Splurge VS Steal

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I had been needing a new purse for the longest time. Most of my purses, while great in design and style, weren't so great in the structure and maintenance department. While my dad was visiting over fourth of July weekend almost a month ago, he picked out the Zara bag on the right. And, as you can tell from the style posts since then, I'm completely obsessed. I had wondered where I had seen a similar style before and I realized standing next to a woman on the subway with the purse on the left, that it was inspired by the Givenchy 'Lucrezia'. I'm extremely picky when it comes to handbags, and the Zara version fit nearly all of them: structured, sophisticated, appealing to look at and wear, functional, and fabulous. Thanks, dad!

What do you think? Would you splurge on the Givenchy 'Lucrezia' or save with the Zara version?

Tuesday Shoesday

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Loeffler Randall has been a brand that I always keep a watch on. I have always been particularly fond of their ankle boots and flats, but never really took notice of their heel selections until recently. The company defines its style as a "mix of refined sophistication and downtown cool" and if you're familiar with their products, I would say that their definition is pretty spot-on. I used to have a strong love of scalloped detailing. I thought that my love of the feminine curved edges had left but upon seeing these Loeffler Randall Reina Kitten Heel Sandals, I remember why I loved them. Mainly I appreciate how they seem to be a more sophisticated version of scalloped edges that I have worn in the past. With their slightly abstracted scallops (more wavy and spread out), perfect not- too-short kitten heels, and dainty ankle straps, these heel sandals can be great for a day when you want to get a bit more dressed than usual, but without killing your soles.

Collegiate Crop

Monday, July 29, 2013

/ Vintage cheer top / Forever 21 jacket, skirt, and heels / Zara purse / Brandy Melville ring / Necklace from Austin, TX / Michael Kors watch 

I've always had an odd obsession with collegiate apparel. Although I am certainly not one to don my Syracuse sweatshirts to class, I do like to find ways to incorporate them into more stylized looks.  I had many collegiate cheer uniforms when I was younger, but this Rice University one with it's classic blue and white combination and bold printed 'R' was my favorite. With my recent love of a flair of sportiness to an outfit, I took the fact that it was much too small now as an advantage and played it up to the popularity of the crop top this summer. With my favorite varsity jacket already adding to the collegiate quality, I added a lace pencil skirt and leopard wedges to ensure there was still a bit of femininity to it, as well. 

Do you love collegiate apparel, too? I seem to always buy long sleeved pieces.

Home Improvement

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Finding new ways to decorate and style spaces is always exciting to me. It's so easy to change the look and feel of a room with a simple DIY. While these purple chairs may or may not be a DIY project, it is a fun thought to realize that with a touch of spray paint and basically any piece of furniture, you can fairly quickly and inexpensively alter your home to match whatever is suiting your style at the moment. If you're anything like me, committing to something as seemingly permanent as home furnishings can be difficult. With a purple color as unique as the one featured in the image above, it would be interesting to test it out for a time period and when the color is no longer inspiring, change it up with a few sprays of a different shade and watch the space transform.

Aren't these purple chairs amazing? Not too pastel and not too deep of a purple, they provide a happy medium for a decorating color that is often not explored


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

/ Topshop dress / H&M sandals / Zara purse / Forever21 necklace / Michael Kors watch / Anthropologie Sunglasses /

I've never been much of a beach person, I don't like getting wet and I'm not particularly fond of sand. So, it surprised even me when I took a spontaneous late afternoon excursion out to Coney Island for the first time. Since being in the city since May, this was my first actual 'summer activity', and I was overly excited to dress the part. I had purchased this pineapple dress at a Topshop sale last month and felt like what better day to pull it out from a sea of black and to actually bring it to the sea. With it's all-over pineapple print, the small details like triangular midriff cutout, cross-over neckline, and criss-cross open back provide just the right amount of interesting elements to keep it from bridging over to too cutesy.

Have you ever been to Coney Island? Did you sport any festive summer apparel, as well?

