Paying It Forward

Kimora Lee Simmons gives back! According to this brief article, the model/mom/entrepreneur created a $1 Million scholarship fund to help creative students reach their dreams. I love that she is doing this, along with every other successful person in the industry who helps pay it forward. Kimora Lee Simmons – FIT – Style.com.

One of my own mentors really lives by this mantra, and it is something I hope to be able to do down the road as well.

Things Are a Bit gif-fy Around Here

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Over the past few months I have become something of an expert in Photoshop.

OK, maybe not an expert, but I have come so far from my total novice status! Previously having only sort of known what the “eraser” tool did (and you’d be amazed, as I am, what that thing can do), I’d say I am pretty impressed with myself. I now know how to edit photos beautifully, create multiple different effects, build false-but-shockingly-realistic-images, and create gifs. We had the recent assignment of creating cinemagraphs, which include a video looped behind a still frame. It sounds complicated but is actually quite easy.

I came across this website, Cinemagraphs.com featuring gorgeous fashion gifs, and it has been a fiery source of inspiration for me lately! I’m thinking this could be my new “thing.” Of course, my camerawork is gonna need a little work before I reach this level of quality…

~sparkle, sparkle~
~sparkle, sparkle~
Coco Rocha, whata stunnah
Coco Rocha, whata stunnah

Style Diary – Graphic Sweater

Just posting the OOTD. It is oddly warm and beautiful in Cville so the shorts are still doable. I paired this faux leather pair from HM with my DIY oversized graphic sweater. I made this a few years ago and am still super pleased with how it turned out. Just made me own stencils, used fabric paint and voilà!

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Free People, Me, and the Mountainside

Happy Tuesday, fashion fiends!!!

I know Tuesdays aren’t really all that thrilling, except for the fact that I just woke up today feeling happy and grateful and full of energy. Maybe I am just finally caught up on sleep… Or maybe its because I had such a good weekend, including a night of dancing, a charity 5K (which I somehow managed to run at a pace that rivaled my high school best time), and a talk from the one and only Kevin Spacey about supporting the arts at UVA. I think all of that is pretty deserving of multiple exclamation points.
As you may have seen on my Instagram a few days ago, I posted this pic of me adorned in full Free People attire and standing on a countryside hill with a warm breeze causing my dress to billow in the wind.
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Seems to good to be real life, right? Well when the team at Free People Richmond and FP Me invited a handful of girls and myself to partake in a day of apple picking, horseback riding, and a photo shoot at a mountainside orchard, I thought so too.
Before loading on to the bus that would take us to Graves Mountain Orchard, we were each presented with a hand selected Free People item for us to keep (see mine styled in a post later this week)! The day only got more unreal from there. We were then told that, for the purposes of the photo shoot, we were to dress ourselves in two outfits and the store was our oyster. My jaw just about dropped. It is a very literal dream that I have had to go into a Free People store and walk out dressed head to toe in whatever I wanted. See my looks below, taken by Free People’s official blog photographer, and will be featured on Free People’s BLDG 25 blog later this week!
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The amazing 75 degrees-and-sunny weather was just the pumpkin-flavored icing on the cake. Here are some of the photos I snapped myself, because I couldn’t resist having my camera on the entire time.
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I have always known I’ve loved Free People clothing, but the whole day just taught me how wonderful the people behind the threads are, as well! A HUGE thank-you to the whole FP Me and FP Richmond team! I would love to work with you guys again soon.
Check out the Free People blog here and look for the official post on this amazing experience!
Click the links the below to shop my looks!

 

Lost in Austin Top • Free People

Goldbarr Sahara Coin Hanpiece • Free People

Free People Myna Headband • Free People

Free People Demi Boucle Oversized Scarf • Free People

Free People Midi Dress – Jasper • Free People

Free People Double Layer Rosary • Free People

Free People Suede Fringe Collar • Free People

Free People Boucle Stripe Beanie • Free People

Free People Lace Plunge Bra • Free People

Destroyed Skinny • Free People

Introducing Your New Jewelry Obsession

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About a year ago I was introduced to Suz when she was new to the Charlottesville area. Applying to enter her self-designed jewelry and handbag business into UVA’s Darden Business Incubator program, she was looking for some interns to help out and learn the process of running your own fashion start-up. Having just spent the summer interning in handbag design at Henri Bendel, where Suz had had a pop-up shop a few weeks later, we had an immediate connection. We met for coffee, and the rest is history.

