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Category — How to’s

Travel Wear


Have you picked up the latest issue of Playground magazine? Instead of my usual fashion spread, I wrote this article on what to wear on vacation this year. Everyone always wants to fit in as a tourist visiting a foreign place, but the truth is it’s almost impossible to truly dress like a local. We have to pack light for our trip. My biggest problem right now is figuring out how to find a comfy pair of sandals to bring. I don’t want clunky ones from Clarks or Bjorn. But, they have to be padded to wear around all day. I will wear sneakers some days but want some options.

May 19, 2013   Comments Off on Travel Wear

3 Trends for the Trend-phobic

Unless you live in a big city, it’s hard to wear some of the edgier trends without looking like a fashion victim. That or you stick out like a sore thumb, so you have to be confident about your choices. Here are some ways to wear some of the latest trends in a tamer way.

1. Instead of leather leggings try coated or waxed jeans. Not only are they cheaper than leather but they give the same look in a way that doesn’t scream… well… leather. For summer, try them in a mint green or pale blue. They come in all kinds of finishes from lightly coated to waxy shine. Wear these with a slouchy tee shirt and ankle boots or with an untucked blouse, scarf and ballerina flats.

2. Think Pops of Neon and Brights. Vivid colors are still in. Don’t want to stand out in a sea of black but still want to be on trend? Think pastels like mint, a gorgeous tangerine, electric pink, lemony greens or cobalt blue. A statement bag in a bright color will make any outfit pop. Try a bright top tamed by neutral bottoms and accessories, or an all-black outfit with a hot pink belt and lime-green necklace. In small doses these bright colors will give your outfit some personality.

3. Patterned Jeans. From florals to leopards, patterned and colored jeans are huge this year. Since these jeans make a statement of their own, go simple on top. Or, tone them down with a structured blazer in a solid color. The other option is to go subtle with the print. Try a pastel print or a cool tone-on-tone. No matter what, rock them with confidence!

April 27, 2013   Comments Off on 3 Trends for the Trend-phobic

4 Places to Snag Designer Deals


I admit—I have champagne tastes. I think of my clothing as individual works of art, which is why I really love designer items. I tend to be drawn to the mid-priced, yet edgy, designer labels such as Vince, Rebecca Taylor, Rebecca Minkoff, Helmut Lang and more. But, mid-priced designer is still expensive. I never pay full price.

The truth is that finding deals is a sport. You have to be willing to put some work into it. For me, fashion is a passion. I pull pages out of magazines, scour blogs and check out new arrivals from my fave designers. The key is to have a short list of what you’re looking for.

Here are some strategies for stalking designer items so you can snatch them when they go on sale.

1. Shopstyle by POPSUGAR. This site allows you to tag favorites and be notified when they go on sale. Each day you’ll get an email with sales items from your favorite designers. Many times I’ll spot an item in a magazine, go to this site, tag it and wait for it to go on sale. I generally won’t buy a more expensive item until it goes 50 percent. Sure, I’ve lost out on some things I’ve really wanted, but it helps me from impulsive shopping, so the trade off is worth it.
Another shopping site to watch: Lyst

2. eBay. Sometimes eBay sellers will carry items currently in stores. Most times these prices are cheaper than buying from a traditional retailer. I go to eBay for past season items that I missed out on, basics (I love how soft Vince tee shirts are) and classic items such as jeans and blazers.

3. TJ Maxx. Our local TJ Maxx has a great selection of designer items. I’ve seen Diane Von Furstenberg, Vince and Theory recently. Always search the perimeter of the clothing section as that’s where they keep the better merchandise. But, don’t forget the sales racks. I recently got a Theory mint green sweater for $10 that was on the clearance rack.

4. Nordstrom Rack. OMG! This place is heaven. Plan on spending at least an hour going through the racks and trying things on. Skip the stuff in the front and head straight to the clearance racks. There you’ll find seasonal deals on designer items. They have a great selection of dresses, shoes and tops. They also have some jewelry deals. I’ve seen Alexis Bittar bangles and earrings for less than half price.

Check back soon as I reveal some of my other shopping strategies.

photo by: Roberto Trm

April 17, 2013   Comments Off on 4 Places to Snag Designer Deals

Smart Shopping Tips


I wrote this article last year and wanted to re-post it since it makes so much sense!

I love the start of a new year—the chance to set more realistic goals. You have a whole year ahead of you to reach these goals and there are opportunities just sitting out there waiting for you to grab them!

I put together this list of awesome articles to help guide you in finding your style, reaching your goals and rebuilding your wardrobe.

