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Betsey Johnson Debuts 2014 Swim Line

Posted on: July 21st, 2013 by Leah No Comments

One of my favorite events during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim was the Betsy Johnson party hosted on the rooftop of the Betsy Hotel.  Betsey Johnson has long been a favorite designer of mine.  Known for her spunky and flirty designs, her colorful 2014 swimwear collection was Betsey-licious!  The models each had bright fluorescent wigs on and were dancing to the music making it more of a party then a fashion show and Betsey made her debut wearing bright red lipstick and a black tutu.  The new 2014 swim line was full of lots ruffles, bows, peplums, embellishments, and sheer mesh inserts, on par with her fun, forever young design aesthetic.  Take a look at the fun had at the Betsey Johnson debut!

Betsey Johnson Swim 2014 Fashion Show

Picture time with Miss Monroe’s Liz Huddleston!

Pink Signature drinks, polka dots and great beats.

Pink Signature drinks, polka dots and great beats.

Betsey Johnson Swim 2014 Fashion Show

Bright pink accents work best for a Miss Monroe suit.

Betsey Johnson Swim 2014 Fashion Show

All American!  Polka dots, ribbons and ruffles.

Betsey 5

It’s Betsey!

Betsey 3

 

Betsey 4

Don’t these ladies rock?!?

 

 

Prom Style: Then and Now

Posted on: June 1st, 2013 by Leah No Comments

For most high school students, prom is a right of passage into young adulthood and an occasion to remember for life.  Regardless of how you felt about your prom, we all took part in this ritualistic experience.  Whether you went with a group, went with a date or didn’t go at all, prom is a milestone we each experienced in some way, shape or form.

Although dances and prom-like events have been going on for centuries, it wasn’t until the economic boom of the 1950’s that the prom dress industry exploded.   This was when girls started planning special shopping trips with their mothers and friends in search of “the dress” – an experience that still takes place today.  The shopping, primping and planning is as important as the actual event and is all part of this defining moment in student’s high school years.

Prom is a moment most of us can recall.  Do you remember what you wore?  What about who you went with?  When you think back on proms through the decades you likely think of the attire.  Each generation has developed their own dress code.  In the 1950’s, Grace Kelly’s black and white floor length gown from the Rear Window had a huge influence on dress styles.  Dresses in this era had a fitted bodice with  gathered voluminous full circle tulle skirts.  The 1960’s had Jackie Kennedy who made ladylike chic look effortless.  The pillbox hat and simple shift dresses were popular in pastel colors with small bows as accents. The 1970’s had Farrah Fawcet who created the first celebrity hairstyle with her famous feathered hair.  I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention John Travolta.  The 70’s were greatly influenced by disco music and known for their bell bottomed pants, ruffled tuxedo shirts and crazy tuxedo colors such as the orange and baby blue ones worn on Dumb and Dumber.  Many of the dresses from this time had empire waists with tighter fitting tops and looser bottoms.  Gold lamé, velvet and lace were also a big trend in formal wear for women.

The 1980’s prom style had big sleeves, oversized shoulder pads, big hair and lots of ruffles  – oh the tragedy that was fashion in the 1980’s.  Madonna was the style icon of the time making fingerless gloves a popular prom accessory.

Princess Diana was the style icon of the 1990’s.  Dress styles during this decade were often short, body-hugging mini-dresses made of spandex, velvet, lace and silk.  Many of the prom trends from this time included off the shoulder dress styles, black was the reigning color and choker style necklaces were popular.  If you went to prom in the early 90’s there’s a chance your date may even have sported a mullet.

Today’s prom resembled something off the red carpet.  The girls donned gowns in styles ranging from form-fitting to A-line all in vibrant hues such as blue, turquoise and coral.  Many of the dresses had cutouts along the sides and back and many more had jewel accents making it almost unnecessary to wear much if any jewelry.

Although, traditional men’s formal wear is black and white, the modern trend is for the guys to wear matching tuxedo accessories to match their date’s dress which is what many men wore to prom this year.  Under their black suits or tuxes were complimenting shirts and vests in blue, turquoise and coral.

When you look at prom style today vs. latter years, there are a few things that have stayed the same.  Corsages – it’s still customary for men to buy their dates a corsage matching her dress.  Jewelry – costume jewelry is still the staple for prom so save what you wore as you could probably have your daughter wear it to her prom and it would be right in style.  Shopping trips – the prom dresses worn today spared no expense and were done with their mothers and friends in tow.

