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Fashion:

Jackets and blazers and coats – Oh My! Chic jackets, blazers, and coats in brilliant jewel tones, soft velvets & corduroy, fun patterns, formal tweeds & brocades, and freshly pressed trenches will all make appearances this Fall, so get a head start with WhoWhatWear’s Street Style with Adam Katz Sinding: Chic Outerwear.

Sweatshirts don’t have to be boring or gym-worthy, this season you’ll want to find a sweatshirt with a cute patterned or retro design to pair with your separates. Bright colors, fun nostalgia-inducing graphics, even highschool letterman-style sweatshirts will be hitting the streets – Trend: Sweat Chic.

There’s nothing quite like seeing what one of your fashion idols has their closet to get you in the mood to revamp your own wardrobe! Luckily for us Harper’s Bazaar is taking you on a tour of DJ, model, and Chanel ambassador Leigh Lezark’s fashion collection – Closet of the Month: Leigh Lezark.

When you’re fashion-obsessed the passion for fashion doesn’t stop with clothing and accessories, it extends to ever facet of your life. Like Tom Ford said: “Fashion is everything. Art, music, furniture design, graphic design, hair, makeup, architecture, the way cars look – all those things go together to make a moment in time, and that’s what excites me.” So let’s enjoy this tour of a fabulous, fashionable, organized home – The Brunette’s My home, my essentials.

One of the reasons that I love doing Style File posts is that you get to recreate and put a fun, fresh spin on an outfit that someone you admire has worn. Whether it’s a celebrity, a model, a blogger, or a fashion editor, you’re taking the time to really look at their personal style and try to recreate a look that you love. Smile For Style agrees and has shared her picks for this killer look from Revenge start Ashley Madekwe – Get Her Look: Ashley Madekwe.

Health & Fitness:

If you could make some small changes in your life and boost your mood and ultimately your happiness, wouldn’t you? Best selling author Gabrielle Bernstein shares her tips – From simple things like starting the day with positivity to practicing self-love. Happiness 101: 6 Ways To Be In A Good Mood All The Time.

I don’t know about you, but I like to hold onto Halloween for as long as possible, and that means making Halloween-style treats wellllll after the holiday itself passes – Sweet Vegan Treats For a Happy Halloween.

Taking some time for a calming yoga routine each day could not only help you cope with everyday stress, it could also give you a great energy boost – Yoga Moves for a Pick-Me-Up from Women’s Health.

The ladies over at Tone It Up! are known for their great outdoor & beach workouts that you can do with little to no equipment and their latest, Halloween inspired workout is another fab example filled with bridges, planks, and cardio – Your Tone It Up Tuesday SpOokTacULaR Workout!

Pizza is the ultimate comfort food but unfortunately it’s not usually on the approved foods list for the conscientious, healthy eater. But what if it could be? Check out these killer veggie-filled recipes and get cooking! Green Garden Pizza, Garlic Flatbread/Pizza Crust, Heirloom Tomato & Sweet Corn Pizza & Swiss Chard Pizza from Gluten Free, Soy Free Vegan.

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Fall On A Budget

At the beginning of October I shared my Fall 2012 Must Haves, which included eye-catching patterns & prints, faux leather, fun pants, tweed pieces, asymmetrical details, and the color de jour for Fall – Oxblood.

It’s easy to see pictures from the Fall 2012 collections and put together a mental list of all the things you want, and then give up in frustration because you can’t afford straight-from-the-runway pieces. But I’m here to tell you that we can very easily update your wardrobe for Fall without having to dip into your 401k. I promise!

I like to get one or two great new investment pieces each season – something like an updated but classic Little Black Dress, a chic new handbag, or a timeless trench – but I’ll also collect a handful of fun, on-trend pieces from less expensive stores that quickly update my looks for the season. There are great stores like Zara, ASOS, H&M, and TopShop were you can find trendy, well-made pieces each season for a steal. Read on for some of my personal suggestions & recommendations as well as a collection of great articles that’ll steer you in the right direction for all of your Fall 2012 needs.

