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A Cape Town Beach Look

White sand, pristine beaches, summer fashion…

I kicked summer off in South Africa, visiting Johannesburg and Cape Town. There is so much to see and experience in Cape Town. The beauty of the natural landscape along with the architecture earn it the well deserved title of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

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It’s the beginning of winter in South Africa during this time of year, but we were greeted by mild temperatures in the mid 60s (a stark contrast to the cold winters in most parts of the states). The weather was perfect for exploring, though the temperature at night was cooler. We also visited during the low tourism season, so the cities and sights were not over crowded.

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Our adventures in Cape Town took us from the top of Table Mountain (one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World), to an intimate walking tour of Langa (the oldest township in city), and to Clifton Beach. Clifton beach is one of the most popular beaches in Cape Town. It’s a set of four beaches and number 4, where we visited, is infamously regarded as the beach to strut “toned figures and body building”. The water was a bit too cool for swimwear, but we did catch a picturesque sunset on the beach and dipped our toes into the ocean. The mountain provided a breathtaking backdrop and we were enclosed by the beautiful beach homes along Sea Point.

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The beauty of Cape Town can not over shadow the recent dark history of Apartheid, however. Our trip would not be complete without a visit to Robben Island, a site where political prisoners were imprisoned under harsh conditions during Apartheid, including Nelson Mendela who spent 18 years in prison on the island. We toured the eerie island by bus and listened to a personal account from a former political prisoner who at the age of 19, was sentenced to the island for conspiracy against the South African government.

South Africa is a country I would love to visit again. In the coming weeks, I will be showcasing a few South African designers I discovered during the trip, so subscribe to my newsletter and learn about the latest in South African fashion!

Where are your summer travels taking you?

Outfit Details: Midi Ruffle Skirt – The Line by K || Corset Floral Ruffle Top – ASOS

 

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Fall Essentials – Everything You Need this Season

3AF0554F-BDA2-4684-8C12-A43C9AF72C0DTis the season for chunky knits, layers, and textures…

I traveled to West Virginia earlier this week and the beautiful foliage I was surrounded by resembled paintings of fall trees with rich brown and deep orange hues. It was a subtle, but definitive declaration that is was finally fall. I adore fall fashion and for this post, I am sharing my fall essentials with everything you need to transition into cooler weather and where to buy it.

First, here is a fall inspired #ootd.

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Check out the list below of my top fall essentials.

Wrap Front Skirt

The wrap front skirt is one of my top picks for fall. It was a popular look for summer, but can also be styled with blouses, sweaters, as well as more casual tops, making it a versatile piece for fall as well. The skirt below is available through H&M’s Conscious Collection and is made from Lyocell denim. I love that Lyocell is an eco friendly, but also affordably priced, alternative material.

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Lyocell Wrapover Skirt – Denim by H&M

 

 

Balloon Sleeve Sweater

Sweaters are an inevitable stable for any fall wardrobe. The balloon sleeve is my favorite style, however, because it adds a dramatic, yet chic, accent to a traditional cable knit. The J. Crew sweater below pairs well with high waist jeans for a casual look and would also work well with patterned trousers for the work place.

Here is a sustainable option from H&M’s Conscious Collection that also provides a balloon sleeve look that is a bit more exaggerated.

Leopard Skirt

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I shared this look on a previous post, but leopard is a must have print on my fall list. I am particularly excited by the slip skirt interpretation of the leopard print trend.

Velvet Midi Skirt

From pants (like the pants I am wearing in this post), to blazers, and skirts – Corduroy is always on my fall list. This year, I am most looking forward to wearing cozy corduroy midi skirts, like this pick from Anthropologie by Maeve.

V -Cut Pumps or Mules

My list would be incomplete without my top pick for fall shoes. This season, my favorite style of shoes are V-Cut. Whether mules or pumps, the v-cut makes a chic and sophisticated statement. Charles & Keith has my favorite shoes in this style.

 

I hope you enjoyed this list of my fall essentials. Which fall look is your favorite?

 

My Outfit Details: Turtleneck Top: H&M || Corduroy Pants: || Of Her Own Kind||Metallic Boots: Silent D (old)

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Indigo Blue – Dyeing Fabrics Naturally with Plant Dyes

There are a variety of plants, like avocados and even onions, that can be used to create organic dyes for clothing. The indigo plant been used for centuries to dye fabrics.

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Last weekend, I attended an indigo dyeing workshop during the Slow Fashion Symposium in Atlanta. During the workshop, l learned all about the process of preparing indigo leaves into a usable vat for dyeing and dyed a garment using the indigo.

