Monday, August 19, 2019

Self-Portrait for Less

Self-Portrait is by far one of my all-time favorite designer brands. I love almost everything they create--it's feminine, chic, original, and there's oh so much guipure lace! Each season, they manage to present new, unique designs, while preserving a sense of consistency within their very recognizable aesthetic. I've been fortunate enough to be able to purchase a few Self-Portrait dresses on sale and second-hand over the past few years, but at such high price-point, they're certainly not the kind of brand you can splurge often.

I wanted to seek out a few dresses from more affordable brands in order to try to capture Self-Portrait's vibe at a more discounted price. I'm in love with Self-Portrait and think the quality of their dresses is fantastic, but I wanted to present some items that are similar in style but more accomodating in price point!

I've placed the dupe on the left, along with its designer inspiration on the right. Needless to say they're not identical, but I thought the affordable dresses were alternatives that mimicked the same overall look of the original, at a much more palatable price. Hope you enjoy!

Lulus (here) $49 vs. Self-Portrait, $555

Lulus (here) $66 vs. Self-Portrait, $546

Shein (here), $33, vs. Self-Portrait, $440

Bardot (here), $149, vs. Self-Portrait, $390


Chi Chi London (here) $119, vs. Self-Portrait, $335

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Let's Go (Sale) Shopping: Reformation

Reformation is one of my favorite shops ever. They have such unique styles and prints, not to mention an impressive commitment to keeping their factories and clothing as sustainable and ethical as possible.

While their racks of clothing are stunning, so too are their prices...Reformation clothing is typically very pricey and hardly ever goes on sale.  I've picked up a few heavily discounted items from Nordstrom Rack before, but that can be hit-or-miss, and the Reformation site and ateliers themselves are usually always full (and I mean full) price.

...Until the semi-annual sale comes around! Luckily, the summer sale is happening now, so it's the perfect time to swoop in and shop all of the discounted spring/summer styles. A lot of the discounts are really remarkable (up to 50% off), and even though some items still have a large post-sale price tag, this is pretty much the lowest they're going to go (if it's any consolation!).

This season, I made one purchase: the Amanda top (pictured above in the first row, second column). Such a flattering cut, and the print is something I've never seen before.

Like many other Reformation fans, I've put together a little collection of my favorite sale items. Hope you enjoy, and let me know if you've made any Ref purchases you love!

Monday, August 12, 2019

Black, White, and Red All Over

It sounds silly, but as soon as I saw this café, I knew I wanted to style an outfit around it. The architecture and decor have such a vintage flair, and, for some reason, I was reminded of those iconic 1930s era photos of women sitting outside Parisian cafés, sipping their morning coffee in style.

Photo from Pinterest (
The rest of the inspiration for this look, the color palette, came from seeing everyone reading the daily newspaper as they enjoyed their breakfast.

I have to admit, since I'm only 5'1, I usually steer clear of midi and maxi dresses because they tend to be way too long on me. This one, however, fits just perfectly, and I've found the hemline to be very flattering. I'm also such a sucker for anything with the little keyhole/knot detailing on the bodice.

The shoes have been my go-to sandals this summer, and are actually part of my July Favorites (check out the Current Favorites tab to read a little more about them!).

And of course, no summer look is complete without a pair of oversized sunglasses to block out those rays. 

Undoubtedly a modern spin on the ladies pictured above, but I still think this outfit has a vintage feel to it, just like the café.

dress is sold out, similar linked below

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Sweetest Summer Dress

When I think of sweet, I think of one of my favorite French desserts, the macaron. Lately, I've also been thinking of this little dress! The pale blue and white rose linen-esque fabric really gives me provincial French vibes, so I thought it was the perfect outfit to wear as I stopped at a French patisserie for a quick snack.

How cute is this little French café? Some of the patriotic decorations were still up from Bastille Day a few weeks ago.

The open back/knot detailing makes the dress a little more casual, as well as light and airy, perfect for the summer months.

It's so comfortable and easy to wear, yet still looks effortlessly polished. I decided to wear it with nude sandals and a little rattan basket-purse, but I imagine it would look just as chic dressed up with some low heels and a clutch if you wanted to wear it to a garden party, etc.

Très mignonne! 

shoes and bag sold out, similar linked below

Monday, July 29, 2019

Six Early Fall Essentials

It's such a weird feeling to already write about fall in late July. Nevertheless, I think now is actually a great time to start browsing for fall items, since many brands have just released their new arrivals and their stock is full. Today, I've scoured the Internet for cute fall releases and have put together a little collection of what's on my radar. 

These pieces are perfect for early fall--that period when it's too chilly to wear your floral strapless summer favorites, but still too balmy to start reaching for the chunky sweaters. 

one//I think it's so important to have some sundresses in your early fall wardrobe. They always seem to come in handy on the days when it's still sunny, and are great for when you want to throw on something simple yet put together. One of my favorite fall fabrics is chambray, and this dress is exactly what I envision when I think of a fall day dress. Polished, easy to wear, and flattering.

two//Houndstooth is such a versatile fall print, and this fun skirt could be styled in so many creative ways. 

three//The perfect fall shoes depend a little but on where you live, but if you experience a lot of rain as I do, a pair of short rain boots are so necessary. I have a similar pair and get so much use out of them. Plus, the short silhouette never looks clunky and therefore can match a ton of outfits. The little bow on this pair is such a cute detail, and they come in multiple colors.

four//Shorts are still something I wear as often as I can in September, but I think it's necessary to change up the print a little when summer ends. The scallop eyelet hem rattan belt on these give them a light, airy look, but the dark color makes them perfect for the fall shorts season. 

five//This is my favorite color to wear during fall! Such a rich, flattering pumpkin shade. I'm obsessed with this romper--it's just the right amount of fabric for fall, and, as I'm sure you expect, I adore the side bow. 

six//Ever year, my favorite everyday fall shoes are always a pair of easy sneakers with some fun accent. These leopard print espadrille sneakers are exactly that! They're not too heavy, add a fun statement to any outfit, and are still quite casual. 

