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Survival Guide for a Florida Keys Fashionista

Posted on: September 5th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

There was once a time when Florida Keys settlers didn’t have the luxuries we have today to survive. They fought extreme heat and giant mosquitoes without (gasp!) air conditioning, bug repellent, or sunscreen. Although these are common luxuries today, it’s never fun to forget to wear the right apparel which results in looking or feeling like a settler from the early days. Below is a survival guide for every Florida Keys fashionista.

Mosquitoes

Keep the blood suckers at bay by always having bug spray available. Pack it in your car, purse, and house so that you never have to go without it. A word of caution: Some bug repellants will take off your nail polish and can discolor clothing and leather. Be careful where you spray so you aren’t left in dire need of a pedicure.

Keep practical footwear in your car at all times.

When one regularly wears inappropriate foot wear, aka sky high heels, access to more practical shoes is a must. Tennis shoes would come in handy if your car stalls on one of the stretch. You can walk in tennis shoes a lot quicker and more comfortably than you can in heels.

Likewise, flip flops are another practical shoe to keep handy. For last minute invites on the boat or to a waterfront restaurant with dock beams, throw on your flip flops. Wearing heels will only result in ruined shoes and getting stuck in dock beams. Both of which will make you look more like an amateur than a fashionista.

heel in dock

Sunscreen

Your makeup and everyday lotion should both include SPF. If you’re going to be outside for a period of time, make sure to apply more sunscreen with a higher SPF. This means keeping sunscreen in convenient places such as your boat, car, purse, and house. Applying sunscreen while naked is the best way to make sure you don’t miss a spot. The most commonly forgotten places to apply sunscreen also happen to be some of the most sensitive. Pay extra attention to your hands, lips, nose, ears and toes. There is no reason to look like Rudolph in July. Protect your skin so that it’s as beautiful today as it is for years to come.

Never Say No to Invitation on the Water

Every Florida Keys fashionista should have a beach bag packed and ready to go at all times. It should include a towel, swimsuit, cover-up, sunscreen and hat so you have no excuse not to accept a fabulous invitation to lounge poolside or go boating with friends.

Wardrobe Malfunctions

Prevent wardrobe malfunctions with the life saving options from Hollywood Fashion Secrets. They produce double-sided fashion tape to keep clothing in place, commando underwear for invisible panty lines, and stain removing pens to stay looking fashionable throughout a busy day. Wear With All Boutique in Key Largo, carries a wide assortment of these problem solving style solutions. Located at 101401 Overseas Hwy in the Publix shopping plaza, you’ll find many style saving tricks to keep you looking confident and fashionable in the Florida Keys.

Prevent wardrobe malfunctions with the life saving options from Hollywood Fashion Secrets available at Wear With All Boutique.

Prevent wardrobe malfunctions with the life saving options from Hollywood Fashion Secrets available at Wear With All Boutique.

Sole Sisters

Posted on: July 3rd, 2014 by Leah No Comments

When I first moved to the Keys, I was concerned I might be the only person living here who dreamt of stilettos, strappy sandals and sexy sling-backs . After a few months as a local, I attended an event where a woman approached me to tell me what fabulous shoes I had on. I was wearing a pair of red and ivory Mary Jane style heels that were, in fact, fabulous. When I looked down, she had on some equally amazing shoes and I knew from then on we would be sole sisters.

shoes

We don’t all own a collection like Imelda Marcus, who amassed over 3,000 shoes from world-famous designers including Ferragamo, Givenchy, Chanel and Christian Dior. However, according to a ShopSmart Magazine poll, American woman do have some interesting behaviors when it comes to purchasing and wearing shoes. On average, woman have 19 pairs of shoes in their closets but only four pairs are worn on a regular basis. In fact, 24% of shoes in our closets have been worn only once and 13% admit to hiding shoe purchases from a significant other. Another quite comical fact: 43% admit that they’ve been injured by their shoes. My guess is this statistic would be higher if they interviewed women in the Florida Keys. Uneven terrain and dock-like platforms can make for some interesting, if not, dangerous situations. It’s been my experience that when your heel catches in between two slats, your body continues to propel forward at the speed of which you are moving. A body in motion, stays in motion, so they say.

imelda marcus shoe closet

The amazing closet of Imelda Marcus.

Now that you understand that more women are like you than not like you, it’s time to figure out whether your shoe collection is meeting your needs.

