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Your IT Bag

Your bag is like the cherry on top of the sundae of your outfit. Basically, it can make or break it.

I believe in owning a fabulous bag. It is, in my professional opinion, the most important element of any look (except possibly your winter coat). If you are one of the millions of people who DO NOT switch their bag everyday, then it is DEFINITELY the most important element. This means that you should not only absolutely love it, but it should be completely functional. Before choosing your IT bag, ask yourself what you use it for. Do you carry a laptop? Do you lug around file folders? Are you constantly carrying all of your children’s random things? Also, what type of strap works for you? Typically there are three options: Hands-free cross body style, over-the-shoulder and shorter straps that ONLY go over your forearm. Owning a bag that is specifically functional for your life will make you love your it even more.

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Another very important thing about choosing your IT bag is understanding cost per wear. Basically, how often are you going to wear it? If you never switch your bag out, spend more. If you use different bags everyday, spend less. No matter what the answer, it should still be quality. The bag in the picture above is the biggest splurge I have every made. It is a Christian Louboutin, but of course I got it on sale at Saks. Still, it is WAY more then I have ever spent on one item. And guess what, it is my best purchase ever. Why you ask? Because it is not only completely functional for my life, but it goes with everything I own and is totally my style.

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This bag was also a splurge, but I still got it on sale at Nordstrom Rack. It is Jimmy Choo and it is awesome. The camel color is one of my favorite neutrals because it goes with everything. It is a pretty simple style so it will be timeless. The truth is that expensive bags are truly just better. The wear and tear is WAY less then even middle priced bags going for anywhere from $250-$500. Choosing a price-point is very personal and I certainly understand that. Some of you reading this right now are saying, “That’s middle priced!!???!!!”, and the answer is yes. “Normal” bag prices can range from $30 all the way up to $5K. Prices go way beyond that, but that is the typical range.

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The bag above is from one of my favorite mid-range designers, Rebecca Minkoff. The best part is that you can find her at almost any discount designer store so I never pay full price. Are you recognizing a pattern yet? I strongly encourage you to ONLY buy a bag at a discount store like TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack and Off 5th. There is typically a fabulous selection and you can almost always get a good quality leather bag for half the price. I implore you not to buy fake leather, it looks fake! There is no need to spend full price on bags unless you are buying something like Chanel. You want the quality without the crazy price tag.

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As for nighttime, there are two types of bags that work for everything. The first is a larger leather clutch (or even smaller cross body style) for dinner or date night. You want something that is a little dressed up, but not some sparkly, crystal clutch. Using your daytime bag will lessen the look. It will instantly take something fabulous and drag it down to boring.

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The second style is for evening. Think small, sophisticated, sassy, classic and fabulous. I would stay away from leather. Satin is the usual option, but can end up looking a little tacky. Don’t buy the typical clutches in the “evening bag” section, it lessens your entire look into some cheap frock. There are so many fantastic options now for nighttime just like this sparkly, hard case option from Aldo. Plastic clutches are really in right now (I swear they are cooler then that sounds), but I think they are more of a fad so don’t invest too much. All I ask it that you keep it fun and modern. Be sure to make sure it actually fits your stuff and doesn’t just look cool. And, make sure it adds to your outfit, it should not be an after thought, it is part of your entire look!!

 

Your IT Bag

All of the styles above are great options based on what most ladies need in their wardrobe. Owning a basic black bucket bag is good for your every day bag, but beware, there are no pocket dividers in them. If you typically lose things in your bag, this might not be the best option for you. The bottom right luggage color bag is awesome because it has two handle options, over the shoulder AND cross body. There are a lot of designers doing this right now, yea! We should also not forget that having a stylish weekend getaway bag should be part of your repertoire. A great bag completes your outfit. Why would you put on something fabulous and then grab for the closest bag and ruin all that effort? You won’t (now:).

leather tote, evening clutchweekend bag, snakeskin clutchhobo bag

I LOVE Hoop Earrings

I think I own at least 10 pairs of hoop earrings.

