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Mixing Prints – As Simple as 1,2,3

Mixing prints by pairing contrasting pieces together from your wardrobe is a fun and creative way to add drama to your look. While mixing prints may seem like a random process (and it certainly can be), it can also be more methodological. Earlier this week, I created a mixed print look by pairing a striped top with an African-inspired print skirt. I initially paired this skirt with a blue ruffle asymmetrical top (found here). Later in the day, however, I transitioned the look for a different setting, an evening stroll along the Atlanta Beltline where I was exploring the newest art installations. 
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When mixing prints, I like to create a balance between clash and coordination. Often times, I find a common theme that connects the pieces – like shapes, colors, or patterns. I recommend experimenting in your wardrobe. At worst, you will not like the outfit, in which case you can always change into something different. At best, you will feel more confident in your ability to be a bit more daring with your wardrobe choices. There are multiple ways to approach mixing prints, but I offer the following tips, which provide insight into my process.

 

3 Simple Tips for Creating a Mixed-Print Outfit

 

1. Identify similar color schemes.
Identifying similar color schemes is probably the simplest way to approach mixing different prints. Simply put, your top and bottom may share similar colors, but the patterns are completely different. When you bring the pieces together, the look still flows well because of the link between the colors in each piece.

 

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  1. Work with Clashing Patterns – Stripes and circles look really good together. 
Stripes and circles create a balanced look and I am typically drawn to this pairing. For example, stripes and polka dots are classic. In my fist look, the connection is less obvious, but I still played on circles and stripes. There is a little black and white in my skirt, but not much. Instead, I experimented here with the stripes and circles and loved the way the two pieces looked together. 

 

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  1. Identify similar patterns.
This concept is similar to the first tip, but we are now experimenting with similar patterns. The look below is from a previous post where I identified a similar pattern between my skirt and top. When the pieces are brought together, they again create a balance between clash and coordination.

 

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And voila! Mixing prints is not so intimidating after all. I hope you find these simple approaches helpful. Share your tips below!

Don’t forget to subscribe at the link below for regular updates. You can also follow along on Instagram for more style inspo. 

 

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(effort)Less is More: Safari-Inspired Fashion in the Big Easy

I did my first fashion interview for the Carter’s Blog. It was so much fun to talk about fashion and my personal style and I am honored that Sabrina selected me as one of her favorite fashionistas to give style advice.

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After reading the article I started to think more about style, where it comes from, and what it means to be “stylish”. When it comes to developing or improving your own personal style, it’s helpful to learn ways to coordinate pieces and how to accessorize, but it is also important to embrace a style that is your own. When I developed the tag line for my blog, “Make your Statement”, I wanted to emphasize that style is more than chasing the latest trends. When you develop a sense of style that is your own, everything flows together effortlessly. The tagline also reflects my love of bold and unique pieces.

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This look was captured during my trip to New Orleans for Labor Day weekend. It is one of my favorite cities and I marvel at the unique culture marked by the music, language, cuisine, and customs. With each visit, I am still much like a tourist, captivated by activities that please all of the senses, from the colorful buildings to the sounds of street performers.

Appropriate for a day time stroll through the French Quarter, I kept it cool, comfortable, and chic with this safari-inspired look. I wore this olive jumper and carried the neutral color scheme through my accessories, adding a few pops of color. The suspenders on this jumper are removable, which means more ways to style and wear it.

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Accessories can transform your look and I used my accessories to add some bold accents. I wore block heels, a comfortable alternative to wearing flats. The design on the heels and the colors were the perfect compliment to the colors on my top. The hand woven basket purse, with detailed embroidery, and my straw hat complete the safari look, but were also functional parts of my outfit (hello NOLA heat).

I always get compliments when I carry this bag. It was a purchase during a trip to Thailand, but I found a similar one, also made in Thailand and available for purchase through the UNICEF Market. Since proceeds from the market support artisans from around the world and UNICEF’s work to improve the health and livelihood of children, it is a great way to find unique items while also supporting a good cause.FullSizeRender2

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Thanks for stopping by! Whether eventful or restful, I hope your holiday weekend was exactly what you needed!  You can also read my responses to the fashion interview I referenced, along with two other daringly stylish women, here.

