YCS Style Diary: Mixed Messages

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

Editor’s Note: While YCS gets back in the groove and we continue our hunt for an intern we’re going to scale back our posting schedule. But don’t worry, we’re still bringing you all the goodness. Stick with us!!

The thing about spring, at least here in Philly, is that the weather sends us all sorts of mixed messages. One day, it’s 40 degrees and rainy, the next it is 90 degrees and humid as all “get out!” I know it’s May, but the weather here continues to act a complete fool!! It makes it hard to want to put away all of your winter stuff because you still may need it.

This presents the perfect opportunity for some fun, springtime experimenting. If the weather can send mixed messages then so can my wardrobe! The two looks shared today not only mix spring/summer and fall/winter clothing, they also mix a variety of materials including wool, leather, sequins, and chiffon. These looks are a fun way to spice up your wardrobe and embrace whatever Mother Nature might throw your way.

The sweater featured in the first look is one of my favorites in the winter.  It is a lightweight wool, striped, navy sweater from J Crew.  I love it so much because the bejeweled Peter Pan means that I don’t have to do too much in the way of jewelry. It works casually with a pair of jeans or can be dressed up, with a  hi-lo skirt, for example.

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Sweater: J Crew I Skirt: Converse for Target

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Bag: Relic (sold at JC Penney) I Shoes: Steve Madden

A few choice pieces of jewelry are all I need to complete the outfit.  The ring and bracelet were both gifts and they add the perfect feminine finish to the look.

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I will be the first one to tell you that I think sequins are appropriate for both day and night.  I even have a nightgown and beach cover-up that are both complete with sequins.  Pretty much, they should be worn as often as possible!  The thing I really love about the look below is that you can juxtapose a completely unexpected fabric against the sequins and get a truly amazing outfit.  I paired my sequined Express top with both leather and faux fur and loved the results!

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Jacket: Avenue I Shirt: Express I Skirt: Style & Co. (sold at Macy’s) I Shoes: Steve Madden I Earrings: So Good Jewelry

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Vest: Dressbarn I Ring: H&M

Even the back of the jacket has an unexpected twist.  It’s cut asymmetrically, and is shorter in the back and longer in the front.  It balances out the proportions of the hi-lo skirt which is longer in the back and shorter in the front.  It is a tiny little detail that brings balance and continuity to the outfit.

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Remember to choose bright, spring-like colors when you’re mixing your cold weather clothing with warmer weather clothing.  Fabrics that are clearly designed for spring – like the chiffon on my skirts or the canvas on the wedges – will also make balancing your fall/winter pieces easier.  Finally, opt for layers so you can ditch your jacket or sweater if you become hot.  After all, we know the day could start at 40 degrees and end at 90!

Your Chic is Showing,

Erika's Signature

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!

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,

Inspired by . . . Olivia Pope

Olivia’s need for a quick escape at the beginning of tonight’s Scandal episode inspired this cute travel outfit. The outfit features Olivia Pope staples like neutral hues, sleek gloves, and classic, tailored cuts. We figured that even Liv travels in comfort so we went with ballet flats to complete the look.

Your Chic is Showing,

Erika's Signature

Inspired by . . . Olivia Pope

Nude shirt
$47 – iclothing.ie

Coat
oasis.andotherbrands.com

Hobbs pants
$180 – johnlewis.com

Glove
farfetch.com

Brooks Brothers hat
brooksbrothers.com

Fall Haul

By Erika, Resident Fashionista

For many of us Labor Day marks the unofficial/official end of summer. It also marks the beginning of a new school year, the start of fall, and a time for last minute BBQs. But, if you’re like me then it means lots and lots and lots of great shopping!

This past LDW I had the pleasure of spending a quiet, relaxing, signal-free weekend in Lynchburg, VA with the parental units. In addition to good eating, I got some good shopping! I was able to pick up a few great pieces to complete my fall haul. Check out my fall haul below!

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1. Shoes by Tahari purchased at TJ Maxx, Lynchburg, VA ($39.99)

2. Grid Vest by CAbi purchased via CAbi Consultant Karima Renee of Skinny Minority ($128)

3. Oscar by Oscar de la Renta Sunglasses purchased at TJ Maxx, Lynchburg, Va ($9.99)

4. Edge Tee by CAbi purchased via Karima Renee ($64)

5. J Crew Blazer (similar here) purchased at the J Crew Clearance Center, Lynchburg, VA ($40 from $128)

6. Madewell Sandals purchased at the J Crew Clearance Center, Lynchburg, VA ($9.99)

7. Relic Handbag sold at JC Penney ($18 from $88)

8. Necklace sold at Francesca’s, Lynchburg, VA

9. Shirt by Joe Fresh purchased at JC Penney

10. Pleated Dress by Joe Fresh purchased at JC Penney ($29 from $39)

11. Sweater purchased at the J Crew Clearance Center, Lynchburg, VA

12. White T-shirt purchased at the J Crew Clearance Center, Lynchburg, VA

13. Sandals by G by Guess purchased at Marshalls, Audubon, PA (on sale, $22)

As you can see, I was able to purchase a variety of items at a number of price points – some high and some low. I am looking forward to mixing these pieces into my fall and winter wardrobe.

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So what have you guys added to your fall wardrobe? You know what to do!

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: 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