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Decoding the Code

This past Sunday I had a work event to attend
and this coming weekend I have another.

The first thought that went through my mind when I discovered I would be going was
“What should I wear?!”

You are a liar if this has never happened to you.

Thankfully there is a dress code specified on the invitation.

This is helpful, right?
Not exactly…

The title of the first event contained the phrases “casino night” & “pirate ball.”
I was so confused.
The invite said “cocktail attire,” which I take to mean something short & sassy,
but the casino aspect made it sound more glam than your typical party.
And then the pirate part??

I went to my favorite consignment boutique, Revolver, in search of something unique and suitable.
Lucky enough I found the perfect thing (and for only $20!):
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I swear, the picture does not do this dress justice.
It is a gold-on-black jersey knit slinky number with a flamenco hem and an open back.
I styled it with simple black suede heels, a low tousled ‘do, & champagne diamonds set in yellow gold.
This is the ideal balance between glamorous, but not too fancy, with a splash of pirate attitude.

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Once I arrived, I noticed guests wearing an array of styles
ranging from little sequin dresses appropriate for NYE to full on ball gowns topped off with fur.
This  really was an event where almost anything was acceptable.

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Overall, the event was a blast & I was able to spend time with co-workers outside of work!Friends

When in doubt, do your best.
But more importantly, be yourself & feel comfortable in what you’re wearing.
Confidence is more fabulous than any dress, so if you’re not big on dresses wear a sleek pantsuit.
If you’re not the flashy type then go with a classic LBD.
I like to think of the dress code as a general guideline, rather than a set of rules, because dressing up should be fun!

The next event to attend is the Ballet Ball, which I am so excited about.
The invitation stated it was a black tie event, which means ball gowns for the ladies,
but being that it is an artistic crowd I feel I have a little more creative freedom.

When you read “ball gown” or “formal” do not be scared.
This does not automatically imply some beaded, sparkly dress reminiscent of high school prom.
These days you could make a summer maxi dress look formal with the right accessories.

I wanted something that I could wear again, but was undoubtedly beautiful.
I turned to Anthropology in search of a dress with a simple shape, pretty print, & luxurious fabric.
After some online browsing, I came across a silk t-shirt gown with a watercolor floral print.
It was brilliant. It was becoming. It was perfect for the ballet.
Ballet
After finding the dress,
I was reminded of these amazing beaded Prada mules at Revolver that I had been lusting over for months.
I decided this was the perfect occasion to justify buying them.
The heel height was just right and the delicate details dressed up the silk gown.
Sometimes with a full-length dress you’ll never see the shoes,
but my dress has a slit up the side, allowing a flash of footwear as I walk.

I plan to accessorize with strands of black Tahitian pearls.
The color of black pearls has an iridescent quality that plays off the color scheme of the dress.
Furthermore, black pearls are an updated version of the classic white pearls,
lending an overall understated sophistication to the ensemble.
I’ll also cary a small, black beaded clutch to tie in the embellishments on my heels.

For hair, I’m thinking a soft curl with a center part.
Makeup will be simple; a sleek black liner and plum lipstick.
Lastly, I’ll go from car to event wearing a short, black, beaded cape.

Look out for this ensemble in a few days!
I’ll be sure to post a selfie (or two) to Instagram 🙂
@Style_Asset

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Dressers & Drawers

When it comes to your closet,
there are so many storage options and ways to organize that it can feel a bit overwhelming.
The first thing to remember when revamping your wardrobe space is to relax.
It should be fun, not stressful!

Start with one area at a time,
and as you reorder your garments consider what you want to keep
and what should not be placed back.

If you’re unsure what should go VS what should stay,
enlist a friend to help (or ask me!)
I love to work on wardrobes with a glass of wine & upbeat background music.

This post focuses on my drawer space,
which consists of everything I don’t want to hang up.
Things that don’t need to be hung: sweaters & cardigans (gravity can actually change the shape of knits over time),
leggings, some T-shirts (ones for work I’ll hang, but vintage lazy day shirts get folded), under garments (duh), gym clothes, and swimwear.
All of these things can be found dispersed between my two dressers.

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(I scored this amazing 1920’s chest of drawers on Craig’s List! If you keep your eyes open, you can find some real treasures. My MCM Bassett dresser was found & restored by the fabulous Kelly at Retro Modern Furnishings in Raleigh)

You have to do what works best for you.
I group like items together, then organize by color,
so all of my black/grey socks are in one drawer and my colored socks in another.
If you have the space, separating one step further provides easy access to what you need.

