How to Put Together a Outfit in Black That Stands Out

blue top black pencil skirt 2

Confession: I love black.

I think it started in high school when my 21-year-old drummer boyfriend told me that brunettes didn’t look good in black. My rebellious heart said, “Oh, yeah?” and promptly considered changing my name to Jet (I did, at least, get wise and dump him).

blue top black pencil skirt

I definitely don’t have the stomach for the multiple-piercings-Hot Topic-angstiness or the corporate mausoleum look that often accompanies black, so I’ve learned to get creative with wearing head-to-toe black.

Mixing different textures and cuts (I adore black sequins at any hour of the day), adding analogous colors like charcoal or navy, or injecting a shot of bold color like the cobalt here adds dimensionality to black and keeps the look refined but intentional and  creative.

To add a finishing touch, rock nearly any shade of lipstick you damn well please (I have yet to see one that doesn’t pair well with black) and give a mischevious wink to your ex.


Cobalt Silk blouse, Elie Tahari.

Black (leopard-lined!) pencil skirt, Express.

Sequined jacket, Banana Republic Heritage Collection.

Heels, Cole Haan.

Black pearl necklace, T.J. Maxx.

Shades, The Loft.




How to Get Rid of the Back-to-Work Blues

When I’ve had a particularly lovely long weekend with my family and friends, it can be difficult to head back into the office (and consequently, part with the men in my life). To ease the pain, I like to wear the pieces in my wardrobe that make the day feel a little more special and fun.

black with taupe blouse

I bought this skirt in Belgium earlier this year and have nearly worn it out already! I don’t know how such a voluminous skirt can look slimming, but it somehow manages to make me feel sleek every time I put it on. The ballet pink silk lining doesn’t hurt, either.

Also, there’s something about a V-neck blouse that falls at just the right point. This one has enough beading and bejeweling that it renders further bedecking unnecessary (but not necessarily unwelcome, depending on your taste). I couldn’t resist adding my two currently favorite bracelets to the sentimental wristlet I always wear (with charms bearing my family’s fingerprints).

black skirt with taupe blouse2

I don’t know why moms even try to buy groceries for themselves. I hardly ever get to eat all of my own food anymore; I’m such a sucker for the eyes this kid makes at me.



Bubble-stamped Scuba Skirt, Bitte Kai Rand.

Satin Jewel-encrusted top, Banana Republic Heritage Collection.

Waxed Denim moto jacket, Mango.

Berry pumps, Cole Haan.

Stainless steel chain bracelet, Kohl’s.

Leather and metal square bracelet, Boondock Studios.

Shades, The Loft.

Δ 1 Thing-Refine It

Do you ever just want to wear simple classics? I do after running around after a little Tasmanian Devil.

Walking in St. Pete from behind.jpg


Sometimes a t-shirt and cutoffs are what it takes to keep up with the other people in your life, and when that happens I like to tsuzj up the combo with a scarf or the accessory of the moment, a bandana.

Walking in St Pete on bench.jpg


But there are also times when you’d like a bit more refinement. In math, Delta (Δ, the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet) signifies an incremental change in a variable. Many times, that’s all it takes to create an entirely different look–one small change–and that’s what I want you to think of next time you get dressed.

To make one small change resulting in an entirely different look here, I swapped out my grey tee for a vibrant silk shell and jewelry to civilize myself a bit.

Walking in St Pete banyan tree


Silk is my favorite fabric for staying cool in the summer. This tank’s folds, drapes, and assymetric hemline give it something special. When looking for something to elevate an outfit, look for details like these that make a garment stand out.

Walking in St Pete behind banyan tree


Chokers are having a moment, but if you don’t like something literally choking you, try a banded collar like this one that sits loosely at the base of the neck.

Walking in St Pete holding C hand


Next time you reach for a basic t-shirt on a busy Saturday morning, consider switching it out for a more refined top to take your outfit from “boardwalk” to “bistro.”

And then go enjoy this wonderfully wild world!


White Cutoff Denim Shorts, Target.

Grey V-neck Tee, J. Crew.

Bandana, super old.

Neon yellow & snakeskin sandals, LOFT.

Cobalt silk tank, Elie Tahari.

Necklace, Polk Museum of Art Gift Store.






Sheer Fun

I’ve never really cared for midi skirts. I find them really difficult to wear without looking dowdy.

sheer navy and black silk

But when I saw this assymetrically-hemmed silk version with sheer panels by Elie Tahari, I was smitten. It was one of those purchases that you make not having a clue how it will integrate into your closet, but falling so deeply in love with it that you know it. must. be. yours.

sheer navy and black silver pin detail

Turns out (as it usually does with purchases of that nature), that I wear it all the time with everything.

sheer navy and black back

The sheer navy polka dot top is pretty voluminous, so instead of tucking it, I wrapped the front panels around to the back and pinned it with a brooch I bought at a friend’s closet sale.

If the Spring runways were any indication, we’ll be seeing a lot of sheer in a couple of months. It can be tricky to pull off and still retain your membership in the PTA, but we’ll be talking about just how to do that (and wear other Spring ’16 trends) in next month’s Love Your Style workshop. I hope you’ll join us!



Top, $10 find from I-can’t-remember-where.