1. I resolve to learn how to use eBay. I know it can be time consuming, but believe me, if you want to score designer deals, eBay is a great way to do it. Check out these articles: Ebay is Your Best Fashion Friend, Ebay Tips and Deals, How to Snipe on Ebay and How I Search Ebay.

2. I resolve to hone in on my style and buy accordingly. I watched What Not to Wear the other day (love that show) and it can be hard to figure out how best to let your personality shine through with what you wear. Here are some articles to help you figure it out: Finding Classic Investment Pieces, Defining Your Personal Style, Dig Out of Your Fashion Rut and Your Guide to Creating Your Own Personal Style.

Magpie Styling Tip: Check out my 10 Fashion Rules.

3. I resolve to wear clothes that fit well. So many people make the mistake of wearing pants that are too short (they make you look stumpy), wide-leg capris, too-tight shorts and too-big jackets. Check out: How to Dress For Your Body TypeSize Matters, Finding Clothes That Fit and Flatter and Finding Pants That Fit.

4. I resolve to buy for my life, not the life I dream of living. Yeah, I have issues with this. I love sparkly, glittery and dressy, but my life is work from home, and I have two children. So, I don’t really have the opportunity to wear all that I buy. I put together a shopping checklist that will help you determine whether or not an item is worth your investment, check it out: Download my FREE Shopping Checklist here. Other articles: Tips for Finding Fashion Deals, Shopping Savvy Quiz and How to Stop Buying Clothes You’ll Never Wear.

Look for more great articles about personal style, making over your closet and buying investment clothing this year!

photo by: andrewarchy

January 21, 2013   Comments Off on Smart Shopping Tips

Shopping: Where to Spend; Where to Save

Oxfam cotton bag design concepts

I get this question all the time, what items are worth my investment and what should I buy at discount stores? With the advent of stores like H&M and Zara, figuring this out is more confusing than ever. Here are my rules:

1. Have a Budget. I used to spend whatever I wanted each month on clothing (well, within reason!). I sell the items I stop wearing on eBay, and I also sell at a local consignment shop. I use that money to fund my shopping. The problem with not having a budget is that I’m not that disciplined, and I’d lose track of what I spent–not good. In addition, I spent a lot of money on stuff I just didn’t wear or stuff I thought I loved but didn’t really. You know the, “Well, maybe with a belt this will look good,” or “If I have my tailor completely reconstruct this garment, I just know I’ll love it.”
A budget makes me thoughtfully consider each piece individually. It’s funny, now I rarely love something so much that I have to have it. Because of my budget, I tend to want to take some time to think it over. It helps cut out that impulsive shopping.

Magpie Styling Tip: Barely any garment fits perfectly off the rack, so minor adjustments by your tailor can make a garment look fabulous on you. Just be careful when you want to make too many changes. Many times it’s just not worth it.

2. If I love it—truly love it—and it fits well, I buy it if it’s in my budget. When you think of classic items, you don’t put custom-made black silk pants with an embellished attached waist in that category, right? Me neither, however, years ago I worked with designer and stylist Paris Gordon on a pair of holiday pants. They cost a fortune, but I’ve worn them dozens of times—to holiday parties, on vacation, to charity events. It was totally worth it to me to invest in those pants.

3. It’s all personal. There aren’t many items that warrant a big investment anymore. Fashion is so accessible now. For me, the best investment pieces are items I’ll wear over and over. Some aren’t classic styles, but it’s all about taking risks. Here’s a list of the clothing items I’m willing to spend on and some I’m not:

Solid black and white tee shirts. I love Vince tee shirts and I’m willing to spend more on them, but I won’t buy them at full price. I’ve found them at TJ Maxx and other discount stores. The discount tee shirts just don’t hang on my body the same way.

• Jackets and blazers. A well-fitted, high-quality blazer is an essential for me. I find myself grabbing my Theory leather-sleeve blazer over and over, with casual, work and dressy outfits. I feel the same way about a leather jacket. I know I’ll turn to it over and over.

• Dresses. Yes, there are some inexpensive dresses that I’m willing to buy. But, I find that the quality of the dress (even casual ones) is vital to how it fits. Better dresses aren’t made of cheap polyester, they don’t have random strings hanging off of them, and they don’t have uneven hems.

Save• Jeans. My favorite jeans are the Old Navy Rockstar jeans. They fit well, and they look great wash after wash. Plus, they have a ton of different colors and they’re cheap!

• Sweaters. I’ve had sweaters from J.Crew, designer sweaters and some from Target. I feel like you can find well-made sweaters are less-expensive prices.