Similar to prom, fashion is universal and unique to each individual.

Prom Style

Jaclyn Signorelli, Julia Lozano, Mallory Wiecjorek, Cheyenne Harris and Katharine Hamer

 

Prom Style Then and Now

Nate Gasser and Parris Everhart – Juniors at Coral Shores High School

 

Prom Style then and now

The Entire Group Attending Prom

 

prom style then and now

Bobby Griffin, Ciera Brokin, Gabby Tyrrell, and Cole Houser

 

Prom style then and now

Rachel Walters, Nicolas Hortensi, Sean Anderson, and Emma Belian

Quality vs. Quantity: The Fashion Battle

Posted on: May 7th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

Most people shy away from designer clothing and accessories because of the price tags typically associated with them. However, buying quality over quantity can pay off in the long run especially if you’re buying classic pieces that fit you well. There is nothing worse than buying something you love only to have it fall apart after a few washes. I can think of several outfits I bought for special occasions: best friend’s wedding, anniversaries, vacations, etc. that I no longer own because they just didn’t last. What I’d give to still have them to be able to wear and reminiscent of the wonderful memories created while wearing them.

If you add up what you typically spend on clothing and accessories throughout the year, you’ll likely be amazed at how much of that clothing gets tossed or donated at the end of a season. Clothing made today is often not made well and therefore, doesn’t withstand the wear and tear of our everyday lives. Consequently, more is not better.

Designer clothing is in a class of its own. The quality of workmanship, fabric, and fit will ensure that the designer item will stay in your closet for years to come. Blue boutique located in Key West at 718 Caroline Street and in Islamorada at 82229 Overseas Highway has an island-style vibe that keeps with the Keys laid back way while offering contemporary and designer fashions for both men and women. This expertly curated boutique offers a unique mix of designer and non designer clothing in a varied price point that allows consumers in all price ranges to find that next great piece to add to their wardrobe.

Blue Boutique in Islamorada

Blue boutique has an island-style vibe that keeps with the Keys laid back way while offering contemporary and designer fashions for both men and women.

A visit to one of Blue’s boutiques is a must for all fashionista’s. From classic basics to something more on-trend and with a slight edge, Blue is the place to find that perfect look. Some of Blue’s featured designers include: Nicole Miller, DVF, Vince, Michael Stars and Ella Moss. Their focus on quality fabrics and timeless styles will allow you to create a distinctive look for every occasion.

Nicole Miller Dress available at Blue Boutique

Nicole Miller dress from Blue paired here with a David Symons necklace made of naga shell, crystal and bone.

In addition to their amazing selection of clothing and fashion forward accessories, owner David Symons also has on display his one-of-a-kind jewelry. His pieces brilliantly capture the beauty of the Keys through the use of bright hues and bold designs. By combining beads of semi-precious stones, silver, gold, glass and pearls, he creates truly unique pieces. His successful jewelry line is offered in all Blue boutique locations and includes chokers, earrings, bracelets, long chain necklaces and other jewelry styles. His jewelry includes beads, objects and collectables from places as far away as Africa, India, China, Indonesia and Tibet.

If you’re already a big fan or a soon-to-be devotee of Blue, join me for a fashion show featuring the latest looks from Blue and Tommy Bahama on Friday, May 17th at 6 p.m. at the Islander Resort in Islamorada. The cocktail party and fashion show is being hosted by Dennis Ward and Mirna Hormechea to benefit the Domestic Abuse Shelter. I, along with Skip Bradeen will be MC’ing the show while models don the latest designer looks from Blue. VIP tickets are available for $75.00 a person and include premier seating and two drink tickets. General admission tickets are available for $20.00 per person. Purchase your tickets at www.isupportdignity.org. Hope to see you there!

This article was also featured in the Florida Keys Reporter and Keynoter as a part of my “Conch Style” column that runs bi-weekly in the Friday and Saturday edition. If you have story ideas on style in the Florida Keys, please send me an email at Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

 

Conch Style: Hats off to Hats!

Posted on: April 19th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

Since the Middle Ages, hats have held a variety of purposes throughout our culture. They have been worn for religious reasons, protection against the elements, safety, as fashion accessories and also to denote social status.

In Florida, the majority of the hats we see are used for sun protection. They range from baseball hats and visors to dramatically large beach hats made for lounging poolside. Fishing hats, which include those dreadfully efficient flaps that can connect to cover your neck, ears and face are also popular in the Keys. These fishing hats are like the fanny pack, useful, but not a fashion statement you’d want to make in public once off your back country boat.

