Mardi Gras Madness

A Mardi Gras look from years past, wearing my mom's vintage leather coat.
In addition to having a World Champion baseball team and hosting the late Alexander McQueen's special exhibit "A QueenWithin," St. Louis is home to the 2nd largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, rivaled only by the New Orleans' festivities. Despite frigid temps, every year scores of locals and out-of-towners head down to Soulard for beads, hurricanes, floats, the occasional "flash" (use your imagination), more hurricanes, and tasty eats. In my wilder days (OK, fine, last year), I was part of the minions, hopelessly trying to locate random intersections to connect with friends, who of course could not hear their cell phones - not that I could hear mine, or trying to sneak into that gloriously warm house party hosted by a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend. In a strange way, it's always kinda fun! If you're braving the insanity this year, here's some style advice from a native:

1. Layers, layers, layers. It will be cold, and you'll be outside for hours. Gulping hurricanes may make you giggle, but will not warm you up. Trust me. My foolproof tactic to avoid shivers? Tights or leggings underneath jeans, hurricanes optional.
2. No heels or overly nice shoes. Mardi Gras involves a ton of walking, and this is a rare time where I'd advise you to put "comfort" near the top of your shoe criteria. Intoxicated revelers + outdoor food = disgusting pavement.
3. Don't forget gloves and a hat, but enough stacked beads can double for a scarf.
4. Go all out. You'll have a large and forgiving audience for your outfit, so if you've got a costume-y hat or day-glow feather boa, wear it!

Ruby's not quite ready for Mardi Gras, so we won't be going this year. What about you - what are you going to wear? Here's what I would wear underneath my coat:
Mardi Gras Outfit

Cream of the Crop: DIY Embellished Sweater

I always feel proud when I wear this sweater because I embellished it myself! I cut a gaudy collar off a shapeless thrift store sweater, planning to attach the collar to another top. That plan never came to fruition because no matter how I turned it, the collar's odd shape just didn't look as cute as I wanted it to. But something told me to keep it anyway, because its blue and gold jewels were just too pretty to discard. The collar-of-unrealized-dreams sat in my sewing studio for months. But after a net-surfing session led me to this post, inspiration struck.I cut up the collar and stitched on the baubles to a clearance-rack sweater, making the whole project cost under $10. If you have a bunch of random jewels, don't throw them out - sew them onto a solid top for a whole new garment!
Sweater: F21 (embellished by yours truly); Jeans: $4 specials from Gordmann's; Flats: Macy's; Purse: Vintage

This was the picture that inspired me, found on Who What Wear. 

Hand-stitching everything was time-consuming, but so worth it. And, it can be done while catching up on Law & Order SVU reruns.
Yes, I made this awesome sweater myself! :)

Winter White-Out

Fashion traditionalists state that you're not supposed to wear white after Labor Day, and it's never been clear when wearing the color is "allowed" again. Memorial Day, perhaps? Regardless, that's rubbish! (Isn't rubbish such a funny word?) These days, white is A-OK even in cold months. There's even a name for it: "winter white." I just bought these white jeans and have already worn them twice. To keep things seasonally appropriate, I paired them with a grey wool blazer and an ironic graphic tee. Cream-colored bottoms are another option if bright-white feels too bold. If you're on the fence about whether you can pull of white in February, go for it! And feel free to enjoy that naughty twinge of pride from breaking the (style) rules. 
Pants: Ann Taylor, Blazer: The Limited, Purse: Melie Bianco (all pre-loved from Rung Boutique); Oxfords: Urban Outfitters; Tee & Bracelet: Forever 21
Taking a suggestion from local blogger Cassie of Style Cassentials, I added the purse for a pop of color.
A lone patch of snow to remind us that Old Man Winter is still lurking around. But it is February, so I guess technically he's not trespassing.

Creme de Mint

What's the perfect antidote to subzero temps? (Besides actual upward movement of mercury on the thermometer.) Pastels! My minty blazer, bought last year for my TV debut and worn countless times throughout my pregnancy, always gives my look a refreshing update. For its inaugural wear this year, I paired it with a floral tank and dark jeans. Pretty, pale hues caused a quiet stir on the runways for many designers like Prabal Gurung and Jason Wu. And, as I've been known to buy and/or ingest something simply because I like its name, the sweet descriptions of pastels are enough to give me an extra spring in my step. (Pink Lemonade? Yum. Pistachio? Delish. Peach mango? Yes.). Get your style in mint condition by keeping pastels on your color palette year-round!  
Blazer: Giani Bini (Dillard's); Top: Talbots (from Rung Boutique); Jeans: Levis; Shoes: Carlos Santana (also from Rung)
A nice man offered to take my pic, remarking "How many shots does it take to get the 'right' one?" More than I'd subject anyone other than my husband and my tripod to. LOL
Yay! It's actually above freezing today!