As for my sweaters & cardigans, all of these are together by color.
My reason for this is that you could wear a cardigan as a sweater,
so I treat them as one category.
I find it best to store folded clothing like a filing cabinet: from front to back.
Stacking from the bottom up is just asking for a mess when you go digging for sweaters.
By “filing” your garments, you can see everything clearly and nothing is disturbed when you remove one piece.
This method can be done with just about anything: leggings, shirts, sweaters, shorts, and even scarves.

Folding

You may have noticed that I display my jewelry on my dresser & chest.
I’m the type of person that has to see things to know they are there.
Hiding my jewelry means I go for the basics (diamond studs and a gold ring)
rather than exploring my plethora of exciting gems.
I wanted a way to organize my jewelry while still being able to see everything.
Laying items out flat takes up too much surface area,
so I turned to Amazon in search of lucite boxes and jewelry drawers!
Mission accomplished:
I was able to order a few boxes, a few stackable drawers, and a tall necklace tree!
There are so many styles of clear jewelry boxes available
and it is great to be able to intermix items for a custom display.

Jewelry

When you make things pretty they become decoration instead of an eye sore.
Think of your room as a mini boutique.
If you are going to have garments and accessories out in the open
make sure they are displayed nicely and neatly.

Boxes

The same rules apply to jewelry & accessories:
group like items together, by color.
All of my watches are together, all of my broaches in the same place,
and I sorted my go-to pieces into silver & gold.

My final drawer storage unit is the least attractive, but it does the job.
Although I hope to replace it soon, once I find the right piece,
it was an inexpensive option that is still functional.
It is within this glorified tupperware tower that I keep my gloves, belts, and scarves.

Accessories

I even have adequate surface space to display my favorite summer clutch and vintage velvet purse!
What’s in that blue box, you ask?
More scarves, but of the silk variety.
I found this beautiful old Tiffany&Co. box that is the perfect size to fold these delicate textiles.

Tiffany

What are some of your favorite storage solutions?
Do you have a method to your wardrobe madness?

Need assistance getting your closet into shape?
Ask me anything
or have me over to help!
I love revamping closets to make them more visually appealing & functional.
This is the year to start your spring cleaning with your clothing!

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The Fresh Cut

Ask any lady and she’ll tell you that the day she goes to the salon is the best day ever.
You could be in your gym clothes, with no makeup on, and that new ‘do makes you feel like a million bucks!
A new cut & color makes you want to go run errands just to show off your fabulous hair
and you wouldn’t mind going to a restaurant by yourself ’cause damn you look good.

A new hairstyle can do a lot for a girl’s morale
and with the new year just starting out, my BFF and I decided to visit my favorite stylist for a fresh look.
We each went in very different directions, but I think its appropriate considering where our styles were coming from and what we hoped to get out of 2015.

Here’s what we looked like in October 2014:
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Between then and our appointment our hair had grown out (and so had our roots) and the color had faded.
Basically, we were ready for a change!

Keisha wanted to transition into a lighter shade of brown. Her previous color was very dark and harsh against her porcelain complexion. She wanted to get back to a more natural, professional color that would allow her to transition into a lighter, honey brown over time.

As for me, I had spent all my life playing it safe with my hair color. This year, I wanted to have fun (yet remain professional) by incorporating a subtle color, like rosé. I felt that this hue would not be too obnoxious in the workplace, but would allow me to add personal flair to my appearance.

So last Thursday we made our way over to Douglas Carroll Salon to visit my favorite stylist, Bren Anderson.
Bren is seriously a hair genius. If I am ever doubting my hair idea or need a new perspective, Bren is there with words of wisdom and his magic scissors. He knows how to work with my (or anyone’s) hair type, face shape, and lifestyle.
Upon arrival, we chatted for a few about what we were going for and he laid out the game plan. Keisha and I took our places in the hydraulic chairs and were ready for action!

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First comes the processing to take our hair lighter.

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Then Bren mixes up the color!

One of my favorite parts that was not photographed is when they shampoo your hair. It is so relaxing!

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Finally, color is done and it’s time for a cut.
Bren can be a bit of a perfectionist, but that’s why I love him.
He likes to cut the basic shape/length while the hair is wet, then go back after it’s dried to do the details.
Bren never lets you walk out without your hair perfectly styled.
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Finally, after five hours in the chair, we’re done! Don’t we look amazing.

