Basics for a Bargain: Pretty & Patterned Separates To Amp Up Your Solids (Dedicated to Lisa)!


When it comes to new style resolutions for 2015, an easy way to spruce up a boring wardrobe or upgrade to a more mature style is to step outside of your comfort zone & that starts with prints. An attention to detail immediately shows off your personality & gives off a very positive first impression. I’ve learned (from shows like What Not to Wear) that when you put a thoughtful effort into what you’re wearing, you’ll have more confidence & the people around you will notice. I’d like to dedicate this post to my favorite cousin, Lisa, who has turned to me with advice & questions on how to dress more appropriate to her age, while shopping on a budget & discovering who she is through her own personal style.

When it comes to prints, there are a lot of opportunities to discover your personal style, which is why I turned to recent Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear runway collections for a little inspiration of what’s trending this coming spring.

Altuzarra, Dries Van Noten, Louis Vuitton, & Valentino Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear.

Of course, not all of these outfits are meant to be taken literally as inspiration, but it’s apparent that the range of prints, from classic to crazy, will instantly amp up any look, including those from Altuzarra, Dries Van Noten, Louis Vuitton, & Valentino.

Also, when it comes to prints, mixing separates with basics is the perfect way to build a variety of outfits for day, work, night, & weekend looks, as seen with these tops & sweaters on actress Jessica Alba, model Miranda Kerr, Glee star Lea Michele, fashion darling Alexa Chung, singer Gwen Stefani, & it-girl Kendall Jenner.  

Jessica Alba, Miranda Kerr, & Lea Michele in printed tops.

Alexa Chung, Gwen Stefani, & Kendall Jenner in printed sweaters.

Also, A-listers know how to play with prints when it comes to bottoms, which is why I sought out chic printed shorts, skirts, & pants. Examples include The Americans star Keri Russell, Victoria’s Secret supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio, Oscar nominee Reese Witherspoon, TV personality Kelly Ripa, style icon Olivia Palermo, & actress / fashion blogger Jamie Chung.

Keri Russell & Alessandra Ambrosio in printed shorts.

Reese Witherspoon & Kelly Ripa in printed skirts.

Olivia Palermo & Jamie Chung in printed pants.And so… with a budget shopper in mind, I’ve searched high & low to find great deals on stylish printed separates. First, these printed tops are great building blocks to a more sophisticated look, when layered with staples like a military or moto jacket, flyaway cardigan or cropped bolero, or with leather leggings, tuxedo pants, dark denim jeans, or bootcut trousers.

Printed tops.

SHOP: printed tank ($22.50) @Neiman Marcus, lace tee ($14.97) @Old Navy, print top ($22.80) @Nordstrom, & black top ($22.90) @Forever 21.

Also, printed blouses are must-haves when you’d like to sport a clean, professional look. Not only do smaller patterns work on flowy toppers, but they’re great for when you really want to go all out with your prints & mix them with other bolder prints, like animal spots, polka dots, colorblocked stripes, & many more.

Printed blouses.

SHOP: heart blouse ($24.99) @Kohl’s & shirt ($29.94) @Old Navy.

In these colder months, printed sweaters are a fun way to play with patterns, while also staying warm. Also, sweaters in different textures will surely show off a variety of colors to play with when it comes to accessories too! 

Printed sweaters.

SHOP: lace sweater ($27.80) @Forever 21 & animal sweater ($32.99) @LOFT.

When headed to the office in a dress or skirt outfit, try on a printed cardigan to wear open or closed over basics like a button down shirt, scoop neck tee, tie-neck blouse, or ruffled camisole.

Printed cardigans.

SHOP: houndstooth cardigan ($22.99) @Target & snake cardigan ($11.93) @LOFT.

When it comes to bottoms, we’re often so quick to pick out a pair of jeans or leggings, but wearing prints on your lower half is unexpected & certainly a way to get the most out of your solid tops, like a black turtleneck, three-quarter sleeve sweater, or pocket tee. However, printed skirts are fun since you can not only layer with neutrals, but also enhance your look with a pop of color.

Printed skirts.

SHOP: plaid pencil skirt ($24.99) @Target & zebra skirt ($29.95) @H&M.

Maxi skirts are everywhere & great when headed on vacation, to a day  by the water, or lunch with the girls, which is why playing with printed maxi skirts has so many possibilities, especially with metallic gladiator sandals, riding boots with button details, & textured wedges.

Printed maxi skirts.SHOP: snake maxi skirt ($30.00) in blue @Dress Barn & print maxi skirt ($30.00) in coral @Dress Barn.

For those who dare to wear shorts, think outside of the box with printed shorts in delicate fabrics. not only can these be perfect for day, but they’re easy to dress up with decadent pieces in lace, leather, & brocade.

