Staying Stylish While Staying Snug

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(This is probably the only “selfie” I will ever post on here… Hopefully… Ignore the mess haha)

I am fairly slow at updating this blog, in case you haven’t realized, but I have been keeping my eyes peeled for various fashion plates and fashion disasters here in Florence. The most common eyesore I’ve noticed happens to be something very close to home, most likely because the main perpetrators are study abroad girls: leggings being worn as pants. While I am completely fine with a girl wearing leggings under a long tunic or shirt or a dress, I absolutely cannot stand when girls wear these out to class or on the street with North Faces or hoodies. It’s fine for the gym or when you’re lounging around at home, but how hard is it to put on a pair of jeans or something similar when you go outside? In fact, if it is so difficult, then why don’t you just put on a dress or a skirt? Sorry, rant over.

Anyway, from what I’ve seen most of the girls at my school dress fairly well for class, but they cannot be surpassed by the Italian girls, who are the epitome of style, teachers included. I’m not saying every girl should spend hours doing her hair and makeup and picking an outfit everyday, since that’s just not plausible and would take away the intrigue of ready-to-wear clothes. That doesn’t make it any less admirable that they put in the effort, however. It’s also interesting because the women here, most of them anyway, know how to age gracefully, in person and in fashion. Their wardrobe is age-appropriate and chic, which every woman should aspire to. The men are also very classy, whether they’re seen on the street or in the club. From my very limited pool of male friends, I can tout that the Italian men can even be more daring in their fashion than women. Brianna approved! ūüėČ

I haven’t really been impressed with the selection in the regular stores here that you could find back in the states, such as H&M and Zara. Going for more Italian stores, or even checking out the markets, is a much better option (and probably a much cheaper one, too.) I saw this lovely tan peacoat-esque jacket in a side shop that I am¬†dying to go back and purchase, and this was in a store not far from the 99 cento (which, by the way, is a wonderous place.) However, I am still totally willing to purchase certain basic essentials at the big brand stores when its necessary (H&M teal hoodie, I love you.) It’s really about layering pieces and mixing and matching your mass market clothes with your more original, one-of-a-kind pieces. Clothes are the perfect medium for self-expression; use them well!

An essential wardrobe addition that you can use easily to make a statement is a¬†coat or jacket. Here in Italy, there are a few trends that I’ve noticed that are both very specific but also easy to apply anywhere in the world. I’ve seen all of these on at least 10 people all over Florence, and probably more for some of them. (sorry if some of these are a reiteration from a previous post!)

1. The quilted puffer jacket (aka the bane of my existence)

These are not aesthetically pleasing to me in¬†any way whatsoever, but I understand the functionality and practicality of these. They come in a wide variety of colors, for both men and women, but so far the most prevalent are black, red and brown (the dark, neutral colors, like I mentioned previously, very popular.) These can be long down to the knee or at waist length, but they are always very puffy. For some reason, there are actually people who can pull these off, to my horror and delight. Perfect example, my gorgeous roommate Alla with her classic black puffer (although she could honestly pull off anything, including sweats, so maybe that’s an outlier example…)

2. The fur coat/vest

I am still in search of the perfect fur vest to layer over my jacket, as I’ve seen a few of the girls do here. In neutral colors, they add a little luxury and intrigue to any outfit, as well as texture and most importantly, warmth. I once saw a very impressive long teal vest in the window of Miss Sixty, it was totally bold. As for fur coats, they are most commonly found on the very chic old women who wander about Florence, but they look good on basically every woman I’ve seen so far. (While I’m not a supporter of¬†actual fur items, faux fur alternatives are really cute and Macklemore would totally approve if you looked into them.

3. The military jacket (with or w/o leather shoulders)

One of my personal favorites, these usually-green beauties are perfect in lighter weather for market browsing or bar hopping. There is a specific kind with leather shoulders/arms from Zara that I’ve seen all over Florence. The jacket can add an edge to a floral dress, or it can be a good neutral to tone down a bright outfit underneath. These also come in long or short, and you can even customise your own (I added a flower patch over the hole on the back of the one I bought from Buffalo Exchange!) They also tend to have a fair amount of pockets, which is always a win in my book.

