Project Runway Comes to St. Louis!

Every week, I act as a virtual judge on Project Runway. I tell my cat or husband my brilliant opinions on the fashions, yell at the rest of the judges when my fave designers are auf'ed, and smile triumphantly when Heidi et al actually listen to me and agree with my critiques. So, over the weekend I was beyond excited to see some of the show's alums at Saint Louis Fashion Week for the Project Runway Show! As one of the STLFW bloggers, I had the honor of sitting inches away from the amazing designs. The next day at the Project Runway All-Star Trunk Show at Ziezo, I got to meet some of the designers in person! Here is my rundown of the Project Runway designers and festivities:
This was the first-ever fashion show at the fabulous St. Louis Fox Theatre!
Laura Kathleen (Season 9, All-Stars Season 2)
A St. Louis native, Laura Kathleen was memorable on the TV show for her feminine, sophisticated designs. The self-pronounced "Barbie with a Bite" co-hosted the evening. She then described her glamorous collection as based upon the woman she aspires to be: confident, interesting, and always impeccably dressed. 
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine
Laura Kathleen hanging out in the U. City Loop with fellow PR alums Viktor & Casanova
Michael Drummond (Season 8)
Another St. Louis native, I remember Michael for his witty quips and standout knitwear. He transported the audience to a cool, futuristic fashion planet with his avant-garde collection. With his use of fringe, leather, and innovative footwear designs, I was in no hurry to come back to Earth.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine
Michael Drummond posing beside his collection at Ziezo
Anthony Ryan (Season 9, All-Stars Season 2)When Anthony Ryan starred on the TV show, I felt inspired that he didn't let his bout with cancer stop him from pursuing his dreams. At Saturday's show, he revealed that he was recently diagnosed with cancer for a second time. As his designs graced the runway, it was clear that his talent is matched only by his courage. His Native American-inspired collection was one of my faves of the night! I am definitely looking forward to seeing his more affordable collaboration with Nine West.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine
April Johnston (Season 8, All-Stars Season 1)
Fans may remember April's feisty personality, silver hair, and dark, ethereal design aesthetic. Her current collection was edgy and pretty, but the white color palette gave the garments a surprisingly delicate quality. I especially loved her use of feathers and beading.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine
Viktor Luna (Season 9)
I was a huge Viktor fan on his season because of his impeccable construction, colorful aesthetic and the insanely hot white jacket he designed. He told me at the trunk show that the white jacket is still one of his most talked-about designs and that there may be another one in the works. His present collection had bold colors, graphic prints, and a sporty feel. 
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine
Viktor posing beside his collection at Ziezo
Joshua McKinley (Season 9, All-Stars Season 1)

Who can forget Joshua's bold personality and equally loud designs? His collection was my other favorite of the evening. The colorful designs were a master class in textile- and print-mixing: houndstooth, boucle, fringe, sequins, mesh, and leather. His hope was to design clothing that is "audible without conversation." Mission accomplished!
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine
Casanova (Season 8, All-Stars Season 2)
Puerto Rican native Casanova made an impact on his seasons with his vivacious, humorous personality. He describes his design aesthetic as "risqué." His present collection featured silky resort wear with sexy accents like intricate back detailing.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for ALIVE Magazine

Casanova poses beside his collection at Ziezo
Which designers and collections are your favorites? 

3 Shoe-Ins for Fab Feet

As Marilyn Monroe said, "Give a girl the right pair of shoes and she can conquer the world." Of course, I wholeheartedly agree. Here are 3 fall footwear trends that will make you a shoe-in for most fabulous feet: 

1. ANKLE STRAP: Because these shoes highlight the sleekest part of the leg, they are super-flattering. Whether you choose a flat, stiletto, or mid-heel height, strap your toes in for a stylish ride.

