Throwback Thursday: Packing Tips from a Last-Minute Fashionista

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

Today, I’m headed out of town for a long weekend away so I thought this #tbt post would be perfect!  Yes, I was up at 3am doing my last minute packing per usual.  Now you know why I have to be uber organized!!  Enjoy!

Your Chic is Showing,

Erika's Signature

104_0047

We have a long-weekend coming up and lots of us will be going away for some fun (crappy weather along the east coast be darned!). And, lots of us are probably last-minute packers. I am a notorious last-minute packer. I regularly wait until the morning of my flight, train, or bus to put everything into my suitcase and go. It’s so bad that for my Twelve in ’12 one of my goals was to pack at least 2 days ahead of my trips. In 2012 that happened about 50% of the time. In 2013 it’s happened exactly never.

But here’s the thing, just because I do not actually pack until the night before or morning of departure doesn’t mean that I’m throwing any old thing into my suitcase. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve already carefully planned for my trip, so it doesn’t really take much to get everything into the actual suitcase. Once I started to use a few methodical tricks it made packing a breeze – which has only fueled my ability to wait until the very last second (the very last one) to pack.

If you’re a last-minute fashionista like me try using some of the tips below to make packing (whether last-minute or well-planned) a breeze!

1. Plan your outfits ahead of time. Packing at the last-minute isn’t what gets most people into trouble. It’s a lack of a game plan that gets you into trouble. If you know what you’re going to pack it takes very little time to actually fit it into your suitcase.

Sticky Notes

2. To help you plan ahead, use sticky notes. As you can see, I use one sticky note for every day I’ll be away. On the note I’ll write the temperature (only in the spring and fall when it could go from way hot to way chilly in a matter of hours). Then, I’ll write down each component of my outfit for that day. When it comes time for you to pack you can cross it off as you pull it from your closet. You don’t actually have to wear the clothes on the day – the point is to have an outfit (or 2 if need be) for each day.

Sticky Note Close-Up

Yes, I write that neatly. Everyone makes fun of me for it.

Along those lines, make sticky notes for any special items you’ll need as well, like beach wear and accessories and workout gear. And dear lord don’t forget your PJs! I’ve done that a time or two!

3. Pick complementary colors and pieces. I love shoes. And, at one point in my life, I used to have a pair of shoes to match every single outfit I brought on a trip.

Don’t worry – the madness stopped when I went to Europe with an ex-boyfriend and we literally had one suitcase full of nothing but shoes which got delayed for a full day and almost caused me to go into cardiac arrest in Barcelona.

Shoes: Sperry Top Siders

Shoes: Sperry Top Sider

Now, like the smart cookie I am, I pack outfits that work together so that I can reuse the same pieces (i.e. shoes, jackets, hats, scarves, jeans, etc.). For my jaunt to NYC this weekend, I’ve packed my grey Sperry Top Siders and Gold Sandals and picked outfits that can be worn with those shoes. I also stashed a navy military jacket that can be worn with 2-3 outfits. My fave jean jacket matches two outfits. And I’ll recycle my jeans. Every outfit is unique but they’re in the same color family and use common pieces.

The outfits above use the same base color (navy blue) so that the same pieces (a navy military jacket and orange cross body bag) can be utilized with both outfits.  Jeans: Avenue I Shirt: Old Navy I Dress: Joe Fresh I Scarf: J Crew

The outfits above use the same base color (navy blue) so that the same pieces (a navy military jacket and orange cross body bag) can be utilized with both outfits.
Jeans: Avenue I Shirt: Old Navy I Dress: Joe Fresh I Scarf: J Crew

Jacket: Dress Barn

Jacket: Dress Barn

Bag: H&M

Bag: H&M

4. Roll your clothes. This is strictly about getting as much use out of your space as possible. I roll pretty much everything except for jeans. It saves room and keeps things wrinkle free when rolled tightly. That means you’ll have to pack roll friendly clothing. Which should be a part of your strategizing.

Rolled Clothes

Items rolled in my suitcase for maximum storage.

5. Wear your bulkiest items. You’ll notice that I’m bringing a jean jacket with me. But it won’t go in my suitcase. It gets worn on the trip to NY and the trip home. This way, that leaves me extra room in my suitcase for other items. In the winter, wear your heaviest sweater on travel days and layer up.

Jacket: Gap

Jacket: Gap

Jacket: Gap I Dress: Caslon

Jacket: Gap I Dress: Caslon

6. Stuff socks in your shoes and accessories in your hats. Every little bit of space helps. So I try to stuff socks in my shoes and, I almost always travel with a hat. If I’m not wearing said hat, I lay it in the suitcase with the opening facing out. I pack items around it (like t-shirts, PJs, etc.) and then I fill it with things like belts, scarves, etc. This will a) keep your hat from getting crushed and b) keep your hat’s shape. You’ll thank me when you arrive in Panama with your Panama perfectly in tact.

Sneakers: Puma

Sneakers: Puma

2013_05_24_07_33_08_603

Hat: My own

7. Travel cases are your friend. I keep a travel case stocked with all of my travel sized essentials (lotion, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, contact solution, etc.). This way, I never have to unpack and repack it. I just store it away until it’s time for my next trip. I also have separate travel cases for hair items, make-up and jewelry. I especially love my Thirty-One jewelry case because I can roll it or lay it flat to fit.