4. The leather jacket 

I’m pretty sure everyone already has one of these in their wardrobe, and if not, they should probably get one (there is faux leather out there too, for all us animal lovers!) ¬† ¬† ¬† I very much miss my wine-colored cropped H&M jacket back in the States, but I made a lovely purchase (to be examined in my next post) at the local market for super cheap. One of the important points to make about these is that Italy is famous for its work with leather, in shoes, bags, and yes, jackets. They go with basically everything, being a classic, and layer just like the military jacket, but with many more color options. Cropped, waist-length, or long like a trench, leather jackets will never go out of style.

5. The trench coat

Another classic that everyone should own, the trench coat is another great lighter option, with the added bonus of usually making a fine rain coat (which will always remind me of the final scene in Breakfast At Tiffany’s! <3) Back at home, I have a very bright royal blue trench that I love to toss on to cheer me up or brighten up my outfit. I am still on the hunt for the *coveted* and original tan Burberry trench, but I’m biding my time for the perfect style. These have all different details besides color that make each trench interesting: belts, buttoning styles, shoulder tabs, material, etc. If you don’t already have a trench, there is a perfect one out there waiting for you! (Note: if you’re worried they’re too long because you’re tiny like me, you can always get a trench-style coat that stops at the waist. Still cute and versatile!)

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Expect another post in a day or so, finally. I witnessed some pretty horrifying fashion messes recently, and those will definitely come up, as well as some fashion highlights. I’m always really nervous about trying to snap photos of really stylish outfits even though I could just tell people I have a blog, so you may not get many photographic evidence. I promise I’ll be as detailed as possible and, as always, if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see or read about, feel free to drop me a comment or a message. I’ve been really happy experiencing all the fashion here in Florence, and I want to share it with all of you lovely people! ūüôā Stay snuggly, everyone! Baci! xx

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OOtD: The Return of the Sass (in Florence!)

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This has been a long time coming, everyone, but I am finally back and plan to be in full force for 2014! I am happy to announce that I’m spending the semester in Florence, which means plenty of opportunities to peep some great fashion. It’s been 2 days since I arrived and I’ve already seen so many great shops and interesting styles among the people. From a surprise find of Ladure√© (yum!!) and Tiffany’s to a street with two Zaras, there’s plenty of ways I can waste spend my money.

There are a lot of common pieces that I’ve seen so far, although whether they are good or bad is debatable. Very happy I brought two pairs of boots because they are very common out on the street, and they are both comfortable and fashionable, which important because Florence is very much a walking city. Sales on shoes are everywhere right now (just sales in general!), and I’m debating whether I will get another pair of shoes. I just bought these for the trip, they’re pretty nice, but I’ll have to be careful because they already started cutting up my feet.

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Coats here are hit or miss for me, honestly. Fur is very popular, faux or otherwise, especially long coats on older women and short coats or vests on younger. Military green coats are popular as well, with hoods or without, long or short, you name it. They’re pretty great; they add edge to any outfit. The one type of coat I don’t like? Puffy coats. I don’t care if the shape is flattering, you really just end up looking like the Michelin man. Seriously, I see them everywhere and cringe every time. It must take some type of already-magnetic personality to brave wearing one of those; that is one time I will not sacrifice fashion for warmth. However, long structured wool and trench coats are also common, and I’m dreaming of the day when I go purchase the perfect tan trench at Burberry.

As I imagined, dark and neutral colors are the dominant species here in Florence, although there is much more color than Montreal. Clothing is usually not very printed, but focuses on the cut and structure of the pieces, as well as layering on different accessories to finish the look. Most people have an immediate aura about them of luxury, even if their clothing is more on the minimalistic side. I’m excited to experience more and take notes as the next 5 months go by. I’m sure the people in school will be intriguing.

So basically the outfit was part-laziness and part joy that it was actually really nice outside today. I love love love high-low skirts, and not because they’re on trend right now, but because they give you the perfect amount of warmth and flow that a regular skirt doesn’t. It’s kind of like having a cape, but for your lower half. haha Not to mention that the neutrals fit right into the setting. Layering here is important for staying warm, so to add a pop over my black lacy tank, I grabbed my favorite coral sweater. Daytime required my military green jacket for a little coverage when not in the sun, while night brought out my wool coat to keep away the chill. A little jewelry goes a long way, too.