The instructors for my workshop grew the indigo we used themselves. After the indigo pigment is extracted from the leaves of the plant, it is used to create a liquid dye solution, or the vat.

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You’ve probably observed a range of patterns on fabrics dyed using indigo. I started with a white shirt I’ve wanted to refashion because of a large permanent stain it has on one sleeve. Dyeing the shirt was a perfect alternative to discarding it. There are a variety of ways to create patterns, including wrapping and binding the fabric with bands and clips. I used clothes pins to bind the shirt and to create the square-like patterns that resulted.

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After creating my pattern, I began the dyeing process by soaking my shirt in the bucket of water to make it fully porous to receive the dye. The next steps included soaking the top in the vat bucket for a few minutes and then removing the shirt from the dye, allowing it to sit for few minutes. As the shirt sits, the dye oxidizes and the color changes from a green to the blue hue. With each dip into the vat, the color becomes darker, so I repeated this process about four times until I achieved my desired shade of blue.  Working with indigo is a very hands-on process. While my shirt was soaking in the vat, I gently moved it around in the bucket and massaged the dye into the fabric.

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I was amazed by the beautiful blue hues and patterns created by everyone in my workshop. My own creation is below.

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Working with the indigo dye was relaxing and it was also fun to transform an old top into something completely new.  For this causal Friday look, I styled my shirt with high waist jeans and accessorized with green pieces, including a green beaded necklace, bucket purse, and shoes.

I hope you enjoyed learning about indigo dyes, as a natural way to dye fabrics. Thank you for reading and subscribe to my newsletter for regular updates.

 

 

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Styling the Leopard Midi Skirt

Leopard print is my neutral…

The leopard print midi skirt is a fall trend that combines two of my fall fashion favorites – leopard print and the slip skirt. For this post, I am sharing tips on styling this trend and also sharing my favorite leopard print midi skirts from around the web to fit into your budget.

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Slip skirts are versatile enough to incorporate into your nine to five, after work, or casual weekend wardrobe. I put this look together for work, so I aimed to keep the outfit simple and chic. Leopard print is a bold statement and I used both the style and color scheme of my top and accessories to set the tone. I paired the skirt with a cream colored ruffled blouse. It has a black bow at the collar, which coordinated nicely with the colors in my skirt. For cooler temperatures, you can also pair the skirt with a neutral oversized knit sweater for another chic look.

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I am a bit daring when it comes to my fashion choices and I wanted to add some color to this look without becoming distracting. I used my purse to add a dash of color. It is a denim bucket bag with accented African print fabric. A plain black purse, however, would also work well with this look. I completed the look with block-heel black pumps, one of my go-to shoes for work.

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For a more casual look with the leopard print midi skirt, try pairing the skirt with  sneakers or casual flats and a graphic t-shirt.

I was surprised to find many sold out options when searching around the web for skirts in this style, but here are a few of my top picks.

This Nasty Gal skirt is perfect for a casual look.

The Anthropologie midi skirt is chic and the subtle front split makes it a perfect choice for a date night look.

This skirt made by Zara is fun and would be perfect for a girls night out.

Last, but not least, is an ethically made selection by Reformation.

I hope you enjoyed this post and discovered some ways to style this skirt. How do you feel about the leopard print midi? Would you wear this look to work? Share your thoughts below!

Outfit Details: Skirt – Urban Outfitters || Blouse – Zara || Shoes – Anne Klein || Purse – Dr.Pachanga

 

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South African Designer Series Part III – Sustainable and Ethical Fashion with Ballo

See things differently.

Hello readers! I am back with the final post in my three part series on South African designers. The company featured in this post has an ethical approach to creating fashion, but also experiments with innovative uses of materials. While I saved this company for last, they are certainly not the least favorite among the South African designers I learned about this summer.

While exploring the Watershed artisan market in Cape Town, it was the stylish sunglasses and “Sustainable Gangster” tee that first caught my eye in this store. Ballo creates their handmade eyewear from recycled or upcycled wood, hemp, and African fabric materials.

Ballo Wood Frame Sunglasses

You may be wondering how wood could be manipulated to make a product comfortable enough to wear as eyewear (I certainly was curious). Well, Ballo created a material they call, Eyewood.  It is a combination of wood veneer offcuts, sourced from local furniture producers, bio-resin and recycled paper. The result is durable and stylish eyewear with a comfortable fit.

