Shop Well – Not Cheap

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It’s no secret that I love to shop. I love it so much that I recently became a personal shopper at Neiman Marcus – you can see all the fun I’m having with this new gig and all my favorite looks on my Insta @inrachelstyles. As I have grown older and wiser, I have learned the secret to shopping for shoes, purses, and clothing. Shop well- not cheap.

When you are young and living paycheck to paycheck, it is so easy to fall for fast-fashion and snap up everything for your closet from stores like Forever 21 and H&M. Now hear me out – you can find some good looks at stores that sell cheap clothing. But, the problem is these clothes do not last, and people can tell they are cheap.

Instead, it is much wiser to shop well rather than cheap. I’d much rather spend more money on clothing that is well-designed, well-made, and long-lasting.

Longer Lasting Clothing

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When you shop cheap, you are simply looking at the price tag when you should be factoring in the number of times the item will be worn. Fashion experts refer to this as the cost per wear equation. As Glamour explains, “The simplest version of that math is dividing the price on the label by how many times you think you'll wear the item.” Glamour also has a cost per wear calculator on their site for easy use.

What you will likely discover is that you end up spending less money in the long run on higher cost clothing this way. For example, the cheap shirt you purchased may only be able to be worn a few times before it shows wear and tear, whereas the high-quality coat you purchased is worn for several years.

Higher Quality Materials

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The reason the more expensive products typically last longer is that they are better made. Rather than being mass-produced at fast speeds (resulting in less than the best seams, embroidering, and such), these products are developed with better materials, such as natural fibers like silk and wool, in a less demanding amount of time.

Better Resale Value

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Women change out their closets pretty regularly as fashions change. Therefore, it is important to consider the resale value of your clothing when you purchase it originally. For example, you will likely get pennies (if anything) for that shirt you purchased at Forever 21, but you can earn a nice chunk when you resell high-end designer goods.

Less is More

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Finally, it is wise to embrace the notion that “less is more.” Wouldn’t you rather have a few, high-end, well-made, designer goods than a bunch of cheap items that fall apart easily before the next season? I know that matters to me. It is easy to get caught up in the idea of “more, more, more,” but if it gets in the way of looking good and feeling good, that’s a hard pass for me. Less is more, ladies, less is more.

Only Wearing White Between Memorial Day and Labor Day? Toss that Old Idea.

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If you have lived in the US long enough, you have surely heard that the fashion rule that you should only wear white after Memorial Day and before Labor Day. Well, now that I am officially “allowed” to wear white, it has me thinking about whether or not I want to put all my white clothes, shoes, and bags away come Labor Day. I’m thinking that’ll be a NO.

Some of the Possible Reasons This Rule Existed in the First Place

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Now, if this is a new idea to you or one you’ve bee taught your whole life, you probably don’t know why this fashion rule started in the first place. I didn’t! So, I did some digging and found some interesting tidbits I thought I’d share.

  • According to Reader’s Digest, “Social acceptance for wealthy women was based very much on what you wore—and when you wore it. If you were “on-trend,” you only wore white during the warmer months, since you could probably afford to wear leisurely lightweight clothing—and afford to buy new clothes if you sweat through them.”

  • Then, fashion magazines started promoting and reinforcing the rule in the 1950s.

  • According to the Emily Post Institute, white signified summer resort wear, so there was a distinct shift in seasonal dress for work and play.

Basically, wearing white only during the summer became a way to show you were wealthier than your peers because you could afford to purchase different wardrobes for the seasons. Another fun fact for those of us who live in the Northern US, the rule actually shifts from Memorial Day to Easter in the Southern US.  

Why I Wear White All Year Long

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Have you heard the saying, “Life is short. Take the trip. Buy the shoes. Eat the cake.”? Well, I think the same way when it comes to my fashion choices. Who wants to be told when they can and cannot wear something they love? Life is too short! Plus, white has proven to be classy and chic year-round. If that wasn’t true, then why are American wedding dresses white?

Why You Should Too

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Not only am I encouraging you to wear white all year, but so are the fashion and etiquette experts! The Emily Post Institute says, “Of course you can wear white after Labor Day, and it makes perfect sense to do so in climates where September’s temperatures are hardly fall-like. It’s more about fabric choice today than color. Even in the dead of winter in northern New England the fashionable wear white wools, cashmeres, jeans, and down-filled parkas.” Plus, Coco Chanel famously wore white year-round.

But, There are Still Some Times When White Is Not Right

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Now, I’m not saying to go crazy and show up wearing white to your BFF's wedding. That would definitely be the wrong fashion choice. When you choose to wear white after Labor Day, make sure the fabric choice is right (such as not wearing linen in winter) and an appropriate setting (preferably one where you won’t get dirty easily). And, if this is too rebellious for the rule-followers in the room, opt for off-white in the off-season.