I have to confess that some of my favorite places to shop are the Spanish retailers that I was first introduced to when I lived in Italy at the age of 21 – H&M, Mango, and Zara. The clothing is stylish and well-made, but doesn’t cost a fortune and the collections are updated frequently so there’s always something new in stores and online.
{Lace Trousers – $90 @ Zara, Blouse – $60 @ H&M & Contrast Panelled Dress – $30 @ Mango}
  • Where Do Editors Really Shop from Refinery 29 is just the sort of article that I love to read – Knowing where the most fashionable and stylish women in the fashion world shop is like being handed the keys to the kingdom! And wouldn’t you know it, along with the high-end designers that you’d expect them to mention, they also list great inexpensive shopping destinations like E-bay, Target, Zara, Amazon, Madewell, J.Crew, TopShop, JewelMint, ShoeMint, and even The Salvation Army. Great news, isn’t it?

Another lucky break for us fashion obsessed is that more and more high-end designers have been coming out with reasonably priced collections for retailer giants like Payless, Target, and Macys.

{Long-sleeve Shirt Dress in Red Geometric Print – $40 @ Kirna Zabete for Target, Long-Sleeve Satin Blazer – $60 (on sale) @ Nicole Richie for Impulse & Racquel Side Zip Bootine – $50 @ Christian Siriano for Payless}

  • Lucky Magazine’s 100 Cheap Fall Finds is a trove of fun Fall pieces from printed pants and embellished collars to chic dresses and leather trimmed jackets. In addition to featuring clothing from Luckymag.com, they included other retail websites like Romwe.com, Pixiemarket.com, Urban1972.com, Levis.com, and Ulta.com.
  • Two of the trends that I’m most excited for this Fall are printed pants and leather-trimmed pieces and luckily for all of us the fun website The Cheap Chica’s Guide to Style featured fabulous recommendations for both trends –  Geometry Class & Just The Sleeves Please. So no matter what type of fashion you’re in the mood for this site has what you’re looking for!

The less expensive secondary lines created by designers and sold at department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macys, Nordstrom, and Kolh’s are great pieces to keep an eye out for.

{Left to Right: Marc by Marc Jacobs ‘Jac’ Denim Leggings – $140 @ Nordstrom, MICHAEL Michael Kors Sleeveless Cowl Neck Banded Bottom Dress – $45 (on sale) @ Bloomingdale’s, and LC Lauren Conrad Embellished Ruffle Tee – $40 @ Kohl’s}

  • Not quite sure how to approach stores like Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, or Ross? Refinery 29 took it upon themselves to teach us how in their piece Discount Shopping – How To Shop At Marshalls where they had three different editors put together 6 cute looks under $50. Wow!
  • Waiting for stores to have announce a big sale is a great way to find the pieces you’re craving without paying full-price. Not sure just how to make this tactic work for you? Check out Sales Rack Skinny: The Subtle Statement’s Sale Shop Tactics for tips that’ll help you find just what you’re looking for in stores or even online.

Are you still in the mood for more tips, recommendations, and suggestions for updating your wardrobe, Fall dressing, and online shopping? Stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Style For Hire and a series of informative posts all about online shopping.

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Paris Fashion Week Spring 2013

J’adore Paris!

There is no city quite like Paris and no fashion is quite like Parisian fashion. I adore many cultures and cities and designers, but there’s just something about Paris that you can’t forget.

Valentino:

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have consistently created lovely collections since taking over from Mr. Valentino himself – Lots of dresses, fabulous splashes of classic Valentino red, and red carpet ready gowns.

Leather, velvet, silk, chiffon, lace, satin, and eyelet all made their way down the runway – Along with the occasion statement coat and jumpsuit. My favorite look was the gold brocade coat-dress that Hanne Gaby Odiele wore down the catwalk – Tres chic!

Chanel:

The Chanel show is always a dramatic, eclectic spectacle and this season was no different with solar panels, turbines, and wind farm-like backdrops.

This collection included everything from hula hoop handbags, stark black & white, youthful polka dots, bright jewel tones, traditional florals, 80’s style fingerless gloves, denim, rompers, suits, wide-brimmed hats, and strappy wedges. I especially liked the chunky pearl bracelets & necklaces, the polka-dotted strapless dress, and the cute Dorothy-inspired blue & white gingham.

