying fashionable in the rain?

xoxo,

Abbie

|  Dress:  Club Monaco (old; similar here)  |  Trench:  Burberry (love this less expensive one)  |  Wellies:  Hunter  |  Handbag:  Celine  |  Fur Stole:  Zappos |  Sunnies:  Karen Walker  |

Let’s picture two scenarios. 

A.  Your closet is buldging but you have nearly nothing to wear on a daily basis. Your closet is comprised of fast fashion pieces from H&M and Forever 21 with some basic pieces from these places as well. The struggle comes when you’ve worn your pieces 5 or 6 times and they’ve developed some quality issues. In the morning, you go to create your stellar outfit only to find that one of your key pieces in it has a hole, thinning fabric, or has shrunken in the wash. You’re frustrated and disappointed with your wardrobe. 

Now onto the second scenario:

B. You stand in front of your paired down smaller-sized closet full of high quality pieces. You’ve focused on creating a closet of quality with the basis being basics. A few fast fashion pieces exist but you’ve realized that you only need a few to add in the trends and instead generally invest in quality. Your morning mission to get dressed as quick as possible is always achiveable as you’re never surprised with some quality issue or other. Your pieces are always in impeccable condition. 

Closet B, while it has considerably less pieces, is obviously the ideal choice as it makes getting dressed easy and each piece is selected for its quality. Put simply, quality ALWAYS trumps quantity in terms of your closet. 

Here are 5 tips for choosing quality pieces for your closet:

1.  Check the Garment Tag.

Garment tags allow you to really investigate whether a product is worth the price or not.  Certain fabrics & combinations hold up much better in the long run than others do.  Natural fabrics (wool, silk, cotton) are hands down the best buys.  Ideally, finding a garment that is 100% wool, silk, or cotton is preferable.  However, blends are also acceptable.  In order to determine if a blend is a good one, be sure that the percentage of natural fabrics to synthetics is at least 50-60% natural.  Labels are important because some synthetic fabrics can trick the eye into thinking that they are really natural fabrics (ex. acrylic can sometimes be mistaken for wool & real genuine leather can be difficult for the untrained eye to identify)

2.  Stitching is Key.

It goes without saying that stitching on a garment is one of the top factors when determining if the garment is good quality.  After all, it is what holds the garment together!  The higher the quality the stitching, the greater the chance that it will stay together.  Key details when looking at stitching are looking for loose threads.  If you see any naturally hanging off the garment, this is an immediate red flag.  Also, ensuring that the stitches are tight and cannot be pulled apart & seen through simply by lightly tugging on either side of the seam.  If you are able to see through the stitching or feel it separate when you pull lightly on either side of the seam, step away.  There are better made pieces out there.

3.  Details are Crucial.

Details on a garment make it memorable.  However, those are not what I’m referring to.  What I’m referencing are the details when purchasing that are just as crucial.  These are the little extras that come attached to good quality pieces that extend the longevity of a piece.  Look for extra buttons, extra thread (either inside or in a small baggie) attached to the garment.  These items come in incredibly handy when a small issue happens to your garment and easily makes it mendable.

4. Price Doesn’t Determine All.

Just because an item is priced inexpensively, doesn’t mean it’s bad quality.  In addition, an expensive item doesn’t declare amazing quality.  Looking for details, elements such as stitching and fabric construction are all crucial to determining an item’s worth.  Though, truth be told, more often than not, pricier items are better quality.  It is incredibly rare to find a good quality item at Forever 21 or H&M.  However, most likely, an item picked up at Neiman’s will be decent to superior quality.


5.  Equate Cost Per Wear.

Cost per wear is my favorite idea to reference when purchasing clothing (see the original post on it here).  While initially a garment’s price might seem expensive, one must also factor in the idea of cost per wear.  Simply put, cost per wear is determined by dividing the price of the garment by the number of times you expect to wear it.  Typically, cheaply constructed garments fall apart in under 10 wears.  Thus, the cost per wear is expensive for what it is as the lifespan of the garment is low.  Whereas, a good quality piece will carry you for years to come as the fabrication of the garment is made to stand wear and tear to a greater capacity.  These good quality pieces have a much lower cost per wear as you might envision yourself wearing them a hundred times over the course of a few years.

