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Become a Master of Flea Market Finds

I was not always a master of the flea market.

Like many things in my life, learning how to conquer a flea market took time. I learned from the best (my friend Danielle) who truly had a knack for it. We would go every Saturday to a crazy flea market in Chicago (think jewelry to car parts) in search of nothing more then something awesome. I would watch her sift and easily find gems hidden among the crazy piles of what looked like crap to me. But she saw something different. She saw the diamond in the ruff, she saw the sparkle, she saw the prize. This is where I began to hone my flea market shopping skills. First lesson learned, don’t go looking for anything in particular, go looking for everything. Your treasure will find you.

 

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Flea markets often look just like the picture above. They are overwhelming, un-merchandised mazes of everything from old shoes to cool records (you remember those, don’t you?). Sometimes it seems endless, there are tables upon tables with piles of “junk” scaring the average shopper into giving up. Don’t give up, follow these simple rules for becoming your own mater of flea market finds:

1: Accessories, mostly baubles, are the easiest thing to sift through. Your treasure hunter skills should be honed at any jewelry vendor that catches your fancy. Additionally, this is typically where you will find the coolest stuff that is in the best condition. There are so many amazing vintage pieces waiting to be loved by you, both real and costume. Price points can range, but this is a pretty inexpensive way to build your collection. And it is easy to sift through without having a coronary.

2. Fur is plentiful and the lovely ladies of the 50′s have lots to give. Some of my best vintage pieces involve some sort of fur. If a full fur coat isn’t your thing, check out the amazing hats and scarves. Yes they may smell a little funny, but at a quarter of the price they would be sold for in a store, you can get it dry cleaned!

3. Patience is a virtue. One of the reasons I LOVE flea markets is because you are not looking for anything in particular and there is a great joy in moseying along. My whole life is built around shopping off a list for clients so during my own shopping time being free of that makes me really happy. Remember, going to a flea market is about the experience and rushing through defeats that. Rest assured your treasure will find you if you let it….

4. Bargaining is fun. Nothing is ever what they say it is, so negotiate. It is almost offensive if you don’t! Half the fun of finding your new treasure is telling everyone what a steal you got it for. Like any good negotiation, you should not throw out the first number. But once they do, play ball.

 

flea market amy

 

This is one of my favorite pieces I own from a flea market. It is totally vintage and it is totally awesome. I practice yelling, “It’s fake!” to people who are about to throw paint on me, but it is actually very real. I figure some grandma really wanted me to have it and since I am buying it second hand, I am saving it from filling up unnecessary space in a landfill. Plus, I look really fabulous in it.

 

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This dress was brand new and still had the tags on it when I found it. She is by DVF and only cost me 50 bucks. Occasionally  you  do come across these rare gems, but it is once in a blue moon. I am pretty sure this was a sample that never found a home…. Until I met her. It took an entire roll of double stick tape to hold it on (which is most likely why it was a sample), but I know for a fact that all of the older gentleman at the wedding  loved me. Apparently they still call me, “The girl in the dress”. Boo yea.

 

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This is just a small compilation of some of my favorite pieces I have acquired over the years from flea markets all over the world. I have not only traveled this great country in search of my latest and greatest treasure, but I have crossed oceans. The BEST flea market I have ever been to is in London and it is called Portobello market. Seriously, it is dope and I could have sifted my way through that thing for 2 days straight. Once you fully become a master of the flea market, you will actually get a high from your finds.

flea market collage

So now is the time for all of you who want to cheat the system. Those who want to look like they are genius flea market shoppers, but truly are not prepared for the tizzy it may cause. The collage above is filled with great look-a-like options to purchase directly from the internet. You can look like a master  of the flea market without ever leaving your couch. I won’t tell:)

coral Italian horn , cheetah fur coatstone cuff , western leather belt

 

Best Coats for YOUR Shape

I always say your coat IS your outfit so choose wisely.

For most people, the winter is long. And because of this, your outer layer becomes your most worn piece. It literally is your look for much of the day and because of this, you should truly love it. I know spring is coming, but let’s be real, you still need a coat. Beyond a great color or design, choosing a coat that best fits your shape is vital. We are all built differently (thank God) so be aware of your body and what  works. Buying a coat 2 sizes too big to fit your thickest sweater is NOT an option. You have been warned.

 

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I am a big fan of a cinched coat. Basically, anything that is fitted through the middle is my friend. As you can see, all three of these coats are completely different, but have similar silhouettes. Knowing what works on you means staying true to it while altering the variables. In most cases that means color, material and style. I own a LOT of coats so going beyond basic black is kind of my thing. The neutral coat above is my most conservative look and often gets mistaken for Burberry. It isn’t, it’s Laundry by Shelli Segal and I bought it at Nordstrom Rack. How you like me now?!?

