Casual Matters

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When it comes to your capsule wardrobe, what are some essentials that are in heavy rotation? A dark pair of skinnies that you resort to, instantaneously making you look 5 pounds lighter? Or a nifty puffer jacket with down-filled inserts that warmly grace you through winter? As for moi, I have a predilection for pieces that are not only perpetually stylish but also appease the “time is of the essence” concern. Especially days when the ticking hand is not on good terms with me.

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Say it’s casual Friday morning and you woke up to your alarm clock setting off, only to realize that you slept through the other two (and they say 3rd time’s the charm…how amusing). With no time to berate yourself for indulging in happy hours (plural) the night before, you’re now battling with the dilemma of “how to prep yourself in 10 minutes”. So what items do you take refuge in? An item that I always seek solace in is a textured shawl.

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And here’s why – not only will it compliment a few of your favorite outfits and stretch your budget further for your Christmas shopping needs, the wearing options are also endless. Say you can 1.) Perch atop your shoulder, 2.) Wind it around your neck to create a natural drape, or 3.) Tie the ends together to create a baggy cardigan. And when you have 2 minutes and counting to pick an add-on that would keep you shiver-free during your commute (option 2) and ward off the chills at the office (option 1), the shawl is a stylish option for all your fashion-conscious folks!

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In my outfit today I brought out a new find, a tri-colored shawl with seamlessly executed textural spots scattered across the board. To stay in tandem with the colors, I wore a pink button-down shirt and black skinnies. A stylish way to add some color to the ensemble? A tribal gold-toned necklace placed under the collar, one whose color scheme is not askew from the main outfit, and a hands-free tote like this Marc Jacobs one. Also my pony hair boots gave all the ease of edge and flair as the buckles and folded texture at the ankle makes it truly a unique pair.

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So tell me, have you jumped on the shawl bandwagon yet, and if so, how do you wear yours? 🙂

XO~ Lena

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Top: Banana Republic // Shawl: H&M// Pants: Paige// Shoes: Via Spiga// Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Photos: Jason J Photography

Holidays on Huron Pop-Up Sale

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With the holidays right around the corner, there’s a reason to be jolly. The luminous Christmas tree taking center stage at your local department store, effervescently lighting your way as you check off your gift list one by one. Christmas carols humming through the hallway as you crank up the oven and turn gingerbread cookies into colorful creations. That merry feeling of spending time with loved ones while counting down the days ’til Christmas is priceless!

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Since Christmas is about loving, giving, and sharing, what better way to enwrap myself in the joyous festivity than to attend a pop of sale in support of local Chicago designers! Last Thursday I was invited by the lovely Kristen of K.Amato Jewelry to attend the “Holidays on Huron” pop of sale, a sip & shop private preview event hosted by K.Amato Jewelry, Henry & Belle Denim, and 84Rockwell. The evening was just as I imagined – a delightful array of the designers’ winter collection, Italian rosé at the bar with delicacies from spicy deviled eggs to salmon canapés, and of course, a swoon-worthy group of fashion insiders.

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As my friend Nancy a.k.a Fancy Nancista and I strolled through the pop of sale, we were thrilled by K.Amato’s coveted jewelry collections. And how can you not when the tagline for the trend-conscious company is “every girl should have one”, distinctively being the driving force behind her reasonably priced line of earrings, necklaces and accessories! Kristen Amato, a Chicago native, started her jewelry collections in 2002 and a mere decade later they’re selling over 300 stores across the globe from London to Tokyo! Having been featured in Vogue and People, she’s garnered a reputable celebrity following from Rachael Ray to Eva Longoria Parker.

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In my outfit today I wore one of her best-sellers – the Reversible Fan Necklace. With an oyster shell on one side and black on the other, this 22K gold plated chain necklace is as divine to the look as it is to the physical touch! Familiar you say? That’s because I gave a sneak preview on my last post, you know, the ombré faux fur jacket with the embellished tuxedo pants!

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And if you’re thinking of what to get your stylish friend this season, check out K.Amato’s holiday collection filled with main jewels to delicate layering pieces like this Leather Stud Bracelet I’m wearing! And from now until 12/17  you can use the code holidaycheer for 30% off the entire websiteCan’t say you won’t find one for yourself to go with that stunning sequined dress you’re dying to wear to your Christmas soirée 😉

Xo~ Lena

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Blazer: Helmut Lang // Top: Zara// Skirt: Vince Camuto// Shoes: Aldo// Bag: F21// Necklace: K. Amato

This post is in collaboration with K.Amato Jewelry. All opinions are my own. 