I hope you enjoyed my little take on an early fall capsule wardrobe! Let me know what you think, and if you'll be wearing anything similar in the coming months.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Wearing an (In)visible Crown

When I was younger, I, like so many other little girls, had a fascination with princesses. I was so taken by their beautiful costumes, their magnificent palaces, and their generally lavish lives. Of course, I poured over every Disney princess movie there was, but my obsession didn't end there. I even grew interested in real life royalty; the likes of Queen Victoria, Grace Kelly, Kate Middleton...the list went on and on.  

What I admired about these leading ladies was their overwhelming gracefulness: the way they could lithely twirl around a ballroom in heels and a crown without missing a beat, or tripping on the hem of their gown like I so often did waltzing around my living room.

As I grew older, though, I began to realize that true gracefulness meant much more than just a lack of clumsiness, or perfect manners. It was something more ineffable than physical; an aura of poise, elegance, and quiet fortitude.

I also began to view this gracefulness like an invisible crown that has sat atop the heads of thousands of centuries of women, hardly just the ones who bore a title. I like to think of it as an admixture of perspicacity and poise; the epitome of the expression "whiskey in a teacup."

Living gracefully is a concept that sounds simple, yet is so difficult to put into practice because it requires an uncommon interior disposition of great moxie. Confronting challenges and frustrations is difficult enough, not to mention sometimes inherently messy, so how is it possible to be able to do so with grace? These are a few of the core things I think are at the core of achieving a graceful life. Graceful people know how to...

1. Take it all in stride

It's no secret that, at times, life can deal you a harsh blow you never expected. That being said, there's a real art to developing a sense of calm acceptance of the things that are impossible for you to change. First Lady Martha Washington once said, "I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances." Graceful are the people who can check their emotions at the door, acknowledge what circumstances are immutable, and simply move forward, turning their attention towards what they can influence.

2. Be a force of nature

In no way does this sense of graceful acceptance imply a sense of resignation or submissiveness. In fact, some of the women who I think best exemplify grace are also some of the most tenacious. One of my favorite examples, dating as far back as Biblical times, is Esther, whose whole life is a testament to composed courageousness. Gracefulness is all about nurturing an attitude of dogged perseverance and strength...just doing so in a dignified, poised way. This I see as the hardest challenge; it can be easy to fight for what we believe in if we cast aside all delicacy and fight like a rabid dog, but it's the truly graceful women who can do so with staggering composure and majesty.

3. Show Resiliency  

A few years ago, I found a video of one of my favorite ballet dancers slipping on stage in front of thousands during a show. As soon as she stood up, she continued with the choreography like nothing even happened. Shockingly, it didn't look mortifying at all, and even ended up being pretty anticlimactic. Graceful people suffer the same blunders as everybody else, they just know how to pick themselves up and continue fighting. When failure befalls them, they are empowered and confident enough to dust themselves off and start anew, dwelling on their mistake only long enough to learn from it, and then letting it go.
•   •   •

My notion of gracefulness challenges the popular belief that "well behaved women rarely make history." Of course, acquiescence and resignation can't lead to progress, but I would argue that neither can unrestrained ferocity. The women who make history for the better, those who leave an enduring sense of poise and dignity in their wake, are the ones who aren't afraid to strike a balance between relentless perseverance and humility. Graceful is she who can communicate just as much fortitude in her silence as she can in her speech. I believe it's the women who wear grace as their crown who carry the scepter.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Moment in Time at the Gardens

At home, this summer has been so exceptionally hot. I usually love being outdoors during the sunny months, but these past few weeks have really made me feel like I'm in a frying pan every time I step outside! To make matters worse, we've been inundated with so much rain that it's been hard to plan any fun day trips without worrying about getting surprised by a downpour by the end of the day...not ideal.

Luckily, I was able to find a day last week to make a trip out to one of my favorite botanical gardens. It was so perfect--sunny without being too humid, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

The gardens are absolutely gorgeous--I don't get the chance to visit often because they're about an hour away, but when I do make the trip, I always leave feeling so inspired by their beauty. Ever since I was little, it has been such a magical place where my imagination has run wild, and I've felt like I almost belonged to a different era.

I aimed to capture that sense of returning to an earlier time period in this outfit. Something about it reminds me of a Jane Austin novel, and I think that's what makes me love it the most. It's so feminine and ethereal, and compliments the landscape so well.

The top, by Reformation, is a corset-style blouse with puff sleeves (which would also look great worn slightly off the shoulder). The print is called "Vienna," and I think that's such an apt name for this floral linen fabric with a bit of a European flair. Reformation actually has several other beautiful items made with this fabric that are definitely worth a look.

As much as I love the blouse, it took me a while to find something that it paired with perfectly. White jeans seemed way too hot for the scorching weather, and everything else seemed to distract from the "statement" of the top. Then, on a whim, I found this skirt from Urban Outfitters. Normally Urban Outfitters isn't really my style, but this skirt fits it to a T! It's delicate enough without competing with the richly detailed top. A match made in heaven!

I'm always reminded of the iconic water fountain scene from the movie Atonement when I visit this lookalike!

I had such a lovely visit, and couldn't be more excited to share these snapshots of the day with you.

sandals and bag are sold out, linked something similar below