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Five Favorites: Valentine’s Day

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valentine

This Valentine’s Day wear an outfit that creates confidence and makes you feel good. Whether you are going for a casual look, sweet or sexy, the best accessory to any outfit is confidence.

Build this confidence with color, shape or style. Wear a bright/bold color or flaunt your favorite body part – let your personal style shine through.

Here are a few favorite “confidence builders”:

Tibi ~ Silk Faille Full Skirt: $525.00

Splendid ~ Stretch Cotton & Modal-Blend Jersey Maxi Dress: $118.00

Faith Connextion ~ Mixed Sequin Dress: $870.00

Mango ~ Suede Dress: $119.99

Diane von Furstenberg ~ Mateo Silk-Blend Wrap-Effect Dress: $365.00

How To: Curly Hair

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I am one of those girls with naturally curly hair that constantly styles it straight. Even if I want the look of curly hair – I will use styling tools before committing to my curly birthright. Embracing your natural hair type will not only save time, but save the health of your hair as well.

My curls are not beautiful shiny, spiral tendrils – more like kinky/frizzy non-uniform curls that are impossible to control. Recently, I have decided to embrace my natural curls and experiment with products and techniques to make the impossible… possible. After many ditch efforts I finally found a regimen that transforms even the frizziest frock into luscious locks.

HOW TO:

‣‣‣ Apply mousse to towel dried hair, concentrating on the roots. This will add volume and definition. Favorite: Kenra Glaze Mousse 13

‣‣‣ Next add a styling cream. FavoriteKenra Curl Defining Cream 5. This will separate and define curls – leaving them shiny and frizz-free.

‣‣‣ A simple hairdryer is not compatible with curly hair because its nozzle directs too much air at each curl, deflating it’s volume and shape. A diffuser attachment provides a steady source of heat without the pressure of a standard nozzle. Each curl will remain formed and maintain its natural body. FavoriteElchim Cocoon Bi-Diffuser

‣‣‣ While diffusing hair, scrunch and twist random sections around finger to “assist” the shape.

‣‣‣ Add a bit of styling cream to dry curls for additional definition and shine.

‣‣‣ Next day curls can drop and/or vanish – try using a curl spray to “activate” curls back to life. Favorite: Kenra Curl Spray 8

TIPS:

• Curly hair has strong disulphide bonds because of the natural structure of the hair proteins, with which a person with curly hair is born. All hair, however, curly or not, has hydrogen bonds, which are not strong enough alone to draw the hair into a curl. But once you “break” them by wetting your hair, you can “train” them to act like disulphide bonds with heat, at least temporarily.

• Curly hair should never be brushed. On wet hair a brush may tear or stretch fragile strands and on dry hair it will separate and diffuse the curls, thus creating frizz.

• Avoid over-handling curly hair. If you touch curls as they dry you will disturb their natural pattern and create unwanted volume and frizz.

The Classics: Chanel 2.55

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The Chanel brand has always been associated with classic, timeless elegance. To this day, a Chanel handbag remains one of the most recognized and respected accessories in the world.

Mademoiselle Chanel designed her accessories to be both practical and sensible, and to her accessories signified the true emblem of luxury and elegance. In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel became tired of having to carry her handbags in her arms and decided to update her handbag, for the modern woman. The resulting design was called 2.55 after the date of creation, February 1955.

From the very beginning, Coco Chanel strove for functionality. For this reason, the bag features a double flap with a zip-fastened pocket intended as a secret place for storing a love letter. On the inside of the bag there are three bellow pockets, meant to store a lady’s necessities like lipstick and perfume.

The bag has a quilted diamond or herringbone pattern on the exterior. Using a running stitch, this gives the bag shape and volume. The pattern is believed to have been inspired by several sources: by jockeys’ riding coats, the stained-glass windows of the abbey at Aubazine, as well as by the cushions in Chanel’s Paris apartment. The original 2.55 is lined in a burgundy color which represents the color of the uniform she wore growing up in an orphanage. The famous double C emblem, (“Coco Chanel”) is stitched on the inside flap like a coat of arms. The bag originally came with a front lock called “the Mademoiselle Lock” (in reference to Coco Chanel never marrying). Since the 1980s, versions can also be supplied with a lock in the shape of the double C logo. Both the iconic rectangular clasp that is gilted with gold and the famous leather and chain shoulder strap had never been seen on a handbag before Coco Chanel added them.