The hats made by Key West artist, Judi Bradford, are in a class all their own. These one-of-a-kind creations range from $50-$185 and are reminiscent of the fascinator-styles more popular in the United Kingdom and famously worn for the Royal Wedding a few years ago.

Artist Judi Bradford

Artist Judi Bradford – image courtesy of Sheelman Photography

In fashion, hats can inspire an entire outfit, influencing the color scheme worn as well as the way you wear your hair. These beautiful pieces created by Bradford are referred to as fascinators, due to their charming size and intricate use of rich textiles, curious buttons, distinctive ribbons and luxurious feathers. The feathers used are predominantly from Key West urban roosters. They are gathered locally, gently washed, air dried, trimmed, and curled. She sells her hats at parties, trunk show events and sometimes right off the top of her head when she’s out and about. You can view her creations on her website at: www.judibradford.com and at her studio at the Studios of Key West at 600 White Street.

This summer, Judi will be traveling to New York for the prestigious and competitive American Craft Festival at Lincoln Center and to England to study with three British milliners: Bailey Tomlin, Judy Bentinck and Bobbi Heath. Their couture hats have been featured in Vogue Magazine and are worn to the Europe’s most famous horse races. In the fall she’ll be creating a new series of hats from all she learns while abroad.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to wear a beautiful hat like Judi Bradford’s, get your friends together for a viewing party of the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, May 4. Enjoy the best two minutes in sports while wearing fabulous hats and sipping the infamous mint julep. For those in the Upper Keys, I’ll be hosting a Kentucky Derby party at the Green Turtle Inn in Islamorada starting at 4 p.m. This event is open to the public and will include a discounted themed menu, specialty drinks and prizes for the best dressed and most fabulous hat! For more information, email me at leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

 

One of judi Bradford's creations

One of Judi Bradford’s creations

Conch Style: Fashion is Art at Miami Fashion Week

Posted on: April 4th, 2013 by Leah No Comments

A few weeks ago, I attended a four day runway-style fashion show during Miami Fashion Week. The event included the latest collections from over 60 designers from 25 countries and celebrity sightings including the Real Housewives of Miami.  The catwalk was bombarded with the Fall 2013 collections including bridal, evening wear, day wear, swimwear and children’s collections.

Miami International Fashion Week

Miami International Fashion Week

If you’ve ever been to a couture hi-end fashion show or seen photos from one, you know that fashion shows are more about art then style. They’re meant to elicit a reaction or emotion. From the way the model’s hair is worn to her makeup and even her shoes, it’s all part of the show and not typically something you’d ever wear in that same way in real life.

Each of the shows also has a different walk, different music, and different lights. Some is dark and mysterious, while others are light and happy.

One of my favorite shows was that by Kayce Armstrong of Art of Shade.  She uses utilitarian fabrics such as old tarps and sails to create edgy couture fashion.    In fashion shows, models are known for their strut, but in this show, that strut was cast aside and instead they came out in flat shoes and added a bounce in their step to a syncopated sort of rhythm identical to one another and perfectly in step with the music.  It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch and was really more of a dance than a walk, meant to highlight the movement in her designs.

Miami International Fashion Week Kayce Armstrong, Art of Shade

Fall collection by Kayce Armstrong, Art of Shade – Image courtesy of Miami Fashion Week

In another show by Lisu Vega all the models were made to look bald and some had their entire head painted black.  This was likely meant to make it all about the designs but in this case, I found the opposite actually occurred.  The statement the designer made with the models hair and makeup took away from her beautiful collection and made it hard to really see the clothes. Is this art? Fashion? Will this ever be a trend? Probably not, but it elicited a reaction. And it was memorable. And maybe this is what the designer was going for.

Miami International Fashion Week Lisu Vega

Fall collection by Lisu Vega – Image courtesy of Miami Fashion Week

My favorite Fall 2013 collection was from Nicolas Felizola.  His evening wear featured gowns in yellow, orange, black and white patterns, and metallics, proof that vibrant hues and head-to-toe black and white will continue to be trendy this fall.  The uniqueness of his designs was evidenced in the distinct necklines and intricate details of lace, beads and brocades.   My personal favorite was a dramatic navy lace design over a nude sheath that was a complete showstopper.

