Pre-fall 2014 collections have been rolling out over the last few weeks, and as always, they're filling that space of being the perfect in-between collections. Whether pulling in the last of summer like Michael Kors or embracing the approaching cold like Jenni Kayne, there's a lot of good to go around. I'm excited to see some of these things hit the sidewalks at the end of next summer, but I'm even more excited for some of them to hit red carpets in the coming weeks. Here are some of my all around faves from the season (click the photo for review and collection).
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3.1 Phillip Lim
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Dsquared
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Diane von Furstenberg
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Markus Lupfer
And an extra mention for best accessory: Alexander Wang's to-die-for over-the-knee boots.
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Front and back angles for your viewing pleasure.
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All images via Style.com.
 
 
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Images via: Instagram.com/ShopRyanPorter
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what it is: Ryan Porter jewelry
why I love it: A few months ago, my friend Maura gotthis bracelet at work. I loved the message and the idea of the childhood nostalgia-type jewelry that translated to a cool, one of a kind wear all the time bracelet. I always liked it, but never thought about where it came from after she told me she got it from work. Well, it broke after months of constant wearing and she loved it so much (understandably) that she's in the market for a new one. Luckily, I was around the other night when she started considering what the new one would say in earnest, because that's when I was introduced fully to the Ryan Porter brand. With endless options for messages, beads, chains/cords and charms, there are literally thousands of possibilities for any type of jewelry you're looking to buy. They're so well priced that the temptation to get a whole arm party full is actually attainable, and getting them for all your BFFs can actually happen (and may, in my case). They're just perfect to add a little tasteful youthfulness to any day and outfit. They can stand alone in the accessory game, but they also play well with others. Whether you're looking for a pop of color or more of a blend with the rest of your jewelry, they have options to fit every jewelry style. And it doesn't matter if you're looking to send a message to strangers, up your initial jewelry game or need some daily wisdom, you can say anything with these pieces. The only reason I haven't gotten one yet is because I'm deciding what I want it to say. Then "add to cart" will be happening immediately.
where to get it: ShopRyanPorter.com, prices vary (but are soooo reasonable)
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We've reached the end of the first week of December, which means the year is almost coming to a close, we're in the midst of the holidays and it's almost time to settle in for the rest of the winter, as in, the not as fun part that comes after the new year. My birthday might be over, but as always, the beginning of a month always reminds me of things I find missing in my closet. Especially now that cold weather has started to hit.
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tuxedo vest
These come in all color combinations, lengths and textures, and I've wanted one for a while. They're so great to wear over nice pants or dresses, and equally as good to wear over jeans. I like how Olivia has adorned hers with a brooch here. I love an item with options.
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Images via: (top) instyle.com (bottom) jcrew.com
metallic phone case
I'm due for a new phone case, and this one caught my attention when it was on black Friday sale. Unfortunately, I missed the sale, but I've still got my mind on this shiny, chrome-y, glamorous case to dress up my phone.
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knit turban
I have earmuffs that I love, but they're not so easy to fit into small bags, and sometimes they hurt after a while. I don't love hats much if I want to throw my hair up in the middle of the day, so a knit ear warmer turban is still stylish and does the job while still wearing a ponytail. Or not.
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Images via: (top) anthropologie.com (bottom) stylecaster.com
sequin pants
I had some sequin pants that I got for five dollars at a beauty sale years ago. Then I gave them away because they seemed "ridiculous" and I never wore them. Well I'm regretting that now because I think these are a fun way to dress up an outfit with some personality. Jenna Lyons does it well here wearing hers with toned down pieces, but especially around these times some fancy shoes and a fancy top work, too.
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Images via: (top) insidefmm.com, (left) fuddonline.com, (right) Lanvin via style.com
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Whether it's to make a statement about the fashion industry, demand and consumption, irony or some other reason, designers love to make creative jabs at unexciting everyday items. Designers also knows that the handbag is a mainstay of the female accessory repertoire and that the "it" bag has been a thing for as long as mass clothing production and distribution has been around. So they have a little fun with it.

