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Image via: ArtistsandFleas.com
Last summer, I met a friend for lunch and she was wearing a brand new necklace with a charm from her home state that she boasted was inexpensive and amongst a whole market inside Chelsea Market. Always on the search for meaningful jewelry that's easy to wear with anything, I jumped at the idea of browsing this same market. For one reason or another, I didn't make it down there until recently, and it was a delay I instantly regretted. The Artists & Fleas market at the back of Chelsea Market, which adds new vendors every two weeks (and keeps existing ones), offers so many different types of goods that are fun to browse and easy to pick up during a day shopping in the city. 

You'll find mostly jewelry, and I picked up a "New York hearts Ohio" necklace from Brooklyn Charm for a very reasonable price. They have jewelry trays of all different types of charms and chains of all different lengths so you can pick what you want and have your own personalized necklace in a matter of minutes. Their state charms are popular, and I love mine because it's a nice little reminder to throw on during days I'm a little homesick. Jewelry ranges from very dainty and high quality (with prices to match) to artsy and fun for those craftier people.

Jewelry isn't all, though, vintage and newly designed clothes and accessories, scarves, snarky graphic pouches, bags, home goods and even tech accessories are all things you'll find at this little market. There are tons of opportunities for great gifts with the holidays coming up and it's always fun to look and take mental inventory. I'm going to have to go back soon and pick up some rings
 
 
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Forever 21 (men) button shirt, Forever 21 dress, Joe Fresh tights, TJ Maxx boots
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Urban Outfitters double chain reverse cameo necklace, Kate Spade exclamation point necklace, Dakota Watch Company watch
I'm savoring these days of relative warmth because I'm not sure how long they'll last now that we're nearing December. These are some of my favorite and most versatile items of clothing I own, so I'm glad they can work together. First, the dress. My mom actually picked this dress off of a messy rack at Forever 21 and tried to force it on me because this simple shift dress in classic navy and white stripes is really not my style. Once I tried it on and it fit perfectly, though, I decided to go for it. It's an all-seasons dress that works just as well on its own with flat sandals as it does with a blazer or cardigan and heels for a more polished look. But I'm not so inclined to polished on a regular basis, so here I go for a little irony by tying up a men's flannel at the waist for some slouchy layers and pattern mixing. Gray tights act as a neutral connection between the top part of the outfit and these loose-fitting heeled boots that add a relaxed coolness to an outfit. The tied shirt leaves the front part of the dress visible, so I break it up with layered long necklaces and add a little bit of business with a mixed metal boyfriend watch. There's a lot of styles going on in this outfit, but keeping some of the polish while layering other styles iss what makes things interesting here.
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Image via: TheCut.com
This picture of Gwen Stefani is actually really old, but the outfit seems surprisingly modern. I'm on a bit of a dressy kick this week, and shorts with tights deserve a mention because I hate for the seasons to limit what I can or can't wear. Tights make shorts possible in the cold temps, and I think Gwen's mostly black look here is great for the upcoming colder months. The tie, to me, is the only dated/questionable thing about this outfit, and it's an easy accessory to lose. Besides that, the buttoned collar with statement necklace and cool belt really add dressy personality to this look and the heels finish off the formal feel. It's definitely a bold look, but keeping the colors understated except for the shorts and just the accessories bold pull it together and make it appropriate for those upcoming holiday parties or just any winter night out.
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Oh, the man coat. It's tricky because how many is too many to own? Well, you should honestly probably own at least three legit winter coats. But then it gets messy with other seasons. Let's stick with the winter three. 