Tuesday Shoesday

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

With all of our classic leopard and edgy snakeskin prints, it's easy to overlook some other animal prints that are just as fabulous. Cue: The Dalmatian print. This print can appear like an abstract polka dot pattern at first, but the randomness of the spots is what makes it unique. And, in a print instead of a polka, makes it a bit more sophisticated than the playful dot. With my newfound obsession with delicate ankle strap shoes of all styles, the combination of this Dalmatian print with the ankle straps creates a fresh new style that will be interesting in pairing with not only solids, but figuring out complementary patterns to mix with, as well.

What do you think of the Dalmatian print? Aren't these pumps amazing?


Monday, July 22, 2013

/ Forever 21 dress / DIY Sunnies / Ellen Tracy heels / Zara purse / Michael Kors watch / Brandy Melville ring / Necklace from Austin, TX 

I certainly have my fair share of black dresses in my closet. From short and sheer to long and formal, black dresses are such a wardrobe staple that really are perfect for nearly any occasion. However, even with my extensive array there was a certain style that still was lacking: laser cut and leather. I love wearing garments that have special detailing to them. Unfortunately, that detailing often comes with a special price, as well. When I saw this dress at Forever 21 last week for under thirty dollars, I knew it was the perfect piece to fill in the gap in my wardrobe in both its style and price.

Do you have a little black dress gap in your wardrobe? What style are you looking for?

Dress Up

Friday, July 19, 2013

One of the great parts about shopping online I think is that it is so easy to find new designers, brands, and stores that you love. While perusing the other day, I came across the site FSHN BNKR (aka fashion bunker) and let me tell you, I'm obsessed. This Australian company has all of those unique pieces that you always search for, but aren't necessarily found in stores. This week's featured dress is the 'Radiator Sister' dress. I've always had a love for these dreamy watercolor prints, but always felt like the shapes of the pieces they were on were too basic. This dress is anything but basic, but still has the dreamy quality of the watercolor prints. With a flattering halter neckline, interesting angular panels, quilting, and an open back, this dress has everything needed to be a winning choice not only for dress of the week, but in your wardrobe, as well.

What are you all up to this weekend? I'm going to MoMA's rain room exhibit and attempting to try out the Citi Bikes. Have a great one!

Home Improvement

Thursday, July 18, 2013

I've recently noticed that I am becoming more and appreciative of a perfect black wall. What used to seem so dark, dreary, and depressing when it came to interior design, now feels almost as clean of a slate as a spotless white. When black walls are decorated with contrasting colors and elements, it creates a sense of warmth that I have yet to find in different colors-it is also much more unexpected. The image above features a black wall in an office-like setting, but black is such a versatile color whether in clothing or design, and could work well in any space. Don't worry, though, if you don't feel quite ready to make the leap over to the dark side (ha), this is a key opportunity to test out a black accent wall. Who knows, you might just fall in love with it.

What are your thoughts on black walls? Love 'em or hate 'em?

Vintage Blues

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

/ Vintage Dress / H&M Clutch / Zara Heels /

One of my favorite parts about vintage pieces is that they are so one-of-a-kind. As much as I love my fast fashion stores, there really is something special about having a piece in your wardrobe that no one else shares with you. When it comes to vintage, I am quite particular about what I like, and it is usually in the form of devastatingly feminine pieces. This dress is no exception, and is probably one of my favorite pieces in my wardrobe. I knew when I saw it last summer at the since closed Zachary's Smile in New York City's West Village that it was a piece that really got to me. Hard to appreciate the details in photographs, everything from the delicate zipper to the inner construction shows the time put in to make this dress that you just don't find in your fast fashion pieces today. In styling this dress, I tried to complement the silvery blues of the bows that adorned the skirt and shoulders with my latest favorite metallic heels, snakeskin print clutch, and skipping on the jewelry-it clearly isn't needed.

