What I Wore: #STLFW Outfit Recap

As promised, here's a digital rundown of my carefully-curated ensembles for Saint Louis Fashion Week. I searched high (in New York) and low (at the by-the-pound Goodwill Outlet) to create standout looks that matched the fashion-forward vibe of the events. Special thanks to Hyper Haute and Yoro Creations for loaning me the ahh-mazing jewels!

#STLFW Neiman Marcus: Ferociousness
I was so excited about my fierce, rare-designer-purchase Vivienne Tam skirt. But, my statement necklace was undoubtedly the star of the show. "Look at me!" the necklace screamed. I just smiled.
I'm pictured with my friend Sarah (outfit from Rung), Me: Skirt: Rung & Sprung Boutique; Top: H&M; Shoes: gifted; Necklace: Strange Species by Hyper Haute (available at Rung)
VIP Blogger Lounge: Heavy Metals
Although I've been told that I "don't look like" a heavy metal fan (we won't get into the zillion things wrong with that perception), I am a huge fan. "Toxicity" by System of a Down is one of my all-time fave songs. Motorcycles? Not so much of a fan. Actually, they terrify me. But, I still had to buy this dress. I glammed it up with a unique fringe earring (love the asymmetrical earring look) and arm candy.
Dress: Rung & Sprung Boutique; Jewels: Yoro Creations; Flash tats: Gliks
Emerging Designer Competition: Bananas!
Once again, my jewels created a much bigger sensation than my clothes. This time, though, that was the plan. I deliberately went for a sleek dress (with sassy side slits) so that the necklaces would really pop. People were shocked when I told them the top necklace was fake bananas painted silver. One of those uber-creative jewelry design tricks that truly impress me.
Dress; Rung & Sprung; Jewels: Yoro Creations; Shoes: Ziezo; Tights: Hue
Coffee with Naturalizer/Lunch at The Restaurant: Geo-Vintage
Have you gone to the Goodwill Outlet? It's not for the faint of heart or for the novice thrifter. All items are unsorted in huge blue bins that require a great deal of sifting. (Gloves are highly recommended.) Competition for the best stuff is fierce, and some people even go so far as to wear face masks and cover their carts with a blanket. My heart pounded when I saw this gorgeous vintage dress lying on top of a bin surrounded by deal-hunters of all ages. I felt a pang of fear that someone else would grab it first, but I need not have worried. With the $.79 per pound structure (yes, things are priced per pound), the dress cost less than a dollar. Wow!
Dress; Goodwill; Tighs: Macy's; Shoes: Gifted
Finale Runway Show: I Heart Music
I spent weeks pulling my STLFW looks together, so I love everything, but I think this dress is my fave. Found at a thrift store in New York, it made my heart sing. The whimsical print so me. Several people asked if I was a designer and although I sadly said no, this dress is definitely something I would have dreamed up. With the fringe earring and lace leggings, the look struck all the right notes.
Dress: Monk Vintage Thrift Shop ; Earring: Yoro Creations; Shoes: Gift; Tights: Rung & Sprung Boutique
Bloggers' Night Out: Shiny, Happy Chains of Love
I'd been waiting for the right occasion to bust out this shiny number, and the Bloggers' Night Out was it. We started with a happy hour at Clr-Mnster (where I bought a skirt that rivals-and
maybe even surpasses-the zaniness of the music note dress) and had dinner and drinks at
Hiro Asian Kitchen. I topped off the dress with a silver body chain and my trusty studded boots.
Dress: Rung & Sprung; Boots: Steve Madden; Leggings: F21; Backpack: Goodwill Outlet (another gem I found!)
Jewels: Yoro Creations
What did you wear to STLFW? Which of these looks is your fave?

PS-Learn more about the sweet, on-the-rise designer behind Yoro Creations here

Shoe-La-La! #STLFW Coffee with Naturalizer Shoes

One of Ruby's favorite books is the charming "Shoe-La-La" by Karen Beaumont. It chronicles the adventures of 4 mini-fashionistas searching for shoes to match their party dresses. After trying on every shoe in the store, the result is a chaotically beautiful disaster of stilettos, booties, and pumps strewn amidst 4 pooped-out friends. . .who still can't decide! The plot is delightfully akin to what ensued at a recent STLFW Blogger Breakfast with Naturalizer Shoes.