Thirty One Jewelry Case

Jewelry Case: Thirty One

8. Leave room for your dirty stuff. I used to pack an empty bag for my dirty close and then stuff my suitcase to the brim. Dumb idea. That bad is going to be full when you leave. Most of us aren’t folding and rolling our dirty stuff, so at the end of the trip we’re trying to figure out how to stuff a bag of stinky everything into our suitcase. It almost never fits on the way home. Now, I try to pack little to nothing (usually it’s little) in the front zipper pocket of my suitcase and I save this for dirty clothes. I also roll them tightly when I put them in there.

9. If you pack something bulky (think sneakers, boots or jeans) wear them on the way home.  It’s rare that we come home from a trip empty handed. Ok, well, it’s rare that I do. So, I tend to pack bulkier items (like jeans or sneakers) with the plan to wear them on my trip home. You’ll be amazed at the extra space you’ll get my removing one pair of jeans and a bulky item like sneakers or hard-bottomed shoes. Enough room for a couple cute tops and some new sandals!

10. Pack you expandable bag “unexpanded” (is that word?). This is another trick to help you if you come home with more than you left with. Your bag will be fully packed, but you’ll gain some wiggle room when you expand it for the trip home. Win!

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Bonus tip: if you’re flying, keep a stash of travel sized toiletries, an extra pair of “unmentionables,” and a fresh top to change into just in case your suitcases don’t arrive when you do.

It took me exactly ONE (very stinky) time to learn this lesson the hard way. The very, very hard way. In a foreign country. Now you know why I almost went into cardiac arrest.

So, my last minute fashionistas – any more tips to make last minute packing a breeze? And, for my well-planned packing divas, do you have any tips to share?

You know what to do! Weigh in below!

Your Chic is Showing,

YCS Guide to Spring: Embracing Color and Patterns

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

Around YCS we are ready for the spring (snow still on the ground notwithstanding)!  Throughout the month, we’ll all be sharing our top tips to get you guys ready for spring!  Today, I’m encouraging all of our lovely readers to embrace color and patterns this spring!  One of my favorite things about the warmer months is the sudden explosion of bold patterns and bright colors.  I’ll always be a black and white girl at heart; however, by the time March and April roll around I’m definitely ready for a little (or a lot) pop of color in my wardrobe.

Below are two examples of how you can incorporate bold colors and patterns into your wardrobe this spring.

Flirty Dress + Bold Geometric Print

When I first laid eyes on this dress I was immediately drawn to the bold, geometric print that contrasted with such a pretty, delicate color.  Geometric prints were all over the runways in late 2012 and 2013, but they were in much stronger colors – bold reds, bright yellows, etc.  Seeing this strong print in a color like coral was immediately interesting to my eye.  I also loved the flirty and flattering a-line cut of the dress and the wide belt that helps cinch in the waist.  I knew almost immediately that I would pair the dress with turquoise jewelry to create some springtime magic!

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Dress + Necklace + Earrings: Dressbarn I Shoes: Aldo I Bag: Prada I Bracelet: Bauble Bar

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When I received this adorable clutch (pictured below) as a gift, I knew it would make a perfect addition to this dress.  The turquoise color and geometric laser cut-outs are complementary to the dress.  By switching the bag I can go from a daytime activity, like church, to afternoon brunch with the gals.

For everyone who saw the purse on the YCS Instagram account over the weekend, here are the details on where you can get your very own; because, you most certainly can’t have mine!

Clutch: MMS (via Fleurish Lane Boutique I www.fleurishlane.com)

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Classic Pattern + Bright Colors

It’s no secret that I’m drawn to classic styles and patterns.  So, it should come a no surprise that I was immediately in love with this paisley print dress when I saw it on the rack.  Typically, I don’t wear much green, but this dress was too cute not to try!  I adored the classic cut of the dress, flattering belt, and once I realized the dress had pockets I was completely sold!  By pairing the dress with a neutral handbag and shoes, it is work appropriate.

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Dress: Dressbarn I Necklace: Avenue I Shoes: Elie Tahari I Bracelets: Towers of Jewels, Bauble Bar (not pictured above)

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Bag: Le Bagagerie

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Sunglasses: D&G

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Are you guys ready for spring?  Are you breaking out the warm weather clothes?  What are you most looking forward to wearing once the weather finally breaks for good!  You know the drill – weigh in below!

Your Chic is Showing,

Erika's Signature

 

Photo credit: Rob Bergsted

Launching YCS TV with a Fashion Show!

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

For quite some time people have been asking if YCS will ever set-up a YouTube channel. And, when we brought our fabulous intern Trish on board, it was one of the first suggestions that she made. However, I still put off setting up the channel. That is, until this weekend. I finally invested in a company iPad and I became immediately hooked on iMovie. What was once a completely tedious and obnoxious task (trying to edit videos on my netbook) suddenly became incredibly simple!

Now, the YCS team can start adding the videos our readers have requested – including a high heel tutorial based on our Strut Your Stuff event! I’m also going to take a minute to call Ms. Torrey out because I know she’s got a ton of make-up tutorials that we’d LOVE to share on YCS TV!! I, for one, am super excited because this is just another new and exciting way that the YCS family can interact!