Do you have a favorite vintage piece? One of my other favorites is a 1950's lilac prom dress that I keep hanging in my closet as a daily source of inspiration.

Tuesday Shoesday

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Remember when everything was inspired by Greece and Rome and the goddess style of dressing ruled all? While that trend has pretty much come and gone in the past few years, the gladiator style for shoes still seems to be a summer favorite. I don't think I have the legs to pull off the thigh-high version, but these strappy ankle boot versions seem like a style I might attempt. In the summer months, sometimes when reaching for heels, classic pumps may seem too stuffy and cork wedges may seem expected. A pair of strappy gladiator style heels like these amazing Jimmy Choo's will add that extra quality of fun into your footwear that may have been lacking previously. While these are nowhere near my budget, I will surely be searching favorites like H&M and Zara for similar styles.

Are you a fan of the gladiator style? If so, do you prefer flats or heels?


Monday, July 15, 2013

/ Lyn Devon blouse / GAP jeans / Zara heels and purse / Michael Kors watch / Brandy Melville ring / Francesca's necklace (old) /

Like many people, I despise jeans. I very rarely find a pair that looks decent once I leave the store's dressing room, and never feel great in them. GAP jeans, however, always are the exception. Every time I pull on jeans at GAP everything from the fit, the washes, the styles, and even the prices are great. After searching for about a year for the perfect pair of boyfriend jeans, I finally ventured into GAP. No joke, the moment I slipped into their destroyed sexy boyfriend jeans I knew they were coming home with me. These jeans are distressed in all the right places (and right amount), have a perfect combination of relaxed fit without being sloppy, and the cuffed ankles are ideal for showcasing fabulous heels-seen below-. Continuing on the note of the importance of a blouse from last week, I pulled out this Lyn Devon top with a pattern of spades, hearts, and clovers, that provides the perfect graphic to complement the striped Zara heels to add a bit of femininity to the tomboy quality of the denim. 

Where have you found your favorite boyfriend jeans from?

Dress Up

Friday, July 12, 2013

When it comes to red dresses, and kind of red pieces in general, I'm always back and forth. I seem to love red on other people, but aside from a red lip, I usually stay away. While I'm not one to shy away from colors, red for some reason is one color that rarely shows up in my wardrobe. Maybe it's the fact that it's such a bold color, or that sometimes is over-powering on my pale skin, but every time I attempt a red garment, I end up leaving without it. This Topshop 'Florence' crepe dress is next on my list to attempt, though. Though completely red, it seems as if this specific red may be a hue that might actually work. In it's fairly simple silhouette, but with the interest of a bit of skin around the midriff, the red is easier to take in, while still making the bold impact that it obviously does. 

What do you think about red? Love it or hate it?

Home Improvement

Thursday, July 11, 2013

left photo via

Do you find yourself doubting your projects when you're at work? I know this is something that I am definitely guilty of. When working on a project for a while, similar to staring at a paper you're trying to put together, it is hard to appreciate it for the spark from where the initial idea came from that caused you to act on it. This week's Home Improvement feature is a fun take on a bit of self-encouragement for an office setting (or wherever you see fits). Though at first it came across as a bit overwhelming, I love how when doing a double take, the words can come across as almost like a graphic wallpaper print. If these walls could talk they would definitely keep inspiration flowing and get ideas back on track to where they were. Also, how cute is that little orange polka dot desk organizer? I love how the sea-foam scissors holder and desk organizer pop against the other-wise only black and white desk. 

Would you ever try a wall like this one?

The Importance of a Blouse

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

/ Madewell blouse / Zara shorts, purse, and heels / J.Crew headband (Crewcuts) / Brandy Melville ring / Michael Kors watch / Street Vendor from Austin, TX necklace /

Having a few great blouses is a necessity in any wardrobe, especially one of a working gal. There are infinite possibilities to pair them with, are almost always office appropriate, and easy to switch up for after work, as well. One of my first blouses in my wardrobe was this abstract floral one from Madewell around four years ago. This was a piece that made me feel instantly sophisticated and polished, and it still manages to do so today. For work yesterday I pulled out this old favorite to pair with my latest favorite Zara shorts and to add a bit of brightness to the darker colors, metallic heels provided the perfect balance. 

