Leah's Fabulous Finds
Inspiring women

Spring Fashion Trends

Posted on: March 6th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

Spring is upon us which means it’s time to give your wardrobe a refresh.  If you’re done traveling to cooler weather destinations, move your warmer apparel to the back of the closet and rotate your spring and summer clothing to the front.  Before packing away sweaters and coats, wash or dry clean items so they are ready for next season.

When trying a new trend, make sure they’ll blend easily into your current wardrobe.  Before buying a new item, envision three outfits the new piece can be worn with.  If you can only think of one, then let it go as you’ll get minimal wear out of it and it will spend more time hanging in your closet than being worn.

Below are a few of the hottest trends for spring to get your wardrobe ready for the season.

Hot pink, statement sleeves and bold ear candy from Delpozo Spring 2017

Hot pink, statement sleeves and bold ear candy from Delpozo Spring 2017

All Things Pink

At the top of my list for spring must-haves is hot pink.  Girly girls will rejoice this season as the color is making a major statement from bright fuschia to dusty rose, pretty in pink is the unofficial color of the season. Break out all your prettiest pinks this spring for casual outings to the beach and more formal evening occasions.

Statement Sleeves
The cold shoulder was big in 2016, but this season, statement sleeves ranged from eighties inspired puffball sleeves, single shoulder cutouts, flouncy ruffles, bell sleeves, and voluminous rounded shoulders.  This spring it’s all about proportion with lots of attention on your arms. Look for blouses, shirt dresses and knitwear with lots of sleeve style.

Graphic Stripes

Nautical stripes are a spring staple typically found in bright whites and classic navy.  This season stripes are bright and bold in criss-cross patterns, vibrant geometric prints, and rainbow-bright hues.  Stripes are no longer your classic basic, they’ve received a jolt of energy in graphic primary colors that stand all on their own.  Pair these bold prints with minimal accessories to let the pattern take center stage.

Metallics

Sequins and metallics are usually reserved for holidays and New Year’s Eve parties but this spring, designers are loving head-to-toe gold and silver.  For a modern feel, pair a metallic skirt with a graphic stripe or bright floral pattern along with chic sneakers for a more casual look.

Floral

Florals are a classic must-have for spring, but this season gives blossom prints a seventies spin with bright contrast hues such as pink, orange and green in feminine silhouettes.  If you’re wearing head-to-toe floral with a bright dress, opt for classic accessories such as a metallic or neutral sandal or wedge.

Athleisure

Atheisure got a sexy upgrade this season with body hugging knits that outline every curve.  Leggings are another classic sportswear that’s been reinvented this season.  This ready-to-wear basic was found on the runway in velvet, lace and spandex for a high fashion feel.  And don’t forget about the hoodie.  You’ll find hoodies on jackets, vests and shirts for a laid-back feel.

Statement Earrings

Over-the-top ear candy is everywhere this spring.  These statement-makers are the accessory of the season.  Go big or go home this spring when it comes to your ears.  Pair these decadent, brightly colored earrings with a simple romper and sandals for a chic look.

Happy Shopping!

Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

Posted on: February 10th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

Every year on February 14, Valentine’s Day is celebrated between loved ones and friends.  Outside the United States, Valentine’s Day is observed in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia.  The first valentine was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was a prisoner in the Towner of London.  The poem read:

I am already sick of love

My very gentle Valentine…

Although a bit somber compared to the joyous and love-filled cards of today, the Duke appears to have been quite the romantic, writing over 60 love poems to his wife over his 25-year imprisonment.

Today, Valentine’s Day is marked by the exchange of cards and gifts.  The National Retail Federation predicts consumers will spend $18.2 billion in celebration of this holiday and the Greeting Card Association estimates more than 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.  Although the gifts of cards, candy, flowers, jewelry and dinner out is always a great way to celebrate this holiday, below are a few suggestions for showing your love in a different way.

Donate

In lieu of a traditional gift, make a donation to a worthy cause on behalf of your significant other.  There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations in the Keys doing amazing work and they are always in need of more funds to help those in need.