Poncho:  Marine Layer  |  Sweater:  J.Crew  |  Denim:  Joes  |  Flats:  Valentino  |  Hat:  Banana Republic  |  Handbag:  Vintage Chanel  |

Dresses and Winter aren’t exactly synonymous.  We typically picture warm, Spring like weather and sandals when we think of dresses.  Winter on the other hand most often makes us think of snowflakes and bundling up in our largest parkas.  The combination of Winter and dresses might make one think of frostbitten legs.  With that I say, not so!  Would you believe that there are even ways to wear dresses in the Winter that do not include fleece lined tights (though I do whole-heartedly love those!).  Here are five tips for ensuring that you stay toasty while still adorning yourself with a dress this Winter:

1.  Make Over the Knee Boots Your Best Friend.

I have become absolutely enamored with the combination of over the knee boots and dresses in the past few weeks.  Over the knee boots keep your legs incredibly warm.  To be honest, my legs tend to stay warmer in over the knee boots and a dress than they do in jeans and booties.  The key is to wear thick cozy socks with your over the knee boots.  In addition, having the hemline of your dress close to your boots will keep your legs the warmest.  The amount of leg that is covered with this combination is virtually the same as wearing pants.  I have found that this combination is essential to staying warm with a dress if you do not want to wear tights.

2.  Choose Dresses in Thicker, Sweater Like Fabrics.

My favorite winter dresses to wear are most often sweater dresses.  I tend to favor cable knits, cashmere, and thick knits.  I would steer clear of thin knits unless you plan to do additional layering (such as tights, a sweater, and a jacket in addition to your coat).  The thickness of these makes them a winner for Winter dressing.

3.  Add a Blazer (&/or) Topcoat.

Depending on where you live and what weather you are currently experiencing, you may choose to add a blazer and/or a topcoat to your outfit as well.  For today’s outfit, I simply have my topcoat on.  It’s longer length and wool fabric help to keep me toasty while wearing thermals/slips & a thicker sweater dress.  However, if your climate is colder than mine you may additionally choose to wear a blazer/leather jacket on top of your sweater dress in addition to your coat.  When doing so, choose streamlined silhouettes that will not add additional bulk to your frame.  In addition, you may choose to purchase a coat that is a size up in order to accommodate the extra layer.  Last, ensure that your outer layer has clean lines (such as this topcoat does) in order to achieve a slimming silhouette overall.

4.  Choose Your Cuddliest Accessories.

This is the time to don on the hat, scarf, and gloves.  In this outfit, I’ve chosen a cuddly cashmere scarf.  The scarf can be used for the obvious (as a scarf), but the length of this one gives it the ability to turn itself into a wrap, head covering, or blanket if desired.This piece is an investment, however, it will be with you for years and many many outfits to come.  This is crucial to bundling up your neck and retaining some of that heat.  Hats and gloves also help with this and add a little personality to your look as well.  Choosing accessories in neutral colors will help you to get the most versatility from your items.

5.  Add Thermals or a Thick Slip Underneath.

Adding additional layers underneath your dress can really help to keep you toasty.  One idea is wearing a thick slip or long underwear underneath your dress.  While I have not tried them, Uniqlo has various thermals under their HEATTECH products in a 3 different warmths that look incredibly tempting.  I’m particularly wanting to order these tights and this thermal top (in the nude color so that it would be hidden underneath clothing) for added warmth under skirts and dresses.

Bonus Ideas:  Layer a Sweater Over Your Dress & Add Fleece Lined Tights

An additional layering idea might be to add a sweater over the top of your dress.  This could be in the form of either a cardigan or a crewneck depending on the desired dress.  Don’t be afraid to experiment!

Also, if you haven’t tried them, fleece lined tights are the best thing since sliced bread.  They keep you INCREDIBLY warm.  Warmer than pants in my opinion.   If purchased in black, they go with virtually every outfit.  The best part is that they resemble normal tights but keep you so much toastier.

|  Coat:  Banana Republic (sold out; identical here)  |  Dress:  Loft (old; love this and this)  |  Boots:  Dolce Vita  |  Scarf:  White & Warren  |

By the way, it’s day 3/365 of my no shopping year and while I am dying for a few items, I’m staying strong.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by!  What’s your favorite way to wear skirts or dresses in the winter?  Please share the ways that you keep warm in them.  I’d love new ideas!

xoxo,

Abbie

Effortlessly chic is something that I am to look daily.   In that I mean, I don’t want to look like I’ve scoured my wardrobe for hours to find just the right outfit.  However, instead, I want to give the impression that I’ve just thrown on these amazing pieces and headed out the door to start my fabulous life.  Whether or not you can have actually created your outfit in that way may or may not be the truth.  That being said, the more you create outfits with certain “rules” in mind, the quicker it does get!  Below are my ten tips for becoming effortlessly chic:

1.  Embrace Classic Silhouettes.

In short, classic silhouettes always look chic.  Whether it is a great pair of skinny jeans, an adorable pair of ballet flats, the perfect white tee, or the best black blazer classics silhouettes such as these will ALWAYS lean towards an effortlessly chic outfit.  These kind of silhouettes allow many pieces to mix and match quickly and with great easy during a hectic morning.  This outfit encompasses all of the aforementioned basic classic silhouettes.

