Packing Light for Italy

Adam and I got home from Italy this week and we’re still jet lagged (waking up at 6am, going to bed at 8am). We had a whirlwind of a trip and traveled all over Italy – from Milan, to Lake Como, to Venice, to Rome. We did a boat tour in Lake Como, a bar crawl in Venice, and a cooking class in Rome. All of these activities meant a lot of different outfits 🙂

For our last few trips, Adam and I have been bringing one carry-on suitcase and one backpack. This allows us to be more flexible with our flights (in case we need to change flights) and is also just easier when lugging ourselves on and off planes, trains, and boats. While this makes packing a challenge for someone like me who loves clothes, it’s also become a personal challenge that I’m always trying to perfect. Here are a few ways that I made the most of my limited luggage in Italy.

Hats

I filled my luggage with 3 different hats to switch up my look throughout the week. Let’s face it, a major part of going on vacation is taking pictures and they’re mostly from the shoulders up, so I try to think of ways to switch up my outfits so I’ll have different looks each day. The beret is from Zara, the brown hat is from Forever 21 (not currently sold online), and the black hat I bought at a small boutique in Baltimore last year.

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Scarves

Another great way to add lots of options to your outfits (but take up zero room in your luggage) is to pack a few scarves. I picked up a handful of scarves from Zara and Forever 21 and wore them around my neck and around my head to be oh so Italiano.

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Shoes

I brought one pair of shoes. Yep, one. While they didn’t prove to be the best footwear for the 6-10 miles of walking we did each day… they were cute! I bought them from an online boutique that one of my former co-workers started, Alice & Wonder – check it out!

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Backpack

Since I was initially in Italy for work, I knew that I’d have my work laptop with me for the vacation-portion of our trip, too. I have a behemoth of a work laptop so I needed to find a cute backpack that could fit the laptop, but also serve as my purse for the trip. I tracked down this backpack at my local TJ Maxx and it served me well on the trip! I added a scarf from Forever 21 to make it a little more Euro.

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We had a fabulous time in Italy and I had a lot of fun planning my outfits (and wearing them). I’m already looking forward to our next trip and the packing challenges that arise 🙂

 

Werkout Clothes

While Hillary is my political icon, the same can’t be said of her being my fashion icon. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Women should be judged for their brawn not their beauty. That said, I’m a woman that strives for both beauty and brawn. I lean-in at work, but my face also leans-into all of Kylie J’s latest makeup products (although I DID show self restraint last week when she launched her birthday goodies).

While Hillary may not be a fashion icon for us to idolize, the gods at Netflix created the ultimate style icon for the daughters of Hillary to bow down to – Claire Underwood.

 

A few weeks ago at the Democratic National Convention, Meryl Streep said that Hillary had grace and grit. Well Claire Underwood is all grit, no grace. And I kinda love that about her.

But back to the fashion inspiration part of this post. I’ve been trying to work out more lately and my athleisure-wear is seriously not cute (mostly a mish-mash of see-through Walmart leggings and oversized college t-shirts). I was doing some online research for athletic inspiration, and came across this hauntingly gorg pic of Claire Underwood.

Damn, girl! That high-collared jacket is so Lady-MacBeth-on-endorphins and the black on black just screams “I will not negotiate with terrorists!” Since I don’t have the corrupt millions that the Underwoods do, I had to settle for some less-expensive duds than Claire, but I think my look has that Claire evilness that I was going for.

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ShoesPuma Narita v3 Heathered Women’s Running Shoe (Pumas? Well, cause Kylie.)

JacketForever 21 Athletic Cowl Neck Pullover

Tank TopForever 21 Active Perforated Mesh Tank

LeggingsForever 21 Active Capri Leggings

Sports Bra – Forever 21 Faux Leather-Paneled Sport Bra

Now all I need is one of those rickety, old-fashioned rowing machines and I’ll be so Claire!

Kourtney Kardashian’s Parisian Honeymoon

Picking out new clothes is hard.

It’s a very frustrating and usually fruitless process. If you’re looking to buy more than 2 new items, it’s hard to ensure that everything goes together and matches what’s already in your closet.

A few ways that I’ve managed to find success in shopping is to shop online, shop at one store, shop only a few times a year, and think of myself as buying a collection of clothes. You know, like the type of collection that all the fabu designers are presenting in New York this week at fashion week. Everything looks different, but has an underlying theme.

So, after hours spent on Forever21.com this weekend, I purchased my 2014 Fall/Winter collection and have titled the theme of my collection: Kourtney Kardashian’s Parisian Honeymoon.

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While she may be “the boring one,” Kourtney is the least skanky (clothing-wise) and best dressed (sensibility-wise) Kdash sister. She loves Paris and loves Lord Disick and if all my wishes come true, they will elope to and honeymoon in Paris this Fall. And when she does so, she’ll wear these Forever 21 duds (you know, if she were “one of us” and shopped at F21).