Outfit Details: Jumper – Urban Outfitters || Top –  Urban Outfitters || Shoes: DSW (similar looks available here and here)|| Purse: Similar look here

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The Art of Getting Dressed

Whether you are climbing the career ladder, chasing after children and nurturing your family, pursuing personal passions, or all of the above, it is common for women to pour into everything else and leave little time for self-care. Add the hustle and bustle of our daily schedules to all that is going on in the world and I find it even more important to take some time to nurture myself. As mundane as it may seem, getting dressed is a part of my day where I can take time to focus on myself. While there are certainly days when getting dressed is the least of my interest, for the most part, getting dressed is part of my daily self-care routine.

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“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” -Audre Lorde

Since my schedule does not always allow for the perfectly planned outfit, it is essential for me to have a few go-to pieces in rotation that I know I will feel amazing in. This dress is one of my go-to dresses for the summer. The backless cut and plunged neckline are timeless. It is also impeccably made, and even after years of wear, it still looks and fits like new. I also love that the collection of dresses in this line provide a flattering fit on every figure.

Getting dressed is like creating art and when putting a look together, it is fun to consider an overall theme or vision. Since this dress is free flowing and “hippyish”, the flower petal earrings and simple flats were the perfect addition.

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Even when I am short on time or when my schedule is hectic, I still like to adorn myself in the morning. For me, it is the icing on the cake, an extension of self-care that can brighten my mood as I start the day. CSC_0123

Take care.

Outfit Details: Dress: Onion Cut and Sewn || Earrings: H&M

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Shopping with Change

What happens when public health and fashion collide? A little disruption.

One of the first concepts you discuss in public health is social determinants of health. We learn that health is not merely based on one’s decisions, but one’s health outcomes are influenced by social determinants, like gender, employment, race, and even where we live. Without considering issues like unemployment and social class, our ability to improve the health of populations can only go so far.

As a public health professional, I am interested in nutrition, women’s health, and maternal and child health. My doctoral research is guided by feminist theory. As such, I seek to not only positively impact the issues I mentioned, but to also uncover aspects of self empowerment and resistance within the experience of women and other marginalized communities. Honoring my commitment to these topics and also my love of fashion is challenging me to explore ways to bring these two areas more into alignment. So, while you won’t find a weekly list of the latest ever-changing fashion trends on my blog (unless it is really something that I love), you will find a bit of social commentary from time to time about issues that I hold dear and how fashion relates to these areas.

With that, I’ve rounded up a few great fashion brands, ran by women who are disrupting the status quo through innovative approaches that support empowerment. Check out the list, why I love them, and my favorite picks from their stores.

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  1. Beaded Souls

I recently discovered Beaded Souls and their introductory collection of sandals. Their beautiful Masai sandals are handmade in Kenya by local artists. The line, created by a mother-daughter duo, masterfully combines the traditional beaded work of Kenyan artists with modern design. Like many of the other lines I will share in this post, I love that their work brings creative art and economic empowerment together. If there is one more sandal for me to purchase this season, it will be from this collection.

Favorite Pick: The Ida. Isn’t she lovely? This sandal is also available in a variety of colors. Zora comes in as a close second.

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Photo Credit: Beaded Souls

2. Fame and Partners

Fame are Partners is like having your own personal designer and tailor. Each piece is handmade to order and can also be customized to meet your unique style preference. That means you can add a pocket, change the neckline, lengthen the skirt, add sleeves, adjust a pattern, and so on. Their collections are filled with all things pretty (i.e. ruffles, cut-outs, and beautiful flowing silhouettes). Five dollars from each sale goes to a charity that support women’s empowerment. Bonus: You can book a free styling session with their stylist.