While munching on delicious scones and coffee from Panera, staff from Naturalizer shared their latest and best-selling styles for fall. Naturalizer is synonymous with comfortable, classic shoes, which makes sense considering that they've been going strong since 1927. They are also the first to craft shoes specifically for women's delicate feet. Yet, I erroneously thought of the store as somewhere I would buy shoes for my mom. (For the record, my mom is the classiest lady I know, with a Michelle Obama-ish style. And she has lots of Naturalizer shoes. But she generally leaves the fashion risks to me.)  So,  I was blown away by how many modern styles Naturalizer carries! My advice: run - don't walk - into the store for another look. Moto boots, oxfords, pointed toes, and stiletto heels that don't hurt. . .um, yes.
Naturalizer's Trend Boards for the fall collection 
Designers Ron D'Aloia and Jenny Matthews presented the new Naya brand. Described as "comfortable but trendy," the all-leather shoes are designed for confident, stylish women between the ages of 20 and 50. The bloggers loved how lots of the Naya shoes have hidden wedges for height without the hurt. The timeless, minimalist flair and meticulous attention to detail yields shoes with equal parts cool and cozy:
Two of my fave Naya boots: the Frankie & the Fisher
Animal-print lovers (which should be everyone at this point) can take a walk on the wild side with artist/designer/TV personality David Bromstad's fall collection. I saw at least 2 people at Saint Louis Fashion Week wearing the Tanya shoe. (Out of 1000 guests, the fact that I remember those shoes specifically is a testament to their awesomeness.) Here's a pic:
Bromstad Tanya Shoes
I know. All this shoe-cuteness reached a frenzy when the generous staff at Naturalizer offered to buy each blogger a pair of shoes! We were allowed to "try on anything in the store." There were 15 of us, 4 try-on couches, and less than an hour. Ready, go!
Shoes galore! The black ones with the zipper (the Tipley) came thisclose to finding a new home in my closet. . .
My final pick? The Kapture, well, captured my heart. (I wasn't alone-at least 2 other bloggers picked the same pair.) I was swayed by its versatility, heavenly fit, and menswear-inspired silhouette. Paired with my trusty navy blazer, I feel quite scholarly. What do you think? Which shoes would you have chosen?
Blazer: Goodwill: Shirt: c/o Shirt Kong; Pants: The Scholar Shop; Shoes: c/o Naturalizer
I went for a menswear-inspired outfit, but I'm also excited to wear these puppies with a girly dress!

P.S. Thanks, Naturalizer for an incredible opportunity! And, for stocking your store with shoes me and my mom will love.
P.S.S. For up-to-the-minute info and lovely pics of new shoes, connect with Naturalizer on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!

#STLFW Designer Runway Showcase

The Saint Louis Fashion Week finale at Union Station was a spectacular showcase that packed an extra-special punch of fashion goodness! Check it out:

I snagged a few minutes pre-show to chat with Neil Bardon about his brainchild, Saint Rita Parlor. The brand, launched in 2013, is named after his grandmother Rita. The eyewear, accessories, and garments are inspired by his grandfather, a prisoner of war in the 1940s. Refreshingly intelligent and offbeat, the designer described his menswear collection as "Ivy League meets World War 1" with an undercurrent of "European" and "Catholic" flavor. Although Neil is a St. Louis native, he currently resides in Los Angeles. When I politely suggested that he return home, he laughed about how much he appreciates the always-sunny California weather. (Can't really argue with that.) 
Neil Bardon, founder of Saint Rita Parlor
Right and lower photos by Victoria Lafferty
Insider tidbits: the all-black look is Neil's fave, as it is the first men's outfit he ever designed. The long jacket has 33 buttons because "Jesus died at age 33."
Photos by Victoria Lafferty
Neutral hues and a myriad of fabrics make this New Hampshire native's modern, feminine collection quite visually pleats-ing. The gorgeous crochet top got lots of buzz from the peanut gallery in my runway section.  
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Photos by Mark Schwigen
A mesmerizing mix of textures like lace and knits, a pastel/black/white color palette, and looks for men and women characterize this Nebraskan-born designer's collection. Despite the varied silhouettes, it was still cohesive and classy.
Photos by Mark Schwigen
My fave is the cropped sweater!
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Israeli-born Yigal Azrouël's signature aesthetic is expert draping and construction. I was blown away by the outerwear pieces and playful prints. The shoes paired with each look apparently looked much cuter than they felt, as one model brazenly took off her heels before continuing her runway walk. She probably broke about a thousand runway rules, which garnered her many smiles and applause.
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Photos by Mark Schwigen

#STLFW Emerging Designer Competition

Photos by Christopher Gibbons of Alive Mag
Saint Louis Fashion Week just keeps getting bigger and better! Next stop: the Emerging Designer Competition hosted by Brown Shoe Company at Union Station. My evening began with a special meet-and-greet with #STLFW local and guest bloggers at the architecturally-delightful Grand Hall. I wisely loaded up on tasty apps, as the evening was jam-packed with fashionable festivities:

For the first time, STLFW included a curated maker's market dubbed BUTIK. Featuring 25 innovative accessory and apparel designers, the marketplace was bustling with raw talent and shoppers. Project Runway alum Michael Drummond was among the vendors, with some seriously bad-ass pieces (harness, anyone?). Hyper Haute also showed her stunning pieces. I probably could have spent an hour looking at all the wearable art, but alas, I was on a tight schedule.

