1 Pair of Shoes, 4 Looks: How to Style Silver Oxfords

I locked eyes with them from across the room as they glistened in the fluorescent lights, beckoning me closer. I was browsing through the racks at Zara’s summer sale when I spotted the most beautiful pair of silver oxfords. I thought to myself, “Dang, these would make me look like a rad mix of Michael Jackson and the Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. But there’s no way I could rock these…” So I walked away.

That night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the shoes, as I imagined the killer outfits I could rock with them. My rule of thumb about shopping is “If you’re still thinking about a pair of shoes (or dress, shirt, etc.) the next day, it was probably meant to be, so just go buy them.” Sure enough, I was still thinking about those silver shoes the next afternoon. So I vowed to go back to the Herald Square Zara in New York City to relive what was quite possible my only love-at-first-sight experience (besides the first time I saw Ramen noodle burgers at Smorgasburg, that is…). I waltzed in and beelined it to the back left corner to reunite with those shiny beauties, practically breaking into a sprint because of my excitement. But when I got there, my heart stopped. They weren’t there. And when I asked a sales associate, she told me they completely sold out the day before. My jaw dropped.

I wasn’t sure I would know how to love a pair of shoes again after that heartbreak, but that was until I discovered the perfect lookalike pair on ASOS.com.

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I decided to style four different outfits featuring these bad boys for any fashionista out there looking for some ~inspo.~ Whether you’re styling silver ballet flats, sneakers or brogues like mine, I hope these looks can get the creative juices a-flowin’ and inspire you to think outside the box when piecing together your outfit in the morning. Photo credz go to my gal pal, Brittany Valencic, who was incredibly patient with my inability to act like a normal human in front of the camera.

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Outfit of the Day: Valentine’s Day

For most single people, today is a nausea-inducing flurry of happy couples smothering you with their affection. They seemingly emerge from the woodwork to flood every coffee shop, restaurant and store to publicly celebrate their relationship, all in the name of love. For me, today has been a day of jamming to Webbie’s “Independent” and treating myself to some of my favorite things (shopping, coffee and Vietnamese food), all in the name of self-love.

As far as relationships go, I’m currently single as a Pringle and totally okay with it. As a senior in college, I’m in a transitional period of my life that doesn’t exactly set me up for romantic success. The “real world” is looming on the horizon, potentially drawing me to a new city to pursue my dreams of working in the print or online media industry. Plus, it doesn’t help that the selection pool of men in my college town is a jumbled mix of STD-carrying, frat tank-wearing asshats and socially awkward recluses. But that’s a whole other story in and of itself.

When I woke up this morning, I decided to get dressed to the nines for Valentine’s Day. I may have only gotten spruced up for myself and the random hipsters sitting near me right now in a coffee shop, but that’s okay. I’m a strong advocate of the adage “If you look good, you feel good.” And man, this outfit has me feeling like the spokeswoman for Nicki Minaj and Beyonce’s song “Feeling Myself.”

I encourage all you ~single ladies~ to mop up your self-pitying pool of tears and get out there to celebrate yourself today. Throw on a killer outfit that makes you feel confident, and rejoice in the fact that you don’t have to share your pizza with anyone (except your gal pals, of course)!

DSCN0905Say “cheeeeeeeeese!”

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Target x Who What Wear: My Favorite Items and How to Wear Them

This article was originally published on 20some.com.

On January 31, 2016, fashionistas around the globe celebrated the marriage of two amazing entities: Target (a discount retail store/the recipient of my paychecks) and Who What Wear (a fashion-forward digital hub/the source of on-trend style inspiration).

The two officially said “I do” months ago, and the collaboration has been in the works ever since. In January, we were tantalized with sneak peaksof the collection, which tested my patience and got me super excited all at the same time. But the two went public last Sunday, releasing the clothing line to more than 800 Target stores and online shoppers.

When I first heard of this collaboration, I thought to myself, “Yeah, okay… they’ll probably be selling T-shirts for, like, $80.” But to my surprise, the whole line is totally affordable for the average 20something, with all items ringing up at less than $50.