Granted, it has only been one year later, but her brand has made amazing strides in those short months– in addition to selling her products on sites like One King’s Lane, she opens her first Suz Somersall stores in New York City and Charlottesville this week! Inspired by nature and it’s organic, intricate patterns, jewelry by Suz Somersall has all the best qualities that you’d look for: an elegance that pairs well with jeans or a gown, a freshness that brings your mindset to the exotic places that inspired each piece, and a timelessness that will make them last. From earrings to cuffs, statement necklaces to engagement rings, there is little that her collections lack.

If you are local to Charlottesville, be sure to come to Suz Somersall’s opening night this Thursday, 5-9 PM! There will be plenty of baubles (at 20% off!) and bubbly to be had, so definitely check it out and bring your friends/family! The store is located in the Stonefield shopping center, and all info can be found on the event page here.

To shop her website, click here, and use the special code 15and5 at checkout to receive a 15% discount!

View the slider below to see just a few of her pieces that I am lusting after lately.

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Back to Basics

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Sorry for the brief hiatus– this past week and a half has been a bit of a blur. In short, I turned 21 and I was accepted to study abroad next semester in one of the most fashionable cities in the world– Milano. With that much reason to celebrate, I think the blurriness speaks for itself.

I have been planning to study in Milan for the past year and a half, and naturally I have been telling people like it was a fact this entire time. Only recently have I received the official OK, and now my dreams are becoming a reality. The tickets are booked, the visa is in the works, and in a few short months I will be an international jetsetter. I can’t wait to spend the spring surrounded by the ultimate inspiration, the ultimate cuisine, and a whole new culture. What makes it better? My sister is just a hop-skip-and a jump away studying at LBS– umm hello, London, Milan, Paris Fashion Weeks!! Here’s to 21 being the best year of my life already.

Amongst all the planning for my trip and teaching myself Italian with the amazing app Duolingo, it is hard to remember that I am still a student with classes and homework, here and now. But I am constantly trying to remind myself to live in the moment and live it fully– school will be over before I know it and obviously I will miss it terribly. When in Rome (read: Milan), be in Rome. For now, I am in good ol’ Cville where the leaves are turning and my wardrobe is yearning for the best fall basics.

After spending hours watching the runway shows, following my favorite big-time bloggers and their Instagram feeds, I sometimes find myself stuck in the of-the-moment trendy mindset. And while trying new trends is super fun, it can be refreshing to try something simpler once in a while. After all, the foundation of a good wardrobe is good basics, and those are what are really worth the splurge. Bonus points if you find that splurge piece at a discount!

That is what happened with me last week during Madewell’s 30% off Sale online discount. As much as I love Madewell, their items are usually too pricey for me to just purchase in bulk (or at all, for that matter) but man do they have good sales! I knew I was in the need for some comfy basic tanks, and ordered two from the sale (the one you see here, as well as in black). I also got a loose-fit, wear-anywhere long sleeve tee in olive green which is literally the comfiest thing I now own. I imagine these tops will be my ultimate travel companions in the months to come!

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Well that was a longer post than usual, but now you’re all caught up on la vie de Mer. What’s new with you?

Madewell tank & bucket bag, American Eagle jeans, Urban Outfitters jacket (similar here), Shoemint shoes (similar here)

Don’t Fear the Sheer

 

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If you have struggled to master the transparent trend, you are not alone. There are many lines to be crossed here– it is all to easy to go from classy to trashy, sexy to potential sex offender… And having grown up with the adage, “when in doubt, don’t wear it out,” we are inclined to shy away from certain trends that mayyy just not live up to grandma’s standards. However, like any difficult goal, persistence is key when learning what trends work and what don’t work for our lifestyle and personality. If you try on one shirt that is entirely too scandalous and conclude off the bat that anything sheer just ain’t gonna fly, then you would never keep up the hunt for that piece that has just the right balance. Think of it as trying to find the right pair of shorts– some are just too short for comfort (seriously, its like wearing denim underwear), but that doesn’t mean you just give up on shorts! You find the pair that hits your legs at just the right height.