Have you filled in the blouse section of your wardrobe? Which are your favorites?

Tuesday Shoesday

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Remember how in the past I had told you that I don't usually just go and buy shoes? Well, I promise, I really don't. However, with all of the amazing holiday sales that I have been seeing this summer, sometimes a good deal really is hard to resist. Zara seems to have been my most frequented location for a good sale lately, and these black and white combination heels were no exception. While I almost made it out of the store without them, their interesting slightly angular toes and backs, graphic little heel, and the fact that they made me feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw after a Manolo trip--minus the crazy costs--finally got to me. As soon as I got home I began dreaming up what to pair them with, and it's safe to say that they are going to be a perfect go with anything pair of heels that manages to complete the rest of a look when you didn't even realize all of the potential. 

What do you think of these black and white Zara heels? Are you as big of a fan of them as I am?

Similar Styles

Monday, July 8, 2013

Necessary Clothing blouse / H&M Necklace

This past weekend, I was looking through my closet and was excited when I found pieces that seemed to have a similar style or feel. Whether the pieces were an article of clothing and the other an accessory or shoe, it became a sort of game of matching. A fashion card game, if you will. While I still love this Necessary Clothing triple collar blouse from last year, it hasn't been getting as much attention as it should. Using it as a starting point for this matching game led me to the H&M necklace above that has similar coloring: black, pinks, interesting blue, and touches of gold--just like the one gold button at the neck on the blouse. I love costume jewelry not for its sense of practicality, but for its sense of fun. While this necklace is on the gaudy and large side, with its affordable price, at the moment it provides a nice bit of glitz to the jewelry shelf. I challenge you to go and peruse your shelves and hangers for pieces with similar qualities. You never know what you may have forgotten about or you may realize a pattern in your style that you hadn't before. Go ahead, try!

Do you see similar styles in your closets? Would you like to see more similar styles posts like this one here on Eighty Five Dresses? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

PS. I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend with their families + friends. I know I did!

Dress Up

Friday, July 5, 2013

Photo via Lee Oliveira

This week's dress up feature is one of my favorite warm weathered dress options lately. While quite daring and not for the shy stylista, it manages to come across as ladylike and polished, even though it is essentially completely see through. With all of the heat lately, sometimes clothes are the last thing that I want to throw on. This dress, though I'm not quite bold enough to attempt it yet, seems like the perfect piece for those days when the heat is unbearable. Also, the fact that it is see through opens up various opportunities to style the pieces underneath the dress. While in the image above she opted to match the white dress with white high waisted briefs and bra, it would be fun to attempt different colors, patterns, and textures, as well, such as neons, leathers, or stripes.

What do you think? Are you brave enough to attempt this look?

4th of July

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bebe top / Topshop pinafore (on sale!)  / Vintage heels / Michael Kors watch / Francesca's necklace / Brandy Melville Ring / Sunglasses from SoHo street vender / Target purse

You can't help but love the fourth of July. From the theme-dressing, fireworks and all out American birthday festivities, this is the perfect mid-summer holiday. While donning the American flag isn't so much my style, the classic colors of red, white, and blue certainly are. By layering a pretty white top over a cobalt pinafore and my favorite vintage heels borrowed from my mom for a little red, I came up with a look that is not only celebratory of the day, but fun to wear, as well.

Hope you all had an amazing fourth of July!

Popularity Contest

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

1. Topshop Crop Top / 2. Marc By Marc Jacobs Skirt / 3. Alexander Wang Romper / 4. Topshop Varsity Jacket / 5. Zara Faux Leather Shorts

When it comes to getting dressed in extreme weather temps, we all have those pieces that we automatically reach for--maybe even a few times in the same week. Today I decided to compile a collage of the pieces (or similar styles) in my closet that I tend to do this with.