From the jumpsuits to the maxi dresses, it is difficult to decide on a favorite!

Favorite Pick: The Dusk Jumpsuit

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Photo Credit: Fame and Partners

3. Nor Black Nor White

NBNW is partly an anthropological experiment, part art and part fashion.” – Nor Black Nor White.

Nor Black Nor White brings modern interpretation to traditional art forms and artisan communities in India. I am intrigued by their use of colors, patterns, and textures to join modern with traditional. When I think of their designs, I think of preserving the old through rebirth and reinterpretation.

Favorite Pick: The Shimma Printed Skirt.  Metallics, full pleated skirt, with a color palatte that reminds me of Holi. Bonus: It is reversible.

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Photo Credit: Nor Black Nor White

4. Studio 189

Studio One Eighty Nine, created by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, is a  “social enterprise that provides a platform to help promote and curate African and African-inspired content and brands”. Through their own private label brand, they aim to use fashion as an agent for social change by creating jobs, fostering education, developing skills, and empowering communities. Their garments are made by an artisan community in Ghana. Their pieces are definitely on the higher end of the scale. A girl can dream, right?  But, I am also more open to spending more on clothing, budget willing of course, if it means that a community will be positively impacted by the sales. Artisan concepts are a sustainable model for doing just that. It is like the saying, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”.

Favorite Pick: Yellow Sankara Skirt 

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Photo Credit: Studio One Eighty Nine

5. Thandos

Whether you wear flats regularly or prefer heels with the occasional functional flat, we all need a pair of comfortable flat shoes. Style and purpose align with Thandos shoes and this creative take on the foldable flat. For the woman who feels that comfort and convenience do not have to substitute for style, this collection of shoes offers both. The production of and profit from the shoes support African women in the fabric trade industry along with other African artists across the continent, providing opportunity for these artists to reach a global market. A portion of the profit also goes to charitable efforts that support families in Nigeria displaced by emergencies. The company boasts claims of super comfort with design bonuses like memory foam insoles.

Favorite Pick: Akonmi Hunter

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Photo Credit: Thandos

I sat in a lecture some time ago learning about a researcher’s work in a recovering conflict zone. With a collapsed economic system in this area, adolescent girls often resulted in transactional sex as a means for providing for themselves and their families. I left wondering, as we often do in public health, “What can we do, given these circumstances, to have the most impact?” The complexity of issues like this one is too much to cover here and fashion, of course, is not the only answer and means for empowering communities with more agency. The artisan models do, however, provide an interesting and innovative cross-sector approach that can lead positive economic outcomes.

Thank you for stopping by! Don’t forget to subscribe at the below!

 

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High Desert. High Fashion.

Last week, I explored Arizona. My trip was filled with beautiful scenes, ranging from the mountains in Sedona to majestic views of the Grand Canyon. We marveled at ancient ruins and “castles” and even volcanoes that erupted over one thousand years ago. In short, Arizona is great way to explore the beauty in America’s western terrain.

Sedona, a serene and artsy town, was my favorite stop. So, what did we do in Sedona? We did what all tourists do and searched for vortexes in the mountains, of course. We visited some shops and hiked to Devil’s Bridge. We also enjoyed a wine tasting (Sedona is right in the mix of Arizona’s wine country) and ate at the ChocolaTree, an all organic vegan and vegetarian restaurant.

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Upon arriving in Sedona, we were welcomed by the infamous Red Rock vistas. We stopped at a lookout to enjoy the views and the mountains provided the perfect backdrop for a high desert photo shoot.

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The floral off the shoulder crop top I wore is beautiful from every angle. The summer months may be coming to an end, but I am still enjoying summer fashion. Ruffles are in full effect and I am intrigued by this take on the ruffle sleeve. The low cut of the back also kept me cool.5

Crop tops and high waist bottoms are one of my favorite combos right now. I paired the top with these comfortable high waist pants from H&M’s Conscious clothing line. They are unbelievably soft and made from Tencel® lyocell, a material with fibers derived from raw material wood (very cool!). The fabric is light and breathable, which was also perfect for keeping cool in the hot Arizona temperatures.

