Thursday, November 29, 2007

Go-To Outfits

Getting dressed on a daily basis should not be angst-inducing. If you find yourself spending an inordinate amount of time standing before the closet thinking, "Argh! I have nothing to wear "- give yourself a break by pulling together a few go-to outfits. See below for examples of my ideas around easy outfits that can have you dressed and fabulous in a flash. Check your closet to see what you have that will create your own version of these suggestions.

Fitted, hip-length sweater + denim skirt (A-lines are fresh right now!) + knee high boots = casually chic. Add a large pendant or other piece of statement jewelry, or a scarf for added interest.

Boots from Avenue - stretchy to fit your calves, a little heel for height and sex-appeal.

Basic, 9-5 suit in the color of your choice + lacy camisole + glittery clutch + strappy heels = party perfect. Ditch the little black dress in favor of something a little more unexpected...and warmer!
Hit the lingerie section to find a sexy corset to pair with your suit. Don't worry - your suit jacket will cover you up a little!

Black top + black skirt + opaque black tights + brightly colored shoes (think red, yellow, blue, pink) = punch of fun!

Spread the Wealth

On some level, we know the holiday season isn't all about gifts and decorations, new outfits and cocktail weiners in BBQ sauce. For the average person, there's some sense of guilt associated with all the festivity because we all know that not everyone is able to revel and make merry alike. Guilt is a waste of energy - this season, find a way to make a difference for someone in your community.

There are a million ways to spread the wealth, and the joy, that so many of us are fortunate enough to have in our lives. There's no better time than right now to find a cause or an organization or a lonely neighbor to bring some happiness and cheer to. I'm really excited about the cause that I'm taking up this month - bringing toiletry and beauty products to several women's shelters in the Twin Cities.

Think about all the products lining your bathroom shelves or staking out space in your makeup bag. Each item is part of your daily ritual, to prepare yourself to meet whatever the day may hold. The scent of my favorite lotion makes me feel beautiful and sensuous. Swiping on lipsmakes me feetick makes me feel put-together and ready to meet anything. Now think about those shelves, empty; your makeup bag, empty. Those things you might consider a necessity, gone.

There are millions of women who are living in shelters, recovering from abusive relationships and other hardships, trying to put their lives back together. Beauty products are not exactly at the top of their list of "needs." Which is why collecting and delivering to these women soaps, lotions, nail polish, cosmetics, face wash and other such items is a great holiday treat. Friends and co-workers have been more than generous in pulling together all of these luxuries and sending them along to women's shelters with me. Jump online and search for local shelters in your area; call, see what they need and get collecting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bombshell Bargains

Head into Lane Bryant within the next week to take advantage of two great deals - their 2 for $59 sale (great for stocking up on workwear, including pants and tops) and 50% off Clearance merchandise. I scored an entire outfit for less than $40, which is a great bargain at Lane Bryant. If you'd rather shop online, take advantage of a 30% off coupon, good through Thursday (that's tomorrow, folks) here.

Looking for a holiday dress with some flash? Kathryn over at Budget Fashionista gets credit for finding this fun frock by Necessary Objects.

Old Navy is running a sweet sale on their pajama bottoms, both in-store and online. They're only $10 - I felt like a kid in a candy store, picking up assorted bottoms of every color and pattern. Pick yours before they're all gone.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New Again

Navy blue nail polish isn't new - we chatted about it a few months ago, in fact. I extolled the virtues of O.P.I's Russian Navy, saying it felt new and fresh, was a cheap and easy way to buy into the navy trend sweeping the fashion world, and proclaiming it extremely wearable.

Thinking about my holiday manicure, I've got to say that the bloom of love is still there when it comes to navy blue polish. Nothing says "Merry Christmas" like traditional red polish, but if you want to do something festive yet different, pull out the blue polish again. Just remember, dark navy is the color to shoot for. If your nails look at all electric, cease and desist.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bombshell Inspiration

I'm working from home this morning and have been watching episodes from season 3 of Gilmore Girls. You either love or hate the show, but there's really no line when it comes to the fantastic clothes worn by the cast. The show's stylist is a genius because each character's clothes tell you in an instant who they are and what they're about.

At the moment, I'm really feeling the pre-collegiate wardrobe that Rory Gilmore is wearing; there's just something fabulously nostalgic about jeans, cuddly sweaters, simple hair and makeup. I know, I know - I'm coveting the clothes of a 17-year old waif, but there's a way to take the inspiration and translate it into clothes appropriate for a 27 year old Bombshell.