Woman own 19 pairs of shoes

This article prompted me to count my own collection, which was well over 100 pairs (gasp!). To be fair, I’m in the process of selling five pairs. Okay, it’s still a bit over the top, I know, but I really do wear well over half of them regularly. The other half are evening wear, winter shoes and shoes reserved for specific occasions that get worn when those occasions present themselves. For instance, my tap dance shoes will get worn when I decide to take another tap dance class.

If your own shoe collection is a bit overwhelming it’s time to clean out your closet. If you haven’t worn them in a year or two, it’s time to get rid of them. Sell them at a consignment store or ebay, or donate them to a worthy cause such as the Domestic Abuse Shelter and Florida Keys Children’s Shelter.   By cleaning out the clutter, you’ll be able to find your shoes more quickly and may actually wear them more.

Only Four Pairs are Worn Regularly

Four! This is quite pathetic ladies. Shoes can completely change the look of an outfit. I recommend moving the shoes you wear most often to a less easily accessible place so that other beauties can make their debut. Put a few colorful pairs in front and don’t be afraid to mix it up. When you normally would reach for your black patent leather heels, instead opt for a bright fuschia heel or go for black and white wedges. A little color or a different silhouette will create a whole new look.

13% admit to hiding shoe purchases from significant others

Not that I’ve ever done this before but here are a few good hiding places I discovered in my “research”. The trunk of your car is a great place to “store” shoes until the opportunity presents itself to be moved into the house and immediately into your closet. If arriving by mail, explain that they’re a gift. He doesn’t need to know that the gift is for you. Kitchen cupboards are also a useful place to put shoes if you are surprised in the kitchen after a recent shopping trip. Quickly put the boxes into your cupboard and he’ll just think you’re prepping for dinner. Just be sure to remove them promptly if your significant other happens to do a lot of cooking.

The Essentials

Beyond tennis shoes and flip flops, below is a list of footwear essential for every wardrobe:

PicMonkey Collage

– Black Heels – these are a necessary staple that can be worn with a plethora of looks. From work outfits to casual nights out, a simple pair of comfortable black heels is a must. Go for black leather or black patent leather for a little more oomph.

– Colorful Heels – you must own one brightly colored heel that can transform your outfit. It will make a plain black dress more interesting and elevate a classic look to instant chic. My favorite statement heels are in yellow, fuschia, red and royal blue.

– Metallic Strappy Sandals – gold or silver strappy sandals are the perfect shoe to be paired with evening wear for weddings, galas and formal affairs. Metallic sandals also look fabulous when paired with jeans and will make a casual look more sophisticated.

– Ballerina Flat – comfortable and stylish, these darling must-haves work for day or evening and always look fashionable.

– The Wedge – For Florida Keys girls, we need a high heeled shoe that can handle the terrain, and the wedge is it. Much more comfortable than their stiletto counterparts, the wedge can work around the clock and looks great with casual and formal apparel. Try a pair in a neutral hue such as black or tan and you’ll find they go with everything.

Marilyn Monroe said it best, “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” Put another way, fill your world with fabulous shoes and walk towards your dreams.

 

 

Summer Fashion Essentials

Posted on: May 16th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

The forever summer weather in the Florida Keys likely have most tourists wondering what could possibly be different about our “summer” wardrobe. However, we locals understand that summer means even lighter-weight materials in sweat proof fabrics that will keep us cool for the hot months ahead. Here are several wardrobe essentials for you to add to your closet the sweltering season ahead.

Bright Clutch

Let your accessories make the statement this summer with a bright hued or patterned clutch. Add a clutch to a basic ensemble such as a black dress or shorts and t-shirt for a pop of color. Try switching up your normal go to handbag by swapping it for a clutch for day. It’s a amazing what a cute clutch will do to make you feel more confident about what you’re wearing. Waters Edge Gift Cottage at 95175 Overseas Highway in Key Largo has a great assortment of summer clutches priced at around $30.

Statement Clutches found at Waters Edge Gift Cottage in Key Largo.

Statement Clutches found at Waters Edge Gift Cottage in Key Largo.

Sunnies

In the Florida Keys, sunglasses are a fashion accessory that gets worn daily. It’s also an accessory that you can never have enough of. All that wear makes them easy to lose, scratch, and break. So if you find a pair of sunglasses you love, buy more than one pair. I love buying sunglasses in multiple styles and colors to match to my outfit of the day. Miss Monroe Boutique located at 81868 Overseas Highway in Islamorada at the Village Square at Trading Post shopping area has a great selection of sunglasses in a variety of shapes and colors and range from $18-$24. At that price you can afford to buy one of each!