Skirt, Elie Tahari.

Loafers, Coach.

Brooch, friend’s closet sale.

Earrings, Sorrelli.


My Heart is Silk

I love going out, meeting new people, and exploring the world, but there’s still nothing like coming HOME.

If “Home is Where the Heart Is,” my heart used to look like ratty old t-shirts and paint-splattered gym shorts. After a long day at work, sometimes you just want to be comfortable.

But alas, I’ve watched Ginger Rogers float around her hotel room on the big screen in an elegant satin dressing gown far too often to be satisfied with ratty lounge clothes. I decided it wasn’t asking too much to be comfortable and look polished at home, and set out on a mission to find a lounge style that works for me.

0K2A7378Ginger Rogers’ gowns were amazing, but I bet she didn’t have to do laundry in them. Silk shorts retain a bit of glamour, while a simple cotton tank and off-shoulder sweatshirt (no holes or stains!) keep the outfit suited to domestic pursuits.


0K2A7349With an energetic bambino, sometimes just getting dressed on a weekend morning is an ambitious goal! For those times when I leap out of bed to answer a cry, having a silk dressing gown handy is expedient and a bit more glamorous.




0K2A7400Make sure your lounge clothes are constructed in sumptuous colors that flatter you. They don’t have to be expensive; I often find my lounge clothes at outlet stores or sales. That being said, once or twice in my life, I’ve dropped serious money on a silk robe or nightgown whose design made me gasp. Worth every penny.


0K2A7404I know, I know–how many pearl necklaces does a girl need? One more, of course!



Silk Pyjama shorts, Victoria’s Secret.

White tank, Target.

Sexy sweatshirt, Victoria’s Secret.

Silk kimono robe, Victoria’s Secret.

Photography courtesy of Emily Plank Photography.





It’s Fall…Kinda?

Pumpkin Silk

Fall is here–my favorite sartorial season! Host a bonfire! Mull some cider! Put a pumpkin on your porch! Pull the sweaters and boots from the back of the closet–er, wait–hold up on that last one for a minute. You see, I live in Florida, and the temperature still rises to 80 degrees by 10 a.m. here.

Understandably, many of my fellow Floridians reach for their knee boots at the first whiff of a 60-degree morning. Why should our northern neighbors have all the fun? We want fall, too, darn it! But while initially gratifying, those boots can be a little warm when the clock strikes 2 p.m.
But if we can’t don a sweater in October, how can we get into that pumpkin spice latte mood?
Here are my tips for weathering the Florida fall weather elegantly without looking like you’re holding on to your summer clothes:
  • Wear autumn colors in transitional fabrics. Instead of looking for fabrics traditionally associated with autumn (leather, suede, fur, wool), look for pieces in fall colors rendered in lighter fabrics. (Silk Pumpkin blouse)
  • Wear heavier fabrics sparingly. A wide leather belt, suede heels, or a light bomber jacket can bring a feeling of fall to any outfit without overheating you. One of my favorite tricks for lightly tripping into the season is to switch out my pumps for ankle booties; I get the look and feeling of wearing boots without the sweat of wearing knee boots.
  • Dress in light layers. That way, when the sun appears later in the day, you can shed the jacket or cardigan and remain comfortable (a little more difficult if you’re wearing a chunky fisherman’s sweater).
  • Add autumn colors to your beauty routine. A swathe of wine nail polish or lip color can make you feel more “fallish” even when your sweater is short-sleeved.
I’ve posted a bunch of examples of these on Girl About Downtown’s Pinterest board “Autumn in Florida.” Check it out now for a few wardrobe inspiring ideas!
Now tell me in the comments–what do you do to stylishly participate in fall in a climate that doesn’t seem to want to take part in the festivities?

Vogue v. Dinner

“When I first moved to New York and was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more.”

–Carrie Bradshaw


Every once in a while, one must throw caution to the wind, and buy the thing that sings to your heart. My heart was recently serenaded on a trip to Toronto, when I happened upon a silk scarf printed with the design of the Toronto subway.

The day before we left to return home, while touring the distillery district, I unearthed this urban beauty in a display of butterfly-encrusted things (so popular at that moment) and felt my heart immediately flutter. But a map of the city’s subway rendered in silk? Where am I going to wear that? I felt I couldn’t justify the expense for something I suspected I’d rarely wear (my big-ticket items are usually forced to work overtime for their space in my tiny closet). And anyway, we were late to dinner (oh, the restaurants!), so I left it to hang amongst the winged creatures.

I immediately recognized that this was the wrong decision as we sped off and all I wanted to do was turn around and snatch up the scarf. But by that time, we were in danger of losing our reservations and couldn’t turn back. By the end of the evening, I knew–I needed that silken map even if I never got to wear it. Luckily, I have the best Love ever, who arranged for bike shares the next morning before our plane left so that I could be reunited with my special treasure.

As I should have expected, I’ve already pulled the scarf out for museum trips, nights out with friends, and beach excursions, and each wearing has brought me immense enjoyment. I anticipate my cartological treasure will experience even heavier rotation in my wardrobe this fall, which is why I advise you to spring for that item that speaks to your soul, even if it sometimes means eating mac and cheese for a week.

What’s the most “illogical” treasure you’ve splurged on?