The first video posted on YCS TV is from a fashion show I attended last night as a part of 17 . . . Days of Fashion. The event was held at Dress Barn – Bala Cynwyd (the same store who will graciously be hosting the YCS Launch Party in October!) and was sponsored by D.I.M.e Universal. The show debuted Dress Barn’s amazing fall collection. There were a number of pieces I wanted to snatch up immediately! In fact, if I let you hear the raw footage you would hear me and Taja, of Curvy Urbane, plotting on the pieces we were going to get.

One of those pieces is the sleeveless, leather motorcycle jacket pictured on the runway below.  I was completely enamored with this piece the first time it appeared on the runway and even more so the second time it showed up (pictured below).  I can’t wait to pair it with one of my flowy maxi dresses to give it a bit of edge come September!

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You’ll see from the video below that the fashion show featured models of all shapes and sizes.  Some of the women are trained models from D.I.M.e Universal while others are some of Dress Barn’s very own customers!  The show even featured the wonderful Ms. Fabulous of Big BOLD & Beautiful Women. The fashion show displayed a variety in the clothing styles offered by Dress Barn – everything from corporate attire to weekend wear to cocktail and formal dresses! As I’ve been telling anyone who will listen – this is NOT your Momma’s Dress Barn!  The trends  (lace and leather details, comfy knits, classic patterns, etc.) and colors (black and white – which is still hot, turbulence (a.k.a grey), olive, emerald, acai (a.k.a purple)) that were all over the fall runways can be found in Dress Barn!  They also carry a variety of recognizable brands like Calvin Klein, Jones NY and Roz & Ali.

The other fabulous thing about the clothing is that you do not get a huge difference in inventory between the misses store and the plus sized store.  What that means is that if you see an incredibly cute jacket, perhaps of the sleeveless, leather motorcycle variety, on a size 4 model, it is likely that they will have that jacket in plus sizes as well.  This is one of my most favorite things about Dress Barn – the cute clothes literally range from size 4 – 24!

Check out the video below for yourself!  It features a ton of looks shown throughout the fashion show.  Warning: I need to work on my camera skills, so it’s a tad bumpy at times!  Also, if you’re at the office, be sure to pop in your headphones.  I’m sure you love Beyonce, JT and B.o.B. as much as I do, but I don’t want anyone to get into trouble!

As you can see, the looks were fabulous.  The jewelry was provided by Traci Lynn and there were some awesome pieces as well!

After the show, everyone was invited to shop the two stores (Dress Barn Misses and Dress Barn Women) with a 15% discount!  Below, you can check out my haul.  I immediately snatched up the sleeveless, leather motorcycle jacket (the last one in the store – WOOOOT!) and also got a beautiful lace dress.  I love the color, which is more putty/taupe than grey (which is how it reads in the pics below), and, of course, I’m all about the leather detail provided on the trim and waistband.  I’ve been mixing ultra-feminine and edgy for some time now and this is the perfect combo!  I’ve come up with about 9 different ways to wear each piece – both separately and together.  What do you think?

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So what did you think of the Dress Barn fashion show presented by D.I.M.e Universal for 17 . . . Days of Fashion?  And what kinds of vids do you guys want to see on YCS TV?  You know the drill, weigh in below!

Your Chic is Showing,

Erika's Signature

Packing Tips (from a Last Minute Fashionista)

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

104_0047

We have a long-weekend coming up and lots of us will be going away for some fun (crappy weather along the east coast be darned!).  And, lots of us are probably last-minute packers.  I am a notorious last-minute packer.  I regularly wait until the morning of my flight, train, or bus to put everything into my suitcase and go.  It’s so bad that for my Twelve in ’12 one of my goals was to pack at least 2 days ahead of my trips.  In 2012 that happened about 50% of the time.  In 2013 it’s happened exactly never.

But here’s the thing, just because I do not actually pack until the night before or morning of departure doesn’t mean that I’m throwing any old thing into my suitcase.  It’s actually the opposite.  I’ve already carefully planned for my trip, so it doesn’t really take much to get everything into the actual suitcase.  Once I started to use a few methodical tricks it made packing a breeze – which has only fueled my ability to wait until the very last second (the very last one) to pack.

If you’re a last-minute fashionista like me try using some of the tips below to make packing (whether last-minute or well-planned) a breeze!

1. Plan your outfits ahead of time.  Packing at the last-minute isn’t what gets most people into trouble.  It’s a lack of a game plan that gets you into trouble.  If you know what you’re going to pack it takes very little time to actually fit it into your suitcase.

Sticky Notes

2.  To help you plan ahead, use sticky notes.  As you can see, I use one sticky note for every day I’ll be away.  On the note I’ll write the temperature (only in the spring and fall when it could go from way hot to way chilly in a matter of hours).  Then, I’ll write down each component of my outfit for that day.  When it comes time for you to pack you can cross it off as you pull it from your closet.  You don’t actually have to wear the clothes on the day – the point is to have an outfit (or 2 if need be) for each day.

Sticky Note Close-Up

Yes, I write that neatly. Everyone makes fun of me for it.

Along those lines, make sticky notes for any special items you’ll need as well, like beach wear and accessories and workout gear.  And dear lord don’t forget your PJs!  I’ve done that a time or two!