Fabulous sunglasses found at Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada.

Fabulous sunglasses found at Miss Monroe Boutique in Islamorada.

Sandals

New sandals are a summer must have. I love updating my wardrobe with a fun new print, style or color.   D-Luxe Boutique carries a variety of styles in neon pink, white and black with gold accents and wedge sandals for dressier occasions. Summer is also a good time to review the sandals already in your closet. If they’re falling apart it may be time to replace them. Shop D-Luxe Boutique at 80925 Overseas Highway in Islamorada. Sandals start at $18 and everything in the store is under $50.

 

Affordable sandals in bright colors and patterns from D-Luxe Boutique

Affordable sandals in bright colors and patterns from D-Luxe Boutique

Bold Statement Jewelry

Most summer fashions tend to have simpler designs for easy wear in warmer weather. Shorts worn with tank tops and long solid colored maxi dresses need a statement necklace to create interest your ensemble. If you don’t already own a few, consider investing in one. If you wear a lot of blue, then try finding one in yellow or turquoise to add another color to your outfit. Terra Nova located at 712 Duval Street in Key West carries of line of jewelry called Nature Bijoux made out of natural components such as coral, leather and zebu horn. Ranging from $48-$325, this jewelry line is meant to start a conversations as when worn, everyone will be asking about your beautiful jewelry.

Origins Necklace by Nature Bijoux

Origins Necklace by Nature Bijoux

Maxi Dress

Maxi dresses are the most comfortable summer staple. They aren’t too fitted so will keep you cool and in breezy light-weight fabrics are comfortable year round. Maxi dresses also have the added benefit of looking effortless. Pair one with wedges and a clutch for a night out or wear it with sandals and a statement necklace for day.   Wild Lily Boutique located at 81933 Overseas Highway in Islamorada has an abundance of maxi dresses available this summer in a variety of colors, prints and textures.

Mara Hoffman Maxi Dress available at Wild Lily Boutique in Islamorada

Mara Hoffman Maxi Dress available at Wild Lily Boutique in Islamorada

 

Sizzling Summer Fashion Show

On Thursday, May 22nd The Village Square at the Trading Post will host the Sizzling Summer Fashion Show featuring summer fashions from Miss Monroe, Wild Lily and D-Luxe Boutique. The event will start at 6 p.m. with the fashion show starting at 8 p.m. and will include a complimentary champagne bar, mojito bar, cigar lounge and cigar roller, light hors d’hoeuvres by Bad Boy Burrito and lots of free giveaways. Tickets are available for $30 and are limited. This is a great opportunity to see some beautiful summer fashions for the Florida Keys from some of your favorite local boutiques. You can buy tickets at Miss Monroe, Wild Lily or D-Luxe Boutique. Hope to see you there!

 

 

Leah’s Fab Finds: My Shoe Picks for Spring

Posted on: April 14th, 2014 by Leah No Comments

Get excited!  Spring is finally here which means it’s time to bring out your spring wardrobe and get inspired with some new wardrobe staples.  Below is a look at several of my picks for the best drool-worthy, outfit making shoes for spring.  I’ve already purchased two of these and can’t believe how much they’ve re-energized my wardrobe.  After all, if the shoe fits….

GO BOLD WITH COLOR

I love the asymmetrical shape and the magenta color of these Jessica Simpson Pumps – $89 Available here

Jessica Simpson Shoes for Spring

Jimmy Choo goes bold in a big way with this neon flame orange caged leather bootie – $995 available here.

Jimmy Choo Orange Sandal

CLASSIC STRIPES

These classic black & white espadrille would look fabulous with shorts or a cute sundress.  $54.95 available here

Classic Espadrille for springBasic flats with a punch – $79.95 available here

Striped flats for springFeminine mid-heel sandal with a classic kick – $198 by Coach available here

Coach Black and White Marci Heels

FLORAL FUN

Look ladylike in this vibrant floral sandals by Steve Madden – $79.95 available here.

Floral Sandals by Steve Madden

Fabulous floral-print wing sandal by Paul Andrew – $795 available here.

Floral Wing Sandals by Paul Andrew Bold Basics

Asymmetrical white and silver sandal by Miu Miu – $690 available here

Miu MiuBlack edgy cuff wedge sandals, so comfortable and eye-catching at the same time – $99.95  available here

Trouve Black wedge sandal

Spring Trends and How to Wear Them

Posted on: March 21st, 2014 by Leah No Comments

The key to making an outfit work is a matter of dressing for your body.  Clothes should complement you and make you feel good about how you look. If you don’t feel great, you won’t look great.  When considering spring trends, keep this in mind as trends are meant to inspire you to try new things while also complementing your look.

