Basics for a Bargain: Leather Pants Inspired by Gwyneth Paltrow, Ciara, & More!


Part of what I love about fall fashion is how stylishly we can embrace texture!  Wearing leather is a fabulous way to upgrade any cotton button-down from day-to-night, but when it comes to leather pants, we have some really awesome celebrity inspiration for a number of very fashionable looks.  Leather pants can certainly be made into an item for any style & it’s a great basic, if worn the right way.

If you’re preppy, add a gray cableknit sweater with some patent leather mary janes.  Or let the diva in you show off a lacey bustier top with your skinny leather pants & some major platforms.  Leather pants aren’t necessarily just for a rock & roll look, but they definitely add that extra splash of edge with a blouse, tweed jacket, or tunic top.

Jennifer Lopez is on the set of her latest music video, wearing Balmain leather pants with a metallic sweater from H&M & studded Christian Louboutin pumps.  With extra zipper details & stacked bangles, this look is very high-profile for day, but also party-ready for evening.  Fergie takes in a day of travel in caramel colored leather leggings, a Balenciaga printed top, gold sandals, oversized shades, & hoop earrings, all while sporting a tight bun, perfect for letting your outfit get all the attention.  Ciara leaves a New York City hotel wearing destroyed Rag & Bone trousers with a shirt by Equipment, Louboutin platforms, & tote by Givenchy. She looks effortless & veyr natural, not pairing her rich pants with anything too flashy.  Gwyneth Paltrow made an appearance on The Early Show, doing a cooking segment while promoting her new cookbook, wearing straight leg motorcycle pants by The Row & finished off her look in a printed silk top & feminine ballet flats.

I went on a hunt to find affordable leather / faux leather pants to upgrade the bottoms in any Style Darling’s wardrobe.  My main goal was to find something $100 or less & I came pretty close to that with these chic finds.  @Victoria’s Secret, the pencil pants in black are $59.50.  You could take a cue from the model in the picture & try on this style of leather pant with a heavy knit.  What makes leather look even more luxurious is the combination against neutral shades like gray or cream.

For $66.00, head over to Topshop for these faux leather skinny trousers which would look perfect with a graphic tee & menswear vest for day.  If you already wear knit leggings or jeggings, then you’ve got to have leather-inspired bottoms like these!  Marked down from $130.00, Bluefly has on sale the BCBGeneration faux leather skinny pants for $77.35.  These slim fit bottoms are especially stylish for a girl’s night out or date night with your beau.

Of course, I haven’t forgotten about my plus-size Style Darlings who can take advantage of the Jessica London leather jeggings @One Stop Plus.  These are available in sizes 12-28, but range in price from $119.99 – $139.99.  Considering that leather pants are a must-have basic, investing the money in just one pair will last you a long time & can be worn just about any season (but be careful on sticky, humid summer days!).

Since our celebrity-inspirations were also wearing leather pants in the brown family, I searched high & low to find affordable look-alikes, but could only come across the rich brown leather pants from Jamin Leather for $55.00.  Break out your favorite black tank, metallic accessories, & pointed toe pumps to dress these up & you’ll be on your way to a very luxurious fall!

Who do you think wears leather the best?  Would you wear leather or faux leather pants this season?  How much would you spend on them?  Do you think the leather leggings trend is over or just getting started?  Happy Styling!

Red Carpet Review: Jesscia Chastain’s Summer of Style!


You may not know who Jessica Chastain is now, or maybe you recognize the fair redhead from a few recent red carpet events, but after this year’s whopping seven movies starring the California native, you’ll definitely be seeing a lot more of her!  Since May of this year, the actress has been seen everywhere all summer long, promoting films like The Help, The Debt & The Tree of Life. Some of her co-stars include very high profile names like Brad Pitt, Ralph Fiennes, Al Pacino, & Gerard Butler.

During her various appearances at press events, screenings, & premieres, we see how her ladylike red carpet looks are helping catapult her into further stardom.  First Jessica plays with structure in a single sleeved teal Roland Mouret dress with a small neon green patch at the waste, perfect for posing on the red carpet.  Obviously a fan of the designer, she wears Roland  Mouret again, but this time in a muted gray / dusty blue dress with pewter sandals by Dana Davis.  At the annual luncheon given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, she turned up the style in a lacey Emilio Pucci dress with black satin peep toe pumps.  The girl knows her color palette, as this bright cobalt really highlights her flawless skin & radiant hair.  At the premiere of The Help, she choose one of fall’s biggest trends: jewel tones.  In a ruched sweetheart Oscar de la Renta gown, metallic Jimmy Choo shoes, & drop turquoise earrings, she came pretty close to stealing attention away from the film’s star, Emma Stone.