1. Chloe Metallic Ankle Flat from Lyst
2. Seychelles Green Room Pump from DSW
3. Jessica Simpson Edina Printed Pump from DSW
4. Sleek D'Orsay Pumps from F21

2. OXFORDS: These smart, menswear-inspired shoes look sharp with skirts, boyfriend jeans, and cropped pants. I already own a few neutral, go-with-everything oxfords, but there's always room for more! This season, I'm on the hunt for rock-star accents like studs or crazy prints. Here are some of my top picks:
1. Restricted Goody Flat from DSW
2. Envy Waltz Oxford from DSW
3. Soko Oxford from Osborn
4. Spiked heel flat from Charlotte Russe 

3. SHOOTIE: I am intrigued with this shoe/short boot hybrid aptly called a "shootie." (Just for extra shopping confusion, depending on the brand, the exact same shoe can also be called a "bootie" or an "oxford pump.") No matter what you call it, these shoes are equal parts edgy and chic. A sophisticated black pair is extremely versatile, or you can pump up the volume with clever details like laser cutouts or studs. 
1. Bandolino Appeal Bootie from DSW
2. Pour La Victoire Eden from This Next
3. Quilted Lace-Up Platform Bootie from Charlotte Russe
4. Covington Women's Bootie Anklet from Sears

Which shoe trends are you going to try this fall?

Soldier Girl

My husband has owned an army green button-up shirt for several years, but has never worn it since it doesn't quite fit. It didn't fit me either, despite several attempts (rolling up sleeves, pinning it, etc.). We've debated giving it away a few times, but always decide that the shirt is far too cool to discharge. And since both of our grandfathers, several of our uncles, and my dad proudly served in the military, we like having a garment that reminds us of their courage. For the last few years, the top has been in the (closet) reserves. With the help of my bump, it's now back on active style duty!

To glam up the shirt, I paired it with white cuffed pants, a vintage purse, chunky heels, and a pearl necklace. Other ideas for military-inspired fashion are wearing a camo print top or purse, or hunting through an army surplus store for a cool jacket. Just be sure to stick to one military piece and pair it with neutrals or feminine accents. What do you think - should this look receive a dishonorable discharge or stay on the front lines?

Shirt: Salvation Army; Pants: Motherhood Maternity; Shoes & Necklace: Forever 21; Purse: Goodwill 
When my hubbie saw that I was wearing his shirt, he responded with confusion and surprise, "You glammed up an army shirt?!" Yes, sir. :)
According to my dad, the badges on this shirt reveal that it belonged to a combat infantry army major. How cool is that?

This is my submission to IFB Project #114: Soldier Chic. See more military-inspired looks here!

Channeling Carrie Bradshaw for Awards Night

Perhaps the one positive aspect of pregnancy's frequent awakenings is the built-in time for outfit planning. While I wait for the sandman to re-enter at 2am, I lay there and think about fashion. (Um, surely I'm not the only person who does this?) The style wheels in my head turned vigorously as I assembled an outfit for Saint Louis Fashion Week's Kickoff Party. As a proud nominee for a St. Louis Fashion Blog Award, my look needed to be eclectic, statement-making, feminine, vintage-y, and of course affordable. Except for the "affordable" part, I realized during one of my middle-of-the-night, waxing-fashion-poetic sessions that those terms also describe one of my style icons, Carrie Bradshaw.

One of my all-time favorite Carrie outfits was her New Year's Eve ensemble in the first "Sex and The City" movie: the cream cami, pearls, fur coat, and silky PJ pants. I've also longed to recreate the sweater and knee sock combo she wore in another scene. Hmmm. .  . During daylight hours, I turned to a tried-and-true source of unique fashion: the Goodwill. Armed with fun finds but no viable Fashion Week outfits, I was about to leave when I spied a cream silk shift dress. Very "Carmen Bradshaw." To offset the nightgown-ish look, I paired it with black knee socks and booties. I added a gold necklace from my grandmother, vintage butterfly purse, and modernizing jean jacket. (St. Louis is still far too hot to consider a fur coat!) 