Photos: Jason J Photography

Faux Fur Feeling

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With the cold weather back in full swing, it’s easy to resort to wardrobe essentials that deliver the effect (shivers no more) but not quite the aesthetics. Sure the collegiate dress code filled with mascot-infused sweatshirts and shearling-lined UGG boots ward off the winter chills, but quite frankly it’s lacking the “zing” in trending. So rather than spawning a closet full of workhorse items that have tenets of minimalistic dressing but void in making a fashion statement, it’s notable to invest in one or two investment pieces that take canny heed in style and function. A camel duster coat like this wool belted one is a solid contender, and so is a faux fur jacket – a quintessentially classic piece with an upper echelon flair.

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Whether you want to get your cold weather style wrapped up with vintage-inspired faux fur boleros or shearling-trimmed cover-ups, there are many styles that give you the eclectic flair without compromising duty. To stage that on-trend look, here’s my top 3 styles:

1.) LEOPARD PRINT – technically a neutral when it comes to wardrobe styling, a leopard print coat can be worn with an all-black ensemble to keep the look clean and streamlined (New York style mavens rejoice!) Just make sure there’s a sliver of skin that peeps through; you know what they say, a small flash of flesh is hotter than an eyeful. So think black sweater + ankle length leather pants + slip-ons, or a vintage-inspired LBD with sheer tights and knee high boots. With holiday shopping in full swing, now you can shop NORDSTROM for NYE Dresses starting at $65.

how to wear white in the winter. I wouldn't do real fur, but a nice white/cream coat over black dress and black boots with black gloves-perfect. faux fur leopard coat
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2.) LONG – the maxi style amongst faux fur coats, this look is for you if you’re an avid follower of the Olsen twins (or you just like your legs covered up during below freezing weather). Team it with knee high boots and a lengthy embroidered dress for a Sunday brunch, and add on some bedazzling jewels when you’re glamorously ready for a night out in town.

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3.) CROPPED – ideal teamed with high-waisted pants and skirts for that slick and polished look, a close fitting cropped jacket can be paired with just about anything – silk button downs with maroon skinnies , tartan under chambray shirts like this Rag and Bone one, and even your oversized shirt dress with stockings! Here I wore my purple cropped faux fur coat with straight-leg ankle pants (sold on the side embellishments) and strappy heels to bring forth a classic, clean silhouette.

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From floor-length styling for extra warmth and appeal, to the “rawr” factor behind leopard prints, what’s your go-to faux fur coat for Winter? 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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Coat: H&M // Tank: Banana Republic// Pants: H&M// Shoes: Aldo// Bag: Phillip Lim// Necklace: K. Amato

Photos: Jason J Photography

Sleeveless in Chicago

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Truth be told, it’s easy to ride on the back of a fleeting moment when it comes to fashion. Seasonal trends arrive as swiftly as they go, from the eponymous Burberry poncho on Instagram’s wanderlust-inducing snaps to the duster coat that style mavens with bicoastal sensibilities layer up during the wintry days. Yet the truth of the matter is, there aren’t many styles that’ll shake up my wardrobe with endless pairing options and fluidly transition into the next season. Trendy as some styles may be, I find myself gravitating towards more perpetually versatile items that look good, get the job done right, and friendly from AM to PM across four seasons (okay maybe two).

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Then I met the sleeveless coat and it was love at first sight when I saw a Valentino one online at Neiman Marcus’ 50% off sale! A trend so bold and eye-catching, it exudes a tactically sensible look partial to ladies with a classy taste. And that’s when I imagine my à la mode wardrobe palette gaining a refreshed and livened bolt of energy! With a slight menswear-inspired silhouette, the sleeveless coat can add an extra zest to any ensemble.

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During the week pair it with a crisp button-down shirt and slacks to keep the chills at bay, and throw it on top of a cocktail dress for your evening soirée. Needless to say the choice of whipping up a new look with this coat is boundless! Here I channeled the Parisian sleek and streamlined look by pairing my new Zara find with a classic striped shirt, lace up heels and a small satchel. And of course, my classic cat-eye and red lips. Presto we’re ready to roll.

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What’s your take on this fashionable find, and have you tried this look before? 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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–> P.S. Want to win a $350 gift basket with goodies from Marc Jacobs to Kate Spade? Don’t forget to enter the giveaway I’m hosting with other Chicago bloggers! Info HERE!

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Coat: Zara // Sweater: Loft// Pants: Paige// Shoes: Prabal Gurung for Target// Bag: Marc Jacobs

Photos: Jason J Photography

Kobi コビ A Bundle Of Joy

“To witness miracles unfold in your experience, count your blessings and be thankful. Perceived small blessings accumulate to be the most powerful.” – T.F. Hodge

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I’m sure you’ve heard this before, that life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. Like a favorable gush of wind that sweeps you off your feet, what brings you the utmost delight? Could it be a noteworthy career? Someone to call your one true love? Or the mere pursuit of happiness that reigns supreme in your life?