3.  Pick complementary colors and pieces.  I love shoes.  And, at one point in my life, I used to have a pair of shoes to match every single outfit I brought on a trip.

Don’t worry – the madness stopped when I went to Europe with an ex-boyfriend and we literally had one suitcase full of nothing but shoes which got delayed for a full day and almost caused me to go into cardiac arrest in Barcelona. 

Shoes: Sperry Top Siders

Shoes: Sperry Top Sider

Now, like the smart cookie I am, I pack outfits that work together so that I can reuse the same pieces (i.e. shoes, jackets, hats, scarves, jeans, etc.).   For my jaunt to NYC this weekend, I’ve packed my grey Sperry Top Siders and Gold Sandals and picked outfits that can be worn with those shoes.  I also stashed a navy military jacket that can be worn with 2-3 outfits.  My fave jean jacket matches two outfits.  And I’ll recycle my jeans.  Every outfit is unique but they’re in the same color family and use common pieces.

The outfits above use the same base color (navy blue) so that the same pieces (a navy military jacket and orange cross body bag) can be utilized with both outfits.  Jeans: Avenue I Shirt: Old Navy I Dress: Joe Fresh I Scarf: J Crew

The outfits above use the same base color (navy blue) so that the same pieces (a navy military jacket and orange cross body bag) can be utilized with both outfits.
Jeans: Avenue I Shirt: Old Navy I Dress: Joe Fresh I Scarf: J Crew

Jacket: Dress Barn

Jacket: Dress Barn

Bag: H&M

Bag: H&M

4.  Roll your clothes.  This is strictly about getting as much use out of your space as possible.  I roll pretty much everything except for jeans.  It saves room and keeps things wrinkle free when rolled tightly. That means you’ll have to pack roll friendly clothing.  Which should be a part of your strategizing.

Rolled Clothes

Items rolled in my suitcase for maximum storage.

5.  Wear your bulkiest items.  You’ll notice that I’m bringing a jean jacket with me.  But it won’t go in my suitcase.  It gets worn on the trip to NY and the trip home.  This way, that leaves me extra room in my suitcase for other items.  In the winter, wear your heaviest sweater on travel days and layer up.

Jacket: Gap

Jacket: Gap

Jacket: Gap I Dress: Caslon

Jacket: Gap I Dress: Caslon

6.  Stuff socks in your shoes and accessories in your hats.  Every little bit of space helps.  So I try to stuff socks in my shoes and, I almost always travel with a hat.  If I’m not wearing said hat, I lay it in the suitcase with the opening facing out.  I pack items around it (like t-shirts, PJs, etc.) and then I fill it with things like belts, scarves, etc.  This will a) keep your hat from getting crushed and b) keep your hat’s shape.  You’ll thank me when you arrive in Panama with your Panama perfectly in tact.

Sneakers: Puma

Sneakers: Puma

2013_05_24_07_33_08_603

Hat: My own

7.  Travel cases are your friend.  I keep a travel case stocked with all of my travel sized essentials (lotion, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, contact solution, etc.).  This way, I never have to unpack and repack it.  I just store it away until it’s time for my next trip.  I also have separate travel cases for hair items, make-up and jewelry.  I especially love my Thirty-One jewelry case because I can roll it or lay it flat to fit.

Thirty One Jewelry Case

Jewelry Case: Thirty One

8.  Leave room for your dirty stuff.  I used to pack an empty bag for my dirty close and then stuff my suitcase to the brim.  Dumb idea.  That bad is going to be full when you leave.  Most of us aren’t folding and rolling our dirty stuff, so at the end of the trip we’re trying to figure out how to stuff a bag of stinky everything into our suitcase.  It almost never fits on the way home.  Now, I try to pack little to nothing (usually it’s little) in the front zipper pocket of my suitcase and I save this for dirty clothes.  I also roll them tightly when I put them in there.

9.  If you pack something bulky (think sneakers, boots or jeans) wear them on the way home.  It’s rare that we come home from a trip empty handed.  Ok, well, it’s rare that I do.  So, I tend to pack bulkier items (like jeans or sneakers) with the plan to wear them on my trip home.  You’ll be amazed at the extra space you’ll get my removing one pair of jeans and a bulky item like sneakers or hard-bottomed shoes.  Enough room for a couple cute tops and some new sandals!

10.  Pack you expandable bag “unexpanded” (is that word?).  This is another trick to help you if you come home with more than you left with.  Your bag will be fully packed, but you’ll gain some wiggle room when you expand it for the trip home.  Win!

2013_05_24_07_25_31_400

Bonus tip: if you’re flying, keep a stash of travel sized toiletries, an extra pair of “unmentionables,” and a fresh top to change into just in case your suitcases don’t arrive when you do. 

It took me exactly ONE (very stinky) time to learn this lesson the hard way.  The very, very hard way.  In a foreign country. Now you know why I almost went into cardiac arrest. 

So, my last minute fashionistas – any more tips to make last minute packing a breeze?  And, for my well-planned packing divas, do you have any tips to share?

You know what to do!  Weigh in below!

Your Chic is Showing,

What to Wear: to a Fundraiser (for women)

I love spring!