Since it’s introduction, there have been several variations of the original design including different colors, leather/fabric combinations, metal and interwoven leather straps and the lock, mademoiselle vs. interlocking CC. Chanel released an exact copy of the original 2.55 in February 2005 in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the creation of the original. Though the name “Reissue 2.55” should apply only to those commemorative handbags it is now commonly used now as a name for all the handbags resembling the original 2.55.


 

Peplum Punch: Tory Burch

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Tory Burch’s Madeline Peplum Sweater is a great transitional piece as we await the cold weather. The mid-weight angora and wool blend provides comfortable wear with a flattering fit. Available in Wildberry (pictured), Camel and Black, the peplum style offers a subtle twist on a classic pullover.

The fluttering peplum hem is this season’s most feminine silhouette. Toughen the look with a leather pant or bold print. Or keep it classic with a sophisticated pencil skirt or designer denim.

Sweaters are a comfortable and cozy must-have for colder months, but can get very monotonous and well… boring. Make the season’s staple more interesting with a spicy shade or fresh structure. It will brighten up even the gloomiest of days.

Summer Must-Have: Stellar Sunglasses

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One of my favorite warm-weather accessories… sunglasses. A summer must-have, the perfect pair of sunglasses not only look good but initiates a sense of confidence.

Sunglasses are a great way to reflect your unique style. Consider mixing it for the summer months. If you always go black – try-on a fun, bright color or cool print. If you always go for the same shape, try-on something different, like a trendy round frame or the universally flattering cat-eye.

If you can’t stray from the classics, brands like Ray-Ban release new collections all the time, featuring new and trendy colors or prints. A slight twist on a classic style.

Eyewear is constantly evolving with new styles and trends. Here are a few stellar sunnies:

Rebecca Minkoff ~ Bedford Sunglasses: $230.00

Matthew Williamson by Linda Farrow: Jackie O Sunglasses: $352.00

Ray-Ban ~ RB2140 Original Wayfarer (Rare Prints Collection): $150.00

Stella McCartney ~ Aviator: $250.00

Dita ~ Mariposa: $425.00

Elizabeth and James ~ Layfayette Cat Eye Sunglasses: $155.00

Perennial Swimwear: J.Crew String Bikini

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The string bikini is a staple of summer. Comfortable and versatile this style of swimwear will never stray from trend or fashion.

I purchase at least one J.Crew String Bikini per season. They are simple, honest and perennial. A straight-forward style that fit the same each year and continue to be available in trendy colors and patterns.

A string bikini combined with a mix-and-match approach to swimwear is a great combination to find your perfect suit. First, decide what you want to hide or flaunt and go from there. For instance, if you are trying to minimize a large bottom, purchase a dark color. If you want to draw attention to a flat chest, tie the string bikini in front rather than the back. If you want to elongate the legs or torso, adjust the ties on the sides accordingly.

There are so many ways to make this bikini work for you, just bite the bullet and try-it-on. Ugh“The Dreaded First Swimsuit Try-On of the Year”. The best advice I have been given: Before you step foot into a dressing room with bikini-in-hand, make sure you are tan. Fake-it with a quick spray tan or at-home application. Trust me! It will make the experience less terrifying.

The Boyfriend Jean

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The term “boyfriend jean” refers to the over-sized, slouchy nature of men’s jeans. The relaxed style offers the benefits of comfort and simplicity. Boyfriend jeans are no longer just for casual wear, they are becoming a fashionable choice for everything from a night out to a red carpet look.

To make this look work for you, choose your style. There are several different options available: distressed, slouchy, straight-leg, light-wash, dark wash, low-rise, high rise. Choosing your ideal pair should be based purely on your own personal style and what you feel comfortable wearing.

Stay casual. For an easy, hassle-free outfit, style your boyfriend jeans with a pair of brightly-colored sandals, flip-flops or even high-top converse or sneaker. Keep the top simple with a T-shirt or tank top and accessorize to your heart’s content. Then transition seamlessly from day to night with a simple change of shoe. Wedge styles are a popular choice and allow for the leg to appear elongated.