Volunteer

Those same organizations also need volunteers to help achieve their mission.  Spend a few hours with your love doing good is sure to provide lots of good vibes and natural highs.  Also, the best gift is the gift of spending quality time together.

Create

Get the kids involved and create your own valentines, art work and love poems.  These are the type of valentines that you’ll remember and that your family will treasure for years to come.

Shop Local

By shopping local, you help support local businesses in Monroe County.  When you shop local, more of your money stays closer to home building stronger communities by creating jobs, funding community services through sales tax, and investing in neighborhood improvement.  Local businesses also support our local services by donating to our Florida Keys not-for-profits through sponsorships, donations, and silent auctions items.  Your dollars really do go farther when you spend them locally.

Happy Valentine’s Day.

2017 Color of the Year

Posted on: January 29th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

Every year, Pantone, the global color authority, selects a color of the year which influences fashion and design trends for the year ahead. Pantone recently announced their selection for 2017, a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade called Greenery.

According to Pantone, this refreshing shade is symbolic of new beginnings and illustrative of the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew.

Last year Pantone selected two colors of the year that would represent 2016: Rose Quartz and Serenity.  These winning hues were meant to be combined for a combination that is a bit feminine and masculine at the same time.

Past Pantone colors of the year include Marsala, Radiant Orchid, Emerald, and Tangerine Tango which had great influence over fashion styles and décor trends.

Greenery is a hue flourishing in nature that has also been incorporated into fashion, makeup, automobiles, art, and home décor.  Find this leafy green color in the recently launched Mercedes-AMG GT Roadster and in Dior’s new lip shade, clover.  Designers including Emlio Pucci, Lacoste and Gucci all used this tone in their 2017 spring collections.

New Mercedes AMG GT Roadster comes in Leaf Green

New Mercedes AMG GT Roadster comes in Leaf Green

From an interior design perspective, decorating your home in Greenery is a great way to bring the outdoors in.  Paint a wall in this revitalizing shade or add it to a room through artwork, throw pillows and accents.  Enliven your space by adding this shade into your environment through leafy plants and succulents.

Called nature’s neutral, Pantone Greenery is a versatile color that in fashion can be worn year-round.  Pair it with neutrals such as white, tan, black or gray or with similar vibrant tones such as brights, jewel tones, and metallics.  My favorite pairing of this color is with bold prints.  The spring 2017 runways were filled with prints in Greenery. Michael Kors embraced Greenery in a vintage inspired blue, white and leafy green floral dress with a vibrant green colored vest worn over top.  Max Mara used the color Greenery in a tropical print with black accents, and Balenciage designed a dress with a bold print reminiscent of the 70s with orange, purple and red florals on a vibrant green backdrop.

Michael Kors Spring 2017

Michael Kors Spring 2017

Max Mara Spring 2017

Max Mara Spring 2017

Balenciaga Spring 2017

Balenciaga Spring 2017

This spring, surround yourself with the color of nature by wearing, applying and redecorating with the color Greenery.

 

 

The Love of Vintage

Posted on: January 17th, 2017 by Leah No Comments

My love of vintage started after my grandmother died and lovingly bequeathed her vintage jewelry to me.  I can remember playing with her earrings, necklaces, and brooches as a child. I was fascinated by the bright colors, sparkling gems and unique compilations of her vintage baubles.  Each piece seemed to have its own story and to this day, I love wearing her jewelry knowing she had worn them a lifetime before.

Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Albert and is credited with making white a popular color for wedding attire.

Queen Victoria wore a white wedding dress for her wedding to Prince Albert and is credited with making white a popular color for wedding attire.

Since then, my love of vintage has grown and my own collection now includes vintage clothing, evening clutches, fur collars, and costume jewelry.  For my wedding, I wore a vintage veil and feather headpiece formerly worn by a professional ballroom dancer in the 1940’s.  This timeless piece was my “something old” in the adage guiding brides to wear “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue” on their wedding day.  And it remains one of my most prized possessions.

Leigh Anne Brown is also an avid vintage collector who began collecting vintage clothing more than 20 years ago.  Her passion for vintage led her to start collecting vintage wedding dresses to which she has amassed more than 75 dresses from different decades.  What is most unique about her collection is that the dresses represent the average American bride.  They are not elaborate, they instead demonstrate what was happening politically and culturally that affected the styles of that time.