Why you may ask? The answer is simple, depending on the style and size, you are dealing with an entirely different beast. Hoop earrings come in so many fabulous versions that choosing the perfect pair for your look can literally change everything. This may sound a bit dramatic, but have you met me? This is par for the course.

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I am TOTALLY obsessed with this new pair of hoops that I just got at H & M. Let’s be real, the quality is not so great (I need a rubber back just to hold them on), but I feel so “ghetto fabulous” (totally un-PC) when I put them on that I don’t care. I pretty much instantly become “Jenny from the block.” Don’t you see it? The large hammered gold material puts me into another world of style. A hoop earring can not only change your look, but the right one can change your mood. “Don’t be fooled by the rocks that I got, I’m still Jenny from the block……”

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Strangely, this pair is from H & M too. I only say “strangely” because I don’t even shop there that much. But, if you are looking for a quick “pick-me-up” emergency shop fix, then jewelry at H & M will do the trick. You know the feeling, “I need to buy something now or I will die!!!!” You won’t die, but $10 spent on a small and fun trinket will give you your mojo back. This pair of hoops are my ode to tribal fun. The fringe is adding a fashionable and fun change from a basic hoop. Paired with a simple white T and leather bomber, they change a simple look into something fantastic.

 

 

amy hoops 3

Above is just a small sampling of my hoop collection. Yes, size matters. The smaller the hoop, the daintier the style. The bigger the hoop, the louder and more crazy things become. Choosing a hoop size is very personal. My more refined clients go for a thin, small to medium size. I usually choose a BIG size because I am sassy and outgoing. As you can see from this collection, depending on my mood and my audience, I do own a bevy of sizes. I can play any part I need to based on my hoop size, hell, that is what fashion is all about!

hoop earrings

 

I always get questions about WHAT to pair your hoops with. Well again ladies, this choice is personal. Above are a few options…. For the funkier, younger gal, a fabulous head scarf will do the trick. You can easily refine this look by tying the knot at the bottom of your head instead of the top. It is a perfect look for the beach or the pool. A fabulous floppy hat will also work. You can access your 70′s flower child instantly. A big question I get is about pairing your hoops with necklaces. A longer style is always going to be the easiest option. It separates the jewelry out so you don’t have too much in one place. Choose a smaller size hoop to not over-complicate things. If you are insane like I am, go for a statement necklace WITH your hoops. Why not? Choose a basic style hoop in this case so you don’t completely overwhelm your beautiful face. So start building that collection now ladies…….

statement necklace, gold hoops, headscarf, floppy brim hat, silver hoops

How to Wear Yoga Pants (as an Outfit)

Running around all day in your yoga pants without having any intention of going to the gym (or having gone to the gym for that matter) is unacceptable.

Let me re-phrase that a bit before scolding all of my super comfortable and casual readers. Gym clothing is not an outfit. You can make your yoga pants into an outfit by adding in a few key pieces. Do not give up on life and fashion completely. That is what it looks like when you wear yoga pants all day without ever intending to actually get dressed. The only thing saving you is the current athleisure (athletic + leisure) crazy. Comfy chic is on trend so let’s bring you into the loop.

 

 

The video above is your cheat sheet to taking a basic yoga outfit to the next level. Athletic wear has come SO far leaving you NO excuses for sloppy gym clothing. I was lucky enough to shoot at Phat Buddha and Elie Tahari using the perfect mixture of cute workout clothing and great everyday basics to create fantastic athleisure looks. All of the pieces I used are simple yet stylish options for turning yoga pants into an easy, yet stylish outfit.

