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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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(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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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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Images via (top to bottom): 5inchandup.com.blogspot.com, TheGloss.com via hm.com, StyleCaster.com
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Images via: ASOS.com, SarahKlassan.com, source unknown via Pinterest.com
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Images via: Aparment34.com, ThePrancingFox.com via Vogue Magazine, Burberry.com
As real winter weather approaches more and more quickly and the desire to stay in bed grows hard to fight, the most direct route to comfortable, warm dressing becomes the priority in the morning. We won't be feeling real spring until possibly the end of April, and as much as we might want to, it's really not an option (nor does it help any sort of winter-induced depression) to live in sweats and Uggs for six-ish months. So, we're pretty lucky this season because we can go with the next best thing. 

Obviously, sweaters have always been winter's go-to, but this season sweaters are made of thick knits and are oversized as ever. Whether they're crew necked, turtlenecked, long sleeved, batwing sleeved, or otherwise stylized, they'll work. Forget just wearing them with skinny jeans or leggings and boots (which obviously works!), sweaters over a-line and pencil skirts, boyfriend jeans, maxi dresses, leather leggings, layered over shirts, under leather jackets and more are the preferred methods of pairing for these heavy winter items. You don't even have to give them up when dressing up. The street stylers (and one model) above got the look exactly right.

Cheap options are all over if you want to stock up, but pricier (and, frankly, better quality) choices are available, too if you want to be sparing with your collection. Get started with some great choices at Uniqlo, H&M, Joe Fresh, J.Crew, Club Monaco and ASOS. But they really are everywhere right now, so browsing around will offer much success. I just picked up this one, this one and this one over the weekend (I know, I went a little crazy). 
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Top image: Tibi blouse, via: 9to5chic.com Bottom image: Tibi top and skirt, via: Tibi.com
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Top image: Tibi dress, via: Atlantic-Pacific.blogspot.com Bottom image: Tibi top and skirt, via: Tibi.com
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Top image: Tibi top, via: source unknown from Pinterest.com/Tibi Bottom image: Tibi dress, via: Atlantic-Pacific.blogspot.com
what it is: Tibi
why I love it: Midi master and structural genius brand Tibi pops up all the time in street style and on fashion blogs, and for good reason. Famous for vibrant, solid, sculptured pieces as well as loud and proud prints in feminine and flowy shapes, the brand has so many genres covered. The solid basics serve as the perfect foundation for outfits, whether they're kept simple or layered over and over. The printed pieces are ideal for standing alone or part of pattern mixing and offsetting neutrals and basics. Expertise in fit and silhouette makes every item look thoughtfully designed and well constructed, with nuanced details like perfectly placed pleats and peplums as well as the perfect amount of flare. Not to mention the shoes, which are just as structural and versatile and make you wonder how you lived without them once you see a new pair. I wouldn't complain about adding an item (or five) (or more) to my closet.
where to get it: Tibi.com
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Zara vest, image via: CamilleOverTheRainbow.com
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Zara top, image via: SongofStyle.com
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Zara top and skirt, image via: Fashionvibe.net
There is no limit to the number of reasons why Zara is great. It's the pricier but better quality fast fashion cousin of H&M and Forever 21, the silhouettes are fashion forward, flattering and can trick any number of untrained (and trained, for that matter) eyes into thinking you're sporting designer duds. Who wouldn't want that?

Well, it seems that most fashion fans also have this idea. As I skim different fashion blogs and street style outlets for looks I want to write about for outfit lab, the H&Ms and Forever 21s start to become less and less as the blogger becomes more well known, more successful and starts to receive gifts. However Zara usually stays strong. The three bloggers above blog from London/Paris, LA/San Francisco and Barcelona respectively, so it's definitely not a regional trend, and when street style stars are photographed outside shows, a good amount of Zara makes it in amongst the designers that prevail. 

The sophisticated structure, thoughtfully placed colors and grown up patterns that still manage to be fashion forward, not to mention relatively successful and abundant runway copies (or close enough) make Zara a go-to for all items from basics to outerwear as well accessories. Zara works as a stand alone, even their plain items speak for themselves and are bold enough to carry an outfit, but the basic nature and good construction of each item also makes them ideal for layering and manipulating and styling as each person desires.

This common thread that runs internationally really speaks volumes about the brand, and it helps explain why when I walk into any Zara store I have to aggressively talk myself out of purchases in order to maintain a balance in my bank account.
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Image via: Streetwinker.com/winks
I've been having so much fun browsing through the Street Winker + Ted Baker site with fun share-able GIFs, Ted Baker street style and videos. Go take a look here and click the tags on top to browse through the site's features!