The new trends you try should also blend easily into your current wardrobe.  Before buying a new item, envision three outfits that the new piece can be worn with.  If you can only think of one, than its probably best to 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.

In reviewing the spring 2014 trends, there are some that are just not that flattering.  Crop tops are very popular this year but look good on only a fraction of people.  If you’re young and have a fabulous figure, you could try this trend but I recommend showing no more than a few inches of skin or try layering it over a cami.  It’s always best to leave a little to the imagination.  Likewise, sporty sandals are a 2014 spring trend that was revived from the 90’s. Sadly, they should have stayed in the 90’s as mandels aka “manly sandals” do not flatter even the most fashionable fashionista and instead make her look more like big foot.

Below is your go-to guide for embracing spring trends:

Bright Colors

When we think of spring fashion, most think of soft pastel hues in skin-baring designs.  Nothing says spring like baby blue, white and a soft pink.  However, this year, Radiant Orchid is Pantone’s 2014 color of the year and is perfect for spring.  In addition, orange is also a big color for spring.  Try these hues in shirts, shorts, or fashion accessories to add a pop of color to your outfit.  These two hues are also popular in the beauty department, with orange and radiant orchid making the perfect new bold lip color.

Vibrant Prints

Spring is a great time to try a new print.  Still on-trend and hotter than ever are your graphic black and white prints, polka dots and stripes in every color and floral prints both big and small.   A new print to add to your collection is that of the novelty print.  Novelty prints (think cartoon-like cats and bright pink flamingos) are nothing new in the fashion world, they’ve been around since well before the 50’s and this spring we’re seeing small novelty prints plastered on ladylike dresses and sophisticated separates.  These prints tend to add a lot of color and flamboyance so try them in basic cuts and styles and pair them with neutral accessories.

It’s All in the Details

Sheer, fringe, beaded and bedazzled, this spring’s fashions have embellishments to swoon over.    Sheer tops and strategic sheering on dresses can look buttoned up while also feeling cool while living in the tropics.   Always pair a sheer top with a neutral, black or similar hued cami to show off the shirt and not something else.  Fringe looks amazing on everything including skirts, shirts, dresses, necklaces, handbags, and belts.  Literally amazing on everything and everyone.  So don’t be shy about trying out a new item with a little pizzazz.  After all,  it’s these types of embellishments that really make an outfit and separate those who like fashion from those who have fun with it.

Where to Find Spring Fashions

Zero Dress Code in Islamorada has a large selection of spring on-trend fashions

Zero Dress Code in Islamorada has a large selection of spring on-trend fashions

Zero Dress Code is the perfect place to find all your spring fashions with on-trend, quality clothing at reasonable prices.  Their newly expanded store located at 82205 Overseas Highway in Islamorada, offers double the inventory allowing them to feature expanded sizing, extra small through extra large, and a greater variety of items.  They also provide smaller quantities of items so that you can be sure not everyone in the Keys will be wearing the same outfit.   Suzanne Gleason, the owner of Zero Dress Code, travels all over the world to bring beautiful and unique clothing, accessories and gift items to the Florida Keys.  You’ll find everything from party dresses to bathrobes sure to make you feel beautiful.  With new inventory arriving weekly, you’ll want to stop in regularly to find your next fabulous find.

Striped wedges and flats found at Zero Dress Code.

Striped wedges and flats found at Zero Dress Code.

 

Get out of your style rut and get inspired with spring fashions.  Happy Shopping!

Polka Dot shorts $76, novelty print seahorse top $48, and orange fringe scarf $15.

Polka Dot shorts $76, novelty print seahorse top $48, and orange fringe scarf $15.

 

Are You a Pinterest Addict? Wait Till You Try Swirl.com!

Posted on: October 15th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

Like so many of you, I am totally addicted to Pinterest.  I find myself browsing for hours discovering all sorts of unique things like how to make cupcakes that look like high heels and the best polka dot sweaters for fall.  But…sometimes I don’t want to look at cupcakes…seeing cupcakes makes me hungry and I don’t need any help in consuming more sugar.