 

Fall collection by Nicolas Felizola - Image courtesy of Miami International Fashion Week

Fall collection by Nicolas Felizola – Image courtesy of Miami Fashion Week

In the movie, Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep plays a couture fashion editor for a high-end fashion magazine that would have rivaled the likes of Vogue.  During an infamous scene, her assistant, played by Anne Hathaway, is watching the editor and a designer decide between two belts that look identical.  Meryl Streep stops when she sees her assistant laughing and says: “Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you don’t take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent…who showed cerulean military jackets … And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

Couture fashion is art and inspires collections, colors and trends for years to come.  Collections people like you and I, will eventually pick up on a rack at our favorite boutique.

In fashion, be true to yourself. Wear what makes you feel good about you. Just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s right for you. However, don’t be afraid to express yourself.

Miamia International Fashion Week

My friend, Kara and I at the RIMMEL London booth at Miami Fashion Week!

Creativity Cultivated in Miami Beach

Posted on: April 3rd, 2013 by Leah No Comments

At times, the Florida Keys can feel so far away from the rest of the world.   Our quiet island-life is full of art and culture with an island-vibe we locals love.  But sometimes getting off the rock can be a great way to cultivate your creativity and find inspiration in new things.

A few weeks ago, I attended a four day runway-style fashion show during Miami Fashion Week. The event included the latest collections from over 60 designers from 25 countries and celebrity sightings including the Real Housewives of Miami.

There was an amazing selection of Miami based designers including, Nicolas Felizola, Julian Chang and Viviana G, who were awarded the Miami Fashion ICON Award during the show and amazingly, all three are tied to Miami, either as residents or shop owners.  The catwalk was bombarded with the Fall 2013 collections including bridal, evening wear, day wear, swimwear and children’s collections.   Nicolas Felizola’s Fall collection featured evening gowns in yellow, orange, black and white patterns, and metallics, proof that vibrant hues and head-to-toe black and white will continue to be trendy this fall.  The uniqueness of his designs were evidenced in the distinct necklines and intricate details of lace, beads and brocades.   My personal favorite was a dramatic navy lace design over a nude sheath that was a complete showstopper.

Miami International Fashion Week Nicolas Felizola Fall Collection

Miami Fashion Week Nicolas Felizola Fall Collection

Attending Miami Fashion Week made me rethink my take on Miami Beach.  I’ve always enjoyed the city but realized I take advantage of this style Mecca way too seldom considering its vicinity to the Florida Keys.  Here are a few reasons you should visit the stylish Miami Beach:

Fashion: Although you’ve missed Fashion Week (mark your calendar for March 2014), this summer, Miami Beach will host two of the fashion calendars’ highly anticipated fashion shows —the massive SwimShow, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Swim and FUNKSHION: Fashion Week Miami Beach.  During these events you’ll view awe-inspiring fashion shows and attend stylish events, reason enough for any fashionista to flock to Miami Beach.

Shopping: Miami Beach packs a vast selection of world renowned shops into a mere 18.7 sunny square miles, making it the ideal destination for shopping.  There are three main outdoor shopping areas in Miami Beach: Lincoln Road, Espanola Way and Ocean Drive/Collins Avenue.  Lincoln Road offers a trendy mix of boutiques including the brand new H+M, plus art galleries and great outdoor eateries for people watching.   Just a few blocks away is “Miami’s Best Block”, Espanola Way filled with European-style, pedestrian-friendly streets where you will find unique clothing and handmade jewelry not found in chain stores.   Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach offers stores ranging from Banana Republic  to Versace.  My favorite: Zara, (located at 590 Collins Ave.) is packed with innovative Spanish designs that are on-trend while still affordable.

Cultural Events: In 2013, Miami Beach will host several cultural events you won’t want to miss.
•    April 17-21 is the South Beach Comedy Festival where you can see the world’s favorite entertainers and top comedic talent from across the country.
•    April 26-28 is the Girlfriend’s Getaway Weekend for sipping, shopping, and spa-ing.  Hosted by Ocean Drive Magazine and the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, this event is the perfect weekend getaway for indulging with your girlfriends.
•    April 24-28 is the Miami Beach Polo World Cup.  Watch men riding horses on the beach and have the opportunity to get dressed up in a preppy spring look.  The international polo tournament features teams from around the world and kicks off with South Beach Women’s Polo Cup V Women’s Welcome and Cocktail Hour at the James Royal Palm.
Other upcoming events in 2013 include the American Black Film Festival, the GLBT Film Festival, White Party, Winter Party and Art Basel among many others.

The next time you take a staycation or just want to get away for a night, consider the International style hub that is Miami Beach.