She keeps its demure, but regal in a navy wrap dress by Doo.Ri at an In Style event, also wearing feathered earrings & patent Christian Louboutin pumps.  At the New York City screening of The Debt, she lightened up her look with a soft robin’s egg blue tiered dress by Christian Dior, Harry Winston diamonds, & nude Louboutins.  Part of what I love about this look, aside from the dess, is her smoky shadow, which makes this even more sultry & Old Hollywood.  Even when she’s not attending an official press event, she looks every bit a movie star.  The papparazzi caught her making a coffee run in a classic polka dot Dolce & Gabbana dress with Louboutin slingbacks, a tan cardigan, & square-framed shades.  Most recently, at a press conference for The Tree of Life in Beverly Hills, Jessica played up a 50s inspired lavender sheath with neutral strappy sandals & hoop earrings.

Take a look at these above stills from some of this year’s must-see movies, as well as a video clip below of Jessica attending the 2011 Cannes Film Festival (Style Darling coverage here & here), discussing her time studying at Juilliard, working on Take Shelter, as well as her whirlwind career.

Who’s your favorite newcomer on the red carpet this summer?  Are you excited about any of Jessica’s upcoming movies?  Which look of hers is your favorite?  Happy Styling!

Quickie Darling Deal & Steal: Chanel’s Denim-Inspired Nail Polish For Fashion’s Night Out!


In preparation for Fashion’s Night Out, the legendary house of Chanel has created three very exclusive & limited-time nail polishes.  To some, they may just look like blue polish, but they are denim-inspired in shades of the all-American fabric.  As you can see from the image to the right, the polishes have cute names like Coco Blue, Blue Boy, & Blue Rebel.

Courtesy of In Style, I learned that these colors will only be available at Chanel stores or on Chanel.com, starting September 8th, the night of the famed international shopping event in New York City.

There’s no word yet on how much the polishes will cost, but to treat yourself to one luxury item, nail polish seems like a good bet b/c no matter what outfit you’re wearing, if you splash on a little color to your nails, you can go to the grocery store with Chanel, have brunch with Chanel, wear Chanel to happy hour, & even go to sleep with Chanel, without having to splurge on more costly items like silk scarves, cashmere sweaters, or fine leather shoes (although I would love them all!)!

Be sure to check out the website for Fashion’s Night Out to see the countdown to the big day, as well as listings of collections, events, & where to shop! Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Fall Accessories For Every Style Darling ($10 & Under)!


Sometimes it just takes a few extra accessories to totally change the way an outfit looks, especially when you’re transitioning from summer to fall.

I love featuring accessories among The Stylish Five b/c it’s just so easy to find affordable items, especially @Forever 21, my first-stop for accessories (both on the blog & in my own shopping).  Now these aren’t necessarily fall-centered items, but they’re out now & that means that you can add them to your wardrobe as we prepare for the layers of knits & booties.

The 3-D rose wallet is multi-functional since it doubles as an evening wristlet.  If you don’t wanna worry about losing a fancier item for a night of karaoke with friends at a bar, this $9.50 buy is exactly what you need & it matches everything!  Not only that, but it also works for day if you’re running around town.  The scarf is darling, especially since it comes in five different colors.  For $5.50, you could invest in all of them as early holiday gifts to your favorite girlfriends.  Find coordinating colors to their personalities & it’ll be extra special!  Since I’m ready for my end-of-the-summer haircut, I’ve been pulling my bangs back with bobby pins & the lace chiffon pin is a super steal for $1.50!  I actually do own this one in black & gray from a few years ago & love adding it to an updo when I’m not having a great hair day.