2.  Layer.

Become a master layerer.  Layering invites so many new wardrobe possibilities.  Know such things as that by simply layering a simple white tee with a cardigan &/or blazer you automatically have greater chicness.  Also be open to more complex layering possibilities such as layering a cable knit sweater atop a dress to give you greater wardrobe impact.

3.  Natural Yet Groomed Hair & Makeup.

Nothing cements what articles of clothing you choose to adorn your body with more than your hair and makeup style.  In general, in order to achieve a chic vibe, go for classic yet simple hair and makeup.  On a day to day basis, extreme hair and makeup takes away from your outfit.  However, zero effort downgrades your entire look.  Spend a few minutes each morning giving yourself a hint of glamour.

4.  Keep It Simple.

You may be tempted to pile on all of the jewelry in your jewelry box and a fur stole, vibrant lipstick, and crystal encrusted shoes at the same time.  Don’t.  Instead of looking fancy…you look overdone.  Remember that less is most often more.  A good rule of thumb is to take off one item before leaving the house.  If I’m ever unsure as to whether or not I should add something (such as a sparkly brooch or an added bangle), I typically opt not to.  Less typically implies greater chicness.

5.  Pay Attention To Fit.

Fit is everything.  Take garments that don’t fit perfectly to the tailor and have them adjusted.  If you know you won’t make it to the tailor, don’t purchase it.  A great blazer could cost thousands, however, if it doesn’t fit appropriately, it looks cheap.  Whereas, an inexpensive blazer that fits you perfectly (be it off the rack or by being altered by your tailor) looks expensive.  Always always always pay attention to fit.

6.  Drape Your Jackets.

A jacket draped over your shoulders screams chic.  If you find yourself too warm to have your arms through the sleeves of your blazer, this is a great option.  Draped jackets instantly give that “model off duty” vibe.

7.  Limit Your Color Palette.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to three colors/prints (or less) in an outfit.  The ability to look purposefully mixed and matched is much easier when the color palette is limited to three.  With the usage of three colors or less, everything looks a little more intentional and purposeful rather than thrown together at 6am because you were rushing out the door on the way to work.

8.  Know What You Love.

Only by items that you love.  Your face and body language shows when you aren’t comfortable wearing an item.  Always dress for you.  Dress in what makes you happy.  After all, confidence is the greatest part of your wardrobe.

9.  Purchase Timeless Pieces.

I’ll let you in on a secret.  I really don’t do trendy items.  You wear them a few times, you blink and they are out of style.  I tend to opt for timeless pieces and mix them to create something fresh.  That’s not to say don’t buy the trends.  Trends can be incredibly fun.  However, ensure that your wardrobe contains timeless pieces to pair them with in order to look chic while wearing these trends.

10.  Pick One Statement Piece.

Pick one piece of your outfit that is attention getting and keep everything else simple.  In this outfit, the scarf is the star of the show.  Everything around it is subdued and doesn’t compete for attention.  One statement piece allows for a look that feel effortless, chic and purposeful in its creation.

|  Blazer:  Revolve (Fit:  True to Size; I’m in an xs)  |  Stole:  Banana Republic  |  Denim:  Joes  |  Belt:  Louis Vuitton  |  Flats:  Chanel (less expensive similar version here; I own & love these)  |  Handbag:  Louis Vuitton  |

Thanks so much for reading!  What are some of your favorite ways to look effortlessly chic?

Before, I leave you, I have to mention that today is the very first day of me not shopping for one year.  ***GULP**** I’m hoping I’ll make it in accordance with the rules I’ve set for myself.  I’m nervous but so very excited!  So here we go, Day 1/365 is marked off the list!  Read this post for more information!

xoxo,

Abbie

Every year we make some purchases that are absolutely amazing.  They are driving forces in our wardrobe.  They are items that we wish we could wear every day.  Items that we feel amazing in.  These are the items that I consider my best purchases of 2016.

1. & 2. Best Handbags:  Chanel Jumbo & Louis Vuitton Pouchette Metis (Tie)

The Chanel Jumbo entered my wardrobe in February and never really left my side since.  It’s incredibly versatile and looks as stunning with jeans as it does with a dress.  It adds glamour to every single outfit that it is paired with. It makes my heart sing just picking it up & I honestly have to tell myself to put it down and give another handbag a chance to see the light of day.  It’s the best purchase I’ve made this year!