For Leigh Anne, the art of the dress is as important as the history of each piece.  Her oldest dresses are from 1890 and show the transition from Victorian style.  Others reflect the sociopolitical issues of the time such as during World War II – when zippers were not used because they were made into bullets.

Through Leigh Anne’s collection, you see the progression and evolution of women by each decade.  The dresses are not changing shapes and styles simply because a designer changed the silhouette.  A woman’s choice on her wedding day is influenced by economics, politics, war, education, family and societal expectations.

On Friday, January 27 the Florida Keys chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will host a luncheon at the Hilton Key Largo Resort where Leigh Anne Brown will speak about the History of Fashion.  She’ll have 25 wedding gowns on display from her collection sharing stories of each bride, demonstrating how politics, economics, and education have shaped women’s wedding gown choices throughout history.

Tickets are $50.  Call 443-631-2551 for more information or RSVP to FLKEYSDAR@gmail.com.

 

Celebrating the Holidays in Style

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

Tis the season for cookie baking, tree decorating, and Christmas caroling.  It’s also the season for party planning, menu prepping, and all around celebrating.  There is no better time of year for getting together with friends and family while counting your many blessings.  To help you get into the holiday spirit, I’ve prepared a few tips to help you turn up the sparkle this holiday season.

Get Dressed Up

Glitter, gold and everything bold should be your mantra this holiday season. In the Florida Keys, we don’t have a lot of opportunities to get dressed up but the holidays are a perfect time to do so.  Accessories are a great way to sparkle over the holidays.  Add some statement necklaces with extra bling or a sequin clutch bag to your holiday party attire.  Instead of an LBD, look for flirty dresses in metallic shades for a glammed up look.  My favorite bold accessory is lipstick.  The holidays are a great time to try a new shade in a deep burgundy wine or bold red.  Although Keys Casual is the norm, I believe its always better to be over dressed than under – so go for it!

Come Bearing Gifts

Attending the many fetes this time of year will certainly put you in the festive spirit, but it also means finding the perfect hostess gifts. Your best bet is to always have a few things on-hand so as not to show up empty-handed.  In lieu of a bottle of wine, opt for a bottle of champagne which is more special and festive.  I always keep a few bottles of champagne in the fridge as life’s great moments should always be celebrated with a toast and some bubbly.

For a more unique gift, opt for a Christmas ornament for your host.  Shell World in Key Largo carries an array of ornaments that are both traditional and Florida Keys themed.  I love to gift high heeled shoe ornaments for my fashionista friends and beachy Santa ornaments to my friends up north.  I know each year when they see that ornament, they’ll think of me and the friendship we share.

Key Largo Chocolates

Key Largo Chocolates

Another great hostess gift can be found at Key Largo Chocolates.  Buy a box of handmade truffles in decadent flavors including Key Lime, Sea Salt Caramel and Caribbean spice. These chocolates are sure to be the gift the hostess will enjoy the most.  If you’re traveling over the holidays, I highly recommend bringing a box with you to your destination.  Your host will be grateful for the delicious treat.

 

Holiday Spirits

If you’re hosting a party, serve a festive themed drink as guests arrive.  Or if you prefer your holiday drinks made to order, head to Old Tavernier Restaurant and have them shake up a Candy Cane or Christmas Thyme martini.

Old Tavernier Restaurant Candy Cane and Christmas Thyme Martini

Old Tavernier Restaurant Candy Cane and Christmas Thyme Martini

Christmas Thyme Martini Recipe from Old Tavernier

Frist, you’ll want to make your Rosemary Thyme simple syrup.  Boil 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 4 sprigs rosemary, 6 sprigs thyme and then let steep 10 minutes to dissolve sugar.

Mix ½ oz. of your rosemary thyme simple syrup with 4 oz. vodka and 1 oz. cranberry juice.

Shake, then strain into sugar rimmed Martini glass. Top with Prosecco or champagne and garnish with cranberries on a rosemary sprig.

Cheers and happy holidays!