Phat buddha

Here is some great news: Use this link to get 15% off Phat Buddha: AmyS15. Yup, that’s right folks, you can personally own all of the fabulous pieces I used to style yourself awesome for 15% off!!! Holy bananas. All of the items are pretty basic so another fabulous element is that they can be re-styled and re-styled and re-styled. I would literally wear the sweatpants with heels and a leather bomber to go out at night. I am crazy.

leggingsyoga top, sweatpants, gym bagtank top

Elie Tahari

And don’t forget the toppers. That being the great chic and casual items to turn your yoga pants into a full blown look. Again, I picked super accessible items that every lady should own. Obviously you can choose your own version based on your personal lifestyle and taste, but the general idea is there. It really doesn’t take much to go from looking like getting dressed is the most painful part of your day to being the envy of all your friends who wonder how you just turned yoga pants into an outfit?!?

windbreakergrecian sandals, jean jacketslip on sneakers, tank top

accessories 3 piece template

I always say that accessories are the key to taking a look from individual pieces put together to an en-sem-ble. Yes, that is a strong 3 syllable word with an accent on the last E when the outfit is totally fabulous. Let’s not get crazy here, you are wearing yoga pants. All you need is 1-2 pieces of jewelry to pump up your now fabulous yoga pants.

DON’T FORGET THE BEST PART!!!!!

Use this link to get 15% off Phat Buddha: AmyS15

gold bangles, tassel beaded necklaceturquoise bracelets

yoga post

Aside from my awesome model yoga celebrity Kristin McGee, I also rocked some pretty sweet duds from Phat Buddha and Elie Tahari. I know a basic black yoga pant can go pretty far, but don’t forget that exercise clothing can be fun clothing. I LOVE these yoga pants with lace down the side. Business in the front, party on the side. Adding a leather jacket can up the ante of any look instantly. So go ahead and wear those yoga pants proudly all day, everyday. See, comfort and function can go hand in hand. I think this style marriage is gonna last.

Use this link to get 15% off Phat Buddha: AmyS15

tank toplace leggingsleather bomber 

These Aren’t Your Mom’s Dungarees

Something no one ever says: “Jean shopping is my favorite!”

When I work with clients one of the first things they complain about is their jean collection. “These are too big.” “These are too small.” Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Basically, most people have at least one thing they hate about each pair of jeans they have AND they usually own way too many pairs. Typically I find the reason is they seriously hate jean shopping and want to get out of the store as fast as possible leaving them with a purchase that is less then OK. I get it, no one likes looking at themselves in fluorescent lighting squeezing into skin tight jeans. I agree, that sounds like it sucks.

 

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So let me make this journey a little easier. First things first, spend more money on each individual pair of jeans. I know, the idea of spending $150 to $200 on jeans is a bit disconcerting, but I swear it is worth it. For anyone that knows me, I am all about a deal. But, when it comes to jeans, I pay full price. Why you ask? Because at the end of the day I truly believe that all the CEO’s of the jean companies got together, decided they should ALL charge ridiculous amounts and then consumers would be forced to deal with it. And you know what, they were right. Basically, expensive jeans truly are better. They last longer, you wash them because they are dirty, not because they are falling off your bum and the fit is impeccable.

 

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You should only own about 5 pairs of jeans at most. The color and style options are based on your particular lifestyle. For almost all of my clients the base of their jean collection is the same, dark blue with dark blue stitching (it is dressier then yellow stitching), gray, black and white. All of these MUST be skinny or straight leg. You need to have at least one pair to wear in boots (that would be skinny) and a pair to wear with flats or heels (that would be straight or skinny). I promote the ankle length, as seen above, because it is flattering on any body shape and you can wear them with any height shoe. Genius. What I do not promote is bootcut. I actually hate them. They are deeply unflattering to a ladies thighs. That’s right, they make them look BIGGER. A straight leg cut where the calf width mimics your thigh width is going to be the most flattering. And don’t shy away from skinny jeans because you think they will make you look fat. The key is to only wear them in boots with longer  tops if your thighs are a concern.