Ballo African Fabric Sunglasses

Ballo Polarized African Fabric Sunglasses -$209

Ballo started  in 2013 with eyewear, but has expanded over the years to offer other unisex goods, which are made locally to support job creation. Here are my favorites from their slow fashion collection.

Ballo Sustainable Gangster Tshirt

Ballo Sustainable Gangster Tshirt – $40

The Sustainable Gangster tee and the T-dress are made from hemp and organic cotton.

Ballo Womens Tshirt Dress

Ballo T-dress – $90

Ballo makes jewelry as well, like the wood and African print earrings I purchased below. Unfortunately, the wood earrings are not yet available online, but the other items in this post are available for purchase on their website.

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I hope you have enjoyed this series on South African fashion and discovered some new designers to add to your wardrobe. It is the end of summer in the states and I’ll be sharing my fall staples, including a few new indie designers with ethical clothing lines.

South African Fashion Series Part II: The Perfect Summer Dress

Walking through The Watershed in Cape Town and spotting this boutique was love at first sight.

From the vibrant colors and prints to the fitted bodice and full skirt, it was as if the designer had masterfully created the perfect all-occasion summer dress.  The Nama Collection was at the top of my purchase list during my trip to South Africa and is the featured brand for Part II of my South African Fashion series.

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The Nama Collection was created by Ugandan born and South Africa-based fashion designer and model, Patricia Namayirira. Namayirira combines African fabrics with modern designs to develop her collection, which includes a range of pieces from dresses to shorts and pants sets. Her design style embraces the growing movement to honor tradition and authenticity while moving into modern aesthetics. Her pieces are not only stunning, but are made with ethnically sourced fabrics from across the continent of Africa.

This dress is cut in one of my favorite styles for dresses. The neckline is flattering and the silhouette creates a regal daytime look. It is appropriate attire for a variety of occasions, including both casual and slightly formal daytime outings. For the work place, try pairing it with a cardigan or summer linen blazer to create a business casual look.

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If you ever visit Cape Town, do not leave without spending at least a few hours exploring The Watershed artisan market at the V&A Waterfront. Be sure to stop by the Nama Collection boutique, which is located inside the market. You can also shop the Nama Collection online.

I hope you enjoyed discovering another talented fashion designer in South Africa. Stay tuned for the third part of  my South African Fashion Series!

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Create Festive Summer Looks with DIY Bow Tops and the Best Summer Visors

DIY fashion meets function this summer…

Bow front tops are a perfect pick for summer festivals and even to find some relief during summer heat waves. Did you know that you can easily transform your long sleeve button down top into a DIY front bow top? For this style hack post, I am sharing how to easily create a bow front top, along with sharing my favorite visor hats from around the web. Put these two pieces together to create a festive summer look.

To create your own bow front top, start with any loose fitting button down shirt.

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  1. Drape the unbuttoned top off your shoulders
  2. Grasp the bottom of the shirt and begin to tie the ends of the shirt together.
  3. Pull the tie tightly until it creates a look similar to triangle cups, like in the picture below.

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4. Once you achieve the desired shape, finish tying the bow tie to secure the top.

5. If the top has extra ties, like the shirt in this post, pull the ties around your waist and tie them in the front to create another accent.

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I paired the top with high waist shorts, purchased here, and flat black spiked sandals, purchased here.

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I completed this look with my straw visor, purchased here. A straw sun visor is one of my summer essentials. I rounded up my favorite summer straw sun visors from around the web and here are my top picks.

I hope you enjoyed this post and learned some new ways to style your tops for summer! Subscribe to my newsletter to receive regular fashion and style inspiration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Achieve Your Summer Glow with All Natural and Vegan Skin Care Products

It has been some years since I traded my household and skin care products in for all natural products. It was a lifestyle decision to consciously mirror my physical environment to the internal environment I maintained through my plant-based diet. I also knew that we can be exposed to environmental toxicants through our every day products that can have harmful effects on our health, the environment, and lead to disease and illness over time. Since then, I’ve kept my skin care routine pretty simple, but I still enjoy exploring all natural skin care products. Continuing with my summer South Africa series, I purchased a few skin care products during my visit and for this post I am sharing my experience with these products so far.

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Rain

Rain is a South African, certified fair trade company that produces all natural, handmade beauty and body products that are created with indigenous plant extracts. We visited their store in Cape Town, which was filled with a range of products that were both beautifully made and fragrant. For years, I have primarily used grapeseed oil as my go-to skin care product for moisturizing, but I highly recommend the body butter bars at Rain. The body butter bars are made in a variety of fun shapes, like the sea shell pictured below. The one I selected smells deliciously sweet and aromatic, is soothing and moisturizing, and can be smoothed directly onto wet or dry skin. I brought a few other products back as gifts as well, including their artisan-made glycerin soaps, and organic scented sachets  for home fragrance.