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As for yours truly, I find enrapturing the little things that make me cherish the passing moments. Quiet time at the coffee shop, snuggled up with a matcha green tea latte in a comfy corner. Striking conversations with total strangers on topics trivial and benign. Though not entirely riding on the back of a fleeting moment, I find it important to live in the now and be content dwelling in the present. To linger in them. To lavish in their glory.

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Thus was my absolute delight this weekend to take a breather from my busy schedule and spend some quality time with Kobi, my Australian Shepherd who coincidently turned 6 months old on Black Friday! As you can imagine, my shopping spree consisted nothing short of rawhide bones and plush toys for this little nugget 🙂

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To stay in tandem with my gleeful state of mind, I kept the colors light-hearted with my favorite camel pea coat from the LookBook Store which for a limited time Lookbook Store Women Clothing Is Up to 80% Off! Given the 3/4th length sleeves, this jacket is ideal worn over a long-sleeved shirt in a varied selection – rich hue, striped patterns, or even baroque prints! Swoon-worthy peek-a-boo effect? Yes you can get that look down pat! For a casual vibeI I resorted to this new fuzzy burgundy sweater and finished the look with dark denims and platform lace-up boots similar to this pair by Opening Ceremony (did I mention frenzied friday entailed shopping for humans too?)

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Stuffed to the rim with delicious Thai food and wind-battered from Black Friday shopping as I may be, this Thanksgiving I am grateful for the precious moments with loved ones that I know will be cherished forever.

What are you thankful for this year? 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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**P.s. As for the LookBook Giveaway, I want to thank each and every one of you for your participation as your likes, comments and follows are gratefully accounted for and appreciated! This opportunity has allowed me to learn about your unique sense of writing, style and personality. I enjoy reading each and every one of your blogs and once again thank you for being a part of my blogging journey! Congratulations to Lucy Mitchell you are the winner 🙂

Jacket: LookBook Store// Sweater: H&M// Pants: Paige// Shoes: Zara// Bag: Louis Vuitton// Scarf: Zara

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For The Love Of Roscoe

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Renaissance villa houses circa 1850s. Vast array of multi-cultural cuisines. Family-friendly parks and recreational areas. That was my impression of this exuberant Chicago neighborhood when I first set foot upon the four corners of Damen and Roscoe.

Come walk down memory lane with me as I reminisce on one of my favorite outings this summer in the Windy City – right in the heart of Roscoe Village!  

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Located 5 miles north of the Loop and occupied by a population of 7000, this swanky yet demure neighborhood has overseen urban development since the mid-19th century and is amassed with yuppie restaurants, art deco shops, wine tasting rooms, and antique consignment stores.

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After the Fire of 1871 devastated Chicago and wiped out residential homes and commercial buildings within a 3 mile radius, there was an increase in demand for brick structures, which soon the Chicago River’s North Branch (encompassing Roscoe Village and neighborhoods within its vicinity) began filling up with brickyards and clay pits. One of my favorite architectural designs is the Edwardian houses built in the early 1900s.  Similar to the Mission neighborhood in San Francisco, the industrial craft is marked by masculinity-infused frameworks modeled after Italian facades and rooflines. In the residential area off the main street, Queen Anne homes align the sidewalks basking in the glory of intricate details filled with opulent turrets, bay windows, and embellished post frames.

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Though these well-crafted buildings were a sight for my sore eyes, I was even more amused by the multitude of ethnic cuisines offered within that 6-block radius. From Turkish lamb begendi at Turquoise Cafe to the decadent Ropa Vieja (tender shredded beef cooked in salsa criolla) at 90 Miles Cuban Cafe, the sky is the limit when it comes to filling up the growling tummy. Not to mention the pink, yellow, and blue chairs outside Costello’s (namely known for the iconic “Spicy Roscoe” — who wouldn’t want pepper crusted turkey with capicola and pepper jack cheese on an Italian sub coined after the very street it sits on?) Or how about some kung-pao chicken tacos at Si Fu, where you will be greeted with not just “Xie Xie” or “Gracias”, but also a slew of Confucious men with v-line goatees? If you ever do tumble upon there, make sure you specify which hot sauce you want, especially when tabasco sauce is not within your dietary radar 🙂 