You're A Stone Fox

A few days ago, a belated Christmas present arrived from China: the foxy-glam sweatshirt I put on my Ebay wish list! I'd all but forgotten about it, although I'm not sure how I could have forgotten the adorable red foxes, deer, and snowy forest scene. I wore it to a friend's going-away gathering and giggled inside as our bartender stared at it, perplexed and intrigued. "I'm thinking. . .Bambi?" he ventured. "That's what she was going for," my slightly amused husband replied. Even when he doesn't understand it, Brian supports my quirky style. I wasn't exactly going for a "Bambi" look (and I'm not sure whether that was a compliment) but I'll take it as one! Whenever my outfit starts a conversation, I just smile and think: mission accomplished. 
Sweatshirt: Muzicun; Pants: New York & Co. (thrifted); Socks: Jessica Simpson; Shoes: Madden Girl; Clutch: Thrifted

Foxy lady!
The deer are sweet. I can see how they conjure images of Bambi. :)

NYFW Outfit Dream Team

Going to New York Fashion Week is officially on my Bucket List. Incredible designers, cutting-edge garments, non-stop fashion events? I'm so there - even if it's just in spirit for now. In preparation, I styled three outfits that I would wear if I was ducking into the Tents, getting a sneak peak of my fave designers' Fall 2014 collections. I'd also be soaking up fashion inspiration from the motley crew of stylists, bloggers, designers, and other industry bigwigs in attendance. What would you wear to NYFW?

After quickly settling into my hotel and grabbing a quick bite, I would change into my first day's uniform: patterned blazer, graphic tee, leather skirt and orange booties. I love it because it's fun and edgy, with a hint of sophistication from the blazer. My schedule for the day would include swooning at the Carolina Herrera, Milly by Michelle Smith, and Zac Posen shows. Afterwards, me and my crew would hit a few industry parties. My low-heeled booties would ensure that I could still walk by the end of the night.
So, the total cost of this look is $1,575. More than my plane ticket and hotel room. . .a girl can dream. :)
Still punchy from the previous day's adventures, Day 2 would find me excitedly watching the collections of eveningwear duo Badgley Mischka, Eastern-inspired Vivienne Tam, and the up-and-comers from The Art Institutes. In between cocktail hours and nibbles, I would try to squeeze in a little shopping. I would glam up ripped jeans with a sparkly, feminine top and insanely hot fringe jacket:
Zeagoo Blouse: $12; Tim Ryan sequin-fringe jacket: $2,755; Paige "Jimmy Jimmy" Jeans: $262; It Malt Be Love Wedges: $45; Emilio Pucci vintage clutch: $1,120
Hmmm. . .this fantasy is getting very expensive.
My last day would be spent peeping always-chic Michael Kors, wacky Betsey Johnson, and modern-vintage hybrid Anna Sui collections. My outfit would reflect the original and exuberant garments strolling down the runway: 
Which look is your fave?

P.S. - Spring Saint Louis Fashion Week is happening from 4/23-4/25. The designer list is ah-mazing this year. Tickets go on sale soon - I'll keep ya posted!

Winter In Bloom

No matter what season it is, I love florals. This skirt was a must-buy from Ziezo for its bold, stunning colors and mirror print. Brian, Ruby and I took advantage of an unusually warm afternoon and walked down to a local park for a joint photo shoot/family outing. Forgetting that I own exactly one pair of sneakers - that he insisted on buying for me after my cute sandals were ill-equipped to handle an underwater cave excursion (long story) - Brian was initially dubious about my shoe selection for the short trek. "Who wears heels to the park?" he asked, as if it was the craziest thing he'd ever heard. I patiently explained that flats didn't go with my outfit, to which he just shook his head. You would think he knew by now that I happily sacrifice practicality, comfort, and sometimes sanity in the name of fashion. But, I do find his concern sweet and endearing. When we arrived, shockingly without incident, a relieved Brian snapped photos while Ruby smiled at a group of ducks scampering across the frozen pond.
Top: Nordstrom; Necklace: Avalon Exchange; Skirt: Ziezo (RIP); Earrings: Green Shag Market; Purse: Retro 101; Booties: Steve Madden
There are understandably mixed feelings about crop-tops, but I  think they're fun. Pair one with a high-waist skirt or pant for a 2014 look!
Typical St. Louis: it's 60 degrees and the pond is still icy. Wind chills were subzero by that evening.