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Kafui Naturals

I happened upon Kafui Naturals during a visit to the Friday evening Bay Harbor Market in Cape Town. The line features all natural products, ranging from hair care products to facial cleansers and butters. Most of the products are vegan as well. I was also happy to support the small local business, which was created by Kafui Awoonor. I have been using the face oil for over a month now and I can not say enough positive things about it. From the fragrance to the use of some of my favorite oils, like grapeseed, moringa, and jojoba oil, it is definitely a product that has been added to my skin care routine. The ideal of putting oils on your face may seem counterproductive to achieving a clear complexion and blemish free skin, especially if you have oily skin, but dry oils are light, absorb quickly, and are filled with numerous essential fatty acids. This face oil uses a combination of dry and wet oils, so it does not leave your skin feeling greasy or weighed down. It comes in a 7 ounce bottle, but just a few drops are enough to cover your entire face.

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Africology

Last, but not least is Africology, South Africa’s leading spa brand. Africology uses natural and organic ingredients to create a range of products . The lip balm was a hit with my daughter, as I am always searching for non-toxic lip balm and lip gloss options for her. A unique addition to their list of skin care ingredients is the combination of the African potato and Rooibos. Rooibos is a South African shrub that is commonly served as a delicious, earthy tasting red tea. Rooibos is high in antioxidants, which limit the production of free radicals. It is also high in zinc, which among other properties, is anti-inflammatory. Both of these factors make it an ideal ingredient to add to skin care products.

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I emphasized that all of the brands I shared use natural ingredients and are free of harmful chemicals, but they are also all eco-friendly and cruelty free as well. I hope you enjoyed this post and found a few new skin care products and ingredients to try that are better for you and our planet.

 

 

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South African Designer Series: Part 1

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It is the first day of summer in the states and what better way to kick off the summer season than with a hot new series on South African designers. I’m excited to share everything over the next few weeks, from accessories to dresses and even a few all natural skin care products.

If you ever visit Cape Town, you must visit The Watershed. It’s a market near the V&A Waterfront with over 150 shops featuring locally designed products, many of which are handmade and ethically produced. It is the perfect stop to pick up unique gifts to bring home as well as items for yourself.

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My shorts are by Trip Clothing & Accessories, a brand in Cape Town that creates locally handmade items, including clothing and purses. Using materials that are also sourced locally, their clothing features bold African prints in contemporary designs. The brand produces items in limited quantities, which creates an exclusive shopping experience as well. If travelling to South Africa is not in your plans for the near future, I would visit their online store if you are looking for some funky printed shorts and halter sets, which are perfect to wear to summer festivals.

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I purchased a matching halter cropped top (not featured) to wear with the shorts. For this look, however, I paired the shorts with a black cropped top, purchased here.

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My bag was also made by a high end fashion designer in South Africa, Dr. Pachanga. The purse, which can also convert into a back pack, has vegan leather and gold accented wax print. I love the unique styles of his bags, which come in variety of  shapes and incorporate a mixture of textures and prints. Each style in Dr. Pachanga’s line is also produced in limited quantities and the bags are named after women in his life. Carine, named after the designer’s sister, is quickly becoming my favorite bag to carry.

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I hope you enjoyed these items and designers as much as I do! Wishing you an adventurous start to the summer. Stay tuned for more beautiful styles and talented designers from South Africa.

 

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Styling Green for Your Spring Wardrobe

Hello and Happy Friday!

If you’ve been shopping this spring, you have likely noticed a favorite color of mine throughout your favorite stores: green. Olive green, in particular, and other earth tones are staples this season evoking a sense of ease and calm through your wardrobe as we usher in the second half of 2019. While you may be hesitant to wear brighter greens, like emerald, this earthy tone of green is a more subtle but equally beautiful hue to incorporate.

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A monochromatic look

I created this monochromatic look with two different shades of green. Monochromatic outfits, in which you build your look from one hue, can create a sleek and striking appearance. Monochromatic looks can also include incorporating different textures, patterns, or shades. For this look, I opted to play on different shades of this earthy green tone and wore a fitted top with a paper bag waist trouser.

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Complimentary Colors

Olive green, and other earth tones, compliment each other masterfully. I completed my look with dark brown platform sandals (purchased years ago). Gold and grey hues would also work well. I accessorized with a grey bow headband. If dressing for the work place look, I recommend adding a blazer to create a more professional look. I wore this look to work with a peplum blazer (not pictured).

