Friday, May 31, 2013

Vintage Vibe, Current Colors

Dress:  Dress Barn (a great place to try trendy colors and styles outside your fashion comfort zone with very little investment).
Necklace:  Dress Barn
Belt:  eBay
White Leather Bag:  Dooney & Bourke
Yellow Safety Pin Clutch:  Bodhi
Shoes:  Lindsay Phillips
After a month of Indy 500 inspired black and white looks, I was ready to welcome summer with a burst of vibrant color in "right now" shades of green, coral, and yellow. I don't typically wear big prints in super bright colors like this one, but the vivid floral and bird motif is fun to wear and has a retro 50s feel without looking "costumey." I found it at a bargain basement $30, so I was willing to take a risk outside of my standard clothing comfort zone.  I thought finding the right shoe might be a challenge, but nude Lindsay Phillips snap shoes with rhinestone and enamel snaps coordinate without overshadowing or competing with the loud print of the dress. An inexpensive mint green statement necklace also coordinates well, and I couldn't decide whether I preferred the bright yellow Bodhi Safety Pin Clutch (my favorite bag right now) or the traditional white leather Dooney & Bourke with cognac whipstitch trim.  Which do you prefer? 

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blue Collar Gold Swagger for the Office

I'm a sports fan, and I like to show support for my favorite teams, especially in anticipation of big games.  At work, however, I still need to dress "office-appropriate," which means jeans and jerseys are off-limits (as are my candy-stripe pants during IU basketball season).  No matter - I still find ways to tout my team spirit, and I'm not really a fan of jerseys anyway!

Tonight, our own Indiana Pacers take on the Miami Heat in Game 5 of Eastern Conference Finals.  I decided to wear just a touch of "Blue Collar Gold Swagger" with mustard pants and a navy blazer. I like the unconventional juxtaposition of the ultra-casual grey Pacers t-shirt with the formality of the jacket.  Of course, the  Poetic License shoes echo the blue and gold color scheme.  This pair of spectators features stripes and tassels - a combination of my favorite elements in one glorious shoe!  
Pants:  Larry Levine
Jacket:  Jones New York
Bag:  Relic
Shoes:  Poetic License
Citrine ring:  David Yurman
Monogram Pendant:  Ross Simons
Earrings:  Roberto Coin
The shoes and mustard pants aren't reserved just for Blue Collar Gold Swagger days; I've also paired them with chambray and a fun, vintage Isabella Fiore handbag (below), for a different look.  Who says mustard is hard to wear?!
How do you "shoe" your team spirit?  Would you pair a casual team logo t-shirt with a blazer?
Go Pacers!
With Pacers' Roy Hibbert and Paul George at Zoobilation 2011
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Monogram Madness

Hat:  Marley Lilly
Top:  Lauren Ralph Lauren (Macy's)
Capris:  Counterparts (Steinmart)
Bag:  Dooney & Bourke
Flipflops:  Lindsay Phillips
Custom Shoe Clips:  Initial Perfection (Etsy)
I love monograms.  If something can be monogrammed, it's a good bet I'll prefer it that way.  When I was in the 5th grade, my cousin Donna (whose style I have always admired) got me a monogram sweater for Christmas.  I was so proud of that sweater and wore it constantly.  I loved that it was unique and customized just for me.  Over the years, I've acquired all manner of monogrammed items, from towels and totes to a Swiss army knife purchased during a backpacking trip to Interlaken that is affectionately referred to only as "the JLD," as in "Can I borrow the JLD to cut the tag off of this sweater," or "We don't need to bring a corkscrew because I have the JLD."

I also like to give monogrammed items to loved ones to celebrate special occasions - it's the ultimate personalization that says "this is for you and only you." Giving someone a monogrammed gift shows that you've planned ahead and put thought into the purchase.  Of course, it's important to get the monogram right - I once gave my childhood best friend a monogrammed silver candle holder beautifully engraved with the initials MAD, only to be gently reminded later that her monogram had changed to MAL when she got married...4 years earlier!  I may never live that one down. 