Sure, all the April flowers are nice and I appreciate the warmer weather (which is finally here!); but, what I really love about the spring is the kick-off of fundraiser season.  I already pretty much think that life is a giant game of dress-up, so getting all dolled up for various parties, galas and banquets is right up my alley.  However, I know the inevitable stress that comes with getting dressed for such occasions.  The ante is further upped when you consider that you’ll most likely be rubbing elbows with some of your city’s or industry’s elite.  Of course you want to look the part!

Have no fear!  YCS is here to break down some of the more popular fundraiser styles – black tie/black tie optional, cocktail, banquet/luncheon/reception – and help you understand what will work best.

Black Tie/Black Tie Optional

The only thing more formal than black tie is white tie; however, the rules are so restrictive you can easily google “white tie attire” and find out everything you need to know.  For me, black tie and black tie optional galas are always a gray area.  Especially with that little word, “optional,” thrown in.  Typically, if you’re going to a black-tie affair, you are safe to assume that you should wear a floor-length evening gown (if your black tie event is during the day, we’ve got bigger fish to fry – like why are we having a black tie event during the day?).   The great thing about living in the 21st century is that you aren’t relegated to department stores or a bridal shop to find an amazing evening gowns.  You can shop online, or stores you wouldn’t traditionally think of as having formal wear (i.e. J Crew) and even discount retailers like TJ Maxx and Marshalls carry evening gowns.  My recommendation would be to invest a couple evening gowns for extra special events and then supplement from places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  I have been invited to a fair amount of black tie fundraisers and I can’t afford a $300 dress every time.  Black tie optional leaves you with more wiggle room.  You can certainly go the route of a long gown.  But, you can also go with an appropriately short number or even a beautiful pair of evening pants.  For either event, evening sandals, shoes or pumps (the more sparkle the better in my opinion) and an evening clutch or bag (silk, satin and not too big) will do the trick!

Cocktail

If a fundraiser calls for cocktail attire then you definitely have a ton of adorable options to wear.  A little black (or red, or pink, or green, or . . . you get the picture) will always be appropriate.  Shorter dresses (3-5 inches above the knee – depending on your height and build) are options.  But don’t be afraid to rock a cute knee length or even tea length dress.  You also aren’t confined to wearing a dress.  You can certainly wear a skirt and top or even a fantastic pair of tuxedo pants with a great jacket (skip the shirt underneath if you’re feeling really daring!).  Cocktail parties are meant for you to mix, mingle and network, so be sure to wear footwear that a) you can stand in, b) you can walk in (need lessons – come Strut Your Stuff) and c) is comfortable.  At a cocktail party, feel free to take a risk – wear a unique color combo (my yellow cocktail dress with red shoes is one of my fave ensembles) or something you would never get away with normally (like a white dress – which you wouldn’t wear at a wedding) or a funky hair accessory (when my hair was longer I would often bobby pin brooches into my updo or wear pretty flowers).

Banquet/Luncheon/Reception

Last, but not least, might be the most confusing of all fundraisers – those of the banquet, luncheon, or reception variety.   At these events, you can find yourself wearing anything from a business suit, to a skirt and cardigan, to a cute spring-time dress.  As a general rule, dress to match the organization hosting the event.  For example, if it’s a business or industry associate hosting the event then you’re probably fairly safe wearing a skirt or pant suit.  For an afternoon luncheon or reception, your best bet is a great dress or pretty skirt.  If there is a theme (big hat brunch, white linen party) then by all means embrace it (as shown below).  These types of events leave a lot of wiggle room – and that’s OK!  I wish I could tell you what one thing to wear, but, by nature, it just isn’t that easy.  So, reach into your closet and pull out your favorite flowery spring dress, your chicest slacks or your favorite fitted blazer.  Just remember to keep it appropriate and classy.

Below are a few looks I’ve worn to various fundraisers (and one baby shower, but it works for a fundraiser!).  Excuse the overwhelming amount of selfies.  I rarely remember to take photos at the actual events!

Dress: Adrianna Pappel

Dress: Adrianna Pappel

Bag: Nneka Saran

Bag: Nneka Saran

Dress: David's Bridal; Necklace & Earrings: Dress Barn

Dress: David’s Bridal; Necklace & Earrings: Dress Barn

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Bracelet: Bauble Bar

Bracelet: Bauble Bar

Shoes: Steve Madden

Shoes: Steve Madden

Rings: Bauble Bar; Clutch: New York & Company

Rings: Bauble Bar; Clutch: New York & Company

Dress: David's Bridal

Dress: David’s Bridal

Dress: David's Bridal

Check out the brooch I pinned in my hair!  Dress: David’s Bridal; Shoes: Elie Tahari

For an afternoon luncheon a simple jacket and top will do the trick.  Jacket: Dress Barn; Shirt: Avenue

For an afternoon luncheon a simple jacket and top will do the trick. Jacket: Dress Barn; Shirt: Avenue

A belted cardigan and brocade skirt are simple and elegant for a banquet or luncheon. Cardigan: New York & Co.; Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft

A belted cardigan and brocade skirt are simple and elegant for a banquet or luncheon.
Cardigan: New York & Co.; Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft

This picture is from a baby shower; however, the dress will work just as easily at an awards banquet or luncheon. Dress: Dress Barn

This picture is from a baby shower; however, the dress will work just as easily at an awards banquet or luncheon.
Dress: Dress Barn

Big hat brunches require big hats (or fascinators)!Fascinator: Touche' Accessories
Dress: Dress Barn

Big hat brunches require big hats (or fascinators)!
Fascinator: Touche’ Accessories
Dress: Dress Barn

Do you all find yourselves in the thick of the fundraising season? What are you wearing?  You know the deal!