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I am obsessed with both the coats above. I usually use the gold one to dress things up, it is amazing because it works for both day and nighttimes. I actually bought it for full price at a boutique in SoHo. I must really love it because I do not pay full price, ever. The mod style gray coat is from a sample store. It is by Walter and has been loved by me for well over 5 years. I honestly don’t get that much use out of it because the boat neck style with 3/4 length sleeves is difficult weather wise in New York City. But, when I do take her for a swing around town people swoon.

coat collage 1

Both of the coats above are great for almost any body type. Curvy or straight, your body will be snug as a bug in a rug when you put this style on. For curvier people, it accentuates your shape and highlights (or creates) a small waist. For straight women it creates the illusion of an hour glass shape. This style is also amazing because you can fit pieces that are a little bit heavier underneath and still create a streamlined silhouette once you cinch the belt.

wrap coat,  double-faced wool coat

            coat collage 2

The ruler style coats above are for the straighter, taller women of this world. If you have strong hips or a very round bum, this coat is going to catch on them. It will lose the classic line and become bunched in all the ways you don’t want it to. I am a huge fan of the camel color duster coat. It is classic and elegant and literally goes with everything and every skin color. The royal blue double breasted coat is a fantastic option for someone wanting to try something different. Why is everyone’s coat always black? Be the pop of color in the sea of blackness and stand out.

duster coatdouble breasted coat

coat collage 3

A shorter coat is extremely flattering for more petite women. Additionally, with the temperature finally rising, this is a great option to stay comfortably warm without wearing a parka. I have always been obsessed with a big collar because it does double duty. It not only looks totally cool, it also allows you to leave your scarf at home. The less we have to carry (or lose) the better.

Love your shape, love your coat, love your style.

wool coat with fur collarbelted coat

HOW TO PACK FOR A “HOT” GETAWAY

I am a lucky girl. This is now the second winter in a row that I jaunted off to Miami for an “extended stay”. How you might ask? It is simple, my boss is awesome. And stylish and amazing and cool…. If you haven’t figured it out by now, my boss is me:) During this time I had visitors almost every weekend who all asked the same question, “what do I pack?” I realized this is a universal epidemic and as opposed to helping each individual friend, I would write a blog post and direct all of them (and you) to it. Simple instructions that will take the anxiety out of packing, teach you what to bring, how to actually assemble it in your suitcase and leave you not only wearing everything you brought, but feeling stylish and carefree. Folks, this is how you pack for a hot getaway.

 

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The art of packing is to understand that you do not need to bring the kitchen sink. Overpacking is actually what is causing your anxiety and your anxiety is causing you to overpack, it is a vicious cycle. We can stop it together. Let’s bring it back to the basics, literally. Every good outfit is based on foundation pieces, utilize this concept specifically when you are packing. If you make sure to include neutral basics, you can build an outfit differently every time using the same items. Examples of this for a warm trip are white jeans, a white blazer and a jean jacket. There is more on this at the end, don’t worry, I’ll give you the cheat sheet. As for preparing, lay everything you are thinking of taking out on a flat surface, a bed or the floor works. This way you can see everything and visually mix and match items. The goal is to be able to utilize most pieces in multiple ways. If most of your items do not have the ability to do this, remove them. Of course you can have a few stand out pieces that “make” each outfit and cannot be repeated, but not more then 25% of what is being packed.

 

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The next key factor to packing is getting a lot in a little space. Roll, roll, roll. There is no better way to get a ton into your suitcase and NOT have it get wrinkled. You may need to steam out a few things, but in general, this is the best method to keep things looking good. Additionally, if you know a certain piece has the propensity to get wrinkled easily, leave it at home. You will most likely not feel like dealing with it and then you will be a crinkled mess, not a good look. Vacation is suppose to be easy, don’t add a household chore like ironing or steaming to every outfit you bring. Use your underwear and bathing suits for tight spaces like corners, to shove into shoes or keep a hat from getting squished. Put them not only in the hat, but around it as padding.

 

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Here is when we throw caution to wind and break the rules. When it comes to jewelry, you can pack as much as you like AS LONG as it will all fit in your travel jewelry organizer. Since you have been smart and packed all of the proper basics, your jewelry is not only your opportunity to make your look shine, but it can instantly change up that white T-shirt and jeans into 5 different outfits. Genius. And, the most brilliant part is that it really doesn’t take up any room in your suitcase. Make sure to include pieces that have lots of color and show off your fabulous personality. Don’t think too much about it, just pack what you love.

 

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Once you arrive I would definitely unpack if you can. It doesn’t take that much time and just like at home if you have an organized closet, you will able to see everything you brought and easily style new and fun ensembles. You do not need to pack specific outfits for each day (heck, things can change at the last second), but you should have an idea of general looks. If you have packed correctly (which you have because you followed my directions), you will have plenty of options for last minute changes. These are just a few easy and stylish looks I put together while I was in Miami. Above anything, you need to know your itinerary and the weather. For example, Miami is cold (think 60-80 degrees) in January and my friends all had their sundresses and sandals ready to go. They would have froze their cute, little tushes off. I helped them to actually believe what Google weather was saying and re-pack based on the reality of this.