Printed shorts.

SHOP: chevron shorts ($23.30) @Saks Off Fifth & shorts ($24.99) @Kohl’s.

Printed pants aren’t new, but not everyone gives them a chance, especially when concerned about emphasizing your assets in an unflattering way. However, loose-fitting pants in subtle prints are perfect for neutral tops & jackets when on the go. These are also great for pairing with ballet flats or pointy toe stilettos.

Printed pants.SHOP: pants ($12.00) @H&M & stripe pants ($19.99) @JC Penney.

Lastly, I’m certainly not saying that anyone should abandon jeans in any way, but perhaps instead of wearing regular washes, try a printed jean, which will not only perk up a casual look, but will surprise those around you, especially when paired with a blouson top, graphic tee, or tunic sweater.

Printed jeans.

SHOP: camo jeans ($26.55) @Lord & Taylor & floral jeans ($24.99) @6PM.

Must-have prints to have in your wardrobe, yet worn with caution, include polka dots, animal prints, graphics, modern florals, lace, stripes & chevron, tribal, plaid, & houndstooth. I even made a quick guide to learning prints, which will perhaps also serve as a chart on how to successfully mix prints too.

The guide to prints & patterns

Which prints are you naturally drawn to wear? How do you like to wear prints? Do you mix prints with solids regularly? For more stylish posts, check out all of the runway looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear collection, tips on how to dress your body type, the complete red carpet gallery of this year’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, & spring dress predictions inspired by designers Erin Fetherston & Nanette Lepore! Happy Styling!

Basics for a Bargain: Spring Dress Predictions, Inspired by Kerry Washington, Allison Williams, & More (Dedicated to Nicole)!


When asking around through social media to some of my friends for some style inspiration since I was stuck on what my next blog post should be, my lovely & brilliant friend, Nicole, inquired about spring dresses to expect for next season, especially when winter is such a rich season for playing with texture & prints when it comes to dresses. For spring, my research tells me that dresses are all about the details- what makes them special, whether it’s lace, metallic embellishment, bold colors / patterns, shine, or shape. I had so much fun getting inspired by dresses from the runway & my favorite A-list celebrities.  

Allison Williams, Kerry Washington, Julianne Moore, Anna Kendrick, Kate Mara, & Camilla Belle.

The always stylish Girls actress Allison Williams mixed patterns with her paisley printed silk dress by Giambattista Valli with black pumps. Scandal star Kerry Washington played up detail in a checked Prada dress with a violet clutch & metallic Christian Louboutin pointy toe pumps. This season’s Oscar nominee Julianne Moore dared to be different in a cherry red off-the-shoulder Delpozo dress with Givenchy sandals. The adorable & playful Anna Kendrick wore a flirty cobalt blue laser cut Temperley London shirt dress & nude Christian Louboutin pumps when making an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Former House of Cards co-star Kate Mara donned a lattice paneled little white dress by Vielma with a clutch by Botkier & nude pumps. Lastly, fashion it-girl Camilla Belle did Gucci proud in the brand’s blue printed dress with t-strap pumps.

Also, during Fashion Week, the Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear Collections that hit the runways were all about detail-oriented dresses, chock full of bold colors, modern twists on classics, floral embellishments, playful prints, & much more! 

Mary Katranzou, Erin Fetherston, Alberta Ferretti, Peter Pilotto, Matthew Williamson, Roland Mouret, Temperley London, & Nanette Lepore Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear.

This included collections from Mary Katrantzou, Erin Fetherston, Alberta Ferretti, Peter Pilotto, Matthew Williamson, Roland Mouret, Temperley London, & Nanette Lepore.

And finally, my picks for affordable dresses to start the spring off right are:

Spring dresses from Dress Barn, Old Navy, Wallis, Forever 21, ModCloth, JC Penney, & Chic Nova.

SHOP: textured fit & flare dress ($48.00) in royal @Dress Barn, belted shirt dress ($32.94) in red print @Old Navy, lace dress ($59.00) in black @Wallis Fashion, lush floral tea dress ($29.90) @Forever 21, floral flashback stripe dress ($17.99) @ModCloth, short sleeve print blouson dress ($19.99) @JC Penney, & print cross V-neck dress ($28.49) in yellow @Chic Nova.

Which dresses are your favorites? Which celebrities do you look to for style inspiration? What’s your favorite kind of dress? Have you started your spring shopping yet? What are you looking to update this spring? For more stylish posts, check out my latest picks of sale sweaters for under $20, how to wear a statement necklace in 4 ways, Jennifer Lopez’s press tour for her new movie, Natalie Portman’s Dior look for less, & the complete red carpet gallery from this year’s Golden Globes including looks from Emma Stone & Naomi Watts. Happy Styling!

