Sunday, January 31, 2016

9 to 5

Happy Sunday, Readers! 

I do adore this day. A day to relax and reflect on the previous 7 days. A day to look forward to and plan for the next 7. Since taking over management at Muse, I've come to appreciate Sundays. Retail is a 7-day a week job and I'm lucky to have a (fairly) consistent day off in Sunday. With so much of my week devoted to organizing and operating on top of selling and creating, I find a deep breath in this sacred day of rest. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my job, but I love a free day off as well. It's true what they say, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy." So today we'll play. I'll meet Stuart and we'll try out a new restaurant. We'll explore parts of this city we love that we haven't seen yet. We may take in a movie, and then we'll head home and kick off our shoes and enjoy some quiet togetherness. And I think that's just the way it should be.

On the flipside (which is actually where we're heading today, see you soon 12 South), I'm sharing a look that's PERFECT for a 9 to 5 day! Do business and mean business heading to work in this style. Layering is one of my favorite muscles to flex when putting outfits together. A seemingly basic shift takes on new form when paired with a fun patterned top like this gingham I found. Don't stop there though. Spice up drab tights by picking a cool pattern like this diamond pair, and with neutral colors don't be afraid to employ that "pop of color" that I love. I've gotten so much love for these blue shoes on Instagram that I've made sure to provide a link to the exact ones HERE. To finish off my boss lady look I went with a cool two-toned structured Kate Spade bag.

But what do YOU think babes? Love it or leave it? How are YOU spending this glorious Sunday? Let me know in the comments! And remember, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!





Photos by Kate Davis Photo
Dress care of Muse Boutique


Monday, January 25, 2016

2 Ways To Rock: Olive Denim

It's been a few days since my last post, but as most of you know, Nashville got a little snow. And by a little I mean a lot. And by a lot I mean so much that I couldn't resist taking advantage of it and playing in it for the last few days. BUT we're back on track and I'm bringing you a 2-for-1 today!

One of my favorite trends is a colored denim and in today's case, an olive denim. One of the best things about a colored jean is its versatility. Dress it up or dress it down with ease and that's exactly what I'm illustrating in today's post. 

Our first look is a more formal office or date night look with the olive jeans. A pale blush chiffon top with a pleated hem was the perfect contrast to the dark green of the pant. For flare I added a gorgeous faux fur stole and purple gem necklace. A pretty metallic clutch and neutral statement earrings finished off the outfit with a little glitz.





Look number two is our casual olive jean styling. Cold shoulder tops are hot, hot, hot right now so I went with a steel blue one that is SUPER soft. A cool chunky stone necklace and a fun hat with feather band rounded out a perfectly boho look.




Photo Credit: Kate Davis Photo
Wardrobe: Muse Boutique


But which is YOUR favorite? What do YOU think? For your convenience, I've attached similar clothing pieces and where to find them below. Also, share with me your #snowpocalypse / #winterstormjonas fun as well. How did you deal in the snow? Let me know in the comments! Remember babes, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!





Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Feeling Feline

I love a NEW year. It's an undeniable reason to try new things. That being said, we are going to be doing so many NEW things here at The Darling Downtown. For starters, in case you didn't notice, we've swapped sites and are a little bit in a transition time while my domain is out floating around waiting to be transferred. I vowed to be more proactive with the blog this year and in doing so, believe that this switch will be the first of many updates that will be so beneficial for both you (the reader) and I. Bare with me while I learn this new language of technology!

On top of a new site host and blog format, I'll be branching out a bit with blog content. I've had so many incredible suggestions made to me over the last few months and I'm more than thrilled to be bringing you some of the things you've asked for. We'll see more curated posts, more teaching editorials, and (more so to challenge me personally) I'll be taking a few more fashion risks than normal. So buckle up babes! 2016 is off to an exciting start.



It seemed only fitting that my first official look of 2016 should be an out-of-the-box style for me. After visualizing the entire look I couldn't help but feel like I was channeling a bit of a feline inspiration. I snagged this gray leopard print coat from Target and I have to tell you, this sucker is so cozy! An added touch of glamour, it has a detachable faux fur collar. Seriously. Black satin pants just made sense with this pairing. It's like getting away with wearing your pajamas in public.

If you haven't heard, the turtle neck is back and better than ever. A cool split side black turtle neck sweater was the obvious choice for this comfy yet luxe look, and let's be honest, when your coat steals the show you just don't have to try as hard. That's the great thing about a statement jacket! To top it all off I slipped on my black patent bow loafers and a pair of funky Cat Eye sunnies by Quay Australia.

But what do YOU think babes? How will you be bringing change to 2016? Let me know in the comments! And, as always, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!