Your Chic is Showing,

                    With Love, Erika

What to Wear: for Valentine’s Day

February 14th is fast approaching and whether you’re single or taken people are always checking for what you’re wearing (even as an adult, I find myself taking inventory of who is rocking red).  It doesn’t matter if you’re having date night with your sweetie, drinks with your girls, treats with your kids, or movie night with yourself – you still need to look fabulous.  Below are some looks cultivated from my favorite websites that will meet all of your Valentine’s Day needs.

Date Night

For date night with your boo, I would suggest going super romantic or super sexy.  Either way, you couldn’t go wrong with one of these dresses below.

Michael by Michael Kors Faux Wrap Dress (Red)

Mesmerize Me Lace Dress from Fashion to Figure  (comes in plus sizes!)

Alfani Color Blocked Sheath Dress from Macys

Alfani Color Blocked Sheath Dress at Macys (Photo Credit: http://www.macys.com)

BCBGeneration 3-quarter Sleeve Dress from Macys (super sexy mini with a back cut-out!)

Drinks with the Girls

Celebrating V-Day with the girls?  Keep things light and airy and super flirty.  It’s likely you’ll find a cutie to pay for your drinks with these pieces.

Pleated Faux Leather Skirt by Guess (a must-have in my opinion!)

Faux leather pleated skirt by Guess. (Photo Credit: Polyvore)

ASOS Curve Peg Pants (from the ASOS plus line)

Contrast Trim Hi-Low Blouse from Dress Barn (currently in my closet)

Dress Barn contrast trip hi-low top.

Dress Barn contrast trim hi-low top.

Ethnic Print Shirt from Zara

Lace Blouse with Faux Leather Piping from Zara

Baking Cookies with the Kiddies.  Or the nieces and nephews.  Or your favorite little people.

These pieces are super comfortable and in all your favorite Valentine’s Day colors.

Ultra Skinny Printed Pants by Gap

Ultra Skinny Printed Pants by Gap (Photo Credit: http://www.gap.com)

Rockstar Demi-Boot Jeans by Old Navy

Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater from Joe Fresh

Vintage Cotton Stripe Tee from J. Crew (yes please! In every color!)

Movie Night at Home

Sometimes, the best way to spend V-Day is at home, bundled on the couch with popcorn, ice cream (but not too much!), and vino.  These clothes will be a comfy addition to the perfect night in!

Kiss Love Dream Sleep Shirt from Avenue (plus size alert!)

The Afterhours Pajamas by Victoria’s Secret

Grace Robe by La Perla

Polka Dot Knit Chemise from Cacique

Black and pink polka dot chemise by Cacique (Photo Credit: Lane Bryant)

What will you be wearing this Valentine’s Day?  My outfit remains to be seen, but I’ll be sure to share a pic.

Your Chic is Showing,

With Love, Erika

What to Wear: to Fashion Week

It is the most wonderful time of the year!  OK, maybe 2nd most wonderful time, behind only Christmas.  That’s right – Fashion Week!  For the month of February Fashion Week will be taking place the world over (literally) and all of your favorite designers will present their fall collections – before we’ve even had a chance to rock the latest looks from the spring likes (spring please come SOON!).  This year, although I begrudgingly could not attend the #NYFW debut of emerging designer Urbana Chappa’s line, Maison de Urbana, I am lucky enough to be attending 5 (squeeeeeeeeeal) presentations and fashion shows during Atlantic City Fashion Week and Philly Fashion Week.  Of course, that left (and still leaves) me begging the questions – WHAT DO I WEAR?

Before I share what I have decided to wear – so far – (you didn’t really think I’d leave you hanging, did you?), there are a few hard and fast rules to live by when strutting your stuff during fashion week (or any other week really).

  • Stay true to who you are – This is the number one thing I found when researching what to wear.  Which is great, because I try to live by this anyway.  In general I skew towards clean lines, classic silhouettes, and timeless pieces.  Fashion Week would NOT be the time for me to experiment with graphic patterns, boxy silhouettes, or anything else I don’t feel comfortable in.  Yes, you can punch up your style for Fashion Week, but the key is that it is YOUR style.
  •  It’s OK to mix new with old – I get it.  It is TEMPTING to go out and buy a completely new wardrobe to attend the shows and presentations.  That is a terrible idea – mostly because how are you going to pay your rent/mortgage, heat (it’s so cold in the D!), etc.?  It’s better to pick up a couple of new pieces that you can mix and match with what you already have.  I bought 2 new shirts, a new skirt and a new blazer (all for less than $150) that I will be mixing and matching with what is already in my closet.  I also made sure to pick pieces that I will wear independently of Fashion Week.
  • You don’t have to be all designer everything – Yes, I will be wearing a few key designer pieces while I sit next to the runway tonight at AC Fashion Week (i.e. Elie Tahari shoes and Nneka Saran clutch) but those will be mixed in with more inexpensive items like my Roz and Ali top (purchased at Dress Barn).  My style and aesthetic has always been to mix high and low and Fashion Week is definitely the time to do that.
  • Wear comfortable shoes – That can be whatever is comfortable to you.  I can wear a pair of Tahari round toe pumps all the live long day.  Literally.  I’ve logged 18+ hours in my fave color blocked pair.  So, it won’t be a big deal for me to use those to anchor my looks.  But, it might not make sense if you’re running between shows at Bryant park to be teetering in sky high heels.  Bring a pair of ballet flats that fit in your clutch and switch your shoes before you go in.  Or, better yet, just wear a pair you can zip back and forth in.  Fashion Week is also NOT the time to break in a new pair of shoes, no matter how tempting it may be.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, one of the looks I’ve pulled together for the shows and presentations I will be attending.  These are simply pictures of the pieces/look that will come together.  I will be posting pictures on facebook (www.facebook.com/yourchicisshowing), Instagram (@yourchicisshowing), Twitter (@urchicisshowing) and Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/yourchicisshowing) during my adventures.  And, of course I can’t give away all of my secrets – mostly because I haven’t picked out all of my outfits – so you’ll definitely have to check back for the rest of the looks.