But we’re not done. It’s time for a mini make-up session!
Douglas Carroll Salon offers a variety of services, from cuts & color to massages & facials.
We met with make-up master Betty Mekonnen, currently the most published make-up artist in America.
Betty is wonderful. Next time you have a wedding to attend or a big date, go see her!
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After leaving the salon, we met up with our good friend & coworker Megan for a little photo shoot.
Here are some of my favorite shots.
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As you can see, our ensembles reflect our new hair ‘do.
I selected an outfit of soft pastels to match my rosé hair
and Keisha dressed in a neutral color pallet to highlight her lighter locks.
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We had a lot of silly shots in between the serious ones. When you’re shooting with your best friend, it’s hard to keep a straight face the whole time. Some of the laughs were fake, that then led to real laughs. Other times we were simply having fun.
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And we can’t forget the shoes! Keisha wears Sam & Libby for Target and I’m wearing Cole Haan.
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We took all of the photographs at Fred Fletcher Park. It is a beautiful area with winding walkways and two really cool historic buildings. We shot a few images in front of this old home.

All in all, it was an exciting day and we couldn’t wait to show off our fresh cuts at work the following day.
Next time you go in for a hair cut, try giving your stylist a general direction or parameters and let he/she do what they do best. Trust is essential in a relationship with your stylist. Your hair is in their hands! Furthermore, honesty is a must. Do not fib about your hair care routine or your satisfaction.

I absolutely loved what Bren did with my hair, but I left wanting more pink.
He understood and told me to let him know if I wanted to amp up the color.
Since I had to keep work in mind, it was better to start subtle rather than go crazy and it be far from professional.
So yesterday I went back and he added more color! The end result was exactly what I was looking for: pink, but not too pink, and noticeable but not in-your-face.

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The Orchid Effect

When I moved into my apartment almost a year ago, my friend left me three orchids to look after while she moved to Vermont. I was so terrified that I would kill them in a matter of days, but miraculously they have survived. It’s ironic actually; I’ve managed to let my peace lilies, basil, rosemary, and several other herbs die, but the orchids have prevailed.

These delicate flowers have taught me a lot over the past nine months; first, that I do not have a green thumb, but also that just because something appears dead and barren doesn’t mean it cannot bloom.

Thus the inspiration for this post. If you’re a Triangle local, you’ve probably noticed the unseasonably warm weather these past few days. This seems impossible considering that just last week we had a high of 20 degrees, but indeed it has felt like Spring rather than Winter. So, just as the orchid can bloom despite the time of year, I decided to dress in pieces more suited to the relatively high temperatures. But how do you dress for warm weather when it is technically winter? No one wants to look crazy wearing a sundress on a 60 degree day in January, yet draping yourself in dark colors just feels wrong. Keep reading and I’ll teach you my three tricks for merging the seasons!

Light Layering
This ensemble was inspired by the first bloom from Medusa (named for all of her snake-like roots) since I cut back the stem last Summer. A bright, sunshine yellow sweater was the focal point for the outfit, but I needed to tone down the hue and make the look more appropriate for Winter. I did this by adding a touch of black and layering. The undershirt is a super lightweight chambray, but just the hint of a layer makes everything feel more warm and cozy. This technique doesn’t have to be implemented with a sweater; you can layer two button-ups or shirts to give a similar effect. Add a lightweight scarf and you have the perfect outfit for a warm day in Winter.

Layers

(Ann Taylor Loft sweater and shirt, Joe’s jeans, Sam & Libby for Target oxfords, vintage Casio watch)

Bright Colors, Warm Fabrics
Nothing says Winter like chunky knits, thick wovens, and fabulous furs. Wear these materials in bold colors to embrace the spirit of Spring. This outfit combines multiple textiles in mostly solids to create a statement, taking inspiration from a single print that makes the look cohesive. If this technique is new to you, try introducing it in accessories, like a blue fur scarf or pink leather gloves. Even a pop of color can make a mostly black ensemble feel fresh.

Textiles

(Vintage cape and scarves, Kate Spade gloves, Gloria Ortiz heels, J. Crew shirt, Susana Monaco dress, vintage belt)


Juxtapose the Intensity
Most Winter fashion is comprised of deep, dark colors. When the sun comes out, take the opportunity to wear more vibrant variations on these hues. I played off the deep purples in this vintage skirt by incorporating a bright violet sweater. This ensemble combines sporty details, reminiscent of Fall athletic events, with feminine touches that are so Spring. Floral prints with dark backgrounds help to blend the two seasons even more.