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We went grocery shopping today, which was really nice, so now I can cook food and do my laundry and all that good stuff. I’m finally setting in, and since we did a lot of walking, I feel pretty good and ready to take the city by storm. I’ve made friends with the girls next door, and am still waiting for my other two roommates to move in. The apartment is very nice, although it’s a bit chilly (flashbacks of my room back at AXO…) Florence is really beautiful, and even just the architecture and the people really add to the scenery. We saw a man when we were walking back who was dressed up in a costume, like a clown who’d been hit by a big gust of wind, so that was amusing. There are so many dogs and children everywhere too, including a baby who was playing with an iPhone in her stroller. I love when they speak Italian so well; I definitely want my future kids to speak a foreign language (or two!) I’m excited for orientation tomorrow, getting to pick all my classes and all that. Hopefully it doesn’t take too long so Lizzie and I can go explore and shop some more. Crepi il lupo! xx

Montreal a la Mode

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The weekend before last was quite an experience for me, and I was lucky enough to get a taste of fashion outside of my realm of “expertise.” I decided to spend my fall break in Montreal with some of my sisters through a school trip. What I found was very interesting, and quite different from the melting pot of the United States. Standing out in color seems to be much more in an American line of thinking. Montreal is a very industrial and business-oriented city, with a thriving nightlife.

We spent the first day mostly shopping after arriving in Montreal at about 10 am. Wandering les Rue, I was taken aback at the priciness of the clothing. However, I reconcile my opinion with the fact that most of the clothes we looked at seemed to be of high-quality and were well-made. Becky and Tammy made it of utmost importance to make a stop at Zara, which I found to be more out of my fashion element, although I was impressed at the store in general. It was interesting to me that Tammy was actually overwhelmed by the store, and much preferred the selection online to the bustle of the Canadians and tourists. Zara clothing seems to be very structured to me, a perfect blend of classic essence with the edginess of minimalism. Stir in dashes of trendiness and avant garde and you get very mature pieces that transition well in any situation or location.

A very popular store we noticed all over the city was Bedo, which perfectly encapsulated Montreal fashion in its window displays: monochromatic, typically dark-colored, minimalistic clothing. Personally, I think Bedo is much more edgy than Zara, which has a high-fashion business air about it. Leather is very prevalent, as are classic preppy prints with a darker spin. Jackets are very important, whether they are clean cut moto jackets or matte blazers.

It was very easy to find classic staples to build up your wardrobe in Montreal; Tammy purchased a fetching tailored military jacket, and Katie bought adorable leather ankle boots. Becky, who was recently offered a position at Deloitte, was looking to expand her work wardrobe with some fierce pieces. Myself, on the other hand, I like to mix up my wardrobe; defining my personal style is a process. It always interests me to see how people analyze clothing while shopping, including how they think pieces will assist in creating a more fluid personal style.

The big thing I was looking for was a black dress, very sleek and with cutouts or sheer pieces, something that doesn’t need a print to make a statement. I hopped from store to store, analyzing the perfect ratio of regular fabric to cutouts or sheer paneling, as well as whether I wanted¬†another skater-skirted dress, or one more of the bodycon/form-fitting style. I tried on two dresses, and here are the differences between the two.

2013-10-19 black dress 1This dress at a store called¬†Dynamite!¬†was almost a must purchase. I love that the sheer panel in the middle is tasteful and gives the dress a little ‘oomph’. Knowing my general body shape, it is always a good idea for the skirt to taper as it goes down, giving me an actual shape (yay!) The only thing was the necessity to wear the dress with strapless lingerie, but other than that, the dress was pretty great. I don’t exactly think it is easy to transition between day and night, however, so I passed it up.

2013-10-20 black dress 2 frontFor me, this dress I found in Sirens¬†was much more interesting/daring fashion-wise, but I think it was just much too scandalous for me. I love the high-low skirt, which perfectly fits the current trend in an edgy way, and that the top is leather. However, the cutout in the middle is unflattering for pretty much everyone who doesn’t have a washboard stomach. Also, the back of the dress was a T-strap that I couldn’t even zip up myself. Very edgy, but it was a pass.

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Overall, however, Montreal fashion is very wearable to me, and I think that I will definitely be taking some tips when I transition my wardrobe for my semester in Italy. Having multiple pieces that can be used again and again is definitely important, especially when traveling. I really liked the nightlife in Montreal, and people were very accommodating and had interesting stories to tell. They weren’t as different as I thought they would be, and it was exciting to visit another country and use a little bit of foreign language (Je voudrais une caffe, s’il vous plait!) What is the most interesting fashion you’ve noticed while traveling? Stay cultured, everyone!