Let’s face it, there are days when wearing heels & getting all dolled up is just not in the cards, so beak out a cute pair of cotton tennis shoes! At a steal of a price for only $5.50, they come in six different colors, including magenta, black, white, blue, & gray!  If you pair them with dark denim straight leg jeans, a plaid button-down, & string of pearls, the look is instantly chic, but still casual & feminine!  AND, these make me think of that line in Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love:” Tennis shoes, don’t even need to buy a new dress

Lastly, my favorite item is the “Tour of Paris” tote, made from recycled materials & perfect to throw over your shower, holding your Kindle, iPad, & any extra necessities.  And did I mention that it’s only $1.50? Again, if you buy a bunch of these & the scarves, you’re halfway set to giving a fun variety gift!

What are your favorite bargain items this season? How much are you willing to spend on accessories like scarves & tote bags?  Happy Styling!

Style ABC’s (x3): G is for Gucci, Gossip Girl, & Gisele Bundchen!


is for Gucci, Gossip Girl, & Gisele Bundchen! In the latest edition of Style ABC’s (x3), we’re taking a look at one of my favorite brands (even though I don’t own anything by it)… Gucci is an Italian fashion house, known mostly for its leather goods, but as you can tell by the runway & red carpet shots below, the brand is nothing short of modern, elegant, & chic!

Jennifer Lopez was seen at this year’s Met Costume Institute Gala (check out the red carpet here) in a fuchsia cut-out dress with a floral shrug & nearly stole the spotlight from the hundred of other fabulously-dressed celebrities who attended the prestigious formal event.  In addition, Jessica Alba wore the one-shoulder sparkling blue fitted dress at an event for the brand.  Also, Bridesmaids star Rose Byrne dazzled at last year’s Emmy’s in a white & gold Grecian-inspired gown (for more on the ceremony’s red carpet, click here).

If you’re looking to score some Gucci goods, then you’re gonna have to either head to the Gucci online boutique, or do some digging of your own on sites like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale’s (accessories only), Bluefly, or Amazon.

Do you fancy yourself a Gucci girl?  What’s your favorite piece?  How much would you spend on a Gucci item?  What’s your favorite red carpet look by the designer?  For more on Gucci’s runway collections, check out In Style‘s designer dossier!

Gossip Girl is certainly not the television show to watch for quality drama & dialogue, but it’s definitely made an admirable attempt to step into the much younger Manolo Blahniks of the small screen likes of the Sex & the City ladies.

Now, there’s so much I can say to describe the fabulousness of Blair Waldorf (played viciously by Leighton Meester) & her sometimes BFFrenemy Serena Van Der Woodsen (played by the legging Blake Lively) in terms of their preppy, bombshell, girl-next-door, meets boho style.  Blair & Serena are the main focus of the melodrama, but over the years, the show has dressed up Taylor Momsen, Jessica Szhor, Hilary Duff, Katie Cassidy, Kelly Rutherford, & Michelle Trachtenberg in big name designer labels.  Below are some of the best looks that I wanted to share b/c you can’t have a “G”-themed blog without mentioning the show.  For more dirt behind the duds, check out In Style‘s Gossip Girl Profile.

Who’s your favorite Gossip Girl?  Do you follow the red carpet feud between Blake & Leighton?  If you could step into one of the character’s closets, whose closet would it be?  Do you think that the upper east side gals are dressing age-appropriately?

Gisele Bundchen is the highest paid model & has been since 2004.  How could you figure otherwise when you see the gorgeous Brazilian wife of Tom Brady looking super fabulous not just on, but off the runway as well?!  She’s got veteran supermodels like Naomi Campbell & Claudia Schiffer in her corner, & had posed for brands like Dolce & Gabbana, Missoni, & Balenciaga.

SIDENOTE: Do you remember the little scene in The Devil Wears Prada right before Anne Hathaway emerges from her Stanley Tucci-guided makeover?  Emily Blunt is complaining about Anne’s character Andy & then the ugly duckling comes in & there’s Gisele Bundchen in a leather pencil skirt & readers saying how good Andy looks!  The part always makes me laugh, although I’m hoping Gisele’s acting aspirations end there.

Most recently, Gisele attended Morgan Freeman’s AFI Achievement Award & stunned fashion critics in the ornate pewter Oscar de la Renta gown with a stunning hot pink belt (image on the far right).  The (relatively) new mom has got her body back in shape, making men & women everywhere drool!  The former Victoria’s Secret model works a runway & red carpet like no one else!  I can’t wait to see what else she has in store!

For more on Gisele’s style, check out STYLE.COM’s photo gallery of the model throughout her very enduring career in fashion. Happy Styling!