My latest monogrammed acquisition is this embroidered straw hat with navy and white polka dot sash from Marley Lilly.  It's a classic preppy look when paired with capris in emerald green (the Pantone 2013 Color of the Year) and a navy and emerald striped boat neck top.  I generally recommend wearing only one monogrammed piece at a time, but I couldn't resist the addition of navy and green monogrammed shoe clips to this casual weekend outfit, resulting in a literal head to toe monogrammed look.
Here's a bonus picture of the sweater that started it all (still love the sweater and my Great Grandpa Ralph; hate my hair cut!):
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

One Skirt, Two Ways

Shopping in your own closet for new ways to wear clothing you already own can be a rewarding and budget-friendly way to stretch your wardrobe.  This month, I transformed a casual Friday cotton maxi skirt into a race day ready sundress.
For the office, I paired the long skirt with mustard accents and anchored the slightly nautical feel of the black and white stripes with Lindsay Phillips snap shoes.  I'm a big fan of these shoes that, like the skirt, morph easily into a different look.  See my prior post for more about the brilliant versatility of Lindsay Phillips shoes.
For the Indianapolis 500, I simply pulled up the elastic waistband of the cotton t-shirt like material to turn it into a dress, and belted the waist to add structure.  The forecast called for milder than usual temperatures, so I layered my new "sundress" with a shrug and a denim jacket that could be easily removed as the day warmed up.  The checkered flag buttons on my Lindsay Phillips switchflops and matching fingernails revved up the race-inspired ensemble.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dressing for a Race Weekend Wedding

The 97th running of the Indianapolis 500 is just one day away, and I'm looking forward to spending a day with good friends in the fourth turn of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where we've sat nearly every year for more than a decade.  Before the pageantry and the Pace Car, however, today I celebrated with family at a cousin's wedding.  

A wedding on the eve of the Greatest Spectacle in Racing was the perfect opportunity to wear a favorite vintage-inspired black and white damask print sundress and the strappy black sandals I customized to go with it.

When I purchased them, the shoes were solid black with a satin rosette (I also own an original version, shown here in a prior post).  I love the shoes in their original incarnation, and they are incredibly comfortable for a strappy heeled sandal.  But, when I happened across damask patterned buttons at JoAnn fabric that matched the print of the dress, I knew I had to kick things up a notch and customize the shoes.  I decided a touch of red would add drama and highlight the pattern on the buttons, so I also purchased some small red silk flowers.  I then carefully cut out the center of the black satin rosette on the shoes, and affixed the outer petals of the red silk flowers and the buttons using a hot glue gun.  The whole project took less than 20 minutes.  I was thrilled with the result and the coordinated look never fails to make me feel confident and pulled together.

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Black and White and Bedford

I love May in Indiana, and I wish I'd had my camera with me at the office today to capture all of the people decked out in black and white.  I've worn black and white all week in celebration of the upcoming Indy 500.  Today, I wanted to wear a recent purchase from a great little independent boutique, Pretty Woman, in southern Indiana.  When my mother-in-law introduced me to it last summer, I admit I was skeptical that a boutique in Bedford would have much worth blogging about.  I. Was. Wrong!  This locally run business has plenty to get excited about, with high quality, unique and trendy options at reasonable prices.  Tribal, Insight, and Focus 2000 are just a few of the brands I was familiar with and happy to see in this hidden gem of a shop.   Moreover, the atmosphere is relaxed and upscale, and the owner has offered me both complimentary margaritas and diet coke (an admitted addiction) while I shopped!

The polka dot ruffled collar blouse featured in yesterday's post came from Pretty Woman, as did this fun dress and shrug brought in for the race season.  The dress did present one challenge, though - do I wear it with the quilted black leather and white patent slingback spectators, or the black and white stripe platform peep toe pumps with custom monogram clips!!!  Which do you prefer?
Dress:  Michael Tyler
Striped Shoes:  Cami (Kohl's)
Monogram Shoe Clips:  Initial Perfection (Etsy)
Quilted Spectators:
Collar Necklace:  Charming Charlie
Watch:  Wyler (vintage 1940s)
 If you live in or visit southern Indiana, it's worth a visit!

