The Stylish Five: Loving A Little Leopard, Inspired by Heidi Klum, Miranda Kerr, & More!


When it comes to animal prints, my go-to is zebra, which goes back to my natural love all black & white patterns. However, as we’re in the thick of summer, stores are filling up with fall fashions, including luxe leopard pieces to mix up with neutral separates & pops of color in your accessories.

Olivia Palermo, Miranda Kerr, & Heidi Klum

Trendsetter Olivia Palermo styled her separates by Tibi with a pop of leopard in her skinny belt, which offset the geometric look of her ankle strap sandals. Model Miranda Kerr was flawless this spring when hitting the street for a stylish day out with a bold leopard A.L.C. duffel bag to add a trendy splash of personality to her button down shirt, denim skirt, & thigh high boots. Project Runway host Heidi Klum shows off her wild side (& her legs!) in a high slit skirt & embellished too.

For affordable leopard love in your wardrobe, I found these functional & fashionable pieces that are sure to make a splash when corrdinated a variety of ways. First, the leopard tote ($2.50) from Forever 21 is great for all of your on-the-go needs, especially when wanting to use a durable recyclable bag when hitting the market. Also, you can dress up or dress down the tiered leopard tank ($34.00) from Dress Barn (which I own & love!) with dark denim skinnies & a blazer for a girls’ night out, or cardigan & pencil skirt for the office. For a truly wild look, pair these loose fit pants ($17.95) from H&M with a black tank & gold flats for day, or mix up your look with a crop top & pointy heels for evening.

leopard images

I love shopping for printed belts, which can work well with a wrap dress, shirtdress, over a cardigan, or when you wanna cinch in a tunic top to show off your waist, like the leopard skinny belt ($24.90) from Express. One of my most recent purchases come from Charlotte Russe, & that is the patent thong sandal ($7.50), which was such a great buy too since there’s currently a BOGO $5 sale of select shoes. So, I also indulged in a white pair to wear with sporty jersey dresses & when heading out to the beach this summer.

For one last look at some leopard inspirations, I put together some of my favorite images, high end & affordable items, & celebrity moments that include leopard. This includes a September 2010 Vogue UK shoot fetauring supermodel Kate Moss in an embellished leopard jacket. Scarlett Johansson added a pop of leopard in her Christian Louboutin pointy toe pumps with a Vivienne Westwood dress. Also, to celebrate leopard on your nails, there’s the Sally Hansen strips ($9.99) in leopard, available @Ulta. Also, you can keep warm on those cool summer knits with this Apt. 9 leopard scarf ($11.99) from Kohl’s. For some designer inspiration, the paneled leopard dress ($1,150.00) by Escada is sold @Neiman Marcus. Lastly, the leopard heart drop earrings ($16.00) from River Island are playful & flirty to dress down a classic LBD.

Kate Moss for Vogue UK, Scarlett Johansson in a Vivienne Westwood dress & Christian Louboutin pumps, Leopard earrings by River Island, Sally Hansen leopard nail stickers, leopard scarf from Kohl's, & Escada leopard panel dress from Neiman Marcus.

How do you like to wear leopard? What’s your favorite leopard accessory? Which leopard pieces are your favorites? Happy Styling!

Accessories Access: Affordable & Fashionable Floppy Hats (Dedicated to Christine)!


The sun is shining & the sandals are out, which means that considering sun protection is a must! With that, I’ve taken some inspiration from my writer bestie, Christine, in exploring the world of floppy hats. Of course, with a budget in mind, I wanted to turn to some of my favorite & most stylish celebrities to see the variety of ways to wear floppy hats.

Lupita Nyong'o, Michelle Williams, & Jamie Chung.

Oscar winning actress & designer darling Lupita Nyong’o mixed a conservation black hat with her printed Alexander McQueen dress at the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. For a casual day out & about, Michelle Williams topped off her chambray & striped shorts look with a country-inspired straw hat, which soften her camel leather sandals & shoulder bag. Lastly, Jamie Chung shows off her weekend style in a pale floral jumpsuit & tortoiseshell sunnies with a straw Panama hat.

Floppy hats - Kohl's, Forever 21, Old Navy, & Dillards

As you can see, there are many different ways to wear a floppy hat, but you don’t have to spend a lot of cash to get the most out of your summer wardrobe, especially if you’re looking to mix things up. The David & Young straw floppy hat ($22.80) in pink stripe from Kohl’s is also available in yellow, blue, & black to match up with any beachy look. For a truly nautical feel, head to Forever 21 for the tasseled straw hat ($14.80) to wear with a searsucker dress & gold sandals. For the perfectly neutral topper, the floppy hat ($22.94) in brown sugar from Old Navy to protect your face and shoulders from the harsh rays of the sun. My forth selection is the Kate Landry floppy hat ($12.00) in black from Dillard’s, which is also sold in a flirty red & both will make any cotton dress pop.

Checking out these floppy hats also made me think of how classic & current straw  & basket weave details are for the season. The following items are also versatile to celebrate summer style:

Payless wedges, Dillard's Lauren Ralph Lauren belt, & DSW Kelly & Katie clutch.

 The Dexflex Margaret wedge espadrille ($12.00) in coral from Payless is also available to wear with any dress, separates outfit, or shorts romper in black, white, turquoise, & nude. Also, to mix up your shirtdress look, switch it up with this Lauren Ralph Lauren stretch belt ($29.40) from Dillard’s, which has recently been reduced from its original $42.00 price.  My last pick is the Kelly & Katie striped straw clutch ($19.94) from DSW to help transition your day look to evening.