 

My Favorite Things

Posted on: December 5th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

It’s that time of year to pick out a few special gifts for your family and friends.  Holiday shopping can seem stressful but remember that these gifts are meant to show your love and appreciation for the special people in your life.  No matter the gift, large or small, it’s the thought that counts.

When considering which gifts to purchase this year, I decided to create my own favorite things list for some holiday inspiration.  I have a few hard-to-buy-for people in my life that make gift buying a challenge.  When considering gifts for these people, I opt for experiences.  After all, life isn’t about the things we have, its about the stories and things we’ve experienced.

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Here are a few of my favorite things.

  1. Celebrations are meant to be enjoyed with champagne and there is no time better to enjoy bubbles than over the holidays.  Head to Corks & Curds, the new wine shop and wine bar in Key Largo with gourmet cheese and meats, wines by the glass, and a great selection of wine and champagne.  Also, be sure to check their event schedule, as they frequently host tasting events.
  2. One-of-a-kind handmade jewelry. If you’re looking for something unique for those on your holiday list, head to Peace of Tibet at their new location next to Chef Michael’s at 81661 Old Highway in Islamorada for gorgeous handcrafted jewelry by Renzen Dekiy.
  3. Key lime pie with meringue. The key lime pie from the Blonde Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory in Tavernier is simply the best and I’m not the only one who thinks so.  They were voted by travelers on TripAdvisor as having the best key lime pie in the Florida Keys!  Consider key lime pie as a hostess gift for your next holiday party or pick-up some of their sweet key lime candies for stocking stuffers.
  4. Embrace your inner artist. Head to uCumbe Boutique in Islamorada for an array of adult coloring books sure get the creative juices flowing.  In addition, The Banyan Tree in Islamorada offers group paint sessions on Wednesday evenings.  Bring a beverage and $25 to paint.  Fun for you and as a way to celebrate the holidays with friends.
  5. Hazelnut Lattes. Café Moka makes the best hazelnut lattes.  Their extra large mugs and comfortable chairs are divine for lazy Saturday mornings.  Don’t skip the pastries and if you stay long enough for lunch, make sure to try the Prosciutto Brie sandwiches. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
  6. Red lipstick. Feeling put together is a struggle when you’re raising a toddler. Applying red lipstick makes me feel instantly fabulous.  My favorite is NARS Pure Matte Lipstick in Vesuvio- full bodied red.  Its stays in place for most of the day and its skinny tube makes for easy application.  If you’ve yet to go red, its time to try this festive color.
  7. Sunset on the boat. When friends and family visit, we always try to help them experience the best of the Florida Keys. Taking in a sunset from the boat is pretty spectacular.  If you’re looking for gift ideas for your relatives, send them a picture of a sunset and a nice bottle of wine and let them now that your gift includes hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and a sunset by boat on their next visit.
  8. Fabulous sunglasses. Sunglasses get a lot of wear in the Florida Keys so why not find a few pairs that are big, bold and in a fun color.  After all, a girl can never have too many accessories.  Head to Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada for a variety of pairs for you and those on your list.
  9. Luxurious soaps that smell great, leave my hands soft and don’t cost a fortune. Stop into Morada Pure for their organic liquid castile soap in your choice of scent including lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, lemon + mint and key lime.
  10. Family and Friends. This time of year, I’m always incredibly thankful for my wonderful family and friends.  My husband and 15-month old son are my two favorite people and I’m so grateful to have them in my life.

I hope my list of favorite things gave you some gift ideas.  If you’re still stumped on what to buy, try making your own favorite things list.  There is nothing more fun than receiving the gift of trying a new place or new experience recommended by someone you love.

Happy Holidays.

Black Friday Sales You Won’t Want to Miss

Posted on: November 24th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

I have a confession to make. I hate holiday shopping.  The long lines, abundance of shoppers, and packed parking lots instantly turns me into the Grinch.  Lucky for us, we live in the Florida Keys, far far away from those crazy shopping malls packed with overzealous holiday bargain hunters.