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(GAP jacket, J. Crew sweater, vintage skirt, Cole Haan heels, vintage necklace and clutch)

So the next time it rises above 50 degrees in the dead of Winter, remember that there are no rules that state Winter fashion has to be dark. Liven things up with a splash of unexpected color and don’t be afraid to show a little skin!
(Just make sure you remember to get a pedicure before breaking out those peep-toe heels.)

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Images of Halloweens Past

As a fashionista, Halloween is naturally my favorite holiday. When else can you dress as whomever, or whatever, you want without ridicule? It is the perfect opportunity to try something outrageous or become someone else.

The key to a good costume is recognition. I usually try to portray a simple character or someone from pop culture. Once I’ve selected my persona, I pinpoint a few key visual cues that define the character.
Example: if you have  wings and green outfit people will know you are Tinkerbell.

I hate commercial, mass produced costumes because they are cheap, over-priced, and unimpressive. When you use what is in your closet, or can be found at your local Target, the result is much more interesting. Bonus points if the items you purchase can be worn/used in the real world!

Scroll down for some of my favorite Halloween costumes from over the years.

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I recreated these costumes a few years ago.
Unfortunately I have no photographic record.

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I always liked being a princess.
This is also where my store-bought costumes end!

Geisha

Black hairspray, chopsticks, vintage silk jacket, home-made skirt, fan my father brought back from Japan.
My mom was on point with my makeup that night!

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These were from my first few years of college. My friends and I were all about dressing up and going out. One year, Halloween fell on a Sunday, so we celebrated all weekend with different costumes each night, but after the first we forgot to take pictures.

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I also like being a cat. It’s my favorite animal and easy as a costume. In the first picture, I am actually a tap dancing cat (complete with sequin leotard). The second is from my senior year when Halloween was on a school day/night and I never pass up an excuse to dress up.

These are the main elements for this year’s costume. I am so excited that my place of work encourages you to dress up!
Can you guess what I’ll be??
2014 Preview
Check my Instagram tomorrow for the complete look!

@Style_Asset

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Let’s Talk About Pants

I’m having a lazy Sunday, so I’ll keep this post short & sweet.

As the temperature drops, we rely (mainly) on pants to cover our lower half.
So it is important to know a few tips on purchasing & styling said garment.

Purchasing:

  1. On average, the waistband on your pants will fit around your neck when laid flat (great for buying in a hurry).
  2. If you try on a pair and you see “whiskering” at the hip, the pants are too small.
  3. On the other hand, if you try on a pair and the zipper slouches, creating a V at the crotch, the pants are too big.
  4. I worked as a tailor assistant for two years and in that time I realized that getting a pinch taken in at the back of the waist is the second most common alteration (hemming being #1). Thus, don’t give up on a pair of awesome slacks for this reason — its a $10 fix!
  5. The hem of pants is very important: skinny jeans should hit the skinny part of your ankle, while straight or bootcut pants should stop an inch above the floor. It’s not crazy to buy two pairs of your favorite pants to hem one for heels and the other for flats.
  6. Buy for your body type: pear shapes need a straight leg, if you’re top-heavy go for a wider leg pant, & athletic types benefit from the curve-enhancing skinny pant.

Styling

  1. With all of that said, don’t be afraid to try different styles of slacks. Just make sure what you pick actually looks good and you’re not just giving in to a trend.
  2. For cuffing, I find it best to use my thumb as a guide/depth indicator. This ensures symmetrical hemming and that you won’t cuff too deep or too shallow (which could end up looking silly).
  3. When stuffing slacks into a pair of tall boots, my trick is to cuff, stick a ruler (or something similar) in the cuff, and use the tool to guide the pant into the boot without it bunching up.
  4. Don’t be afraid of color. Some hues actually work as a neutral; like navy, olive, and brick red. Your wardrobe should contain a healthy mix of neutrals, color neutrals, bold hues, and fun prints.
  5. Feeling bold? Try the French Cuff! Simply take a pair of loose-leg pants, cuff once, fold in excess material, and continue cuffing to desired length. This gives an effortlessly cool appearance and is a great way to reinvent your favorite pants.
  6. And remember ladies, most slacks will come with the pockets loosely sewn shut. You are welcome to keep them this way (best for pear shapes, as it will keep the pockets from pulling open) but you can easily open them up using a pen or your fingers.

Have questions?
Feel free to comment below and I’ll answer any of your fashion concerns!

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