Although Pinterest is my favorite place to browse for ideas, DIY projects and great recipes, I sometimes find it hard to shop from.  My new favorite way to shop online is from a site called Swirl.com.  It even as a mobile app!  The site includes hand selected items from your favorite stores including Nordstrom, Topshop, H&M, J Crew, Ann Taylor, etc.  You can go through their list of stores and select that stores and brands you love so that they’re all in one place.  That way you don’t need to go to 15 different sites, every time you’re looking for a new statement necklace or black jacket.  I also love that the price and brand are easy to see from the general search, simply hover your mouse over the item and they both appear letting you know if those fabulous suede wedges are in your price range.

Similar to Pinterest, you can peruse the site by seeing what’s trending, search for something specific a.k.a. polka dot sweaters (can you tell I’m obsessed!?!) or by browsing selected collections filled with fall trends such as skinny jeans, leather jackets, or cap toe shoes.  In addition, if you’re not ready to make the purchase or just would like to organize your online shopping, you can save and organize the things you love just like Pinterest.

What I love most about this site is how easy it is to go and make a purchase.  I found a great bag I liked from Nordstrom for only $42.  I clicked on the image and was on Nordstrom’s site, added it to my cart and paid for it.  That easy, I swear.

The next time you find yourself wondering aimlessly around Pinterest, take a peek at Swirl.com.  I promise you’ll love it!

A few of my favorite finds found on Swirl.com

H&M Peter Pan Collar on Swirl.com

H&M Peter pan Collar – $24 found on Swirl.com

 

Leah Maki's Favorite Polka Dot Cardigan

Forever 21 Polka Dot Cardigan – $18 Found on Swirl.com

 

Leah Maki's favorite Leopard Crystal Clutch

Nordstrom Leopard Crystal Clutch – $168 Found on Swirl.com

Fall Trend Alert: Oxblood Red is the Hue of the Season

Posted on: September 14th, 2012 by Leah No Comments

The newest color trend this season is a maroon color the fashion elite are calling Oxblood.  This dramatic dark brownish red color can be found in tones ranging from bold bordeaux, deep magenta, rich crimson and more wine soaked hues.

As with any trend, I never recommend going out and buying a closet full of Oxblood because by next season this look will likely be done.  I do, however, recommend picking up a few pieces that will effortlessly mix into your wardrobe and help you achieve this trend-setting look.

One way I love wearing a trend is through a bold lip color and this oxblood color is easy to wear.  I recommend Giorgio Armani Lipstick #201 from Saks Fifth Avenue.  This sultry color will look beautiful on your pout this fall!

Giorgio Armani Rouge D’Armani Lipstick #201 $30

 

Try oxblood in easy-to-wear layering pieces like this ASOS leather jacket in Oxblood.  This bold color looks great paired with primary hues.  I love it paired with bold fall tones such as hounds tooth and yellow and orange.

ASOS Curved Biker Jacket in Oxblood with Zip Details $224

 

My current obsession is oxblood hued booties and I can’t wait to purchase these by Schutz found at Piperlime.  Living in Florida makes for a fairly non-existent Fall.  With booties, I will wear this with other fall tones in lightweight fabrics that can still work in my warm climate.  (To my hubby – I would like these in a size 9 for my birthday in 2 weeks…Please….)  These will obviously look fabulous in cooler climates with tights and heavier wool skirts and dresses!

Good thing I love red wine.  It’s now going to look very fashionable holding a glass while rocking a bordeaux lip and oxblood booties paired with my fave yellow dress!

Take a look at this fashionista rocking oxblood at NYFW!  I love how she’s worn this bold tone in a printed dress and gorgeous oxblood handbag and booties!

Oxblood Accessories NYFW – photo courtesy of The Locals

United Nude: architecture meets fashion

Posted on: March 21st, 2012 by Leah No Comments

I first spotted this fabulous shoe lounging poolside at The Standard in Miami Beach on a leggy brunette.  She wore a yellow version of this wedge style Mary Jane that matched her yellow and white bikini.  After noticing her shoes, I had to go over and ask her who made them.

What I love about United Nude’s shoes is the architectural spirit combined with architectural style.  It’s very fitting that United Nude originates from a collaboration between a Dutch architect and an English shoemaker.  The Mono Jane shown here would also look great with tights and a cute dress for Fall/Winter and could also be worn into Spring with a summer day dress or perhaps at your favorite pool with a matching bikini.

United Nude made its Miami debut at a pop-up boutique in the Miami Design District.

United Nude Miami
Miami Design District
161 NE 40th Street
Miami, FL 33137

Violet Mono Jane
$125
Unitednude.com