I am a huge fan of still-modeling presentations since you get to see each design up close, at your own pace. During the cocktail hour, STLFW's "Designers to Watch" each showed 4 looks from their collections. Congrats Truly Alvarenga on winning the People's Choice prize of $2500!
Michael Drummond, Truly Alvarenga, Trang Nguyen; Nasheli Ortiz
You know how people love to brag that they liked a celebrity "before anybody even knew who they were?" I will definitely be able to say that about some of the designers who shared their amazing work. Your girl was werking it backstage and got to chat with some of the designers before the show:

Wai Ming
The sweet Emily Brady Koplar described her collection as "versatile, fresh, and timeless." She designs for the professional woman who appreciates travel, attention to detail, and quality pieces. Her chic, ultra-fem pieces are ideal for a seamless desk-to-dinner transition.
Photo on left  by Mark Schwigen. Emily always looks so sophisticated with a hint of edge!
The ethereal silhouettes were stunning on the runway.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag. 
Jessie Liu
A San Francisco native (quick to let me know that I need to add San Fran to my list of must-see cities), Jessie was beaming backstage about showing her very first (!) collection in St. Louis. Her designs are "unique, fine, and couture at reasonable prices." The bold, whimsical prints have me amped to see where her budding career goes!
This collection was pure fun. My fave is the black and white top-so creative!
Photos by Mark Schwigen of Alive Mag
The charming Charles Harbison actually remembered me from our interview at NYFW, which made me feel all important. He reiterated how much he enjoys spending time with the Alive Mag/STLFW team (aww!), but that his schedule has been so packed that he hasn't had a chance to explore St. Louis yet. His innovative, eye-catching collection leaves no doubt that the future is bright for Mr. Harbison. He took home the runner-up prize of $3500 and is eager to take the next steps in his design career.
Charles Harbison with Laura George before the show
Menswear-inspired, with contrasting feminine 3-D floral accents? I think I would wear that middle outfit and floral crop-top everywhere, as those looks were clearly designed for me.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag.
I didn't get a chance to meet these designers in person, but their work speaks for itself:
I want that painterly, serene horizon sweater!
Remi Canarie photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag
Collina Strada's leather accents and structural silhouettes embodied effortless cool.
Photos by Mark Schwigen for Alive Mag.
Daniella Kallmeyer walked away with the top prize of $15,000 presented by Brown Shoe Company. She looks forward to how the prize and mentoring will elevate her designs. Congrats!
Runway photos by Mark Schwigen; Check presentation photo by Brishen Lee for Alive Mag.

 PS-Don't worry y'all - my outfit photos will be up soon. :)

#STLFW VIP Blogger Lounge

Sitting in front of the computer, composing a creative, fashion-forward blog post makes me smile. But it's usually a solitary activity, unless you count my supportive husband sitting beside me while I type, taking advantage of my engrossment to sneak in a snooze-inducing poker tournament marathon. Or, if you count Ruby scampering around the newly "childproofed" living room as I look up every few minutes seconds to make sure she hasn't gotten involved in a precarious situation.

[Insert pause while I take the dirty car keys out of her mouth, console her predictable cries of protest, and hand her a boring-but-safe stuffed animal. Wait, is she taking everything out of my thought-it-was-zipped purse again? Time to wake up Brian and get him on Ruby-duty.] 

This routine, while strangely fun (cuteness makes up for a lot, and Ruby has an abundance of it), makes me even more excited for opportunities to link up with other bloggers. I had an absolute blast at the Well Dressed Midwest VIP Blogger Lounge! Held at Scape American Bistro and hosted by Lindsay Pattan of Alive Magazine and Jimmy No-Show of Vital VOICE, over 75 local bloggers networked with local brands:

I can't say enough positive things about the crew at SK! Not only do they make awesome t-shirts, they're dedicated to giving back to the community with the "T-Shirts Speak" campaign. With 3 special designs to choose from, $5 of each shirt sold is donated and split between three organizations: Ferguson Youth InitiativeNew Heights, and When the Saints.  Brian was very happy with his new tee:
Elevate your mind, elevate your city. Word.