Jewelry. Wow, the options out there are endless. A lot of jewelry is trendy. I’ve found some super well-made bracelets and necklaces at Target. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll invest in pieces that really speak to me, but I’m not going to limit myself to Charm & Chain, Stella & Dot and designer.

But, that’s just me. I live a different life than some of you. What I choose to invest in may be different from what you choose.

I want to hear from you. What types of clothing do you invest in? What are budget items in your books? Post in the comments!

photo by: net_efekt

January 15, 2013   Comments Off on Shopping: Where to Spend; Where to Save

Layered Necklaces

Jacket/Madewell; Tee Shirt/Vince; Skirt/Laundry by Shelli Segal; Boots/Antonio Melani; Necklaces/White Moth, Stella & Dot

Jacket/Madewell; Tee Shirt/Vince; Skirt/Laundry by Shelli Segal; Boots/Antonio Melani; Necklaces/White Moth, Stella & Dot

My go-to outfit, especially in cooler weather, tends to be skinny jeans, boots and a slouchy sweater. It’s been really warm here, so I decided to skip the jeans. But, I wanted to wear a more fall/winter looking outfit (at least for Florida). So, I went with the booties.

Magpie Styling Tip: Let’s talk about layering necklaces. I’m all about the statement necklace, but lately I’ve been turning to layered, smaller scale necklaces to make an impact. Take the above picture. I’m wearing four different necklaces. What I like about this look is that I’m mixing metals. Forget that rule that you have to wear only one color metal at a time! Here are some tips for layering necklaces.
1. Length. Obviously, the key here is to find necklaces of varying lengths. My two longer necklaces are a little close in length, but the Stella & Dot necklace is just long enough that it falls below my White Moth horn.
2. Texture. While all of my necklaces are pretty similar, it’s equally fun to mix textures and weights. Try a shorter statement necklace mixed with some less-chunky, but longer chains.
3. Neckline. Layered necklaces look best when they have a beautiful canvas to serve as a background. Thus, crew neck tee shirts, button down blouses and higher neck dresses offer enough fabric behind them to allow the necklaces to stand out. Avoid turtlenecks or embellished neckline dresses and tops.
4. Clothing. Simple is best. The whole allure to layering multiple necklaces is to put the emphasis on the necklaces. You don’t want a bunch of patterns or other embellishments to compete with the necklaces.

Want more? Lucky magazine has a great article on the subject here: Layering Necklaces

Do you layer necklaces? Share your ideas in the comments section!

January 13, 2013   Comments Off on Layered Necklaces

Buying Over the Knee Boots

Dress/Banana Republic; Boots/Tory Burch; Necklace/Ann Taylor Loft

Dress/Banana Republic; Boots/Tory Burch; Necklace/Ann Taylor Loft

I envy girls who can effortlessly wear dresses. I have a hard time finding the right mix of casual and comfortable. I’m not so sure this one is all that flattering but it was comfortable.

Magpie Styling Tip: Over the knee boots are still a worthwhile investment, as long as you go casual and not hooker. Now is the time to buy them–end of the season clearance. When buying, there are a couple tips I have:
1. Go flat. Forget the heel. In order to get some wear out of these boots, flat is the way to go. First of all, it eliminates the hooker vibe.
2. Height. There are so many choices here, but I think a boot that hits just above the knee and not to mid-thigh is more flattering, especially to shorter girls.
3. Material. The boots I have are leather, and they pull on. They have elastic in the back, making the fit tight to my leg. I like that, it’s almost like wearing leggings.

What to wear them with:
• A casual dress and tights (like above)
• A wool skirt with blouse, leather jacket
• Jeans and a slouchy sweater
• An above the knee dress with no tights: this look is harder to pull off depending on the boots you get. In the above picture, I could go without tights and it would look fine. Magpie Styling Tip: The key is in the length of the dress. You always want a gap between the hem of the dress and the top of the boot.
Really, these can be worn just like you’d wear your knee-high boots. However, I recommend you save the over the knee for those slouchy, comfy outfits. I like mine best with skinny jeans and a slouchy sweater.

Want more? I offer more tips and examples in this post on how to wear over-the-knee boots.

What do you think about over-the-knee boots? Love them or leave them?


January 12, 2013   1 Comment


Magpie Styling Tip: Embellished and leather sleeves are a huge trend for Fall/Winter. I especially love the tee shirts with embellished sleeves as it gives the item a little more oomph. Plus, you can dress it up and down. Take the above blouse–easy to wear casual like I did. However, you can easily style it with a pencil skirt to wear to work, or with leather for a going-out outfit.