Get a casual coat that keeps you warm. It's up to you which form this can take (puffer, windbreaker, quilted, etc), but it just needs to be warm and good quality. And probably have a hood if you're opposed to other head warming options. The other two might seem redundant, but once you have to wear a suit in the freezing cold, you'll know why you need both a shorter and longer nice coat. The shorter one, like a pea coat type style, can be worn in both nicer and more casual situations. These pair well with scarves and should be purchased in a versatile color, like navy, black or gray. Patterns are okay in moderation. The coat should look good with all of your casual to nice clothes. The longer one should work over all your suits. Nothing ruins a look like your suit jacket or blazer being longer than your coat. Awkward. Now for option examples:
casual
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Canada Goose
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The North Face
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Patagonia
short
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Brooks Brothers
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Bonobos
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Todd Snyder
long
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J.Crew
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Paul Smith
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Banana Republic
These are, obviously, just a few examples of successful coat choices. Anywhere from your favorite store to your aspirational label will make outerwear, though not always in every variety. Shop around until you find some you like. Needless to say, cheaper ones aren't going to be as good of quality, but just because a coat is expensive doesn't mean it will keep you adequately warm. Try it on! You should be uncomfortably warm if you're wearing it inside for too long. Remember to consider fit, especially since this is going to be layered over your entire outfit. Then shop for the perfect scarf.

Just a quick note on other seasons: it's a good idea to own a trench coat plus another lighter coat, which can most likely be casual, for spring and fall. And don't forget vests! These come in handy during transitional times, too.
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(1) Max Mara (and Dorothy Gaspar gloves), (2) Armani. Images via (top to bottom): Eonline.com, source unknown
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(1) Olivia's coat/accessory wardrobe, (2) Ann Demeulemeester, (3) Ralph Lauren. Images via: ScandalMoments.com (top 2), RalphLauren.tumblr.com
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(1) Tory Burch, (2) Salvatore Ferragamo, (3) Burberry Prorsum. Images via: Eonline.com, VodkaInfusedLemonade.com, TalkingWithTami.com
By now, it's obvious that I wish Olivia Pope was real and that I go into a shallow depression every week once I'm done watching Scandal. There is just so much to learn from her, especially from her carefully thought out wardrobe choices (which aren't fictional!). Olivia is always walking purposefully to destinations around Washington, D.C. putting out fires, and it's not a city without seasons. Most of the Scandal year, we see Olivia in a number of different coats, and when you see a nice, well-tailored coat over an equally nice outfit, it's inspiring to up your outerwear game.

I hate coats for many different reasons, but I now understand the need for nice looking outerwear. When I see Olivia patrolling the city streets in various lengths, colors and styles of coats, I'm reminded that coats can really enhance a look, or ruin one when they're not quite right. Take some notes from Olivia, then fill the several empty hangers in your coat closet. I didn't realize how many coats a person really should have until I moved to Chicago, (short, long, casual, formal, sort of casual/sort of formal...my head will start spinning) and though they're not cheap, they last and are an important investment. Once you get to a certain age or stage in your career, that slightly too small puffer coat that doesn't quite cover the bottom of your blazer or cardigan just doesn't quiiiiite match your sophistication level. Or at least the one you're trying to convince people you have achieved.

Olivia is always well-equipped for any level of chill, and her coats always look nice with her outfits. They're long enough to cover whatever is underneath and they can trick someone into thinking they are actually part of her outfit, which is the key. Whenever you get a coat, it should be versatile enough to wear with several different outfit combinations. Shorter and longer nice coats are extremely important for wear over both dresses/skirts and pants, and the neckline of the coat should complement the type of clothes you usually wear. If a lower cut neck opening adds confusion to your look, get one with a high neck closure. If you have an abnormal waist and a belted coat doesn't look quite right, get one that's well tailored using buttons and darts and ditch the belt. 

Most real humans don't need quite as many coats as Olivia, but she has such a variety and wears them so thoughtfully that it's a good idea to use her for guidance and to kind of shop a look for you. If you're meeting someone new during the colder months, the coat is their first impression of how you present yourself, so make it as good of a choice as Olivia always does.