Our shopping options consist of beautiful boutiques expertly curated with everything on your shopping list. For a pleasant shopping experience this holiday season, take a look below at a few Florida Keys boutiques offering Black Friday and Small Business Saturday sales you won’t want to miss.

Banyan Tree Boutique in Islamorada is offering 50% off all sale clothing, jewelry and gifts.

DK’s Style Hut and DK’s Beach Boutique in Marathon will be offering 25% off everything in both stores.

D-Luxe Boutique in Islamorada is offering 25% off new arrivals and 50% off the rest of the store.

Islamorada Mercantile will be offering a sale and special deals on their colorful, easy to wear dresses and beautiful Vera Bradley Bags.

Vera Bradley bags are on sale at Islamorada Mercantile

Vera Bradley bags are on sale at Islamorada Mercantile

Miss Monroe Boutique and uCumbe at Village Square at Trading Post in Islamorada will be having their 3rd annual Black Friday weekend sale Friday – Sunday with 25% off everything in both stores plus door buster deals.

Wild Lily Boutique in Islamorada is having their annual tent sale on Black Friday continuing to small business Saturday with extra incentives for American Express cardholders.

Zero Dress Code Boutique in Islamorada will be offering an early bird tent sale on Black Friday starting at 8 a.m.

Once you’ve shopped at your favorite local boutiques, for Black Friday or Small Business Saturday, the next best shopping experience happens on Cyber Monday, November 28.  You can shop from your home while wearing pajamas and drinking wine.  Frankly, I don’t know of a better shopping experience than this.

Happy holiday shopping!

 

New Store Opening in Islamorada

Posted on: November 16th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

Sue Wright’s talent is in bringing her ideas to life. Whether its designing handbags from vintage fabrics or crafting handmade paper mâché Christmas sculptures from copper wire and reclaimed tissue paper, she has always had the ability to create beautiful things.

A gardener by profession, Sue worked as an estate gardener at The Garden Concierge in the Boston area before moving to Islamorada and taking on the position of resident Gardner at the Village Square at Trading Post.

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On November 18, Sue will open a new shop with living art called Boo Kee Sue Botanics.  The shop will be located at the Village Square at Trading Post and will join the other shops and restaurants in residence including uCumbe, Miss Monroe Boutique, Bad Boy Burritos and Good Girl Juice & Café.  Here she will sell ready to go garden items that are easy to maintain with prices that start at just $40.

Her passion is in transforming a space with something living in every room. Working with a variety of design aesthetics, she specializes in creations that enhance and beautify areas of your home and garden.

In her shop you’ll find Kokedama which are a Japanese moss ball string gardens and stag horn growing on cork bark.  Everything in her store is unique, perfect for gifts or beautifying your own space.  And for those of you not blessed with a green thumb, everything is very easy to maintain.

In addition to her container designs for sale, she’ll also be providing custom work and specialized plantings for clients.  Many of her designs will also be available for rentals for special events.

Be sure to stop by the opening of Boo Kee Sue Botanics on November 18, with regular hours from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday – Saturday.  For more information, go to BooKeeSue.com.

 

 

Craving a Hint of Fall

Posted on: October 31st, 2016 by Leah No Comments

Fall is my favorite season.  I grew up going to apple orchards and pumpkin patches, baking pumpkin and apple pies, sipping cider next to a fireplace, and going for walks to find the most radiant red, orange and yellow leaves.  But in the Florida Keys when the temperatures are pushing 90 degrees, its hard to think about enjoying any of these things.  If like me, you’re craving a hint of fall, here are a few tips to bring a little fall to you.

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Wet Your Whistle

Head to your favorite coffee shop for a pumpkin spiced latte or better yet, indulge in a white chocolate cinnamon moka from Café Moka in Tavernier.  This decadent treat will truly awaken your fall senses.  If coffee isn’t your thing, opt for something a little lighter.  You can find some great Octoberfest and pumpkin ales this time of year.  Florida Keys Brewing Co in Islamorada offers a large selection of beers on tap including a number of fall themed selections sure to wet your whistle.