Corduroys are a collegiate staple. I love this pair from Lane Bryant; they come in three lengths and colors. Plus, a Bombshell plus, the cords are not overly bulky. Michael Kors has crafted a beautifully relaxed pair of classic, faded jeans in sizes 14-24. This pair fits like a dream - perfect for running around in after school.

The color of this yoked sweater is young, but the detailing is all grown up.

Pumas. Classic. Cool. Wearable till you're 70. If you don't own a pair of Pumas...well, you should. Ahhh, Clinique. It was the first "major" brand of makeup that I started using in high school. And yet, it lasts the test of time (and wrinkles, age spots...). The Naturally Holiday collection is perfect for creating that fresh-faced look: jet black mascara, Almost Lipstick and berry-tinted blush.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Party for One

I get kind of tired of my favorite fashion magazines acting like all I do from Thanksgiving until New Year's Eve is go out and party. It stresses me out, all those assumptions that I need outfit after outfit that can go to work, then out for drinks and, with a quick change of shoes and purse, out to a party Monday through Sunday.

I have my fair share of social engagements to look forward to over the next month, but I also enjoy a party for one every once in a while. A party for one at my house entails a cheesy holiday movie (like Christmas Comes to Willow Creek - it's truly terrible), nail polish and pajamas. It's a real rager, one that requires really cute outfits. Like these:
And these:
Get as much use out of your sparkly clutch purse and party dresses this season, but don't forget to have some "me time". Every Bombshell needs it; and besides, your friends will wonder what fabulous thing you're doing without them some Saturday night.

Trend Translation- Bows

A look ahead to upcoming spring trends includes all things girly - we're talking about bows, fluff and floral prints. Fluff can be hard to wear, floral prints - well, we'll see. But bows - now that's a trend I can get behind, especially during the holiday season. I love the idea of using a bow in two ways:
  1. To highlight one of your fabulous features.
  2. To create the idea of you as gift. Because anyone would be lucky to unwrap you!
This silver charmeuse squareneck top from Alloy demonstrates both concepts perfectly. The removable belt, fashioned into a bow, cinches in the waist while jauntily begging to be untied. And the gunmetal color is a nice alternative to the ubiquitous red and black that you'll be seeing on the holiday circuit this season. Pair it with simple black pants or dark jeans for a sleek, easy look out and about. On the flipside of bows well-done is this dress from Torrid. The retailer has a lot of really cute dresses available right now, but this is not one of them. The bow is too large, oddly placed, and downright distracting. In fact, it's made the model seem disproportioned and wider than she actually is. Beware this type of treatment. You can do much better.
If bows just aren't really your thing, or you're afraid of wearing them on your clothes, then look for alternate places to stick a bow. Like on your shoes. This pair from Payless is classic, yet kicky in red. Slip your feet in and I promise you'll feel dainty and special.
And do not even tell me that red shoes are impractical. Don't. Even.

Photos courtesy of;;

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Paint Your Face

I'm so happy to be a grown up, aren't you? I did a lot of silly things before becoming a grown up - like using the applicators and brushes that come with compacts of makeup. Now that I'm a certified Bombshell - all womanly woman - I know better. Whether using Cover Girl or Chanel, your makeup will not look the way Harper's Bazaar intended if you swipe it on with a sponge-tip applicator or one of those stubby little blush brushes.

A good set of brushes can last forever - I've had mine for 10 years - and will make a difference in the way your makeup looks. Whether you're creating a natural, no-makeup look or are going for a big-night-out face, you need very specific tools to blend, blend, blend. Blending is the key to a fantastic face, and brushes are the tools needed to correctly blend.

A basic brush set includes: eye shadow, eye blender, concealer, and blush.

Once you have the basics, you can add additional brushes specific to your routine such as: foundation (for the ultimate in flawless foundation application), eye liner, powder/kabuki and so on. Here are a few of my favorite brushes to get the job done:

Mark's selection of brushes are well-made and cost $5-6. Seriously. I especially like the eye blender brush, which feels silky soft on the eyelid, and the Blush/Bronzer brush. Swipe blush on using the side of the bristles; contour your face with bronzer using the flat head of the brush.
The Deluxe Short Brush Set from Bobbi Brown is the ultimate collection of sable-soft, magically effective brushes. At $150, it's an investment but one that you'll hang onto for years. I don't own anything from 1997 - except for my collection of brushes from Bobbi.