Alexander McQueen:

The McQueen show is always something to look forward to with eye-catching, one-of-a-kind makeup, backgrounds, clothing, and accessories. No other designer can come close to the types of shows that Lee McQueen – And now Sarah Burton – Put on.

This season’s collection had an S&M beekeeper type of vibe with safari-style netting covered hats, bustiers, thigh-high stockings, harnesses & corsets, bustles, wide belts, and bee, wasp, and honeycomb prints. Excessive, rich, over-the-top, and utterly stunning.

Miu Miu:

Denim, interesting fabrics & textures, moody prints, and a mixture of silhouettes and lengths all gave the Miu Miu collection a fun but grown-up feel.

I love classic workwear style pieces so this collection was right up my alley. I adored the pencil skirts and sleek sheath dresses, and the retro vibe was to die for with killer furs, boat neck tops, visible pin-up inspired bustiers, leather gloves, slim pocketbooks, and long, demure jackets. J’adore!

Lanvin:

“Deconstructed classicism” was the theme and it came to life in sleek separates and dresses done up in black & white, bold, vibrant jewel tones, and silky neutrals.

The collection was sleek and sexy, the pieces modern and wearable. The embellished prints were quite eye-catching but the sleek pieces in navy, black & white stole the show in my opinion. All of the looks above are amazing – I would wear them anytime, anywhere!

Yves Saint Laurent:

New name – Saint Laurent – retro vibe. The 70’s were back at YSL with leather, suede, fringe, wide-brimmed hats, and maxi lengths all evoking classic Yves.

The details of this collection were what caught my attention – The slim, cropped pants, the white piping on blazers, the patent t-trap heels, oversized bows at the neck, and opera-length gloves. I especially liked the pants looks and shimmering, two-toned caplet was the piece at the top of my Must Have list!

Givenchy:

While the theme may have been the same, Riccardo Tisci’s sedated and minimal interpretation of Catholicism was a far cry from the extravagant opulence of the Fall 2012 Dolce & Gabbana show at Milan Fashion Week.

The pieces may have been stark – Done up in mostly black & white with severe cuts – But they were still dramatic and eye-catching. I adored the black & white frocks, the flattering tunic-vests, the subtle ruffles, and the thick metallic chokers.

Stella McCartney:

The Stella show was bold in both color and silhouette – Her usual oversized, boy-meets-girl style got spiced up with wrap dresses, jumpsuits, and racerback tops.

The suits and the minimalistic pieces are always my favorite – Though the patchwork prints and cheerleader skirts last season proved that she’s got more up her sleeve. The safari-style tops were cute and versatile and the green she showed was right up my alley!

Louis Vuitton:

The LV collection was awash in checkered patterns, bright hues, and in a fun change of pace Mr. Jacobs had all of his models strut their stuff down the runway in pairs.

The mod feeling to the show was modernized by the eye-catching prints. The accessories were cute but minimally applied – Bow adorned headbands, checkered flats, and small patterned daybags. Fun, flirty, and oh-so-wearable. Just what Marc Jacobs does best!

Chloe:

The Chloe collection was primarily black and white with some splashes of burnt orange and fleshy pink throw in for good measure. Very French. Very feminine. Very Sweet.

The silhouettes ranged from oversized and exaggerated to romantic and womanly. While the colors, fabrics, and prints ran the gamut from black & white velvet to salmon stripes to sheer purple ruffles.

Balmain:

The Balmain collection brought to mind the 90’s with power suits, big shoulders, loud prints, thick belts, and plunging necklines. All with a Parisian, Balmain spin on them.

Stripes & checkers, bold yellow, oversized hoop earrings, metallic accessories, midriff baring tops, denim, and oversized blazers all had me checking the models faces to see if Cindy, Linda, Naomi, or Christy were there.

Christian Dior:

Raf’s debut collection for Dior was full of dichotomies – Stark but romantic, minimal but dramatic. He played with colors, prints, lengths, and silhouettes while still presenting a very Dior collection.

The suits and coat-dresses were my favorite, they came in different cuts and lengths, but were utterly chic and utterly timeless. The kinds of pieces that you invest in and wear for the rest of your life.