Why Animal Print is Always on Trend

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Open any fashion magazine, and you’ll find tons of animal prints. Everyone is all about animal prints today – but the truth is, we have always been crazy for spots and stripes! Since animal prints appeared in fashion, they have never left. However, this year we are seeing far more than usual making it the perfect time for ladies who have been hesitant before to give it a try. Now, ladies, here are some of the best reasons to embrace leopard, zebra, and snake prints.

Allows You to Subtly Show Off Your Wild Side

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Wearing a pair of animal print heels is a perfect way to show your good fashion sense and sophisticated taste. But, it is also a way to let everyone in on a little secret – you know how to have fun.

The Guardian shares, “In his 1954 manual, The Little Dictionary of Fashion, Christian Dior famously wrote that ‘to wear leopard you must have a kind of femininity which is a little bit sophisticated. If you are fair and sweet, don’t wear it.’ And so the connotations have always been that it’s sexy, a bit raunchy, a bit daring, a bit wild.”

Never Out of Style

Once you add a quality animal print piece to your wardrobe, you can wear it for years to come. You can pass it on to your daughters. Why? Because worn the right way, animal prints are never out of style! Beginning in the 1920s, animal prints have made women feel powerful, and that is not going away anytime soon.

Versatile All Year Long

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Another fantastic reason to add animal print to your wardrobe is that it is so versatile. These types of prints can be worn in the summer or winter. Not only can they be worn throughout the year, but they can also be worn in different ways. Fashion embraces animal print shoes, bags, coats, tights, shirts, dresses, skirts, and accessories.

A Way to Stand Out from the Crowd

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As Dr. Seuss famously said, “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” This is why women go to extraordinary lengths to find just the right purse, pair of shoes, or necklace. We understand that choosing the one right fashion piece can make us stand out from the crowd. When it comes to animal prints, this is especially true. Everyone notices the women in the office with the animal print shoes or coat.

Fun, Fun, Fun!

Last but certainly not least, the main reason to embrace animal prints is that they are so fun! Nothing says “I am woman; hear me roar” like an animal print! They feel frivolous and silly, but they are as far from boring as you can possibly get. They can make any outfit more fun. And, I’m all about having fun with fashion.

PS. No matter your age, you can always rock animal print. I plan to be one ferocious grandmother one day. What do you think?

These Boots are Made for Walking

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Boots make me happy. As a shoe lover, I want my feet to look just as stylish in the winter as they do in the summer. Boots give my feet added warmth during the winter, but they also all chic and trendy. Paired with slim fit pants or a short skirt, boots take an outfit from cute to attention-grabbing. Plus, boots never go out of style.

Today, there are more styles than ever before giving you multiple options. They come in various heights and heel styles. Add in all the different fabric and color choices, and you can practically have a different pair of boots for every outfit.

Why Every Woman Needs a Few Pairs of Boots

Every woman should own at least one pair of boots, but truly, women need more than one pair. With their versatility, you really need boots of different styles. The right pair of boots can dramatically change the overall look of your outfit. Any excuse for more shoes is reason enough, am I right?

Some of My Favorite Winter Boot Styles

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite winter boot styles. They vary in style, designer, and cost. Browse through the pics and let me know in the comments which ones are your favorites.

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Knit Grosgain Booties from Chanel

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Winter White Boots by Gianvito Rossi

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Black Combat Boots by Chanel

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Fendi Boots

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Tory Burch Slouchy Boots

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Christian Louboutin Animal Print Boots

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Isabel Marant Dicker Suede Ankle Boots

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Tory Burch Brooke Booties

How to Store Your Phenomenal Boot Collection

After browsing the above pics of fabulous boots, I bet you are thinking about how to make room for all the new boots you are getting ready to purchase. Naturally, boots take up more closet space than your strappy stilettos. But the space issue is worth it for the perfect pair of boots that will warm your toes and make your heart happy.

First things first, boots need to be stored in a position that ensures they stay straight and shaped. You can do this by stuffing your boots yourself or by purchasing boot shapers. If you cannot fit your boots in your closet shoe organizer, consider purchasing boot hangers. Boot hangers work as boot fillers, but they have a hanger so that the boots can be hung from your closet rod.

Finally, find ways to store your winter boots in the offseason. Purchase storage boxes designed for boots. For example, the Container Store sells a clear plastic boot box. These boxes are large enough for boots of all heights, and they have room to fit boots that have been filled so they won’t lose their shape while in storage.

How to Clean and Take Care of Light-Colored Shoes and Bags

Ladies, why do we save up the money to purchase designer bags or shoes just to let them show wear and tear before the season is even over? If you are like me, you hate to see your most valued possessions lose their luster because of stains or scuff marks.