The outfit received rave reviews at the party! And even though I didn't win, I was genuinely happy for the talented ladies that did (see them here). So, maybe now I can get a good night's sleep. . .at least until the next Fashion Week event (purchase tickets here). My sleep cycle would love some suggestions - how do you come up with outfits for special events?
Me & my dates: my hubby and our little girl-to-be!
Jacket: Charlotte Russe; Dress: Goodwill; Purse: Retro 101; Necklace: Vintage; Socks & Booties: Macy's

Love the nightie-glam. . .
And the knee-socks!

Hello, Yellow

 As my daughter's due date nears, I feel bad shopping for clothes that may only get a few wears. (Oddly, I didn't have the same apprehension pre-pregnancy, even though lots of my still-fitting clothes prematurely wound up in a "donate-because-I've-lost-interest-even-though-it's-still-cute" bag. But, I guess then, I didn't knowingly buy something I only wore twice. At least that's what I told myself.) Nevertheless, I had to respond with a smile when this sweet, $8 striped yellow top spoke to me at NCJW's Resale Shop. Jeans, some colorful jewelry, and my adorable vintage yellow shoes provide the perfect finishing touches. Since the top should fit post-pregnancy, I won't be saying "goodbye" to it anytime soon! 
Top: Thrifted from NCJW's The Resale Shop; Jeans: Thrifted from Sprung; Shoes: Retro 101; Purse: Baker's

NCJW's The Resale Shop

The Resale Shop is located at 295 N. Lindbergh, St. Louis MO 63141
Thanks to a blogger Happy Hour co-sponsored by Alive Magazine, I discovered another fashion-forward, budget-friendly store in St. Louis: NCJW's The Resale Shop. The store offers guilt-free shopping at its finest, since all items are donated and proceeds fund local charities. In between mingling with friendly bloggers and munching on yummy mini-meatballs, I sifted through rack after rack of colorful, fun clothes and jewelry. 

Armed with cute possibilities, I made at least 3 hauls to the dressing room. Most items I tried on cost between $6-$12 (!). After dividing the loot into "I-can't-wait-to-wear-this" (large pile), "maybe-after-the-baby-comes" (medium pile) and "nope, not for me" (small pile), I finally sauntered up to the register. For about $30, I bought a jacket, pair of earrings, never-worn tailored vest, and two tops! My advice to local frugalistas planning to check out the store: don't attempt a quick walk-through. There is simply too much pretty merchandise to absorb without carefully checking each hanger or section. Each time I told myself I was done, something else caught my eye. And, boyfriends/husbands/male friends/kids do not need to stay home during your shopping trip. There's stuff for them, too. NCJW's Resale Shop is definitely a hidden St. Louis gem! 

Here's what I bought! Check out how I styled one of the pieces here.

St. Louis Fashion Blog Awards Nominee!

Super exciting news: The Ruby Zipper was nominated for a St. Louis Blog Fashion Blog Award in the categories of "Best Newcomer" and "Best Personal Style!" It feels amazing to be recognized for doing something I love and to be among the small but mighty fashion community in STL! Meet all the nominees here!

Want to attend see which bloggers win awards this week? You can purchase tickets here (enter code SUPPORT for $5 off!). The details:
*What: Saint Louis Fashion Week Kickoff Party & Blog Awards
*Where: Three-Sixty St. Louis 1 S. Broadway 63102
*When: Thursday, September 19 - Doors open 6pm, Awards at 7pm, Doors open to GA at 8pm

As a bonus, The Ruby Zipper is giving away 2 FREE TICKETS to the party! To be entered in the contest, simply comment below. Winners chosen at random on Wednesday 9/18. Good luck and hope to see you there! Now, I've got to work on getting my outfit together. . . [NOW CLOSED]

DIY Husband Jeans

Boyfriend jeans have wooed chic tops with their rugged style for years now. Up to this point, my shirts have admired their sexy-yet-comfortable appeal from afar. But after months of wearing mom-to-be jeans, I became determined to introduce my tops to a more dapper, edgy pair of jeans. Most boyfriend jeans are not interested in a rapidly expanding belly or shrinking clothing budget. So, I decided to create tailor-made "husband jeans!" 