I questioned the need for a foundation brush until a MAC makeup artist used one on me. Then I shut my mouth and bought one. It was a good decision. I like the 190 because it really gets into the sides of my nose, which are perpetually red without serious intervention.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

What to Wear- Thanksgiving Dinner

What is Thanksgiving?
  • A time to give thanks for all the blessings in your life

  • A time to eat, drink and be merry

  • The official kick-off to December holidays

What are the essential components of Thanksgiving?

  • Family and friends and Santa Claus rolling into Herald Square at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (ok, that's one of my essentials)

  • Delicious food, festive drinks (alcohol optional, unless you're part of my family) and great music (preferably holiday-related)
  • A festive outfit

I do not believe in showing up to Thanksgiving in jeans and some sweater that you found in your closet.. Taking some time with your appearance on Thanksgiving - a holiday that can be either a big love fest of food and family or your own personal nightmare of food and family - will make you feel more festive, which in turn ups the chances that you will enjoy yourself.

Whether you go buy a new outfit or pull on your favorite ___________ (insert article of clothing here), kick off the holidays right. They'll only be as merry as you make them!

A nice, roomy tunic looks polished and fun - best of all, it won't pull or cling so you'll feel comfortable taking that second serving of stuffing.

A dramatic necklace will put all eyes on you (as they should be!), while jazzing up a basic button down shirt.When visiting someone's home in Minnesota, it's common for everyone to remove their shoes (don't want to track in all that snow). So it's important to remember that you might be called upon to be barefoot during the holidays - these socks are warm and cozy, and funny.

All photos courtesy of

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Wearing a $17 Outfit Today

And everyone here at work is going crazy for it! I enjoy wearing expensive clothes as much as the next girl, but there's something incredibly satisfying about pulling together a rave-inducing outfit for less than $20. Lesson of the day? Hit the clearance racks of fall clothes that are in abundance everywhere. Dig, dig, dig, and come up with something cheap and fabulous of your own.

This jumper was on super clearance at Target this weekend; I got mine for $7.48. I paired with with a $10 long-sleeved crew neck from Old Navy ( in slate blue), and dark black tights and heels that have been in my closet forever.

A Little Cheeky

I don't know many Bombshells who regularly tuck in their shirts - myself included. Which is why it's essential that any jeans lucky enough to grace your rear make it look fantastic. Successfully dressing a curvy body requires attention to detail, like how well denim cups your cheeks. Any saggage in the rear not only takes a bum from fab to pancake-flat sad, but ruins your overall look.

Many of my Bombshell friends are well endowed in the rear - me? Not at all. I just don't have a lot to work with. I rely, instead, on clever seaming and strategic pocket placement to create the illusion of a bodacious butt. Luckily, there are a plethora of options for butts of all shapes in sizes 14+. Here are a couple tried and true favorites of mine and friends.

Several full-bootied friends swear by their Calvins - available in both regular and petite plus sizes. The big selling point? The fact that the pocket stitching is very light; it's there, but not drawing too much attention to an already attention-getting area. The pockets are placed a little higher up, which provides an instant butt lift.

My flat rear looks fantastic in Old Navy's "Flirt" style of jean. I especially like the wide leg trouser style - cause the lack of natural shaping below my beltline benefits from some structure. The dark rinse is also flattering - not only on my butt, but on anyone's butt. Avoid whiskering and fading.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Hello, Bombshells!

It's been too long, I know. It's not you, it's me. I'm terribly sorry - to make it up to you I've put together a fantastic collection of the best of the best right now.

When was the last time you wore velvet? For me, I'm going to say 1994. But you know what? It's suddenly looking very new, very now, and very wearable. A little texture around the holidays is incredibly sexy - I mean, who doesn't want to touch something (or someone) that's soft and luxurious? Make sure your velvet piece is well tailored - show off your curves. And choose just one piece of velvet - cause head to toe belongs back in the early 90's. This look from Igigi is what kicked off my velvet love- it's available in black, too, but doesn't blue just feel that much more sophisticated?

While you're at Igigi, pick up the Lucille Cocktail Dress- gorgeous brocade bodice that creates an incredibly flattering (and festive) silhouette, a swingy skirt, and bra-friendly straps? Now that's a gift worth giving - to yourself.
I love Liz Claiborne - I always find cute, classic basics there. I'd like to thank Liz for reminding us all, with this sweater, that just because a great label carries an item of clothing doesn't meant it's ok to wear. Don't wear this. Or anything else like it. There are more appropriate ways to show your appreciation for the holidays. Like with these shoes; very festive - no reindeer appliques.

Photos courtesy of;;