The Stylish Five: Sweaters On Sale For Under $20!


What I love about this time of year is not only the varieties of hot chocolate, but the major clothing & accessories sales hitting stores to sell those winter duds to make room for spring & summer designs. My biggest must-have items are sweaters to wear not just for now, but definitely for next fall & winter as well. I sought out some of my favorite retailers to see the best deals on the most stylish sweaters. The best part is that each one is under $20!

The Stylish Five - Sweaters Under $20SHOP: abstract sweater ($19.99) @Wet Seal, stripe sweater ($13.96) @Joe Fresh, patterned sweater ($14.97) @Old Navy, shawl collar sweater ($10.00) @H&M, & lace cardigan ($15.88) @LOFT.

These are perfect for wearing on cozy at-home snow days with fuzzy socks & some hot chocolate, when headed out for brunch in skinny jeans & ankle booties, or to the office in a pencil skirt & patterned tights. What’s your favorite kind of sweater? Are you a cardigan girl? Have you been shopping the big winter sales?

For more stylish posts, check out how to wear an affordable statement necklace in 4 ways, Jennifer Lopez’s press your for The Boy Next Door, Natalie Portman’s Dior look for less, & the complete red carpet galleries from this year’s Critics Choice Awards & Golden Globes. Happy Styling!

Watch This Style: Get Inspired By HBO’s ‘Girls’ & Preview The Exciting 4th Season!


Hannah, Marnie, Shoshannah, & Jessa.

If you’ve seen Style Darling‘s Instagram (@MissAlissaL), then you know that I can’t wait for the fourth season premiere of HBO’s Girls. It’s one of those shows that I love because I can relate to it when it comes to friendships & relationships, I laugh my butt off at the wit & ridiculousness of the show’s clueless & brilliant characters, & because it almost always makes me feel a little bit more together as a young woman trying to make it in the world. Also, the show is a terrific example of real-life style from its four main characters: Hannah Horvath (Lena Dunham), Marnie Michaels (Allison Williams), Jessa Jenkins (Jemima Kirke), & Shoshanna Shapiro (Zosia Mamet). Clearly, each character isn’t trotting the streets of New York in impossibly expensive designer duds, which is something else that I can appreciate about the exciting dramedy!

Hannah isn’t without style, but her interpretation combines basics with her quirky sense of self. She’s not afraid of color & pattern, & always wears what she likes above what trends may be most popular. She can be seen in cutesy Peter Pan collared shirts, floral print rompers, teeny sweaters & bright pants, & shoes that she almost always can’t walk in. But we love Hannah because she tries her best to be inspired by the 50s classic cuts & whimsical patterns.

Hannah, played by Lena Dunham on  HBO's Girls.

SHOP: blouse ($68.22) @ASOS, jeans ($24.99) @Old Navy, loafers ($15.90) @Forever 21, & shoulder bag ($36.63) @Chic Nova.

Marnie is certainly the sophisticated shopper among the characters, wearing tailored looks that blend femininity & maturity. She tries to exude through her style the life she wants to live, often in sleek dresses, preppy separates, unstructured pieces, & core accessories that interfere with her goals. She invests in pieces that can be worn a variety of ways, but are still timeless as she seeks to attain a lifestyle equally as fancy as her tastes.

Marnie, played by Allison Williams on HBO's Girls.

SHOP: jacquard dress ($27.98) @New York & Company, Nine West pump ($59.95) @DSWcardigan ($17.00) @H&M, & necklace ($15.00) @Charming Charlie.

Jessa is a bohemian of the quartet, mixing prints & billowing volume to express her carefree spirit. She’s always feminine, but on the verge of hippie chic with peasant tops, maxi dresses, long sweaters, crop tops, & loose-fitting pants. I love watching Jessa for her accessories, which almost always include some sort of feather detail, gemstone, layers of metals, or harder gothic inspiration against the softness of her preferred fabrics.

Jessa, played by Jemima Kirke on HBO's Girls.

SHOP: blouse ($37.00) @Lulu’s, harem  pants ($19.90) @Romwe, cardigan ($40.00) @Topshop, heels ($29.20) @GOJane, & earrings ($8.90) @Forever 21.

Shoshanna is the youngest of the girls with a lot to learn about self-editing. She is as accessorized as she is articulate, with plenty of hair styles to match with her girlie, on-trend style. She can be found in form-fitting mini dresses, always looking all sorts of cute because she’s always running into crushes, exes, old friends, & making new friends wherever she goes. Her clothes are party-ready & she’s fearless when it comes to taking fashion risks. No skirt is too short, no heels are too high, & no print is too wacky for her to play with, especially when combined with color-coordinated extras like a statement necklace or stacked bangles.