Photo Credit: Kate Davis Photo




Holiday 2015: Cozy Casual

The final installment of my Holiday 2015 Edit is for the ladies keepin' it lowkey and snuggly for Christmas. Sweaters, blanket scarves, and comfy outerwear are some of my favorite things about fashion during this season. I've rounded up and styled my go-to cozy wear pieces to share with you today.

This first look features one of the coolest sweaters I've ever bought. A laid back, slouchy style and hi-low cut, this sweater stands out with its cream to burgundy ombre coloring. To spice it up even more I went with this fun multicolored plaid blanket scarf and a metallic clutch.



This second styling is a more feminine one. I've had this royal blue cotton swing dress forever and it's really become a year-round piece for me. Over the knee suede boots, quilted jacket, and Aerie Bonfire Scarf made it a killer yet comfy holiday look.



Photo Credit: Kate Davis Photo | Look 1: Sweater and Scarf from Muse Boutique; Jeans from American Eagle; Clutch from Elaine Turner; Ankle Boot from Lucky Brand Jeans | Look 2: Dress by Cynthia Rowley; Vest from Old Navy; Boots from Lulu's; Scarf from Aerie by American Eagle



Looking for last minute gifts to grab your lowkey cozy casual girl this season? Here's a little guide to help you on your hunt!


Pictured Above: Knitted Grey Coat $59 chicwish.com | Daniel Wellington St. Andrews Leather Strap Watch $199 lordandtaylor.com | Faux Fur Throw $45 wilko.com | Bonfire Blanket Scarf $10 (On Sale) ae.com | Excursion Quilted Vest $118 jcrew.com | Impressions by Isotoner Snowflake Gloves $14 target.com | Vince Camuto Joni Crossbody $228 shoptheshoebox.com

What do YOU think loves? Are you more Cozy Casual? Or are you one of my other Holiday Post Gals? Let me know what your favorite part of this multi-post Holiday Edit was in the comments below and as always babes, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!


Holiday 2015: Pantone Obsessed

This time each year Pantone, everyone's favorite color specialist,  releases the Color of the Year for the following year. Typically, this appointment sets a trend for the upcoming year in everything from fashion to home decor. This year, shocking everyone, they named TWO colors with the honor: Rose Quartz and Serenity. Per the Pantone Executive Director, Leatrice Eiseman, the blending of these two shades "demonstrates an inherent balance between a warmer embracing rose tone and the cooler tranquil blue, reflecting connection and wellness as well as a soothing sense of order and peace." [read more here]. Hey, I don't hate it!

The great thing about a "blending" of two colors is that we have quite a spectrum to work with. I tend to lean heavily on Rose Quartz in today's look with various contrasting blues. Plaid is an easy way to go when mixing virtually opposite colors. For outerwear I went with a nice lush shearling vest in what's a pale gray color verging on a light Serenity. Rose Quartz knit hat, American Eagle skinny jean, and my Lucky Brand ankle boots finish this casual Winter look.




Photo Credit: Kate Davis Photo | Top and Vest from Muse Boutique | Jeans by American Eagle | Ankle Boots by Lucky Brand Jeans | Hat from Target


Have a girl in your life who's dying to get her hands on Pantone's Rose Quartz and Serenity inspired items? Here's a quick gift guide to get you headed in the right direction!


Pictured Above: Serenity Slub V-neck Pocket Tee $20 madewell.com | Rose Quartz long pendant necklace $33 whitehouseblackmarket.com | Pantone Color of the Year Mug $39 printmag.com | Rose Quartz Serenity Gradient wrapping paper zazzle.co.uk | Stay Awesome tank $12 billabong.com | Light blue pom pom handbag $84 riverisland.com | Color of the Year Layer Lipstick $18 sephora.com | Light Pink Pretty and Witty Scented Candle by Kate Spade $40 belk.com

But what do YOU think? Yay or Nay to the double color Pantone shades? Will you try to incorporate them into YOUR wardrobe this holiday season? Let me know in the comments! And as always, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!

Holiday 2015: The Glitter Gal

If there was ever a time to sparkle, that time is now! There's a part of me that wishes I could wear glitter every day. Literally. Every day. But I know that with great sparkle comes great responsibility and in reality, being sequin-ready each morning is a high goal to attain. So I limit my glitter wearing to events and holidays, SO YAY FOR HOLIDAY 2015!

Now before I jump onto this sparkle train, know that there are ways to do sequins and ways NOT to do sequins. Keep it classy. If it looks like YOU bedazzled it, try again. If it looks like you rolled through a Kindergarten ornament making class, don't even think about it. Balance your sequins out with a neutral solid. I tend to pair my glitter with black, but depending on your style and the color of your attire, a cream or white would be gorgeous as well.

My first look is a "go big or go home" style. If you're looking to really step out in a fashion forward way, you're going to like this. I took a standard sequin shift dress (this particular color is called "smoke" and is more of a bronze), and paired it with my new favorite jacket. This shaggy black fringe piece is so funky cool and contrasts the dress well while also adding another texture element. Since I went wild with my look I stuck with a simpler shoe, a standard black suede wedge bootie.