Shop some Olivia look-alikes for her feminine, structured and indulgent outerwear look. Try this, this and this for some similar looks (I'm pretty sure that trench is one she's worn on the show). And if you can't get her Burberry duplicate, Gap has a worthy reasonable alternative.
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Image via: eatsleepwear.com
Monochrome can be tough, especially with dark winter colors. The key is keeping the silhouette simple and doing what you can with subtle patterns and textures, as well as using a color that actually works with the monochrome look. The blogger behind Eat.Sleep.Wear masters the look well with a textured, slouchy sweater and patterned skinnies of the same color. She finished the look off well with matching black shoes and bag, both with what the mags would call "luxe" details, adding to the rich tones and textures in the outfit without overpowering them. The black was a good choice because it's simple and understated. Black is never a bad choice, but it was particularly good here because it doesn't compete, and more oxblood would have been too much and potentially costume-y. This is a sweater/jeans/flats look that is elevated both by a trend and by being dressed up with details like the captoe and tapestry pattern on the colored jean. This is something that's great to keep in mind during quick mornings, because just because your outfit seems simple or casual on paper, doesn't mean it translates to that in person. Get creative with the traditional!
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Tonight was everyone's favorite men want to be with/women want to be situation: the Victoria's Secret fashion show. This sparkly, pink, musical runway peppered with celebrity models and a crowed filled with model celebrities and fashion people is the most commercialized of fashion shows/parties and undoubtably a great time. The zoom-happy, televised version will air December 10th on CBS when the country (and world?) can get backstage and showtime close-up shots of giant wings, gravity defying platforms, mind bending lingerie contraptions and the result of models' grueling show beauty and diet preparation (aka non-human perfection). Until then, we'll have to do with our favorite square, filtered visuals and crippling FOMO.
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Image via: instagram.com/victoriassecret
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Image via: instagram.com/constjablonski
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Image via: instagram.com/KarlieKloss
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Image via: instagram.com/elleusa
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Image via: instagram.com/victoriassecret
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Image via: instagram.com/sarasampaio
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Image via: instagram.com/victoriassecret
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Image via: instagram.com/blaireadiebee
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Image via: instagram.com/constjablonski
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Image via: instagram.com/angelcandices
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Image via: instagram.com/manrepeller
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Image via: instagram.com/allure_magazine
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Image via: instagram.com/KarlieKloss
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Image via: instagram.com/victoriassecret
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Image via: instagram.com/nixcruz
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Image via: instagram.com/jlminkoff
And check out #VSfashionShow for lots more Instagrams from behind the scenes and the runway.
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Image via: TheReformation.com
what it is: Reformation "Ozone Dress"
why I love it: I really can't get enough of slip dresses. I think they're so feminine but cool, and they achieve a stylish, sexy look so simply. This one is no exception. It comes in other colors and patterns, but I like this "eggplant" color trimmed in black. It's perfect for fall with black tights and biker boots with a leather jacket, but it's easy to dress up with strappy heels and sandals for a night out. The neckline and mostly open back invite a daring nothing underneath and necklaces layered in the deep V, but also the possibility for a bandeau or bralette, as well as a t-shirt orlong sleeved tee for a daytime feel. If it feels to skimpy in daytime for spring or summer, throw on a denim or tuxedo vest with flat sandals or oxfords for a boyish look. This dress is just so versatile and easy, inviting layering, simplicity, femininity and, most importantly, effortlessness. 
where to get it: The Reformation, $188
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Image via: ayr.com
Bonobos is one of my favorite menswear brands. They started as a way for guys with a little more junk in the trunk to find pants that fit, and the brand has evolved into a large selection of well designed, well fitting and well priced options. I've directed several guys to this site because their pants tend to fit taller and more athletic guys well. Jeans these days don't seem to be for men who work out much. But enough about the boys.

As of today (supposedly, the website still isn't really up), I'm sooo excited about the brand's offerings for women, called All Year Round, or AYR. For now, it's just jeans, which we know should be successful due to the grief many women go through to find well fitting and flattering pants. In 2014 the brand will release a full collection for women. All I have to say about that is: get. excited. I definitely am.

Via: TheCut.com
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Image via: Markus Lupfer
Few things are better than waking up knowing you can spend the whole day in sweats, especially in the winter. Unfortunately, those days don't come very often, so you have to get creative. Creative options usually don't skew so feminine, but Markus Lupfer had the right idea when designing his spring/summer 2014 collection, which this look comes from. This girl looks effortlessly cute and casual as well as extremely comfortable. The length of the sweatshirt and choice of a-line pleated skirt make it so the little-embellished swing top still flatters. Though it's very plain, it's still a bold look with the satin pink panel and shoulder detailing. Accessorizing is optional, some necklace layering could dress this up, but it doesn't need it, as seen here. Mary Jane style flats keep this look young, tasteful and fun. Who needs to wait until spring for this look?
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