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I would love to visit Sedona again soon! You can see a few of my favorite sites from this trip below.

Outfit Details – Top: H&M|| Pants: H&M|| Shoes: Steve Madden

 

 

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Upgrading Your Basics – The White Tee

Within a few months of blogging and a few decades of purchasing clothing, I sometimes find myself asking, “Where are all of the black designers?”. Representation matters within the world of fashion, as in other forms of media and industry. As contributors across the fashion industry in innovation and trends, and far too commonly the victims of appropriation, I want to honor Black women in the fashion industry.

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You may recognize the name Samantha Black from season 11 of Project Runway. Her clothing line, Sammy B., is spunky, fresh, and full of color. Her pieces are for everyday wear with flare and her way with sleeves earned a place in my heart. My first purchase from her collection was the Anita Flounce Sleeve Top – a fitted, wine colored, off-the-shoulder top with exaggerated flounce sleeves. It is as good as it sounds.

It is no surprise that she transformed the simple white t-shirt into anything but basic. Keeping in the tradition, the white tee also has flounce sleeves. The top, which can be worn casually or dressed up, fits perfectly into the wardrobe of anyone who prefers a little flare.

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I decided to dress it up for my Saturday events and wore it with a green pencil skirt and multicolored cloth mule sandals. These shoes are bold and statement shoes, with unique designs and other embellishments, are one of my favorite ways to accent an ordinary or casual look. My accessories collectively tell a story of travels – a pearl necklace given to me as a gift from China, a summer clutch I found at a market with items from Southeast Asia, and a bracelet handmade from African prints. The bracelet is from my sister’s jewelry line, Nani.

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Outfit Details – Shoes: Nasty Gal|| Top: Sammie B.|| Skirt: The Limited

 Who are some of your favorite designers?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

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Make it Work

(Ode to Tim Gunn)

Most people have clothing in their closets that they haven’t worn in years. If this does not apply to you, have you ever received a gift from someone and knew it was something that you would absolutely never wear?  In situations like this, it seems like there are a few choices: Give it away, throw it away, or let it sit in your closet. But, there is another alternative.

I mentioned before that as a teen, I spent a lot of time shopping with my mom. Although my teenage years are long gone and my mom lives hundreds of miles away, it is still somewhat of a normality for me to come home to a delivery box, packed with a few new clothes handpicked by my mother (she is very thoughtful). Recently, she sent me a box with clothes she picked out from one of her favorite stores. Inevitably there were some things that I did not care for. Does this sound familiar to anyone else?

Well, this post is dedicated to making it work. We don’t always need to shop for new things, but should also learn to work with what we have.  It is also evidence that where we shop is just one small piece of the puzzle. Ultimately, how we pull the items together defines the look. All of the clothing in this post were gifts purchased from Steinmart.

Before

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Photos by Kristin Fields

The expression on my face says it all. As is, this is something I would never pick out for myself. Overall, it felt it bit frumpy. The top is a printed tunic. It has gold chains attached from the back of the shirt with tassels on the end. The original outfit was paired with these stretch fit, ankle length pants (I love the color of the pants, by the way).

After

 

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Here is where the transformation began. My mom also sent a stretch fit, pencil skirt. Instead of wearing the tunic with the pants, I opted for mixing prints and paired it with the skirt, which had similar patterns and colors. I did not like the cords/tassels on the tunic or the neckline so I removed them and also altered the look of the shirt to make it off the shoulder. I wore the top tucked in to shorten the length and brought the skirt up to create a high-waisted look. I completed this look with accessories: a pearl necklace, white pumps (purchased a few years ago from Steve Madden), and my favorite summer bag, a blue and white striped clutch from The Limited.

Overall, this look feels fresher and younger.