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Finally, last month was earth month and the end of April marked the 6th edition of Fashion Revolution Week. The ethically created and eco-friendly pieces in this post are an ode to creating fashion that honors the health and well-being of the people who make our clothes, as well as, the environment.

What is your favorite color to wear for spring?

Outfit Details: Top – The Green Store||Pants – H&M (Conscious Collection)

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Something Old, Something New, Something Plaid, Something Blue

The solution is not always more clothes, but buying pieces that you will wear for years to come.

I celebrated my birthday last week with a mixture of relaxation and exciting festivities. I wore this BCBG dress for my birthday dinner that I purchased 10 YEARS AGO.  I styled the dress with a plaid blazer, purchased here, and my favorite boots right now by Silent D. A common belief about style blogging and being fashionable in general, is that it requires constant shopping  for new clothes. This has not been my experience, however. If you desire to build a versatile wardrobe with pieces that you will love for years to come, read my shopping tips below.

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Be intentional when shopping trends

When shopping for something new, ask yourself, “Is this purchase just for now or something I imagine myself wearing years from now?”. The challenge with shopping for trends is that you will potentially build a wardrobe filled with pieces that you have little interest in as the trends fade.

Is it the trendiness of that item that attracts you, or the overall look? The plaid blazer, for example, has been a trendy fall and winter piece. For me, this standout look is versatile as well and I consider it to be a staple piece in my wardrobe.

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Avoid impulse shopping

When shopping, I avoid buying on impulse. That means walking away from that beautiful ruffle top I may want in the moment, so when I do make purchases, I don’t have buyer’s remorse because my decision involved more thoughtfulness. Giving yourself some time to think about your purchases can help you determine if it is something you truly want or need. Wait a few days before finalizing that online purchase. I am amazed by how many items I never revisit after adding them to a shopping cart in an online clothing store. As a lover of shopping, sometimes good old fashion window shopping and trying on a few looks is enough to satisfy my desire for something new as well.

Incorporate versatile pieces that can be reworked in your wardrobe.

When I buy something, I imagine different ways it can be styled. Perhaps, it is a maxi dress that can also be worn open as a long top over jeans, a slip dress that can be layered during the cooler months, or a piece that can be styled for professional and casual events, like the blazer in this post.  I avoid purchasing pieces that I only intend to wear with one item in my closet. You can create a closet filled with simple staple pieces, but you do not have to limit yourself to this type of shopping to create versatility. Instead, buy a mix of statement and traditional staple pieces that you can mix and match. It also makes your wardrobe more exciting.

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Invest in investment pieces

After transitioning from graduate school back into the professional world, I’ve been shopping for more investment pieces. Investment pieces are higher quality and usually more expensive pieces that are made to last longer than the clothes associated with fast fashion. I’ve also been buying more natural fabrics. These materials cost more, but they feel better on your skin and are also better for our health, in comparison to fashion made cheaply using harsh chemicals. Some investment pieces to consider adding to your wardrobe that I think are worth the splurge include a crisp blazer, ankle boots, sweaters/cardigans, and a pair of jeans with the perfect fit.

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I hope you found these shopping tips helpful! Interested in revamping your wardrobe? Click here to learn more about my virtual and in-person styling services. Also, subscribe to my newsletter to receive regular style inspiration and updates.

 

**Updated 3/12/2019 to provide webpage link for style services.**

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An Alluring Backless Basic

“In my white tee.”

Here is a style secret. One of my keys to maintaining effortless style, even when wearing casual looks, is incorporating classic pieces that have been revamped. As a lover of statement pieces, my basics are pretty funky. There is little more alluring than an unexpected backless top and this post features a look that embodies non-basic basics.

The Elif Tie T-shirt is by The Line by K,  a collection created ethically in California and designed by blogger-turned-fashion designer, Karla Deras (a woman after my own heart). These days, I am more intentional about my shopping, opting for quality pieces that can be restyled in different ways and that will also last. This top, for example, is made from Japanese cotton. It feels incredibly soft, is comfortable, and also well made.

857611E0-9B46-4661-A30E-C571CEA3CC8CI styled this casual look with an old pair of bell bottom jeans (purchased from The Limited) and converse sneakers.

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As with any look, confidence is key. Confidence comes from within, but the proper support in a backless top goes a long way as well. Depending on the fit, an adhesive bra or petals can provide the support needed.

Thanks for reading! Subscribe to my newsletter to receive regular style inspiration and tips!