Atlantic City Fashion Week – Friday February 8, 2013

Top: Roz & Ali for Dress Barn (www.dressbarn.com)

Pants: Michael Kors (note, pair above is similar to what I will be wearing, but not exact) (www.michaelkors.com)

Clutch: Nneka Saran (www.nnekasaran.com)

Shoes: Elie Tahari (www.elitahari.com)

Jewelry: Would you believe I still haven’t decided?

Hair: Just a little trim to clean up the pixie.  I’ll keep it in a traditional pixie style for this event.

Make-up: Natural neutral tones on the eyes and a bright (!!!) red lip.  A little bronzer on the cheeks and I’ll be good to go!

How I picked this look: AC Fashion Week features both ready to wear and couture looks so I didn’t want to pick anything too casual or too over the top.  I am SICK of dreary winter colors, so I decided this cream top would be a great way to change up my winter blues.  I had originally planned to rock a pair slim-fit black ankle pants; but, when they called for rain all day long I decided that a pair of cream slacks in a heavier material would fit the bill.  Side note: After an intense game of dress-up I went BACK to wearing slim fit ankle pants.  Rain, sleet and snow be darned! Picking the shoes was easy as the sequin detail in my shoe matches that of the bow in the top.  And, I love how the Nneka Saran bag provides a bit of a tribal feel as compared to the simple elegance of the outfit.  Really, you can’t go wrong with a bright red lip when rocking black and white, so it only seemed fitting to wear that, and not much else in the way of make-up.

nneka saran

pants

roz & ali

Before I jet, here is a list of shows/presentations I will be attending.  I’ve also included links to purchase tickets (if applicable) and to check out the designers.

Atlantic City Fashion Week – Friday February 8, 2013

Faithful by Michael Thomas – Sunday February 17, 2013 (http://www.faithfulmt.com/)

Philly Fashion Week Accessories Party – Thursday February 21, 2013 (http://www.phillyfashionweek.org/#!schedule/cngp)

Philly Fashion Week Ready to Wear Runway Show – Friday February 22, 2013 (http://fbhpfw2013.eventbrite.com/)

Philly Fashion Week Haute Couture Runway Show – Saturday February 23, 2013 (http://fbhpfw2013.eventbrite.com/)

Well, what do you think of my AC Fashion Week look?  What do you think I should rock for my other shows and presentations?  Are you hitting up any shows?  If so, which ones?  And of course, what are you wearing?

Remember to link up with Your Chic is Showing on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Pinterest!! You can see what is happening tonight at AC Fashion Week and check out all of my Fashion Week looks!

Your Chic is Showing,

With Love, Erika

Signature Style Series: Effortlessly Chic – Take it to the Max(i)

Today is our last post in the signature style series, Effortlessly Chic. Let’s have a moment of silence.

Now that we’re past that, it should be no surprise to anyone that I am a fan of dresses. Mostly because they are super easy. Think about it. You only have to decide on one, single item of clothing. It seriously gets no easier than that! Then, you bust out a few accessories and a fab pair of shoes and you’re out the door.

In all my days of wearing dresses (and it’s a LOT of days) I’ve always found that I have felt my most confident and chic in two things: a cocktail dress or a maxi dress. Since we’re here to talk effortless chic, cocktail dresses are not the topic of this post. After all, they can be anything but effortless. But a beautiful, flowing maxi dress? They’re about as easy as Sunday morning.

Here is the thing about a maxi dress – the style is almost universally flattering as long as you have it cut the right length (so get it hemmed or lengthened!!) and you choose a flowing fabric. They also look good regardless of whether you’re rocking a pattern, print or solid color. And even though the length is the same (long) there still tons of variations to best fit your style, like one-shoulder, sleeveless, tank-style, spaghetti strapped, etc. And, given their length, you do not need to over accessorize a maxi dress. Often minimal jewelry works best – a strong earring, embellished necklace or arm full of bangles will do the trick (NOT worn together!).

Two of my favorite maxi dresses are highlighted for you below. The first is a one-shoulder frock I picked up at Dress Barn (www.dressbarn.com). It’s luxurious material (I’m a huge texture person), silky smooth finish and edgy pattern make it a go-to for me when I’ve got a summer event to attend.