Classic Cape Blazer

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Woven Surplice Jumpsuit

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Turtleneck Dolman Top

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Windowpane Pleated Skirt

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Sheer Printed Surplice Top

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Striped Knit Top

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Lily Print Blouse

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Queen Graphic Tee

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Knotted Loose-Knit Headwrap

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Oversized Square Sunglasses

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Classic Square Readers

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Quilted Knit Sweatshirt

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Hopefully you can see my Kdash Parisian vision! The skirt, the Queen tshirt, and the headwrap will look funky and romantic. The jumpsuit, the sweatshirt, and the readers will look effortless and chic. The cape blazer, the striped shirt, and the big sunglasses will look Kdash airport glam. I’m also looking forward to pairing these new items with other pieces currently in my closet  (leather jacket, black booties, chunky gold necklaces).

But the real test will just be if everything fits! Oh the joys of online shopping! And oh the joys of Forever 21’s terrible return policy 🙂

Styling is Key

When I pick out my outfits in the morning I often do a gut check and ask myself, “if I were a celebrity, would I be on the best dressed or worst dressed list today?” As a proud Joan Ranger who religiously tunes in to Fashion Police, it’s my duty to stay off of the imaginary worst dressed list.

More often than not, it’s not the actual outfit that land people on the worst dressed list, it’s the styling of their outfit. Shoes, purses. belts, hair, nails, makeup, and jewelry are all culprits of ruining an outfit. So, when I went out on a fashion limb this week and bought the Draped Colorblocked Dress from F21 for a family wedding this weekend, I knew that I’d have my hands full styling it.

I love how young and fresh it is, but I seriously did myself a disservice by not fully considering the styling before I left the store with it in the bag. With a closet full of shoes, purses, and jewelry I thought it’d be an easy styling session. Wrong.

After some frustrating time spent staring at my closet, I turned to the amateur stylist’s best friend, google. After googling things like “what matches lime and taupe” and coming up with nothing, I eventually stumbled upon a website called Color Palette FX. This website lets you upload an image and then it creates a color palette off of the image (fashion, interior decoration, the sky’s the limit!). Here’s the palette it created for my new dress:

How cool is that? I can think of a million ways to use this website for the good of fashion. Find a jacket you love but don’t know what color scarf to wear? Find shoes you love but don’t know what color tights to wear? You get the picture, this website is a great tool for anyone interested in avoiding the worst dressed list.

So how will I use the color palette to style this lime and taupe dress? Tune in next week to see! Hopefully Joan will be proud!

Windy City Shopping

I know. I know. I dropped off the face of the blogosphere and I have no excuse. Let’s blame it on a 2 week-long triptophan coma.

Tonight Man BFF and I ventured out into the Chicago cold for an evening of shopping. His company Christmas party is this weekend, and while I appreciated everyone’s input on outfit options, Man BFF threw me for a loop when he announced the party was business casual this year. Business casual?! Blerg! I’m never afraid to be fancier than the crowd, but when accompanying a date, you at least have to match them in fancy/casualness.

Conveniently, we live just minutes from the Magnificent Mile! Here I am freezing on Michigan Avenue.

First (and only) stop: Forever 21. With a skirt and shoes at home, I was looking for a blouse and earrings to pair them with. Originally I wanted to go glam with glitter, but after trying on a few tops, I went back to my roots – pink and bows.

So cute, so pink. I’ll be wearing this with a gray skirt and high nude pumps. While I’m still teetering on whether or not to wear a necklace, I bought these vintage-y costume earrings at F21.

It’s official, the theme of my outfit is Grown-up Eloise. Can’t wait to show you how the whole look turns out!

2011 Fall Trends

This weekend my mom asked me what the fall trends were this year. Based off of my daily fashion blog reading, I rattled off a list of trends, most of which I love. The depressing thing about trends though is that’s all they are, trends. They come, they go, and they come back again decades later. That said, here are some trends to consider this season. Take them with a grain of salt and always choose classic pieces when splurging and save the trendy pieces for Forever 21, Target, and H&M.

Leather

Think Jennifer Aniston, not Angelina Jolie.

Polka Dots

Do polka dots ever go out of style?

Loafers

Not the look for everyone.

Capes

Me want.

Colored Denim

If you have a hipster boyfriend/husband, you can share.

Urban Jungle

According to Forever 21, “urban jungle” is a Fall 2011 trend, so I did my best to be urban-y and jungle-y enough today. I guess really only my necklace and shoes would fall into that category, but they’re both from Forever 21 so that would make sense.

I’m thinking the urban jungle-ness of this outfit could be kicked up a notch with this jacket. So much shopping to do!