It’s chock-full of versatile basics as well as standout pieces, garnering inspiration from street style around the world. From button-downs and blazers to T-shirts and tunics, the items in this collection have the potential to be the building blocks of your everyday wardrobe.

While scrolling through the whole collection on Target.com, a few pieces stood out and were automatically added to my wish list — a striped T-shirt, a patterned pencil skirt and an oversized trench vest. But, as I always do before making a clothing purchase, I thought to myself: “Would you be able to get your money’s worth if you bought these?” And the answer for all three items was a resounding yes because, just like every item in the Target x Who What Wear collection, they can be worn for various occasions.

I decided to put my love for outfit styling to the test to see exactly how I could wear these items before actually buying them. With the help of my favorite website, Polyvore.com, here’s what I came up with.

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Fall/Winter Outfits Featuring Faded Days Sunglasses

I have to start this blog post in the most journalistically ethical way possible — by fully disclosing the fact that I was given these featured sunglasses for free. But I’ll also fully disclose the fact that my opinions are 100 percent true and unbiased. Alrighty, that’s out there on the table. Are you happy, FTC? My Ethics of Journalism teacher would be so proud right now.

I’ve never been much of a sunglasses connoisseur. I always prefer the Forever 21 knockoff Ray Bans rather than the real thing. Why? Well, for one, I’m a college student, so dropping $100 on sunglasses isn’t in the cards if I want to fulfill my Big Apple dreams. Aaaand secondly, I’m a college student, so things are bound to get lost or broken among my hectic day-to-day schedule. That’s why Faded Days sunglasses are so dope — they’re well made so it doesn’t feel like they’ll break when I shove them in my backpack, and they’re affordable enough to warrant me buying another pair in case they do break.

I’ve wanted to get back into blogging, so I figured the best way to showcase these beauties would be to pair them with some fall/winter outfits. I know, I know… fall is nearly over. But when you live in Florida, the seasons seem to sort of just blend together. Though cool breezes and rain showers come and go throughout the year, one constant in the Sunshine State is — you guessed it — sunshine! These rad tortoise sunglasses provide great UV protection and pair well with just about any outfit. With an eclectic wardrobe like mine, what more could I ask for?

Outfit #1: Shorts and a Sweater
The upper half of my body always tends to get colder than my legs in the event that Mother Nature graces us with temperatures below 70 degrees. Pairing a sweater with shorts may seem absurd in any other state, but in Florida it’s totally commonplace. This outfit looks cute with knee-high socks that are either worn above the knees or scrunched down with combat boots. The brown hues in these tortoise sunglasses mesh really well with the warm fall colors in this look.

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One dress, three outfits: Getting your money’s worth out of clothes

As soon as I bought this gorgeous ombré beauty of a maxi dress, I knew that it’d be hard to get me to take it off. I imagined myself sleeping, grocery shopping, working out, going to class and cleaning my house in this dress because of what I call the “Love At First Sight Effect.”

Okay, maybe that was slightly dramatic, but the bottom line is that I was super psyched to have found this hippie-esque, flowy dress at Urban Thread, a local Gainesville boutique. Before I buy something new, I always think about whether I have a sufficient amount of other clothes to wear with it to make sure I’d be getting my money’s worth. As I tried on this maxi in Urban Thread’s quaint little dressing room, the inspiration came flooding in. I realized I could wear it with a cozy knit sweater for a lunch date with friends or with fancy jewelry to dress up the casual nature of the dress for a nice dinner at home with my family.

I think it’s necessary for every gal and guy to do a mental run-through of his or her closet before buying something new to make sure the purchase is going to be worthwhile. If you’re thinking of buying a funky pair of pants or a chic fur vest but don’t have anything to wear with it, then you may need to rethink how bad you really want to drop $70 on a vest you’ll wear one time.