KSP_0519 (2)You may have things in your closet that you feel are outdated or gifts that you’ve never worn. Try looking through your closet this week for ways to restyle those items. I have cut up old dresses when I loved the pattern and needed to create a crop top. Or maybe its an old pair of jeans that would make a cute pair of shorts for the summer. You may be surprised with what you put together.

Thanks for reading! Have a great 4th of July!

Click the link to subscribe for regular updates and style tips 🙂

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3 Ways to Sheer Up

I am pretty sure I have mastered the art of “the switch-up”.  A coworker once told my advisor, “I think Ayanna never wears the same thing twice.” Little did she know, this was at a time where my PhD life was all consuming and I felt like I was in constant rotation of the same few pieces. I didn’t have much time in the morning to think through outfits before taking my daughter to school and driving my 1.5 hour commute to campus, but it is easy for me to quickly mix and match pieces together – “mastered the art of the switch-up”.

 

This post is dedicated to styling sheer dresses. With a little creativity, there are multiple ways to style sheer dresses for those looking to explore the look with a little more modesty. Repurposing items in your wardrobe to create different looks is also a great way to keep your wardrobe fresh, without excessively shopping for new clothing. I started with this black sheer dress, purchased from Nasty Gal, and created three different looks.

 

The Dress
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Photo Credit: Nasty Gal

Look 1.
For the first look, I draped my dress over a pair of stretch fit skinny jeans and paired it with this colorful blazer (another great thrift find). It was perfect for my adventures through the Lower Eastside of Manhattan and a rooftop happy hour. I played up the colors and patterns in my blazer by accessorizing with bright orange sandals and my striped clutch.
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Look 2.
I know we are officially into summer and no one wants to think about cooler weather, but you can also transition this dress into the evening and cooler temperatures. Options. For this look, I took an old sweater dress/tunic and layered it over the sheer dress. The combination of the two dresses transforms an old look into a trumpet-style silhouette.
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(Look 2) Photos by Kristin Fields

 

Look 3.
For look 3, I created a faux shirt dress by layering a crop top over the sheer dress. Underneath the dress I’m wearing high-waisted petal shorts. They are trimmed in lace, which goes perfectly with the dress.
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 Okay…so the concept behind this outfit is similar to look number one, so I just included it as a bonus. 🙂

Photos by Kristin Fields

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Which look is your favorite? How do you style your sheer dress?

 

Thanks for stopping by!
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Romantic Ruffles

Though summer is a still a few weeks away, for most people memorial day marks the beginning of the summer season. And if you are anything like me, you are heading to or dreaming of heading to a beautiful beach in a distant location. Even if an exotic vacation is not in your travel plans for this summer, you can still dress like you are there.

Whether you are strolling through Sao Paulo or spending a night out dancing, a little (or a lot of) ruffles on your skirt are the perfect summer addition.

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Photos by Kristin Fields

I love the layered ruffles on this skirt. The colorful and bold pattern is reminiscent of a childhood memory, watching Bahian women walk through the streets of Salvador de Bahia in their traditional dress. I am inspired by the full, bright skirts I saw in Pelourinho over two decades ago and can still recall the taste of the coffee the women offered visitors as they passed by businesses. Fashion communicates a story in that way.

I wore this skirt with a yellow off the shoulder crop top, which is another style favorite of mine. The skirt and top are recent purchases and were both very reasonably priced. I found my bag at an outdoor market in Savannah, Georgia a few years ago.

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Outfit Details – Lace up sandals: Nasty Gal|| Crop Top: H&M|| Ruffle Skirt: H&M (The skirt and shirt are not listed online, but I’ve seen them in stores in a few different cities.)

Thanks for stopping by! Stay tuned for more summer fashion!

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Owning Your Style

Photos by Kristin Fields
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I celebrated my birthday in part by going to see the Internet perform live. It was a serendipitous chain of events that led to me actually getting concert tickets. It began with me announcing in one moment that I would like to see the Internet in concert. The next moment I was searching online for upcoming concerts, only to find that they would be performing at an already sold out concert in Atlanta the day before my birthday. The story gets better. I scrolled down my computer screen a little further and was surprised to see that not only was a second show added, but the second show was going to be on my birthday and the tickets were going on sell the very next day. Serendipitous.