High-quality shoes and bags should be treated as investment pieces, but too often, we don’t take the steps we need to take care of them in the first place. I’m here today to help you out with some basic care and cleaning tips for light-colored shoes and bags.

Protect Your Valuables

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First things first, you need to protect your valuable shoes and bags. You need to treat them with care! For instance, shoe horns and boot shapers were invented for a reason. These handy tools keep your precious shoes in great shape. The same concept applies to bags, too. If you are not using a bag, stuff it so that it maintains its shape in the offseason. Additionally, your designer bags come with dust bags for a reason – to protect the bags from dust. If you have a dust bag, then use it!

Take Prevention into Your Own Hands

If you have a pair of shoes or a bag that you absolutely love and hope will last for years, then you should invest in a protector spray. Protector sprays work to protect the material by creating a barrier against water and dirt. This is especially important for light-colored bags and shoes!

The Material Matters

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I cannot emphasize this enough – the material matters! You will treat and clean leather very differently than you will suede. For example, you should avoid using water as the main cleaning agent for suede unless you want to damage your shoes or bag even more. Similarly, there are specific cleaning tools for different types of materials – i.e., suede protectors and leather protectors.

Read the Instructions

Next, after you have purchased care items, you should always read the labels and instructions. As I explained above, you should not use a suede cleaner on a leather item and vice versa. Additionally, some leather cleaners require water and others do not; therefore, it is important for you to read the instructions. If you want your shoes or bags to return to their original beauty, then follow the care instructions and cleaning product instructions.

Test a Small Area First

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You should always test a small area first to be on the safe side. Some shoe polishes are designed to work with certain colors. Don’t make the mistake of applying a shoe polish designed for black shoes all over a light-colored pair of shoes. That would be a major shoe emergency!

Three Products I Recommend

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You can google and find all sorts of home remedies for cleaning light colored shoes and bags. But, when it comes to my favorite possessions, I just don’t want to risk it. I’d rather not try to combine white vinegar and water and ruin my favorite pair of heels. Instead, I trust those in the shoe business to tell me how to clean and take care of my valuables. Below I am recommending three products for leather shoes which can also be used on leather purses. Even better – these products are designed to work on light-colored shoes and bags!

Apple Brand Leather Cleaner & Conditioner

The Apple Brand aims to preserve and restore leather – not to damage it. So, you can expect their products to be gentle. In addition to the cleaner, I love that the conditioner is easy to apply using a makeup sponge and works to moisturize and leave the leather feeling smooth.

Meltonian Boot and Shoe Cream Polish

As it is available in multiple colors, it is easy to find a polish that will match the item you love. The cream works to clean and make shoes return to their original glory. It goes on easily, and all you need to do is buff the shoes with a soft cloth.

Saphir Medaille D'or 1925 Pate De Luxe Neutral Wax Shoe Polish

Unlike dark shoe polishes, this one is wax-based, clear and designed to be used on neutral or odd-colored shoes. For those looking for a polish that does not have to match various colored shoes, this is an excellent choice.

See something you like? Shop My Style!

 

7 Fall 2018 Shoe Trends I Love

Labor Day is over, which for fashionistas across the New York and the rest of the country, means it is time to get a new fall wardrobe! As a major shoe lover, I am so excited to have an excuse to shop the latest trends and reinvent my fall shoe collection.

And, fall of 2018 promises to be an exciting year. While I am already ready to sip my pumpkin-spice latte and bury my face in a scarf, I am most excited about the trends that are showing up in fashion! This year’s trends have a dose of nostalgia and freshness. We’re bringing back some old favorites, but we’re updating them to reflect today’s styles. I love it!

To help you prepare to be one of the most stylish moms in NYC, I’ve highlighted what are sure to be the biggest shoe trends of 2018 as well as showcasing some of my personal favorites. Even better – you can shop my post to order your favorites with the just click of the mouse.

Slouchy Boots Pack a Statement

Fall means boots – and this year brings back the blocked heel boots that we all love. To add in a punch, slouchy boots are stylish and sophisticated – and they are anything but slouchy! This style is versatile and can go from day to night easily. My picks:

Marc Fisher LTD Unana Bootie

Tory Burch Brooke Slouchy Knee-High Boot

Western Boots are Not Going Out of Style

We all know that Western boots are never going to disappear, but they do come and go in the fashion scene. This year’s spin on western boots includes simple designs with lower heels. You should expect to find sleeker styles with less pointy toes. My picks:

Saint Laurent Western Leather Ankle Boots

Chloe Annika Split Shaft Western Boot

Dad Sneakers are Back

Yes – you read that right. Dad sneakers have hit the runways, so be on the lookout for this modern take on thick-soled sneakers. These retro designs are a fun throwback to the past, and like past dad sneakers, they are either colorful or plain. It’s the sole and silhouette that matters. PS. Moms can pull these off! My picks:

Balenciaga Triple S Retro Sneaker

Jeffrey Campbell WiFi Sneaker

Animal Prints are Fierce

Animal prints are back, and they are fierce! As most savvy fashionistas know, a great animal print shoe is a great way to pack a statement. Trust me – every mom needs a shoe that represents her wild side. My picks:

Linea Paolo Posh II Pointy Toe Pump 

Christian Louboutin Moulamax Genuine Calf Hair Bootie

Combat Boots are All the Rage

You don’t have to be a rock star to rock a pair of combat boots. This year’s styles are similar to the styles we remember from our younger years. But, now we know how to wear them in a trendy, stylish way. My picks:

Fiveseventyfive Stud-Embellished Leather Combat Boots

Valentino Garavani Lock Leather Combat Ankle Boots

Shoes that Sparkle

As a girl who loves to sparkle, I am thrilled with all the glitter and jeweled shoes hitting the scene in 2018! Everything from pumps to sneakers is getting the royal jeweled treatment. My picks:

Manolo Blahnik Hangisi Jewel Pump

Gucci Flashtrek Jewel Sneaker at Nordstrom

Brown is the New Black

This summer, we saw tons of women embraced more tans with boho fashion, and that trend will not end now that fall has arrived. Make sure you have a great pair of brown shoes in your fall wardrobe to balance out all the black.

A pair of Tee Sandals by Betsey Johnson X Macy's

In collaboration with Macy’s.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #macysshoesTee Sandals by Blue x Betsey Johnson @ Macy's

Now the summer is finally here, and I’ve cleared some things in my closet during spring cleaning to make room for more… that special time of year has finally come where I can reinvent my summer shoe collection! What sense does it make to spend all this time cleaning is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow right?  During the summer it's important to have a pair of sandals for the evening so you can stand out and make a statement! It is such a diverse time of year where all these different events, weddings, and activities are always seeming to take place all in this one season.

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It’s pretty common for me to have weddings or special dinner occasions that I have to attend so it’s crucial that I find that go-to pair of heels in the beginning of the summer just so I feel more prepared for whatever is to come.  That's why when I saw these dazzling Evening Sandals from Blue by Betsey Johnson, they were exactly what I was looking for. While being versatile and simple, they still pack a statement with the stunning champagne glitter.  I'm a girl who loves to sparkle so the glitter fabric in silver and champagne is the perfect combination. It looks playful, yet elegant and the signature blue sole looks wonderful and eye catching on the shoe.  Wearing it definitely makes me feel glamorous and elegant, working perfectly for all day activities at night, whether it's an extravagant wedding or a simple ceremony.

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My go to place to get these evening sandals is definitely Macy’s. They have such a boundless selection with various different styles and all sizes.  It's easy to get these sandals either on their website or pick up at the store! Make sure these Blue Tee Evening Sandals by Betsey Johnson is part of your summer evening wardrobe!

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Shopping online @ Zappos x Munro shoes

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In collaboration with Zappos and Munro shoes.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I am on my feet literally all day because I work in the fashion industry and it requires me run/walk around all the time.  When I’m not working, I’m still running/walking and even chasing my kids around all the time.  It is essential that I wear shoes that are made for comfort throughout the day.  They also need to be stylish too so I can wear them on a casual walk with my girls but also be professional enough that I can wear it to work.  That’s why Munro shoes are so important and advantageous for me.  They strive on providing fashionable shoes that are considered ‘all day fashion’ for women just like me.  Shoes that are diverse and consistently comfortable all-day long.  Munro’s history of three generations as a family-owned and operated company making top quality footwear is enough for them to understand what it is woman want to be fashionably fit and comfortable. 

The shoe I like to put on for all occasions is the Munro Beth slide sandal.  It’s a single strap stretch sandal on a 1 inch heel and a very soft comfortable leather footbed.  It’s shock absorbent, flexible and the way it hugs the foot is very convenient putting on and taking off.  I can slip it on to go out with my girls and leave it on if I need a comfortable option for a night out.  At work, I love the Cuban heel and the sheep skin leather wrapped footbed that gives me the cushion I need to be on my feet all day. 

Zappos is a great place for me to pick up the Munro Beth sandals.  When it comes to shopping online, there are a few things I look for that will make my experience much better.  One thing that’s important is making sure that the website has a large amount of styles and stock for me to look at.  That way I don’t have to worry about not being able to find my size or not having access to the latest styles online.  How much is the shipping and how fast will it ship/arrive?  And most importantly, good customer service.  That’s what’s great about Zappos – they provide all of these things and more.  With world class customer service and a 365-day return policy (!!), it’s the that type of online shopping environment that I can trust.  Also included is fast and free shipping on all items making it easier for me when I’m impatiently waiting for my item!  Head over to Zappos and pick up a pair of these for yourselves!

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