Sources: Style.com, Fashionologie, The Stylist, & Tom & Lorenzo

Previous Paris Fashion Week Collections: Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012, Paris Fashion Week Fall 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 Part I, Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II, and Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion.

Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: Raf Simons, Hedi Slimane and the Tectonic Shifts of the Paris Fashion Establishment from Business Of Fashion, FabSugar’s Paris Fashion Week Diary, Precious Details from The Man Repeller, and Derek Blasberg’s A Photo Diary From Paris Fashion Week.

Which Paris Fashion Week show was your favorite? Do you like the classic, Paris Fashion Week institutions like Chanel and Valentino best or newer, more modern houses like Chloe and Alexander McQueen?

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Milan Fashion Week Spring 2013

I adore the designers who show at Milan Fashion Week – The clothes are inevitably dramatic, womanly, and sexy sexy sexy. This season was no exception, the collections shown were color, extravagant, and downright spectacular.

Versace:

The Versace woman is never afraid to show some skin and this Spring she’ll really be putting her fabulous figure on display in an assortment of mini skirts, dresses, and shorts in mesh, nude lace, and sheer fabrics.

Low slung belts, studded cross-body bags, midriff baring tops, and knee-high gladiator sandal-boot hybrids were the accessories de jour, all in blacks, nudes, and vibrant Spring colors. I especially liked the sleeveless shift dresses and the studded belts which added a dash of rock n’ roll to the looks.

Salvatore Ferragamo:

Leather and skins were highly featured at the Ferragamo show, and while other designers showed flowy silhouettes, bright colors, and prints & florals, Ferragamo was structured and tailored.

The black, white & nude collection included fabulous outerwear, slim pants, lacing, metallics, lace, mesh fabrics, snake-skin, boots, and studs, buckles & grommets.

Alberta Ferretti:

Delicate. Ladylike. Romantic. Those are all words that I usually associate with Alberta Ferretti and this Spring collection is no different. I might even add dreamy this season.

Between the beading, shimmering, feathers, lace, and wet-looking slinky fabrics this collection was a treat for the senses, you wanted to reach out and touch all the aquatic-inspired designs!

Prada:

‘Dramatic’ and ‘florals’ may not seem like they are two concepts that go together, but at Prada the dark, moody hues made the Japanese-inspired florals really pop.

From red poppies to black & white dandelion silhouettes, these florals were modern and dramatic rather than your usual hippie-inspired, Spring-appropriate florals.

Fendi:

Printed and colorblocked separates, dresses, and outerwear marched down the Fendi runway in colors from black & white to yellow, brown, and blue.

While there were a few solid-colored frocks among the looks sent down the catwalk, it was the dramatic and eye-catching futuristic prints that really caught my eye. The exaggerated silhouettes and interesting draping, folding, and tailoring were also outstanding.

Moschino:

The Moschino collection was absolutely killer! I’m a huge fan of mod-inspired looks and this collection was all about the 60’s – From amazingly flattering black & white pieces to swoon-worthy brightly colored prints & stripes.

The dramatic, embellished silver sandals, the retro hats, oversized sunnies, shift dresses, and chic, colorful jumpsuits & rompers with contrasting colored piping were all totally wearable. The separates and dresses had a great retro vibe but were still totally wearable for a modern girl if styled right!

Dolce & Gabbana:

Bright, fun & kitschy – Just the way we like it!

The old school Italian themed show was full of fun colors, extravagant prints, stripes, oversized earrings, scarves, and the classic, retro silhouettes that the pair do so well. It was interesting, eye-catching, and wearable.

Roberto Cavalli:

This primarily black & white collection included hints of pink, green, and orange among the dreamy crystal, gem, and jewel-encrusted dresses, gowns, and slim suits.

From delicate lace, mesh, and sheer fabrics in crisp white to abstract florals in palest pastels to dramatic beaded pieces in black. Slinky, sexy, and dramatic – These designs were simultaneously powerful and delicate, a feat few designers can manage.

Marni:

Though there were bold patterns featured in the Marni collection, there were also great white, and solid colored separates and dresses, all in the preferred, exaggerated silhouette of Consuelo Castiglioni.