 

So what does one wear to an Internet concert? A friend of mine jokingly said “I can imagine just the type of crowd the Internet draws” and threw out of few descriptions of their attire. Hilariously, her visualization was quite accurate, but at the crux is the expressiveness that you generally feel in these types of environments. It translates into a style that is less about name brands or trends and more about self-expression. In environments like this you find that whatever you wear, you just own it.

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Like the woman who shops at thrift stores and always looks like she stepped off of a NYFW runway, “You own your style like you own your used car” – Sophia Amoruso. I pieced this outfit together from what seems like hodgepodge of random stores, some that I rarely shop at and others that I frequent more often. These stretch fit jeans, for example, are from Old Navy and were given to me as a birthday present. I have nothing against Old Navy, but I can’t remember the last time I shopped there outside of shopping for my daughter. Owning your style means that you can mix and match items from anywhere, which is great for your budget. It also means you can make whatever you where your own, unique, and for lack of a better term, Fly.

 

In a few words I would describe my personal style as bold, creative, feminine, and versatile. How do you describe your style?

Thanks for stopping by!

OUTFIT DETAILS:

Jeans: Old Navy, Eyelet Shell Top: TopShop, Jacket: Forever 21, Boots: Urban Outfitters
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Spring in Bloom

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PHOTOS BY KRISTIN FIELDS

March is my favorite month of the year. It begins with my birthday and ends with my favorite season. Naturally, spring is a time for renewal. I’m fascinated by all that happens during the spring… flowers blooming, longer days, warmer weather and in fashion it brings lighter colors and an influx of pretty floral prints. But there is more to love about spring fashion, like brightly colored handbags and flowing pieces. Tunics, for example, create beautiful silhouettes and there are a variety of ways to style them. I love that this top is modest in its length and fit, but the slits at the hip add some allure. The overall feel of this look is retro inspired so I wore the top with wide leg jeans. You can create a completely different look by wearing the tunic with shorts or culottes, which I plan to explore in the coming months.

Shoes: Nasty Gal|| Top: Nasty Gal|| Jeans: The Limited|| Bag: Thailand

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Whenever I travel I make it a point to find unique pieces to bring back home and this basket purse was one of my most prized fashion finds during a trip to Thailand a few summers ago. The woven pattern and the color make it perfect for warmer months.

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These tan strappy sandals were a steal, for under $30. They are made from a faux-suede material and I purchased them during one of Nasty Gal’s recent sales.

What are your favorite things to wear during spring? Share your thoughts on this look below and subscribe for regular updates!

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Leopard is the New Black

Photos by Kristin Fields

ksf_1412-nefksf_1392-nefksf_1381-nefksf_1373-nefksf_1442-nefksf_1346-nefsleeves-close-upShoes: Urban Outfitters||Blouse: Thrifted from Buffalo Exchange||Tights: Urban Outfitters||Skirt: Nasty Gal

As a teenager, I spent a lot of time shopping with my mom.  As I looked over simple staples for more unique or embellished pieces she would always offer this advice, “Buy things that you can wear with everything”. It was  certainly logical advice, as staples like a crisp white blouse and a simple black dress are needed, but I naturally gravitated towards statement pieces, like these leopard print ankle boots. I was on the hunt for the perfect pair of leopard print boots and I was pleasantly surprised when I found these at an unexpected place: Urban Outfitters. They are comfortable, well-made,  reasonably priced, and can transition from day to evening looks.  Everything about this particular look is fun and playful, from the tights to the ruffle sleeves, and it is perfect for a casual day out or date night. The boots also look great with cropped jeans paired with a blazer.

For me, leopard print is a staple. Leave room in your wardrobe for some great statement pieces. You may be surprised by how easily they can be incorporated into your daily wardrobe.

Share your thoughts on this look below!