 

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All of these outfits show the temperature range I was faced with, but also that you can look  ”hot” even when it is chilly. This requires more clothing, but lighter colors and fabrics. Don’t drape yourself in ALL super summer colors, you will look like a tourist. Remember when you are traveling some place warm in the winter (at least in the US), it is their winter too. Meaning, they are pulling out their fur, leather and anything black as well. They are not necessarily wearing as many layers as those of us in actual cold places, but they have their own version of seasons too and this is their time to rock that part of their closet.

miami day outfit

For daytime it is going to be much warmer, the sun is shining and the world is a warm weather wonderland. A few key basics to bring on your getaway include a fabulous coverup, flip flops (I prefer fancy gold ones to casual boring ones) and an amazing hat. Let’s be real people, a sunburn is so 1999 and if a stylish item can not only make me look like a fashion model but also protect my money maker, I’m in. SPF 30 not included. Don’t forget to also bring a few day dresses, they double as a great shopping look or as a cover up substitute.

Ella Moss one pieceViX caftanmetallic flip flopsmaxi dressfedoraIllesteva shades

How to Pack for Miami Winter

For nighttime, there might be a chill in the air so make sure to bring layers. Remember, the key to packing is to bring 75% neutrals and no more then 25% stand out items. I always make sure to have a white blazer when I travel to a warm place. It is so easy to style with everything from a great jumper to a cute dress to boyfriend jeans. It creates instant sophistication. You will also need a neutral (yet fun) smaller bag and a scarf. I love this particular bag because it will either add color to any neutral look or pick up the color from something you already have on. The scarf can do the same AND it doubles as your blanket on the plane. Yes, you read that right. I use my scarf as part of my outfit when I travel (because it keeps me warm and looking cute) then I wrap myself up in it once I am on the plane and take a nap. Wake me up when we hit the runway….. You are now officially ready for take off, please follow the exit signs to your next, fabulously stylish journey…..

Rag & Bone ripped boyfriend jeansElla Moss jumpsuitEileen Fisher blazerRag & Bone bomberRebecca Minkoff clutchPucci scarf

How to Wear Printed Pants

Printed pants are a huge trend this season. They are a fun way to add variety to your summer wardrobe and update your last summer season’s colored pants. I rocked some printed pants (event) but paired them back to a white blouse to keep them more subdued. I added in some colored accessories that go back to the colors in the pants to tie the whole look together. photo 5

 You can transition printed pants into the cooler months as I did here. Wearing them with a solid long sleeve and fur vest is a way to winterize a summer style.

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Clearly I love my cheetah print pants because here I am wearing them again! This time. it’s the fall and it’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. I made the look a little more edgy and daring because of the occasion. An army green blouse and denim vest funk up the pants and the more jewelry the better!photo 6

Going back to summer looks, we have some bold floral printed jogger style pants. The jogger pant is everywhere this season and can be transitioned from daytime to nighttime very easily. This look is more casual for daytime with a simple white t-shirt and brown sandals but can quickly be dressed up with heels and a blouse!

 printed pants 1

Another alternative for the printed bottom trend is a pair of jeans. These pants are a good option if you’re looking for a more fitted pant. This particular pair made by 7 For All Mankind has a lot going on in terms of colors and large print so I would definitely stick to a white top but you pick a top with a fun ruffle silhouette to mix it up. Finish the outfit off with a pop of white in your shoes and a light pink bag.

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With so many prints and patterns out there for you to choose from, you’re bound to find something that suits your fancy!

 

Summer’s New Silhouettes

 This summer you can fill your closet with new, fun silhouettes that can add some variety to your wardrobe. I wore this crop top outfit out in South Beach because well in South Beach the less you wear, the better right?? I kept it classy by pairing it back to a form fitting pencil skirt for a night on the town.

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A huge summer staple this season is the full jumpsuit. For the HOT  NYC weather choose a shorts style jumper, but a full leg option is great for a cooler night (wishful thinking:). This is from Forever 21 and it is my “travel outfit”. It is light weight but has full coverage so I am not freezing on the airplane. Note to readers: I do not promote buying tons of cheapie clothing, but the occasional purchase is good for the soul.

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More of a flirty summer silhouette is a colored maxi skirt. This piece can be easily worn during the daytime or out to a nicer dinner. To dress it down pair it with a simple t-shirt and long necklace or to dress it up with a blouse and heels. photo 10

Wide leg pants are a MUST this season! Not only are they super comfortable but they are a practical piece to have in your closet. These printed wide leg pants are fun for work or play. I like to keep it simple by pairing them with a casual t-shirt that everyone has in their closet, a delicate gold bar necklace, and some caged stacked heels.

wide leg pants

If you want something a little more fitted, stick to a tapered printed pant. These pants you can also pair back to a t-shirt and a gold bracelet. During the summer, I love to add a pop of white with my accessories. With this outfit, I chose a white fold over clutch and white slip on wedges to complete the look.

drawstring pants

Something very daring to try this summer is a pair of crochet wide leg pants. This pair made by GUESS is perfect for your weekend getaway or just a fun day at the pool. These definitely will help keep you cool because they are see through ! 

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So now with various options for new additions to your summer wardrobe, it looks like you need to go shopping and check out these fun new silhouettes!