I was amped to meet all the brands, but was especially excited about the Glik's Flash Tattoo station. Spotted on the Queen Bey herself, these jewelry-inspired, metallic temporary tattoos last up to 4-6 days. The word "cool" just doesn't do justice to this ingenious concept. Check out my new "ink":   
I love the golden wings!
Photo c/o fameflynet.uk.com
Vogue Footwear
A brand that tiptoes on the cutting-edge of shoe styles is Vogue Footwear. They recently launched an adorable tween line called Miss Vogue and a hearty men's line, Crevo Footwear. Just for you lovely readers, use the code RZ15 for 15% off your purchase!
Photo c/o Alive Magazine
Some of my faves: J'Adore and Shadowy Spy
Bronx Diba Shoes
Another brand that struts at the height of fashion is Bronx Diba Shoe Outlet. Actually, they also sell accessories like totally on-trend hats and scarves. Don't worry gents, they've got you covered at Testosterone Shoes. Another bonus (because you rock, of course): use coupon code STLFW for $25 off your purchase
Photo c/o Alive Magazine
My picks: Lucky Girl, Car Lita, Day Cruizer, Cloche Hat
Although I can spend hours working on outfits, when it comes to nails, I am lazy. I rush through my manicures and have the uncanny ability to be chip-blind as the polish wears off. Meero Mani Nails is ideal for my nail lifestyle. Each press-on nail is adhered with strong adhesive that lasts up to 7 days and can even be re-used if handled with care! It was fun actually having long nails, at least for one night.
Amalthea Moonchild set, available here
Lookie Lou
So, I'm definitely an omnivore. (Not sure I could live without pepperoni pizza.) However, I have huge respect for vegans, especially when it's with regards to shoes. Cute shoes. Really cute shoes. (The VIP Blogger Lounge was a shoe-lover's dream!) How the pieces from Lookie Lou are made without leather, silk, or wool is beyond me, but it feels great to wear something that's socially and environmentally conscious. And, use the code STLOUIS14 for 15% off!
I snapped a pic wearing these gorgeous booties called Spartali in Red. Wouldn't mind taking those home!

Here are some more of my faves: Carrington in BronzeSpartali In Red; Incense in BurgundyRyo in Silver
Sara's Social Booth
What do you get when you mix a babealicious group of bloggers, open bar of Redd's Apple Ale, Pinnacle Vodka, Skinnygirl Prosecco, and Peroni Italian Lager, and wacky props like mega lollipops and tiaras? Zany photos, of course! Photobooths have been a craze for awhile, but Sara's Social Booth stands out with its kooky-but-not-too-goofy props and sparkling background. Check us out:
Fun times!
Are you a local blogger? You should join me in the newly-launched blogger network, Well Dressed Midwest. Click here for more info!

#STLFW Neiman Marcus Fashion Chat & Presentation

Audrey McLoghlin, Jonathan Simkhai, and Lisa Freede
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Saint Louis Fashion Week got off to stylish start with the aptly named Fashion Chat & Presentation at Neiman Marcus. What exactly is a "fashion chat"? Basically, it was a runway show accented with thoughtful commentary from the designers themselves about each look. Cool, right? Here's what each member of the panel had to say:

With an impressive roster of celebrity clients including Rihanna, Lisa Freede's jewelry designs were edgy, striking, and statement-making. She wore gorgeous pearls with her leather fringe moto jacket. My kind of gal!

The "Rihanna necklace" is the short chain on the NY model. It appeared a few times during the show. I'll take that, and the fringe skirt.
Photos by Mark Schwigen
Sweetly named after her grandparents who married in 1947, founder and designer Audrey McLoghlin presented relaxed, prepster looks with plaid and denim. The collection reminded me how cool (and functional) the sweater-around-the-waist-look is.
Jonathan Simkhai dress; Frank & Eileen top and pants. Photos by Mark Schwigen
Cutest purse EVER! And, I have got to get me some hot leather gloves.
Emerging designer Jonathan Simkhai showcased modern designs with a sporty-sexy aesthetic. He described his collection as containing "inseparable separates" (love that term!), as each piece can be mixed but looks best matched. My fave look was the white-haute zipper pencil skirt. Jonathan likes to use fabrics like neoprene and bonded jersey, making the garments sleek but easy to wear. (Like his fall collection? Check out pics from Jonathan's S/S 2015 collection here - I got to seem it up close and personal during my New York Fashion Week jaunt!)
Photos by Mark Schwigen
I'll do a full outfit recap when this whirlwind comes to an end, but here's a sneak peak of my glam-girl getup for the evening:
I'm with my friend Sarah. My necklace caused quite a sensation!
Next on the #STLFW Agenda:
  • 10/10 Well Dressed Midwest VIP Blogger Lounge (invite only)
  • 10/15 Emerging Designer Competition featuring Collina Strada, Daniella Kallmeyer, Harbison, Jessie Liu, Remi Canarie, Wai Ming
  • 10/16 Runway Show featuring Yigal Azrouël, Tess Giberson, Timo Weiland, Saint Rita Parlor
  • 10/18 Midwest Fashion Conference at Washington University in St. Louis
What are you waiting for? Grab your tickets here!