Head to Toe
Top: Rebecca Taylor Nailhead Silk Tee
Jeans: Gap Sexy Boyfriend jeans
Shoes: DVF Diane Von Furstenberg Seine Bootie
Bracelets: Alex & Ani, Elizabeth and James
Belt and Necklace: Banana Republic

Going Out Set
Work Look

September 17, 2012   Comments Off on Embellished

What I Want Now

Fall Wish List Magpie Style
Fall, already? Yep, and I’m LOVING it! Here’s a list of what I want now and why.

1. Camo—A huge trend for fall—all things military. This has been a continuing trend from the last few years. I have to be honest, I figured this trend had its day, but I guess not! I love this camo jacket from Zara, complete with embellishments that make it more girly. I would wear this with a tee shirt, leather pants and booties.

2. Metallic—Continuing with my love of all things shiny, this trend is one of my favs for Fall. Of course, the silver metallic DVF leather pants are on my radar, but not something I will buy. Instead, I’ll go lower key and get some dark grey metallic jeans like the ones from Rag and Bone. The dress—how hot is that purple metallic?

3. Leather—Yep, leather continues to be a trend and this is the year people will really start wearing it. I notice that when trends first start (this one started about three years ago), only celebs and early-adopter fashionistas wear it; then the next year, the big city girls go for the trend. Finally, it becomes a full-blown trend, and you can’t spit without seeing someone in it. I first noticed that with knee-high boots. Remember when you felt uncomfortable rocking that trend because you were likely the only one with them? Or, how you marveled at the chick with the skinny jeans tucked into her tall boots? Now, they’re everywhere, and I bet you’re wearing them too. Anywhoo…I love the leather accents, such as the leather sleeves on the black jacket from Theory. It’s an easy way to rock the trend.

4. Denim—All kinds of styles are in now—patterns, metallic, coated, skinny, flare, etc. On my wish list are a pair of skinnies that don’t hug my thighs like sausage casings. I also was on the hunt for a pair of boyfriends that weren’t baggy all over. I found them in the Gap Sexy Boyfriend jeans.

5. Prints—From bright florals like on this Equipment blouse, to mirror prints like on the AllSaints skirt—pattern and print lend interest to your outfits.

6. Boots and Loafers—I adore the smoking slipper loafers. They give an edge to outfits and are a little more on trend than ballet flats (which I still love.) I also love these slouchy boots from Isabel Marant, which I purchased recently. They’ll be easy to throw on with dresses and jeans in the Fall and Winter. In fact, I wore them the other day (outfit post to follow.)

7. Pretty Things—Again, I’m a sucker for feathers, glitz and glam, which is why I totally LOVE this feather skirt from Zara. I’ll have to invent an event in which to wear it though. ::sigh:: I also love this more wearable black dress from Erin Fetherston. It has on-trend metallic foil butterflies all over it and is a flattering style.

What’s on your Fall wish list?


August 24, 2012   3 Comments

Denim Trends

Since I work from home, I spend most of my time in jeans. In fact, it’s rare that I have an occasion where jeans aren’t appropriate! The good news is that there are tons of choices out there when it comes to denim.  Overall, skinny jeans rule and most body types CAN wear the skinny jeans. You just have to find a pair that fits well. The other trend I’m noticing is ankle length denim—the better to show off your shoes! I’m not talking capris. I mean a skinny, ankle to mid-ankle length. Here are some of the trends I’m noticing.

1. Patterns. From florals to geometrics, prints are huge right not. And, there’s a pattern for everyone. Go bold with a colored floral or more wallflower with a tone-on-tone print. The key to wearing a patterned bottom is to go with a simpler top. I love a slouchy thin sweater in a solid color with patterned jeans.


2. Coated/Waxed/Leather. Yep, the leather leg is still in this year. Not bold enough to try leather? Or, perhaps you just don’t want to invest in a pair, then try coated or waxed jeans. They have the same look as leather without the steep price. In addition, they come in different sheens from matte to shiny. The key to wearing most skinny jeans—leather, coated or otherwise—is balance. I love to wear my leather leggings with a hip-length loose tee shirt and a fitted blazer. Or, try an untucked chambray blouse with a dark denim jacket and ballet flats–adorbs!

3. Rainbow Colors. This is the biggest trend–denim in a rainbow of colors. I have to admit, while I’m all over the leather leggings, I haven’t embraced the colored denim, but it’s on my Fall wish list. From salmon to cobalt, colored denim is taking the place of plain, old blue jeans. Try going monochromatic: red jeans, red blouse and a snazzy navy fitted jacket or chunky cardigan. Or, try a light blue top with cobalt jeans and a neon yellow belt to pop.

July 18, 2012   2 Comments