I’m sure you’re thinking, Okay, okay… I already know it’s important to spend my money wisely. Like, duh. But it’s also essential to think of outfit pairing options before making a purchase so you can partially escape the dreaded label of an “outfit repeater.” You can easily dodge that bullet just by adding or subtracting different layers and accessories to distract from the fact that you’re wearing the same dress you wore a week ago. If you have a dress you really love but barely wear because you’re sick of pairing it with the same old strappy sandals, then here are some options to give you some inspiration for how to wear it next.

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Outfit of the day: tribal overalls

Okay, so you’re probably thinking to yourself, “What the heck? Tribal overalls? That sounds hideous… Lemme check out this weirdo to see what this is all about.” I will admit that buying these online was a bit of a fashion risk for even me. But I figured that because I love anything and everything tribal printed and because overalls have been my guilty pleasure since I found a pair for $8 at Plato’s Closet three years ago that maybe combining the two trends into one could make for a rad outfit. Even though they’re a little eccentric, I think life is way too short to wear boring clothes. I mean YOLO right?

With Drake’s words of wisdom in the back of my head (like always, duh), I bought my tribal print overalls and finally decided to get some mileage on those bad boys today when I went to Ybor City for lunch. Though many are scared of Ybor because of its reputation for housing a plethora of “sketchy” people, I actually love the place. As the former home of cigar factories and thousands of Cuban and Italian immigrants, it’s rich in Tampa’s culture. I’m not denying its sketchy tendencies — My mom and I were once hit on by a real-life pimp wearing a floor-length purple pimp suit. Plus, I’ve encountered my fair share of transvestites and homeless people. But I can assure you that if you go during broad daylight around lunchtime, you’re golden.

And today, that’s exactly what I did. I went to lunch at The Bricks of Ybor, my go-to restaurant in the area. Owned by the Skatepark of Tampa, one of my favorite hangouts in town, The Bricks never fails to leave me with a happy tummy and wallet. Even though I usually opt for the pulled pork sandwich, I changed it up today by getting the Bird & Pig — a pulled chicken sandwich with brie, sliced apples, agave and bacon, all pressed between sweet bread (a.k.a. heaven in my mouth). The Bricks is a must-try if you’re into places that serve fresh, cheap and inventive food. Stay around until dark and you’re in for some ~groovy~ tunes and an even groovier atmosphere.

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Outfit of the Day: Not-So-Traditional Kimono

It really blows my mind how Americans have a way of… well, Americanizing things. Let’s take everyone’s guilty pleasure – pizza – as an example. When I had real pizza in Rome back in seventh grade, I was pretty shocked at how different it was compared to the Domino’s I was used to. My initial thoughts were, “Dang, Papa John is such a poser. This stuff is the bomb.com.” Authentic Italian pizza is lighter and less greasy, and the ingredients are actually fresh as opposed to the often frozen toppings that American pizza chains use.

Let’s be real. I could talk about pizza for hours (mostly because I’m having severe separation anxiety without Gainesville’s finest Pizza By The Slice just a mere five-minute walk from my apartment). But let’s bring it all back to the focus of my blog—fashion. A major style trend for the summer is the “kimono,” a lightweight jacket usually made of polyester or rayon. These Americanized “kimonos” are flowy, open in the front and are often used as a layer to add a little ~ooo lala~ to any basic outfit. I think it’s necessary to put quotes around the word when referring to these types of “kimonos” because they’re far from the real thing.

Our American version of a kimono pales in comparison to legit kimonos—floor-length Japanese robes that wrap around the body. According to an old article that I came across on BBC News, new kimonos usually cost nearly $2,000, which is just slightly out of my price range. I personally feel like it’s a bit of a stretch to call these cheaper American versions kimonos. I mean, look at this gal on the left. She’s covered head-to-toe in a killer garment that’s rich in Japanese culture. Though the girl on the right is no doubt stylish, her “kimono” just doesn’t stand a chance in terms of the real meaning of the word.

Image[photo credits: blog.coco-fashion.com and vampirextina.buzznet.com]

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