Designer Holiday Collection Launches at Neiman Marcus and Target this Saturday!

Posted on: November 29th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

My name is Leah and I am an avid shopper.  In most cases, I’m really quite obsessed.  I can’t wait to see the new designs, colors and fabrics for each season.  But this time of year shopping becomes more of a sport than an enjoyable pastime.  (I literally wore tennis shoes while shopping on Black Friday!!!)  It’s all about getting the best deal on items you really don’t need and standing in crazy-long lines in the wee-hours of the morning with cranky strangers who’ve not had enough coffee.

This Saturday, December 1st will mark the launch of Target and Neiman Marcus’ designer holiday collection.  And the really wonderful thing about this much anticipated collection, other than the amazingly affordable designer apparel, is you can shop it online or in stores!   This limited-time collection features a total of 50 exclusive holiday gifts by 24 designers including: Alice + Olivia, Brian Atwood, Carolina Herrera, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, Lela Rose, Jason Wu, Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs.  This is one shopping day you won’t want to miss.

The collection ranges from $19.99 for a Tory Burch lunchbox to $499.99 for a bike designed by Alice + Olivia.  Below are a few of my favorites that I’ll be shopping for this Saturday.

 

Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection - Pouch $69.99

For you: Marc Jacobs for Target + Neiman Marcus Holiday Collection – Pouches $69.99

 

Target & Neiman Marcus Holiday Designer Collection

For the fashionista: Robert Rodriguez ruffled top – $79.99, Lela Rose dress for $99.99, Lela Rose top $69.99 & Tracy Reese sequin blouse $79.99

 

Target Neiman Marcus Holiday collection

For the jetsetter: Brian Atwood Leather globes $49.99, Alice & Olivia luggage $199.99, Prabal Gurung cape $79.99

 

Target Neiman Marcus holiday collection

For the home: Jason Wu ornaments $49.99, Tracy Reese dessert plates $39.99, Eddie Borgo accent box $49.99 & Altuzarra double old fashioned glasses $49.99

 

Holiday Sip & Shop Soiree

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s time to start thinking about your Christmas list and all those hard-to-shop-for people on it!  Please join us on Thursday, November 29th from 6-9 p.m. for a holiday Sip & Shop event.

Enjoy complimentary wine and light hors d’oeuvres while getting started on your holiday shopping at your favorite local boutiques including: Miss Monroe, Banyan Tree, Islamorada Mercantile, Wild Lily Boutique, Zero Dress Code, On Second Thought Consignment, Islamorada Fitness sportswear collection, Tootsie Couture Flip Flops and Tropical Zensations

Please RSVP to Leah at Leah@leahsfabulousfinds.com.

When:  Thursday, November 29 from 6-9 p.m.

Sip & Shop Soiree will be held at Ocean Sotheby’s International Realty in Islamorada  – 81888 Overseas Highway, MM 81 Bayside.

For more information, go to the Sip and Shop event page on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/129487590536352/

 

Kentucky Derby Party: I’ll Have Another

Posted on: May 8th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

My first Kentucky Derby party was a smashing success.  As you can see, I ended up choosing the vintage ostrich feather hat.  After several bottles of wine and quite a few mint juleps, I thought it was only fitting that “I’ll Have Another” took the race!  Next year, I’m not going to pay any attention to the predictions, I’m bidding on the horse with the best name.

What I Wore: Vintage Ostrich feather hat, Pearl necklace from New York & Co (I combined 5 necklaces which is why this is so big and fabulous!), Tahari black dress!

 

Just a few of the fabulous ladies in attendance!

Emily blew us all away with her Kentucky Derby look! Talk about amazing. Here she is sipping a Mint Julep!

This event would not have been complete without a grand staircase photo!

My favorite hat from the day! Corly made this using a sun hat and wreath picks from Michaels. Check out the birds nest! So crafty.

 

Until next year.

Picking a Fabulous Hat for the Kentucky Derby

Posted on: May 4th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

On Saturday, I am hosting a Kentucky Derby party to watch the best two minutes in sports while sipping mint julips and wearing fabulous hats.  As many of you know, I have an extensive collection of vintage hats, so the question is…which hat do I wear?  Take a look below and let me know which one you think I should don for my party.

Kentucky Derby Fashion

Feeling a bit Mary Poppins

 

Kentucky Derby

I'm pretty much in love with this vintage ostrich feather hat!

 

Kentucky Derby

More traditional. If I wear this one, I'm going to find a fake bird to put on it! :)