Shoshanna, played by Zosia Mamet on HBO's Girls.

SHOP: dress ($29.94) @Joe Fresh, headband ($4.90) @Forever 21, flats ($25.99) @Charlotte Russe, trench coat ($69.99) @Daily Look & Betsey Johnson belt ($5.99) @6PM.

For a little extra taste of what’s to come on the highly anticipated fourth season of Girls, which premieres on Sunday, January 11th on HBO, check out these teaser & promo videos of what’s to come for Hannah, Marnie, Jessa, & Shoshanna.

Which character can you most relate to? Whose style do you like best? For more stylish posts, check out Pre-Fall 2015 Collection lookbooks from Christian Siriano & Tory Burch, affordable capes from Boohoo,com & Chic Nova, my newest wardrobe must-haves from Dress Barn & Target, the top 10 Style Darlings to watch in 2015, & the 365 best dressed look from 2014! Happy Styling!

GIRLS promo

Holiday Gift Styles: Casper’s Beauty Sleep Challenge & Stylish Deals for Better Sleep!


November is nearly over, but it’s not too late to take better steps towards National Sleep Comfort Month… Did you know? I didn’t! Casper, a company that makes latex memory foam mattresses, is holding a Beauty Sleep Challenge & Style Darling is up for the task, sharing favorite ways to relax in style & get ready for bed for a more satisfying night’s sleep. Not to mention the fact that everyone’s life gets crazy, so giving the gift of better sleep to a loved one this holiday season is a great idea, whether it’s with a pajama set, fuzzy slippers, stylish throw blanket, or relaxing extras like candles or moisturizers!

When it comes to sleepwear, I’m all about color. Here’s the one instance where color-coordination isn’t such a big deal for me. I love mixing pops of color since sleep is all about a time for your body to rejuvenate & why not have fun with colors & patterns that you can alternate for a playful sleep ensemble? When hitting the sheets, I’ve picked some must-haves that will certainly make lounge-time even better, & these selections won’t break the bank!

Casper's Beauty Sleep Challenge for National Sleep Comfort MonthSHOP: Eartherapeutics sleep mask ($8.00) @Ultashort robe ($39.50) in pink @Victoria’s Secret, pajama set ($13.19) in oatmeal heather @Target, pajama set ($13.19) in grey @Target, & slippers ($17.95) in blue @H&M.

This is definitely the time of year to bundle up & I’m not one to shy away from blanket variety, if I’m snuggling up for a Sunday afternoon nap or curling up with my beau for a restful winter night’s sleep. Here’s another opportunity to let your style speak through your sleep-ready essentials. Soft textures & modern prints are what bring any bedding arrangement to life & these will certainly inspire you to get that much-needed shut eye.

sleepSHOP: throw blanket ($8.88) in interlocking squares @Walmart, velvet plush throw ($8.99) in leopard @JC Penneyfleece blanket ($6.00) in houndstooth @OldNavy, & fluffy throw ($9.99) in fucshia @Bed Bath & Beyond.

Before heading off to bed, I always have to take care of my skin since I suffer from dryness. Staying moisturized will keep your skin glowing & healthy for when you wake up!

sleepSHOP: Neutrogena night cream ($11.99) @CVS & Blistex medicated lip balm ($3.69) @Drugstore.com for a 3-pack.

Lastly, the writer in me loves a good book before dozing off at night. When prepping my mind for dreamland, I have a few other valuable pre-sleep rituals to relax & distress me from everything going on during my hectic day of work, school, relationships, & writing. I try to keep hydrated, especially since this the dryness in the air this time of year sometimes affects my mouth and throat.

sleepSHOP: chamomile tea ($3.39) @Celestial Seasonings, coconut water ($21.16) @Zico for a 12-pack, candle ($11.25) in necatrine green tea @Bath & Body Works, & Eartherapeutcis pillow mist ($9.00) @Ulta.

When it comes to sleep, the best thing you can really do is invest in a quality mattress & pillows that meet your sleeping needs. For more from Casper, be sure to check out their informative & helpful blog, Pillow Talk, featuring plenty of tips for better sleep habits & ways to relax before heading to bed!

Where do you like to shop for pajamas? What’s your sleepwear style for the seasons? For more stylish & affordable posts, check out recent #BlackFriday deals from stores like Gap & New York & Company, Jennifer Aniston’s latest red carpet looks, the ultimate photo gallery featuring Olivia Palermo’s style, & winter pastel wardrobe inspiration from Lupita Nyong’o & Elle Fanning! Happy Styling!