Fall Accents

The best fall accents add warmth to your home.  Add a vase of yellow sunflowers or colorful wildflowers to liven up your room.  Apples are another fall staple that are easy to decorate with.  Add them to a vase on your center table or foyer, or assemble them into a large bowl on your counter. Another easy way to get into the season is to pick out a handful of gourds, colorful squash and pumpkins at your local grocery store or farmer’s market.  My favorite are the white albino pumpkins that seem to blend better with our tropical landscaping.

Update Your Space

When you’re cooling off in the air conditioning, a light throw might be just what you need to snuggle in.  This is the perfect time of year to add fall-themed throws or accent pillows to your living space.  Fall tones are not only the traditional orange and brown, instead consider adding deep purples, magenta or dark teal to warm up your space.

Fire Pit

The best part about fall in South Florida is that the weather starts cooling down for us to finally enjoy more outdoor living.  Outdoor fire places, fire pits, and other fire features are some of the fastest growing trends in outdoor living spaces.  There is just something mesmerizing about the dancing flames and wood burning elements, the smoky aromas and crackling sounds of the fire that make it feel like fall. Add a fire pit to your outdoor space for instant charm and warmth in the cooler hours once the sun goes down.

A New Jack O’ Lantern

Instead of carving a pumpkin, embrace your tropical locale and opt for a pineapple Jack o’ lantern.  Great for table décor for a dinner party or a children’s activity with built-in snack.  These silly and spirited little guys are darling but don’t leave them out too long as they are perishable.

Fall Trends

Posted on: October 17th, 2016 by Leah No Comments

Fall is in sight in the Florida Keys making it the perfect time to pull out your fall favorites.   Embracing fall trends can be tricky when you live in a tropical climate.  And this fall is all about layering turtlenecks, statement furs, lush velvet, shearling bombers and plaid overcoats which may be a bit too wintery for our weather in the Florida Keys.  But there are many trends that will easily help you transition your summer wardrobe into fall.

Below is a list of fall’s most alluring trends that you’ll be seeing, shopping and wearing in the months to come.

Herve Leger by Max Azria one shoulder dress

Herve Leger by Max Azria one shoulder dress

Statement Fur

This season, fur is garnering a lot of attention.  Both real and faux fur made a strong presence on the runway with bold colors and eye-catching prints. Although fur and palm trees don’t really mix, these cotton candy hues will have you lusting for a cold weather vacation just so you can wear one.

Ruffles

Ruffles adorning a LBD make an otherwise minimalistic silhouette dramatic.  Look for small dainty frills or excessive ruffles for an entirely special feel.

Shades of Nude

Dusty pink, yellow and tan are typically colors you see reserved for spring but designers have injected these subdued colors into fall in a big way.  Look for pants, knits, and skirts in these chic shades.  Also, for an outfit worthy of the runways, try pairing pink and yellow for fresh take on this modern color combination.

Chokers

Add some extra oomph this fall with statement making chokers.  These eye-catching necklaces are not for the faint of heart.  No longer the skinny, ribbon chokers of the 90’s, these chunky modern designs are meant to draw a lot of attention.  Opt for gemstone embellished or metallic beaded 2 inch or more in width for a luxe look perfect for all occasions.  Dress down a fancy looking choker by pairing it with a button up shirt or casual dress to really make the look.

Shine On

Once reserved for holidays, eye-catching metallics took on a subtler approach for Fall.  Shine this season in sparkly dresses, skirts, and shoes, but try pairing metallic pieces with casual pieces such as denim for more wearability.

Exaggerated Shoulders

Off-the-shoulder tops were big this past spring and the trend isn’t going anywhere fast.  This fall, you’ll find lots of off-the-shoulder, one-shoulder and one-arm asymmetrical silhouettes.  This bold style offers designs with dramatic details for a look that is anything but subtle.  The glimpse of skin on these intricate necklines creates the ultimate sex appeal.

Fall Florals

Florals are typically reserved for spring but this fall offers cool-girl florals in bright hues.  Toughen up this feminine look by pairing this fall’s florals with loafers, leather, or a chunky choker around your neck.

This fall’s fashion trends are all about vivid hues, bold proportions and modern styles.  Break out of your comfort zone and try some exaggerated silhouettes to ease you into fall.

 

Happy shopping.