Wooden brooches and ankle-strap platform sandals were also featured, both adding a down-to-earth feel to the collection. What I liked best were the cocoon -haped coats in bright prints and the peplum adorned dresses.

Gucci:

Think PINK! The Gucci show opened with a handful of bright pink looks, followed by blue, green, and yellow before the final black & white evening looks.

Brilliant colors, retro 70’s styles, and flattering, womanly silhouettes. The collection was dramatic and eye-catching while still being fun and wearable. The whole affaire was bold and sexy, one of my favorite collections!

MaxMara:

The relaxed, Out of Africa style collection from MaxMara showcased slouchy knits, shirt dresses, safari inspired outerwear, and a host of somber colored prints, plaids, and stripes.

They delivered a collection of easy, low-key separates that could easily be paired together or mixed n’ matched with other pieces that you already have in your wardrobe.

Giorgio Armani:

This collection was all about shimmering, shiny, science fiction-inspired fabrics, textures, and colors. Silvery blue-grays, tie-dye inspired aquas, and sparkling navy were all heavily featured.

The flowy, somewhat exaggerated silhouettes were universally flattering and the chic, simple sandals were pure Armani. I always love Giorgio’s habit of sending two girls at a time down the runway, such a fun way to space things!

Versus:

This was a fun, bright, playful extravaganza – From candy-like prints & patterns to vibrant pinks, yellows & blues to cheeky silhouettes & fabrics.

I especially liked the interesting fabrics and textures that Christopher Kane showcased, as well as the use of exposed zippers and the fun prints. It was a really youthful and energetic collection of pieces.

Missoni:

The knits that marched down the runway for Missoni spanned the color spectrum – From crisp whites to playful corals to Springy greens & blues. Taste the rainbow!

The breezy dresses and structured separates were wearable and chic – Perfect for a Spring full of exotic locations, days spent reading by the pool, or picking your way through foreign flea markets. They had a rich feel to them, like a luxurious vacation to far away lands come to life!

Sources: Style.com, Fashionologie, The Stylist, & Tom & Lorenzo

Previous Milan Collections: Milan Fashion Week Fall 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion, Milan Fashion Week Fall 2012, Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Street Style & Front Row Fashion, Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part I & Milan Fashion Week Spring 2012 – Part II.

Additional reviews, photographs, shows, and videos: Fashionologie’s Bags! The Best From Milan’s Spring 2013 Runways, Harper’s Bazaar’s Milan Fashion Week Spring 2013 Looks & Derek Blasberg’s Insta-Diary From The Fashion Week(s).

What’s your favorite designer from the Milan Fashion Week lineup? Do you look forward to any shows season after season?

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What I’m loving right now…

I definitely go through phases when it comes to the inanimate objects in my daily life – Everything from the beauty products I use to the accessories I wear to the reading materials stacked on my nightstand. Whether you call it a rut or finely tuning your routine, I’m sure you know precisely what I mean.

So here are some of my current (new and past) loves…

{The love of my life, my new Givenchy bag – See Skulls & Givenchy for photos from the first MCLV Style post featuring this bag!}

{My newest mascara acquisition – I’ve mentioned my love of Benefit’s BADGal and Chanel’s Inimitable mascara in the past, but I also like to rotate in a drugstore brand now and again, and I’ve been thrilled with the results of Maybelline’s One by One Volume Express}

{As far as I’m concerned you can’t have enough fun, statement jewelry: Spiked Bracelet – Asos.com & Purple Beaded Necklace – Zara}

{In my opinion the only positive thing about the end of Summer are September issues!}

{SWOON! I’ve been a fan of Moroccan Argan Oil for a while so when I saw this L’Oreal Precious Oil Treatment I jumped at the chance to try it – Not only does it smell like a dream, it’s visibly nourishing}

{It’s official – I’m in love! Skull adorned Steve Madden smoking slippers}

{Fashion Books & Vintage Jewelry. Left: The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia & vintage pearl collar. Right: Parisian Chic – A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange & vintage Vendome tassel necklace}

What are you loving lately? What can’t you get enough of? Have you gotten any fun new pieces or exciting accessories to update your wardrobe or prepare for Fall/Winter 2012/2013?

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