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!

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!

The Stylish Five: Invest In These Fall Must-Have Dresses!


Typically, my posts in The Stylish Five  under s feature bargain items under a certain price point & while I’m still budget conscious, I have to talk about these five dresses, which range in price from $40.00 – $60.00 @Dress Barn.  As some of you may know, I’ve been spending a lot of time at that store, reveling in the new fall fashions, readying my wardrobe for some refreshing updates & getting inspired by details like leather trims, lace overlays, colorblocking, structured silhouettes, & flirty prints!

Dress Barn dresses

This post features the following dresses: Faux leather trim ponte dress ($46.00), Belted zebra dress ($46.00), Peplum sheath dress ($40.00), Belted houndstooth dress ($50.00), & Lace & faux leather dress ($60.00). Of course, there are plenty of ways to get around the original price tags, but I’d like for my readers to consider the usefulness of an all-purpose dress. This means that it can be worn to the office, for a special occasion, during a night out, & transformed with different accessories. This also includes statement necklaces, drop earrings, textured clutch bags, embossed peep toe pumps, or animal print ballet flats.

What’s on your must-have fall shopping list? Which stores do you hit up first when dress shopping? For more shopping-friendly posts, check out affordable flats from Old Navy, Emmy Rossum in a Banana Republic dress, Phillip Lim’s lookbook for Target, & Gisele Bundchen for H&M’s fall ad campaign! Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Major Deals On Maxi Dresses ($25 & Under)!


While preparing for my long-awaited summer vacation, I’ve been scoping out dresses since they’re just so easy to wear & coordinate with all of my favorite summer shoes. However, I know that maxi dresses are a big part of summer fashion & I wasn’t always a big fan of them on me- worried about the length since I’m on the shorter side & concerned with extra volume where I certainly don’t need it.

The shopping fairies have been on my side lately since I recently picked up 2 stylish maxi dresses, which inspired me to surf for some more suggestions online.  This includes the Speechless animal maxi dress ($23.99) from Kohl’s, which brings out the wild side of any Style Darling, especially when paired with metallic gladiator sandals or patent leather platforms. Next, the tie-back knit maxi dress ($24.99) from Charlotte Russe is perfect for paying homage to a Grecian-inspired look, as well as showing off your taste in accessories with a studded belt, stacked bangles, or glittery dangling earrings. I love the simplicity behind the Mossimo Supply Co. drawstring waist maxi dress ($24.99) from Target, as well as the summer-friendly hue, which will match with any nautical-inspired pieces like a canvas tote or boat shoes.

For my plus-size readers, I was so excited to find the garden goddess floral maxi dress ($24.80) from Forever 21, which makes a colorful & stylish statement with nude sandals & a patent clutch for a date night by the water. Lastly, I’m always a fan of classic black & white prints, especially the Love, Fire chevron stripe printed side slit tube dress ($19.99) @Loehmann’s, which will stand out in the crowd when coordinated with cork wedges, a beaded necklace, or studded envelope clutch.

Which maxi dress is more your style? Where are you shopping for maxi dresses this summer? For more posts on affordable fashion, check out cap toe pumps from Payless, my latest bargain purchase of summer dresses, Taylor Swift’s leggy look in London, & little white dresses inspired by Angelina Jolie & Kerry Washington! Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Top Off Your Look With A Cardigan ($25 & Under)!


During the transition from winter to spring, I’ve been relying on mixing up my looks with layers, & topping them off with a cardigan. However, now that spring is in full effect, I’ve been taking another look at my cardigans, thinking about patterns & prints that’ll work for me, especially when I’m out & about from day-to-night… which brings me to my latest post for The Stylish Five.

From stripes to polka dots, animal prints, watercolors, & florals… the cardigan possibilities are endless. To start, I’ve selected the linear print crew-neck cardigan ($14.99) in red from New York & Company, which is perfect for wearing over an LBD with ballet flats or with a lace cami & walking shorts. Keeping with the idea of stripes, I love the cotton linen blend stripe cardigan ($15.00) in purple stripe from JC Penney to match with colored jeans & wedges or with a belted cotton dress & pointy toe pumps.

I love the idea of hardware on a cardigan, which instantly adds some extra edge to your look, like with Charlotte Russe‘s studded shoulder striped cover-up ($18.99). This can dress down a leather mini skirt & pullover or toughen up some skinny jeans & a blouse with peep toe pumps. I’m a big fan of hearts, which is why I chose the hearts cardigan ($24.80) in navy & pink from Forever 21. Of course this is a more youthful piece, but I think unexpected prints like hearts, or even the bicycle pattern in the blouse for my previous post in The $100 Challenge, are a lot of fun & instantly put a smile on your face. Lastly, the Mossimo Supply Co. ombre boyfriend cardigan ($24.99) in blue from Target is a bright way to keep comfy when it gets cooler at night, especially with a wrap dress or shorts romper.

For more posts on affordable fashion, check out Katy Perry’s white & silver Aldo sandals, must-have polka dot pieces for spring, peplum tops inspired by Amy Adams & Zoe Saldana, & silver pumps like Kim Kardashian’s Jimmy Choo shoes. Happy Styling!