Where do you like to shop for summer accessories? Do you like to wear floppy hats? What do you think of straw accessories? Happy Styling!

The $100 Challenge: Summer Vacation Must-Haves For The Budget Shopper!


Let’s get right to it! I’m going away this week to The Hamptons for yet another exciting & stylish two weeks, while attending a school-related Writer’s Conference. This is one of my favorite & most fashionable times of year, where I can prepare my wardrobe & budget to reinvent new looks for the hip south shore niche. Speaking of a budget, I’ve been very price tag conscious & in doing that, I recommend the following for a memorable vacation. Also, I love the diversity of these pieces & how they can be worn in so many different ways!

Dress @Dress Barn, $46.00

The abstract shirtdress ($46.00) from Dress Barn is perfect for playing up your preppy side, while still celebrating the bright & neon sides of summer. Pair this dress with metallic sandals & a messenger bag for day, or glam it up in the evening with peep toe pumps & stacked bangles.

Leopard flip flop @Payless, $9.99

To keep your summer style fresh & timeless at the same time, classic patterns are the best way to go. With that, the sunset disc flat flip flop ($9.99) in leopard from Payless is a flirty way to amp up your separates, mixing prints like animal inspiration with polka dots or seersucker. Also, leopard looks great with bright hues like a pair of red lace shorts, an orange sheath dress, or black ruffled romper.

Blouse @H&M, $9.95

To build up wardrobe that you can transform from season to season, try something playful like an unexpected topper like this sleeveless blouse ($9.95) from H&M. At first glance, the print looks like flower petals, but upon closer examination, the soft blue is actually eyelashes. As seen on the model above, try this top with faux leather skinnies, but if you’re looking for something more low maintenance, add a contrasting color like yellow bermuda shorts & espadrilles for a lunch date or with a white pencil skirt & cardigan for a more professional look.

Earrings @Icing, $8.50Accessories are an important part of building any look, especially when it comes to jewelry. I was once a silver-only gal, but as I’ve grown up, I see the value in expanding with different metals. Here the drop earrings ($8.50) from Icing recall a deco feel that can work as a statement piece with an LBD & strappy sandals, a maxi dress & modern cuff bracelet, & a knotted button down shirt & denim shorts. Not to mention that now is a great time to invest in timeless jewelry since the store’s entire website is BOGO 50% off!

Tote @TJMaxx, $19.99Naturally, a tote bag is any Style Darling’s must-have when going out & about for the summer. This Yoki perforated tote ($19.99) from TJMaxx is right on trend with laser cut details on luxe materials. It’s the perfect size to fill with your cell phone, a pair of sunglasses, & whatever best seller you’re taking with you to the beach. To dress up the bag even more, braid or tie a bold scarf onto the handle to add a pop of color.

If you’re shopping on a budget, like me, don’t fret over spending too much. These five fabulous finds total for under $100, to be specific: $94.43 before tax! What summer essentials are on your wish list or crowding your closet? Happy Styling!

Show Me The Shoes: Black & White Spring Trends From Payless!


I’ve always been pro black & white when it comes fashion, loving the classic color combination, especially when it comes to patterns like polka dots, houndstooth, & stripes. However, now that winter is finally leaving us, we can focus on spring trends, like black & white in our accessories. Wearing black & white printed shoes, for example, will instantly punch up any look, helping transition the heavy layers from the winter to lighter, breezier separates for spring.

black & white shoes

I know I can always count on Payless for the latest styles to mix & match with my other wardrobe staples, especially at such an affordable price. If you’re headed for the beach during the upcoming spring break, take the Sadia raffia high wedge sling ($24.99) with a maxi dress or shorts romper. Also, for the office, I love the Krime peep toe pump ($19.99) for a sheath dress, blazer & pencil skirt look, or for happy hour in a sequin tank & skinny jeans. If you’re looking for chic & comfy flats, I’m excited about the Chelsea flat ($16.99) & Claire scrunch flat ($24.99) that can work for a variety of occasions.

For more fabulous black & white shoes, check out luxury designs like these from Christian Louboutin, Michael Kors, Manolo Blahnik, & Loeffler Randall. More affordable options also include Nine West, Madden Girl, Fergalicious, & Croft & Barrow. What shoe trends are you following for the new season? What colors are you ready to wear? Happy Styling!

2013 Black Friday Style: 10 Can’t-Miss Sales Going On Right NOW!


Since I’m only one Style Darling & can’t possibly share every single awesome Black Friday deal going on in stores & online right now, I thought I’d put my limited graphic design skills to work & share bits of my favorite sales based on the emails that have been jamming my inbox!

Ann Taylor

Ann Taylor - 50% off everything with code ANNTHANKS.

Topshop

Topshop - 30% off select merchandise.

Sole Society

Sole Society - 33% off Boots & Booties.

New York & Company

New York & Company - 50-70% off Everything

GOjane

GOjane - 40% off sitewide with code THANKS40R.

Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson - 30% Off sitewide with code SHOP30.

Neiman Marcus

Neiman Marcus - 20-50% Off.

Banana Republic

Banana Republic - 40% off online only with code BRBLACK.

J. Crew

J. Crew - 30% off online & in stores with code HOLIDAY.

Arden B

Arden B - Additional 50% off clearance.

Which sales have caught your attention? What are you shopping for this weekend? For more Black Friday shopping posts, check out stylish sweater sales from Dress Barn & Old Navy, fabulous flats for any occasion, black & brown outfit ideas with pieces from Target & H&M, & cold weather accessories from LOFT & Zara! Happy Styling!