For a night out. Adjust the cuff of your boyfriend jeans according to the height of the shoe. Pair with a great bootie or sleek stiletto and make sure a little ankle is peeking out – this will break-up the look. Choose a flowing top or blouse and finish-off with a fitted blazer.

The boyfriend jean will always be a staple in my closet, even if the trend dies. They are comfortable, versatile and just plain easy. Here are 5 of my current favorites:

J.Crew ~ Vintage Straight Jean in Old Faithful Wash: $168.00

Goldsign ~ Hisjean Cropped Boyfriend Jeans: $238.00

Current/Elliott ~ The Boyfriend Jeans: $206.00

JBrand ~ Aiden Slouchy Boyfriend Jeans: $218.00

AG ~ Ex Boyfriend Jeans: $215.00

Gym Gear: Lululemon Wunder Under Crop

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Bikini season is right around the corner. Getting fit for summer starts by feeling good about yourself. The best motivation technique I know of is purchasing gym clothes that make you look good.

This can be done simply by purchasing a pair of Lululemon workout pants. Yes, the cost is ridiculous but the quality is incomparable. The Wunder Under Crop is my current favorite. From the outside, they look like your run-of-the-mill workout wear. But when pulled on, they instantly hug the body and flatter the figure with ‘superhero-like’ strength.

The capri-cut and gusset-style design allows for maximum range of motion when working out. Lululemon’s custom Luon® fabric resists moisture and will keep the shape of the pants after washing (cold delicate cycle/no fabric softener/ hang to dry).

The Wunder Under Crop run a little bit small. If you live near a Lululemon store, it is worth going in and working with a sales associate. They will find the perfect pieces for your body type and lifestyle.

 

To The Max: Pleated Maxi Skirts

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Add a bit of spring to your wardrobe… and step with a brightly-colored pleated maxi skirt. These pieces are popping up everywhere and are available in the most beautiful colors.

Wear these vibrant spring colors now by coordinating with bulky sweaters and cardigans. When the weather permits – transition effortlessly into spring with a simple tee or tank, sandal or espadrille. Wear a statement piece – necklace/earrings/bag/shoe – that plays with color scheme. Example turquoise and red, royal blue and yellow, purple and lilac… 

The shape of these skirts can often camoflauge the waistline, to avoid this, wear a belt or find a maxi skirt with a different color waist band (yellow skirt pictured).

Topshop ~ Pleated Maxi Skirt: $40.00

Piperlime ~ Hive & Honey Pleat Maxi Skirt: $59.00

Bloomingdales ~ Alice + Olivia – Shannon Pleated Maxi Skirt: $396.00

Shopbop ~ Tibi Maxi Pleated Skirt: $330.00

Forever 21Pleated Maxi Skirt: $24.80

5 under $50: Statement Necklace

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A statement necklace is an ideal and easy way to embellish any outfit. Use color, texture or shape to decorate your look. From metal fringe to brightly colored baubles, here are five fun statement necklaces all under $50.00.

Forever 21: Crescent Fringe Necklace – $14.80

Asos: Talullah Tu Beaded Collar Necklace – $41.37

Free People: Fringe of Colors Pendant – $9.95

Topshop: Textured Disc Collar Necklace – $40.00

Kenneth Cole: New York Modern Citrine Yellow Jade Frontal Necklace – $45.00

 

Bohemian Flair: Asos 70s Floppy Felt Hat

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Asos 70s Floppy Felt Hat

Inspired by 70s style, the floppy felt hat is my must-have this season. The classic wide-brim floppy will not only protect from sun damage, but will add a bit of glamour and bohemian flair.

The 70’s Floppy Felt Hat by Asos is my most recent purchase. I have been obsessing for months and finally found the perfect one. Made from thick felt/wool, the shape of the hat is perfect and adjustable (but hard to clean). The band of ribbon adds a simple embellishment that is soft and feminine.

Inspired by various bohemian and hippie influences, this hat has a retro-modern style. Pair this item with cut-off jean shorts and peasant top, big dangely earrings and ankle boots for an effortlessly casual look. Dress this look up by pairing with wide-leg pants and blazer or sundress and chunky heels. Or, channel your inner Brigitte Bardot and couple this floppy hat with wide-framed sunglasses and striped t-shirt.

The key to the look is confidence. Be fearless and rebellious this summer and try one on for size.

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