Personally, I try to avoid pieces that are so sheer that they require a slip, and tend to go for sheer panels or inserts. Exhibit A:

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So don’t give me the old, “I could never pull off the _____ trend, it just doesn’t work on me.” Because I bet you ten kittens and puppy that it would work for you– just maybe not on the first try.

Top from H&M, Pants from Zara (similar here), Bag from Henri Bendel, Sandals from Target (similar here), Sunglasses from a frat party.

What other trends do you struggle with? Want advice on how to wear them? Leave thoughts in the comments below!

(Wo)Menswear is Here

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One of the trends I am most excited about for this fall is (wo)menswear. For myself and many other fashion aficionados, this is not the first time we have overlooked our heels and flirty dresses for loafers and trousers. In fact, I’ve had these shoes you see here for a year already (and in another color), but only now have I started to receive regular compliments on them– and by “regular” I mean both frequent and positive comments, rather than “those are… interesting.” Not that those sort of offhand comments ever bothered me anyway, but it is fun to actually experience how and when trends change in the eye of the general public, i.e. those who don’t have Style.com as their homepage.

While there are always extremes in fashion trends, there is always a middle ground for those more risk averse. If the menswear trend is a little toowell, manly for you, I suggest the half-n-half look. Here I have paired men’s style slip-ons and a boyfriend blazer with a skort and cropped button-down; not too feminine, but not quite masculine enough for GQ either.

H&M Shirt, Zara Skort (similar here), TopShop Blazer (similar here), Shoemint Shoes (similar here), Henri Bendel Bag (similar here)

Do you think you’ll give menswear a try this season? 

6 Essentials for Fall 2014

Fall Must-Haves 2014
Gearing up for fall? If you aren’t yet, you should be. There are some pretty awesome deals going on already (30% off H&M fall, whaaat?) and there is no time like NYFW to get some major style inspo. The F/W 2014 shows threw a lot of trends at us, and it can be overwhelming to try and nail them all with -ahem- no income… but fear not, my fellow fashionistas! Here are six collegiate-friendly essentials for fall that are on my own shopping list. Pair these babies with each other and your ol’ faithful closet staples, and you’ll be owning the street style scene wherever you are.
(Click the bolded titles to see different products)
As the temperatures drop, it can be tough to exchange the cozy sweats for, well, anything else. With a basic wear-anywhere coat in one of the season’s hottest hues, feel free to keep rocking those fleecy pjs all day long– if you’re like me, people rarely see whats under your coat come winter time.
Wait… oversized cropped? Yes, oxymorons have made their way into fashion. Crop tops aren’t anything new, and neither is the oversized trend. So, how do you teach an old dog new tricks? Take a baggy, oversized sweater and just cut off the bottom half. Boom, two trends in one, and you’ve got the perfect transition-weather piece. Not too hot, not too cold, mmm…just right.
I’m not sure what attracts me more– the length, the neutral tones, the sharpness of the pleats paired with the softness of chiffon– but I do know that I am having a weird obsession with pleated midi skirts right now. They are gorgeous in anything from camel to cream, mauve to metallic, and a super easy way to test out that monochromatic trend everyone is talking about.
I don’t know about you but cutting out all the fabric in my jeans isn’t really helping the cold-limbs syndrome that hits with the temperature drop. I say, pick a color that you’ll wear frequently and stick to the worn-in look rather than the worn-out. If you love the color and fit when you buy them, you’ll wear them constantly and love them even more as they get customly (that’s not a word but it is now) worn in with your lifestyle.
I love hats for several reasons, the most important being that I can instantly hide a bad hair day. These felt hats in particular, I feel, add a little je ne said quoi to my look, and who doesn’t love leaving a trail of mystery??
I say “outerwear” rather than suggest a jacket, coat, or vest because quite frankly it doesn’t matter which article you choose to invest in (hah, vest..). Fur and shearling were HUGE on the runways (and I mean huge), appearing in every color, shape, and form you can imagine. For this trend, be as extravagant or as minimal as your heart desires. And as you should always do with fashion, have fun with it!
What else is on your shopping list this fall? Let me know if the comments below!