When styling this next outfit I thought more about our conservative ladies. But even conservative ladies like to glitter! For this look I employed the help of a good poncho. Now a poncho alone would seem a bit bland, but a poncho with metallic gold leggings? That's a party outfit if I ever saw one! My Kate Spade patent pouch was too perfect not to add to this style, and vintage inspired rhinestone jewelry added that extra glitter we were looking for. To finish the look I wore a vintage style pump that provided a little old school regal flair.




Photo Cred: Kate Davis Photo | Look 1: Dress, Jacket from Muse Boutique; Shoes from Forever 21 | Look 2: Poncho, Leggings by Cherish; Shoes from Forever 21; Jewelry from Muse Boutique; Clutch from Kate Spade


Girls who like sparkle are easy to shop for. Seriously, just get her something that sparkles! But hey, if you need a few ideas, I've rounded up a few lovely little items that your Glitter Girl is going to love!


Pictured Above: Envelope Clutch $18 very.co.uk | Sequin Top $37 hm.com | Kate Spade pink glitter studs $38 nordstrom.com | Kendra Scott Logan druzy earrings $60 cusp.com | Bobbi Brown eye palette $49 lordandtaylor.com | Abound loafer $35 nordstromrack.com | Chiara Ferragni flirting iPhone case $42 luisaviaroma.com | OPI Pirouette My Whistle polish $6 overstock.com | Hair elastic $9 monki.com

But what about YOU babes? How do YOU glitter? Which look is your fave? Let me know in the comments! And as always, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!

XO

Alex



Holiday 2015: Pop Of Color Lover

We are officially on a roll here people! Holiday 2015 train has left the station and we are full steam ahead! Today's post brings you TWO looks and a Gift Guide tailored to the Lover of the Pop, as in "pop of color."

I remember my mother being the first person to ever bring up the idea of the "pop of color" to me. I was in my early teens and my fashion sense was...well...still in the development process. What Not To Wear was a brand new show and my mom was hooked, often referring to Stacy London's many tips and tricks. Most popular, however: "You should add a little pop of color." "Don't you want a little pop of color with that?" "I think what you're missing is a pop of color!" Needless to say, I eventually came to appreciate and, in my humble opinion, master the pop.

It's simple really: take some neutrals, put them together, then add an item, one item of any NON-neutral color. Voila! Pop!

Our first look employs the method of a good colored shoe to add your pop. I took a black and white striped Dee Elle swing dress and black leather jacket then tossed in a rich royal blue T-strap Pump. This is one of my favorite looks I've put together so far.




Look two brings you the FLUFFIEST AND SOFTEST SWEATER EVER. Sorry, but I was that excited about it. As a petite gal I use the trick of sizing up in over sized tops and making them into dresses. This over sized POL sweater worked wonderfully for that! A colored handbag is another super easy way to get that "pop of color" in there. I went with a non-traditional deep green which is gorgeous for the holiday season.



Photo Credit: Kate Davis Photo | Look 1: Dress, Jacket, Necklace care of Muse Boutique | Look 1: Shoes by JustFab | Look 2: Sweater, Bag care of Muse Boutique | Look 2: Boots by Kenneth Cole



Have a gal in your life that lives by the "pop of color" rule? I've put together a little gift guide to help you get her exactly what she wants to feed her obsession! Remember, accessories are the easiest way to create that pop effect.


Pictured Above: Handbag $33 relaxfeel.com | Earrings $25 girlprops.com | Ring $27 silkfred.com | Pumps $30 zara.com | Scarf $67 coach.com | Purse Charm $19 lorisshoes.com | Hat $11 newlook.com | Phone Case $40 casetify.com

But what do YOU think? Have you used the color pop technique? What's your favorite way to style it? Let me know in the comments! And as always, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are!

XO

Alex

Holiday 2015: The Traditional Lady

OH MY GOODNESS IT'S HERE!

Once a year the Fashion/Style Blogger Community goes cuckoo over Holiday looks. And guess what? THIS YEAR IS NO DIFFERENT! (*insert party emoji here*) I mean honestly, what lady doesn't love donning her best for the office, friend or family Christmas party? Over the next few days I'll be introducing you to my favorite outfits for every type of gal during this exciting time of the year. Even better, I've attached corresponding Gift Guides for those of you shopping for ladies with these particular styles. Get ready! The fun begins now!