Bootcut maternity jeans had the most style potential with their looser fit. I tried to distress them with scissors and sandpaper, but got the coolest destroyed denim effects from an emery board. To get rid of the bootcut bottom, I turned the jeans inside-out, sat down at my sewing machine, and sewed a straighter seam up to the knees. I cut a couple of inches off the bottom and cuffed the jeans. When the new-and-improved husband jeans met my black-and-white animal print top, it was love at first sight. And the best part? Thanks to a lunchtime meeting at The Scholar Shop, the twosome's first date cost a frugal $10.

Don't forget to vote here for The Ruby Zipper for "Best Newcomer" and "Best Personal Style" for a St. Louis Fashion Blog Award! Voting ends Monday, 9/16/13 at midnight. Thanks, fashionistas!

Top & Jeans: Scholar Shop; Purse: Mexico; Shoes: Macy's


 A hot trend for prints this year is the retro-inspired zig-zag chevron. I actually bought this maxidress last winter because of its boho-chic-tribal-retro vibe (so perhaps I had a psychic trend-forecasting moment). To punch it up, I drew out the yellow lines in the dress with a pair of citrus-hued vintage shoes. This is definitely a "look-at-me" print, so if head-to-toe chevron is too overwhelming, try a flowy chevron blouse or accent purse. Keep accessories simple so they don't compete with the pattern. If your style is used to staying in a straight line, a little chevron is a fun detour!
Maxidress: Nicole Richie from Macy's
Vintage shoes: Retro 101/Cherry Bomb Vintage

P.S. - Don't forget to vote for The Ruby Zipper for a St. Louis Fashion Blog Award here! :)

Preppy Blazer of Glory

"Preppy, is that you? Nice legs!" 

The term "preppy" can rarely be used to describe my outfits. But, I was inspired to create a sassy schoolgirl look after watching the "Screech's Woman" episode of Saved By the Bell. You know, the one where Zack dresses up as a girl to act as Screech's fake date. (Automatic A+ if you recall Zack's drag name!) When Slater told Zack s/he had "nice legs," I wanted to create a look that showed off my gams. First, I topped my mint green pleated dress with a white tank to make it more bump-friendly. Then, I prepped it out with the quintessential blazer of glory: my beloved navy prep-school jacket, scored a few years ago from the boy's section of a thrift store. A vintage gold brooch, tie necklace, oxfords, and retro SBTB lunchbox provide geek-chic finishing touches. Does this outfit make the grade or should I be sent to Mr. Belding's office?

Blazer: Goodwill; White tee: Old Navy; Pleated Dress: Rue 21; Tie necklace: Material Girl from Macy's
Lunch Box: NBC Store (New York); Watch: Betsey Johnson
Oxfords: Charlotte Russe

Yep, that's Preppy AKA Zack Morris AKA Bambi
PS - This is my submission to IFB Project #123. See other "Blazers of Glory" here!

Purse with a Pop of Fuchsia

At a recent party honoring Rung Boutique's VIP shoppers, I zeroed in on a fuchsia and navy chevron purse. I was working at the event, so by the time I was ready to buy the purse, I was extremely disappointed to see that someone had already snagged it. Since Rung is a resale store, duplicate items are rare. I figured it wasn't meant for me and started to look for something else. . .until I discovered a second bag! The wheels immediately started to turn as I thought about what outfits I could pair it with. For the bag's debut, I decided to stick with the unexpected pink-and-navy palette:  navy jeggings, a fuchsia tank, and a sparkly sweater bought last year on Black Friday. Do you have other ideas on how to make the hot pink in this purse pop?
Purse: Melie Bianco (thrifted from Rung)
Sweater: Macy's; Tank: Forever 21; Jeggings: Burlington Coat Factory; Necklace: H&M; Flats: Forever 21