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Bathroom pic not withstanding, you can see that all it takes is a bold red purse to make the entire ensemble pop. Nothing else is over the top as not to compete with the dress which is a bold statement in its own right.
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The second dress is by Allen B. for JC Penney (www.jcpenney.com) and is a beautiful patterned piece with peek-a-boo sleeves and a jewel-detail neckline. Again, this dress needs nothing more than a ring, some black stud earrings and simple black sandals to pull it all together. As you can see, there really is nothing easier than pulling this look together.

So, have you added maxi dresses to your effortlessly chic wardrobe? Did you know you can transition them to fall (look out for an upcoming post about that)? Aren’t they completely easy and carefree?

Let me know what you think!!

Your Chic is Showing,

          

Photo Credits: CoraStar Productions

Signature Style Series: Effortlessly Chic – Nautical

Most women I know are on a quest to be effortlessly chic.  And, for most of us (myself included) it takes more effort than not to look like you didn’t try at all.  There is the art of perfecting “bed head,” managing to master the “I’m not wearing any make-up” make-up look and the delicate balance between destroying your closet to find the perfect outfit and making sure it says “I didn’t try at all.”  The bottom line is this, we women go through a lot to look effortlessly chic and cool.

However, I have found, there really are simple ways to look effortlessly chic, which require little effort on your part and can be achieved with clothes you probably already own in your closet.  One easy theme that truly looks timeless and never truly goes out of style is the nautical theme.  It borders on patriotic, and you do have to be careful not to go overboard; however, it’s really simple to achieve this look and walk out the door looking classy and chic.

Anything navy, white and red will lend itself easily to this look.  Even better if you have a few striped pieces to mix in with the solids.  Crisp white will look clean, red will edge up your look and navy will scream “classic” all the day long.  To avoid looking like a 4th of July firework that exploded opt for accessories that are gold or silver (NOT red, white or blue) or other neutral tones (like beige).  Remember the goal here is just to pull a few pieces together that give a nautical feel.  In all honesty, you probably didn’t buy any of the pieces with a nautical look in mind.  We’re going for “inspired by nautical” here, not a literal translation (see: Amber in “Clueless”).

The outfits below are pulled from pieces in my closet and will hopefully inspire you to do some digging in your own closet to see what works.  I used the same red pants (Avenue, www.avenue.com) to anchor both looks and used the same vintage red clutch (my own) as my main accessory.  Each outfit shows two different shoes – one with a more nautical tilt and one with less of a tilt.  You’ll notice that neither outfit is over-accessorized.  This theme speaks for its effortlessly chic self!

Nautical Look One`

Sweater: Michael by Michael Kors (www.michaelkors.com); Navy Wedges: Banana Republic (www.bananarepublic.com); Sandals: Payless (www.payless.com); Camisole: New York & Co. (www.nyandcompany.com); Necklace: Michael Kors (taken from a Michael Kors top); Bracelets: Avenue (www.avenue.com)

Nautical Look 2

Military Jacket: Dress Barn (www.dressbarn.com); Shirt: Express (www.express.com); Necklace and Earrings: Target (www.target.com); Rings: Tiffany & Co. (www.tiffany.com) and my own; Tan Peep-Toe Pump: BCBG (www.bcbg.com); Blue Suede Round-Toe Pump: Payless (www.payless.com)

As you can see, it doesn’t take much to look relaxed and cool when you rock out in a nautical theme.  As long as you keep your accessories minimal and your attitude relaxed, you can easily master effortlessly chic in a nautical style.

So, are you ready to tackle the challenge?  Be sure to snap pics of your nautically inspired outfits and send them to Your Chic is Showing.  As always, I’m dying to see what you come up with!

Your Chic is Showing,

                 

Photo Credits: CoraStar Productions

Casual Night Out in a White T-Shirt

Signature Style Series: Going Out in the White T-Shirt

“I’ve always thought of the t-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the fashion alphabet.” – Giorgio Armani

Lounging in a White Tee

Blazer: Old Navy, T-Shirt: Zazzle (custom); Pants: Avenue; Shoes: Elie Tahari; Belt: Dress Barn

We’ve taken the white tee from the office to the weekend, but we’ve got one more place to take it . . . out on the town.  I know that a white t-shirt is probably the last thing you think is versatile enough to hit the club or grab after work drinks but it is.  If you’re going to wear it to a lounge or club be sure to dress everything else up.  Below, I’ve added tons of layered necklaces with a shrunken blazer and leggings.  Sky high heels and a bright clutch complete the look.

A Night on the Town in a White T-Shirt

Blazer: Dress Barn; Leggings: Lane Bryant; Bag, Necklaces and ring: my own; Shoes: Bamboo

For drinks, you can keep it more casual but tuck the shirt in to look more polished.  Below, I’m rocking a signature “Your Chic is Showing” tee (available to order soon!) with a blazer and my fave red cropped pants.  Polished color clocked heels, a vintage clutch and some sleek jewelry make this outfit complete.

Casual Night Out in a White T-Shirt

Bag: Vintage; Ring: H&M; Bracelets: Avenue; Watch: Charming Charlies

Have you ever considered wearing a white tee for a night out on the town?  If so, send in pics!  If not, give it a shot and tell us how it worked out!

Your Chic is Showing,