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Let’s not just think of denim as a pair of jeans. Denim has come a long way baby and you can pretty much wear it a ton of different ways. Lately I am very into the “jean tuxedo.” NEVER wear the same color jean on the top and bottom, but feel free to mix it up with different shades. I love a chambray shirt (it’s a fancy way of saying denim shirt) mixed with jeans. People down south probably think it is hilarious that us Yankees believe we have invented this new trend. I am giving you my best “city rodeo” look in this shot above. I think it’s working:)

old denim collage

Definitely reach back to the 70′s hippie loving era for some inspiration. I love a good bell bottom, but you really do need to wear heels with it if you are under 5’5″. It becomes pretty unflattering and can shorten your legs. I am also all about the denim vest. I love wearing mine over a sundress to give it a little edge. Not your thing, try a denim skirt. Basically, denim is universally flattering and never goes out of style. It also is a neutral material so it will go with everything you own.

denim skirt Current/Elliott bell bottomsdenim vest

new denim collage

If you follow my Instagram you know I am having a love affair with my boyfriend style ripped jeans. I seriously think they make everything I own look cooler. They are also ventilated:) It took some effort to find the perfect pair that didn’t just fall off, but with the right amount of effort I conquered the shopping challenge. Think outside the box with your denim choices. I am obsessed with the denim culotte craze and want to jump on board. I know this will be a passing phase, but I think I can get a good 2-3 seasons out of them. Totally worth the price. Denim shopping is always going to be a challenge, but remember, finding the perfect pair is worth fighting the good fight!

ripped boyfriend jeans, denim culottes, chambray shirt

5 TIPS FOR CLOSET ORGANIZATION

My closet is a disaster and I need help.

Yes, even fashion stylists lose control sometimes. Part of my job is to organize and purge people’s closets and I would say I am pretty darn good at it. The reality of having a great wardrobe to to first know what you own. With disorganization comes unnecessary shopping. It becomes easier to buy new things then search for the old ones. This is only adding to the problem itself. I have become a victim. Maybe not to the shopping part (I am pretty good at curbing myself even though it looks like I own a crazy amount), but my “stuff” is overwhelming me. Sometimes it takes a heavy hand to say, “WHAT IS GOING ON HERE???”. That heavy hand is t organizational expert and author of “Un-stuff My Life” Andrew Mellen. Save me Andrew.

 

The video above will help save your unorganized life. Cleaning out your closet is probably not on the top of your list for fun things to do on a Saturday, but once you are done, you will feel like you just completed a marathon. Accomplished. All of my clients say the same thing, they feel like a weight has been lifted off their shoulders and they can breathe when they walk in their closet. You know that little fact saying we only wear about 20% of what we own? It is true. Stop fighting through unnecessary, unworn clothing to get to what you really want. You think you want your closet to be full so you feel like you have a ton of stuff, but you don’t. Let it go…….

 

closet organization

The top 5 tips for organizing can actually make your closet clean out simple, or at least easier…. At the end of the day you need to emotionally allow yourself to purge. Seriously, do you really need that blazer from 1999 that your mom got you for Christmas? No. In the words of In Sync, bye, bye, bye……

  • The Organizational Triangle: This concept employs 3 simple ideas, one home for everything, like with like and something in/something out.

 

  • Proper Storage: I use garbage bags to store my off season stuff, bad idea. Clear storage bins and other organizational products will save your closet.

 

  • Switch and Purge: This basic concept will keep large shoulder pads OUT of your closet. Every time you switch out seasons, PURGE.

 

  • Matching Hangers: Make it a habit to throw out wire hangers when things are back from the dry cleaners and use ALL non-slip felt hangers. You will thank me.

 

  • Utilize All the Space: Even the inside of your doors can be great for storage. Hanging shoe racks allow you to use the floor space in your closet for other things.

 

The first step to accomplishing what may seem like a daunting task is to realize that after it is done, you will literally feel lighter. Yes you do need to block about 2-3 hours off so there is a time issue, but doesn’t everything worth doing in life take time? The real issue is the feeling of being overwhelmed. Rule number one for closet cleaning and organization, buy a bottle of wine and invite someone over who is around your size. They can be the heavy hand that encourages you to get rid of things, either because it is awful or because they want to take it home. This allows for you to purge AND carry less to the Goodwill. Double awesome.

hanging jewelry organizerstorage boxeshuggable hangers, and  hanging shoe rack