1. Black Tank - Okay, this is by far the number one piece in wardrobe rotation at the moment. While not this exact style, my black Topshop tank has me having a tank top as one of my favorite pieces of clothing, when I never thought that would happen. It's perfectly tissue-thin, has a great higher neckline that's perfect for pairing with chunky necklaces, and basically feels like pajamas- if pajamas were black tank tops from Topshop.

2. Striped Skirt - Prints-wise lately, it's all about stripes in my closet. From t-shirts to dresses, these (usually horizontal) lines are everywhere. This Marc By Marc Jacobs skirt has a similar shape as my go-to striped Topshop skirt that is easily flattering, comfortable, and incredibly easy to dress up or down depending on the pieces added to it. Whether paired with matching stripes, florals, or whatever you had in mind, striped skirts have become my little black dress of skirts.

3. Black Romper - Talk about easy summer routine, rompers are a fast way to put an outfit together. Effortlessly chic (when styled and fit properly), incredibly comfortable, and great palettes for accessorizing, a classic black romper (this amazing one is Alexander Wang, while mine is from Bloomingdales Aqua line) is a summer go-to for obvious reasons.

4. Navy and Black Varsity Jacket - I know what you're thinking, jackets, in summer? I promise, though, I thought the same thing. However, for those of us that are in and out of office environments during the day, understand that it can easily cool-down once inside. My varsity jacket from Forever 21 (the one above is from Topshop) has always been the perfect "updated office cardigan" whether it was cold in the studio or the day turned drizzly, and instantly adds a sporty-chic quality to the rest of your look.

5. Faux Leather Shorts - These paper-bag waist Zara faux leather shorts may be runner up to the Topshop tank on this list. I mentioned to a friend earlier last week that these are the fashionistas version of Nike Shorts. Laugh all you want, but I swear it's true. While you may think to shy away from leathery fabrics during the summer months, just like our number four,  you may want to think again. The bagginess of these shorts are not only more flattering than your cutoffs, but keep the heavier material away from your body, as well. And, I have yet to find a top in my wardrobe that they don't work with.

What are the most popular pieces in your summer wardrobe right now? I'd love to hear.

Tuesday Shoesday

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

When I ventured out of my traditional comfort zone when it comes to nails a few months ago and went with bright white, I was pleasantly surprised. It was a color that went with much more than I thought it would, instantly brightened up any outfit, and -dare I say- even made me look tanner! That alone was a miracle. When it comes to white shoes, however, I was slightly more skeptical. Difficult to keep clean, easily crossing over to tacky, and short lived (no white shoes after Labor Day, remember--ha), they seem quite difficult to pull off. However, I spotted these adorable twisted patent leather sandals from Prada and remembered how much I loved that white manicure. These would make a great alternative to a tan or black neutral that can be paired with nearly everything and, with its subtle detailed braiding, makes it simple-not boring. 

Would you try out a pair of white shoes? What about nails? 

Fluted Florals

Monday, July 1, 2013

/ H&M Jacket and Ring / Forever 21 Top and Necklace / Zara Skirt / Sam Edelman heels / Brandy Melville Arrow Ring / J.Crew Bracelet /

I always find it interesting how trends come in and out of style. Since the rise and fall of hi-low dresses and everything accented with a peplum, it is safe to say that one of the main current trends is none other than the fluted hem. I had my eye on this fluted floral skirt from Zara for a while, and when they had their sale last week, I caved. I haven't added something floral to my wardrobe in a while (mostly stripes and neutrals lately) and the colors in this skirt are so dreamy- while floral, they are not as overtly feminine as usual. When paired with my favorite frayed-edge button down, kelly green suede moto jacket, and lots of fun jewelry, this is an outfit that was perfect for my sunday best--even when I had nothing planned.

What do you think? Are you a fluted fan?

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