Disposable bags are those items that serve a purpose and then you throw them away or reuse them, but they're decidedly unglamorous. I love how designers put a (pricey) spin on those things we usually don't give a second thought to. Whether it's leatherized plastic shopping bags, paper lunch bags or actual trash bags, everything is fair game. It might seem ridiculous that people actually spend hundreds of dollars on these, but I love a good play on the everyday as well as a bit of sartorial irony. The concept of a knockoff of these examples of bottom-up fashion is also pretty hilarious, but if I come across cheaper versions, I can't say I will pass them up.
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I have a very extensive accessory collection that I've been adding to for years, but it's been a while since I've bought anything new. There are a bunch of trends I've been eyeing to add to my inventory. Though I don't typically shop for accessories specifically, and usually pick them up as I see them, these are some things I'll have in mind when I'm out shopping in the near future.

midi/pinky rings
I'll admit that it took me a little while to get on board with this trend, but when I thought about the fact that it meant more opportunities to wear rings, I realized I needed to buy some immediately. I love the variety offered, and that some midi rings are big enough to wear as pinky rings. The more options the better. Urban Outfitters has a decent collection.
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Image via: Vogue.com
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Images via: BaubleBar.com
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nameplate/monogram necklace
I love the look of these layered with other necklaces of various lengths. These come in so many cool fonts, and there's nothing more personal and individual than something with your name or initials. The big monograms have been popular for the last few years, and I love the more modern look of this Bauble Bar one.
word necklace
Along the same lines as the name necklaces above, I love how unique these are. Actual words are so expressive, though, and add a certain type of quirk to an outfit. These are a nice alternative to a bib necklace if you're going for a different kind of look while still wearing a statement necklace. If only Lanvin would collaborate with a fast fashion retailer.
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Image via: Lanvin.com
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Images via: (top) JewelryBrief.com, (bottom) BaubleBar.com
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Images via: (top) Asos.com, (bottom) JenniferFisher.com
chain bracelets
I already love chain necklaces, but sometimes arm parties go better with certain outfits. I'm loving the look of delicate bracelets right now, but mixed with more bold pieces, sometimes the look is even better. These are classic and feminine with a little extra personality if worn alone, but are a type of neutral that work well amongst other jewelry styles when stacked or layered. 
embellished bib necklace
Bibs are one of the easiest ways to transform an outfit from basic to eye-catching, and I'm loving the ones covered in jewels. They come in all shapes, sizes, materials and colors, and dress up a casual outfit or add something really unique to a dressy outfit. It's an all-you-need accessory, and though they might seem a little bulky, they're worth the styling challenge.
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Images via: (left) DeniseFashionDesignerClothes.com, (right) KateSpade.com
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Image via: BaubleBar.com
unconventional initials
I love initials because, like name jewelry, they're something special and unique to you. Many places are getting modern beyond just the hanging charm with initial jewelry, and the new options are so interesting. This Bauble Bar necklace also comes in bracelet form. 
mismatched stud earrings
These are the easiest, most understated way to have a little fun with an outfit. There are tons of options, and if you want to add a little bit of interest to whatever you're wearing, they don't add weight or bulk, especially if you have multiple ear piercings. Buy a bunch of sets of matching ones and mix it up, or buy a set of mismatched ones and you can reflect your mood quietly with your accessories.
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Image via: CatbirdNYC.com
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Image via: CatbirdNYC.com
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Image via: UrbanOutfitters.com
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tiny skulls
Skulls could be the most goth of accessory charms, but the way they're done in dainty sizes on delicate chains in girly metals create the perfect irony. Worn alone or layered, these fun pieces are pretty but don't take themselves too seriously. The perfect kind of jewelry for day to day or making a dressed up look a little different.
hamsa  jewelry
I don't wear religious charms too often because I think they're a nice symbol during certain events or days. But I love the meaning behind the hamsa, as well as the look of the charm. I've seen so many beautiful ones in all sizes and designs, but I can't get enough of these tiny, unembellished ones for everyday wear. 
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Images via: (left) PeggyLi.com, (right) Etsy.com shop Lotus411
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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: 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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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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H&M jacket, TJ Maxx top, Gap leggings, Cole Haan (from Nordstrom Rack) boots
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Alexis Bittar ring (from Nordstrom Rack) (left), ring from random boutique (middle), Vintage necklace
Sometimes black and white is just so easy, and with unexpected items can still be very interesting. I found this top at TJ Maxx earlier this summer and loved that it looks so much more expensive than the $16 it cost, plus it's extremely versatile. Here I have it hanging loose over a pair of leggings that have a tuxedo stripe down the side, and layered under a sheer baseball jacket. I finished off the look with mid-calf black leather boots to give the outfit some edge, but counteracted that with some feminine, sparkly jewelry. I focused more on rings than a necklace because with the collar and the baseball jacket that has a smaller circular neck, there's already a lot going on in that area.
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