Today's look is for the gal who loves tradition. Your Christmas party perfection is cocktail attire in red or green, bows, sparkle, and always elegance. You've practically stepped out of an AMC showing of White Christmas with Bing Crosby himself. To put this look together I started with a classic red satin party dress. A little vintage inspired necklace and my pewter Elaine Turner clutch added just the right amount of sparkle. If you need to stay warm, I suggest a cape, they're just so darn regal! My pick is a peacoat/cape hybrid. To top off this look I brought back a fan favorite with my Hadley bow heel.





Photo Credit to Kate Davis Photo



Have a traditional Christmas gal in your life? Think classic silhouettes, Kate Spade, trinkets with fur, holiday novelty gifts and jewelry.


Pictured above: Gloves $35 lindybopusa.com | Earmuffs $12 uniqlo.com | Umbrella $38 katespade.com | Wrap $22 shein.com | Necklace $140 macys.com | Polish $8.50 kohls.com | Pillows $23 nordstrom.com

What do YOU think loves? Where are my traditional girls at?! Let me know in the comments. And as always, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are.

XO

Alex

The Golden Year

Tomorrow, while the rest of the country is celebrating Thanksgiving, I will be celebrating a little something extra: my birthday. Every few years I find myself sharing my special day with this national holiday, but I'm really okay with it. Admittedly it annoyed me growing up. No cupcakes at school on the day of. No friends free to celebrate. Parties either had to happen one to two weeks earlier or later, so when my actual birthday had gotten there my friends were unaware. But that was a selfish heart feeling.

As I get older I can appreciate sharing my birthday with America's special holiday. Just think, on MY birthday people across the country will be gobbling up their favorite meals, spending time with family, and most importantly they'll be giving THANKS for all of their blessings. I'm good with that.

Did you know that a Golden Birthday is one in which the age you are turning matches the day you were born? Tomorrow will be my Golden Birthday, and the start of a Golden Year. I'm pretty sure that wishes come true on Golden Birthdays so it's my wish (as I blow out the candles on whatever dessert we have with our Thanksgiving meal this year) that we remain thankful throughout the next 365 days, and every 365 days after that. Don't limit it to one day.

Wishing you and yours the very best day.



Today's look features a particularly amazing item from a company you're sure to know. My awesome new friends at SPANX sent me the loveliest gift in the form of a selection of their new products and I am OBSESSED. We all know of the SPANX shape wear, but have you seen the SPANX faux leather leggings?! These things are incredibly comfortable but more importantly, they're incredibly flattering! Between us girls they smooth and lift in just the right places. Definitely worth checking out.

I paired my leggings with a fun bell sleeved tunic, gray booties, and the ever popular felt hat.

But enough about me, how are you babes celebrating tomorrow? What are you most looking forward to? Have any specific questions about SPANX products? I have officially tried all of the new things and am more than happy to share a little knowledge! Let me know in the comments and remember, wear what you love but LOVE who you are!

XO

Alex





Photo Credit to Kate Davis Photo

With A Thankful Heart

Yesterday was June 1st. I'm sure of it. Then I blinked and suddenly we're a week away from Thanksgiving. How did that happen?! In the spirit of this (my second favorite) holiday, I thought I would share with you a few things I am thankful for, as well as a look that's perfect for your Thanksgiving Day plans.

Though this list could go on forever, I promise to limit it to the most important.

Today and every day I am thankful for...

-the parents who raised me, who provided more than I needed, who pushed me to be the best I could be and supported my dreams as wild as they were; the sister who supported me, who was my very first best friend, who has laughed with me, cried with me, fought with me, and stood up for me; the extended family who have remained close in spite of miles, who were the village that it took, who spoiled me more than I deserved.

-my oldest and best friends who have stood the test of time, who feel more like family than friends, who can't get rid of me even if they tried, who call me first with big news, who I call first with big news, who know that long-distance is no big deal as long as funny text messages and Timehop shares are sent at least once a week; my newest friends who have made a big move so much easier, who have so quickly become my daily texters, who want to be an active part of my life in and outside of work, who have reminded me how fun and therapeutic a Girls' Night Out can be.

-my other half who makes life better, who keeps me laughing, who has been my constant in times of turmoil, who supports my ambitions, who celebrates my successes, who shares my dreams, holds my hand, kisses my forehead, and sends me Goodnight texts.

-this charmed life that I lead.



Today's look is my pick for Thanksgiving attire. It's feminine, casual, and unbelievably comfortable! This outfit is proof of just how "neutral" neutrals really are! A soft as can be sweater dress by Cherish in mocha, complimented by a beige leather and canvas drape jacket by Esley  with dark chocolate riding boots by Kenneth Cole and a brown tote handbag. I had to add a pop, however, picking my favorite color (Green) in a beaded stone necklace.

What about you, babes? What are YOU rocking for Thanksgiving? Have things you're thankful for? Share them with me in the comments below! I just adore hearing from my readers. But that's all for now. As always, wear what you love, but LOVE who you are.

XO

Alex





Photo Credit to Kate Davis Photo