 

 

Getting A Little Dark and Mouthy

In case you haven’t realized from my previous posts, I have a slight addiction to shopping. I am always looking to build up my wardrobe and create more definition in my personal style. Last week, I adjourned to the mall twice with a few of my sisters, and I made a few staple purchases to expand on my nightly wares.

2013-10-08 12.10.02¬†My love of clothes led me to this very versatile, little black leather skirt from Forever 21. To me, leather is a classic material that never loses its appeal, and always adds a little kick to any outfit. What I like most about this skirt is that the leather isn’t heavy or too textured, and it is simple enough that it doesn’t tie into any one trend too closely. At the moment, leather skirts with studs seem to be very popular, but who knows how long that trend will flourish? My take on this skirt would be to pair it with a very feminine blouse and colorful tights for a daytime look, maybe layering on a cardigan for good measure. On the other hand, this can be taken into the nighttime with a sparkly sleeveless top or a printed crop top for a little edginess.

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One of the most important things a girl possesses is her mouth. Now before you let your mind wander, I’m talking about having pretty lips and pretty teeth, not to mention the gift of gab. So, being very particular about keeping my¬†bocca in tip-top shape, I scoped out options at¬†Forever 21¬†and¬†Lush.¬†

I personally love all types of lip products, from Burt’s Bees fabulously tingly lip balm to my trusty¬†Maybelline Vivids¬†lipstick. Typically, I’m not very picky about color, as I tend to just pick based on my mood and outfit. However, being that a lot of the colors I tend to own lean towards the bright red or hot pink variety, I kept this in mind and went searching for a berry shade to compliment my more golden complexion. Just my luck, as I was checking out with my skirt, I found this high-pigmented lipgloss from love&beauty¬†in one of the bins wrapping the line. It was cheap and the color was what I was looking for, so I took a chance and was rewarded. The gloss is so easy to put on, and it’s pleasantly smooth and scented. But the most important part is that because the color is “high-pigmented,” it is more likely to stick around on your yap for a longer period of time.

Moving on, I was pulled into¬†Lush¬†by my sorority sister and fellow fashion blogger Tammy, in search of facial products that she’d been yearning to try. I browsed the perfumes, dabbing on a little¬†Karma and still adoring Lust, the stick I’d bought during a previous adventure. Back home in Jersey, I was assisted by the most charming lady in the store, and she supplied me with multiple awesome samples, as well as introducing me to a phenomenon that I think everyone should know about. TOOTHY TABS! ūüėÄ Basically, these little tabs are condensed, natural “toothpaste-on-the-go” in various eco-flavors. The flavor I chose,¬†Dirty, is a sharp blend of spearmint and orange, which gives a clean taste without being overpowering. Toothy Tabs are perfect for those days when you’re running late or eliminating morning breath after nighttime adventures, and they even have baking soda mixed in for gradual teeth whitening. What more could you possibly ask for?!

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I just want you all to know that I kind of love mall food court options. The styrofoam boxes of Chinese food and the comfort of a Chicken California from¬†Charley’s is enough to satisfy my cravings for days. Beachwood Mall, which is about 20 minutes from my campus, has a really great selection of stores, as well as food providers. What is your guilty pleasure at the food court? What kind of products do you use to create the perfect pout? Tell me all about your mall adventures. Stay smiley, everyone.

Fashion Procrastionation

Fashion Procrastionation

AXO recently had our alumnae formal in conjunction with our 30th anniversary, and I had the bright idea of getting heels that would even out the large gap in height between my date and I. Jetting off with two of my favorite sisters Jordan and Tammy (who is also a fashion blogger, but more on that later), I scoured the department stores for a lovely new pair.

Part of me wanted to get some fancy pair with baubles or fancy design, but after much trouble with heel-to-toe height ratio and walkability, I chose a pair by Nickels. They’re simple, but versatile, and they’re the tallest pair I own so far (which, honestly, is kind of sad… what kind of short female am I?). That, and they were affordable.

What is your favorite style of heels? Are you a sexy stiletto type of gal, or do you have a penchant for platforms? Either way, own whatever you wear, because any pair of heels can spin an outfit into sartorial gold in the blink of an eye. Besides… everyone needs a little lift in the derriere area once in awhile. Stay sassy, everyone.