The Louis Vuitton Pouchette Metis entered my wardrobe in January of 2016.  I really liked it when I called Louis Vuitton’s customer service and was able to have them track down the last one in country at the time for me (they were backordered & incredibly rare for a while this year).  However, I never imagined my love for it would grow to what it is now.  I’m not big on monogram prints but this one just works.  It’s in a small dosage of monogram & the crossbody option really adds versatility to it.  I’m still shocked every time I pack it for the day as it fits so very much.  It’s a bag I reach for time and time again.  It’s suited my lifestyle well!

3.  Best Sandals:  Loeffler Randall Luz

I knew from the minute I ordered these sandals we would be smitten with one another.  The lace up detailing and tassels were just about all my heart could take.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sandal I love nearly as much as these.  I wore them with pants, skirts, and dresses all Spring & Summer long.  I loved them so much in fact that I actually purchased them in black as well (though those didn’t see the wear that these nude ones did).  While they do take a few extra minutes to put on in the morning, they are worth every extra second.  You can rest assured I will be wearing them again this next Spring with a smile on my face!

4.  Best Flats:  Chanel Ballerinas

These flats are an investment, don’t get me wrong.  However, they have essentially been the only flats I reach for over and over again throughout the year.   I adore the light pink version that came out during Spring 2016 & the gold version that was part of the Fall 2016.  They are comfortable and timeless.  Honestly, I just don’t feel as special in nearly any other flats.  I will be wearing these for decades to come.

5.  Best Boots:  Christian Louboutin Chelsea Boots

I purchased these boots on a whim in November.  I initially thought I was being irrational because who purchases Louboutins where the heel is so low that you can barely even see the red sole?!  I mean, it’s not what you would typically purchase from the brand.  However, I had been hunting for chelsea boots that I liked for months.  These were the only ones that made me take a second look.  Now that I own them (and have worn them more than twice a week since I purchased them), I have no idea what took me so long.  The thing about lower heeled Louboutins is that YOU know you have something special on so it elevates your mood.  These kind of lower heels aren’t really for anyone but you.  However, when you know that you are wearing them (because you love them so very much), you walk a little taller and smile a little brighter.

6.  Best Shorts:  One Teaspoon Bandits:

I haven’t been much of a shorts person since college when I was convinced that everything had to be super short or incredibly tight.  In fact, most short shorts made me feel as though I looked like a borderline street walker (LOL).  These didn’t.  The varying length on them helps to elongate your legs while still making you feel covered.  I sized up a size in order to make sure that they weren’t tight whatsoever.  I never thought I would love shorts like I love these.

7.  The Perfect Blazer:  J.Crew

If it’s one thing J.Crew does really well, it’s blazers.  I immediately had heart eyes the second I saw it.  I purchased faster than I could finish a sentence regarding how much I loved it.  I then wore it to everything from weekend looks (shown above) to work.  It was a wardrobe staple for me that saw endless styling opportunities.

8.  The Perfect Cardigan:  360 Cashmere (this year’s version here)

For my birthday, my husband and I went to Santa Barbara.  I found an adorable boutique that stocked up on the most adorable pieces of cashmere.  After attempting to tell myself no to many pieces, I came across this cardigan in a blush pink and I was unable to walk away.  I wore it for months on end and finally purchased it in gray as well!  Cashmere cardigans are a weakness of mine but, let’s be honest, what’s better than wrapping up in a cardigan that feels like a blanket?!

9.  The Best Top:  Rebecca Taylor (adore this version)

This lace top is one of the prettiest little pieces in my closet.  The attention to detail is superb.  The lace is intricate and the silk is heavenly.  While I purchased this back in January, I maintain that this is one of the best tops in my closet.  In fact, while it is no longer available, Rebecca Taylor always pays exceptional attention to details and is a go to for amazing intricate pieces.

10.  The Best Sunnies:  Karen Walker Super Duper

These sunnies are seen on so many people.  In fact, when I purchased them, I worried that since everyone had them, they were played out.  I tried them on and they covered a multitude of sins on my no makeup face.  These sunnies make you feel like a movie star.  Their shape is so flattering and the tortoise shell is timeless.  As much as I try to love other pairs, these have become my go to pair this year.

 

While 2016 brought a lot of new items to my wardrobe, those were by far my 10 favorite purchases of 2016.  What were some of your favorite purchases that you’ve made this past year?

xoxo,

Abbie