A jovial expedition filled with sight-seeing and feasting for this happy camper calls for a colorful outfit right? Which is why I doled out my colorful sheath with quivering wavelength designs and styled it with a wide brimmed straw hat. Turquoise and yellow, the two main vibrant colors on my dress (and  a tad bit on my bandeau), matched the exuberance and joy I felt when I walked down streets filled with exquisite flower shops, alfresco dining spots, and most importantly, gleeful companies. Happy eyes, happy tummy, happy heart. Now ain’t that a win-win situation 🙂

Xoxo~ Lena

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Credits: Jason J Photography http://www.jason-j-photography.com/

 

Truly Madly Deeply

h-20What’s an item in your closet that adds an instant speck of coolness to your outfit? A drapey black coat? A pair of figure-flattering skinny jeans? Or perhaps a statement sweater with charming take on an iconic logo (if a Féline Meow or Ballinciaga shirt ever came across your glossy finds). v-40 2h-3v-38-2

Whether your ideal look is inspired by minimalistic Swedish influences or saturated with clashing patterns, there’s always that ONE item adding an extra pep to your outfit no matter what styles you favor. And for somebody that dilly-dallies between monochromatic and color-blocking separates, striped midi skirts to pink leather skinnies, I love pieces that seamlessly transcend beyond the limit of trends. Of course there needs to be no shortage of pairing options! So was my thought when I came across this Charcoal Aubrey Jacket from Mad Style when I stopped by the boutique on Division street. It was love at first sight! I was immediately sold by how chic and versatile it is from drapey waterfall design to the accent zippers to the pleather sleeves. Need I say more?h-25h-5v-6h-11

Nonetheless a timeless addition to my wardrobe, there are so many ways to wrap up in style and ward off the winter chills in this edgy number! Channel that retro vibe with slouchy T’s and 70’s denims for your creative gig, or settle for a subtle look with silk button-downs and slacks for more conservative setting. And when the minute hand passes 5:00 PM, swap into more sultry alternatives like mini skirts and over-the-knee boots for a night on the town. To kick it up a notch, I paired the jacket alongside red jeans with ruffle accents (on sale 30% off!) and a chained envelope clutch also from Mad Style. The end result? An edgy rocker-chic look that transcends from day to night with no need for a moto jacket !v-25 2h-15v-35v-11What’s your street style staple that cameleon ifself into different looks –sophisticated, preppy, normcore, or avant-garde if you may? 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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Jacket: Mad Style// Top: Banana Republic// Pants: Joe’s Jeans// Shoes: Vince Camuto// Bag: MadStyle//

In collaboration with Mad Style; thoughts and opinions are my own

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Black Ink White Canvas

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Some things just look better in black and white: old French films, snow-drenched pavements, Sephora’s eponymous store front, and of course, your Fall wardrobe. Take a cue from Victoria Beckham’s Spring 2014 collection at New York Fashion Week where she incorporated a mishmash array of draped frocks and polished silhouettes in mono tones of black and white. Simple yet sleek, high fashion yet enviably cool.Victoria_Beckham_spring_summer_2015_collection_New_York_Fashion_Week4

The classic color combo gets a sophisticated makeover this season as fashion luminaries bring to the spotlight mod designs and pattern play  From futuristic runway shows to sartorial street fashion, there’s nothing less than swoon-worthy ensembles in this plain palette. Houndstooth. Checkered print. Graphic geometric patterns to name a few.v-9H-24H-23

To reference the ease of black and white pairing, many damsels in Dior and gents in Givenchy rock the two-tone trends by simply pairing 1.) a white lace dress with a moto jacket 2.) white polka dot shirt with leather minis (add sheer tights to ward off chills), or 3.) monotone dress shirt with patterned trousers like this paisley print HERE. Oh the swoon-worthy choices are infinite!H-26v

Adding the tiniest of tweaks to #3, I wore a silk button-down shirt with a pair of palazzo trousers. To steer clear from the antsy job seeker look, I turned the table by choosing a black form-fitting shirt on top of these graphic printed pants. Long and languid in composure, eminently wearable for work and play. Not to mention lengthening your frame as do all high-waisted pants with the shirt tucked in. To complete the look, I wore these Salvatore Ferragamo pumps (with its signature Vara bow like HERE) and a large monogrammed bag like this Louis Vuitton one to keep my downtown-trotting essentials intact.H-18v-8h-37H-42

So let go of the wide-legged panic and try out this drapey flared look devout to style and comfort. Remember — keep the look polished by tucking the shirt in and slightly pulling out the edges; promise you won’t look like a medieval jester! 🙂

Xo~ Lena

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Photos: Jason J Photography

Jacket: Hinge// Top: Banana Republic// Pants: Francesca’s// Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo// Bag: Louis Vuitton

 

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