Pretty Woman
3124 5th Street
Bedford, IN
(812) 279-5710

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Polka Dots, Pinstripes, Leopard & Lace: Mixing Patterns and Textures

If you've followed the last couple of posts, no doubt you've noticed a mini parade of black and white, a theme befitting Indianapolis in the month of May in all of its checkered flag racing glory.  Today, we stay on track with the black and white theme, but shift gears to focus on adding interest by mixing patterns and textures.

For example, the busy print of the polka dot blouse, below, can overwhelm on its own, and makes me think of Cruella de Ville.  Pairing it with a classic tailored suit in a subtle pinstripe highlights the best part of the blouse - the collar - and keeps the suit from looking too conservative.  It's my favorite look to pair with spectators that have a modern Bonnie & Clyde vibe.
Blouse:  Keren Hart (Pretty Woman, Bedford, IN)
Suit:  Tahari (Steinmart)
Shoes:  Donald J. Pliner (
Bag:  Wilson's Leathergoods (vintage)
Watch:  Aquamaster (
I'll gladly leave dalmation prints to the Disney villainess, but I love the rich texture and unexpected element that hot pink crocodile leather and leopard print calf hair add to a black and white chevron skirt.  How do you wear animal prints?  Have you mixed them with geometric prints in black and white?
Skirt:  American Living (JC Penney)
Sweater:  Rafaella (Steinmart)
Shoes:  Donald J. Pliner (
Bag:  Brahmin
If you're mixing a lot of textures, sometimes a black and white ensemble stands on its own, and the addition of bright color would be distracting.  The look below mixes pinstriped silk and heavy black lace with snakeskin and chiffon spectator T-strap pumps and a tweed and patent leather bag.  Monogram cufflinks, a pearl and ribbon collar necklace, and a vintage 1940s gold and diamond watch on a black leather strap complete the look and add classic interest in the absence of color.  For winter, I'd add tights and the black cloche with ivory flower accent.
Blouse:  Bloomingdale's (vintage)
Skirt: Lapis (Steinmart)
Necklace:  Charming Charlie
Monogram Cufflinks:  Pish Posh Pendants (Etsy)
Shoes:  Anne Klein (eBay)
Bag:  Anne Klein (Macy's)
Cloche:  Kohl's (with JoAnn Fabric flower clip accent)
Watch:  Wyler (vintage 1940s from G. Thrapp Jeweler, estate jewelry)
Only a few more days until the Indianapolis 500.  Hmmm, maybe that means a few more black and white looks...I do have a race weekend wedding to go to, and the race itself, after all. 

Fashion is what you buy, style is what you do with it!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wearing Colors You Love When They Don't Love You Back

Yellow is a great color for spring.  Yellow makes me happy.  Yellow is very "on trend" right now.  Yellow makes me look, well, kind of sickly....  You know what?  I wear yellow anyway, just not next to my face.

Adding shoes and accessories in a bright color to basic black and white is a great way to wear colors you love that don't look that good on you in large doses.  It's also a great way to showcase a bold pair of shoes or quirky bag and keep an otherwise ultra-conservative black and white outfit from fading into the background.  For example, the bright yellow and white Naughty Monkey spectators (an eBay purchase) and the unique safety pin handle on the Bodhi clutch from eBags, below, really stand out when paired with a vintage style black and white plaid dress by Stop Staring from Enza's Boutique in downtown Indianapolis (one of my favorite boutiques).  

Is there a color you love but think you can't wear?  Try mixing a bold shoe in that color with basic black and white!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Revving Up Basic Black & White with Color and Lindsay Phillips Shoes

Graphic black and white is a top trend for spring, and nowhere is this more true than in Indianapolis in May as the city gears up for the greatest spectacle in racing. As I got dressed to take in the Pole Day activities from a suite at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I realized I've been wearing black and white a lot this month, but always with an unexpected pop of color or pattern and super fun shoes to add an element of surprise and keep things interesting.
Hat:  Nine West
Shoes:  Lindsay Phillips switchflops
Cuff:  Diego Rocha python and suede
Bag:  Fossil
For Pole Day, it's the single bold pop of fuchsia suede in the Diego Rocha cuff I acquired on a recent field trip to Chicago with the Fashion Arts Society to take in the Ebony Fashion Fair exhibit at the Chicago History Museum (a must see!) and a behind the scenes visit with acclaimed handbag designer Rocha (see my friend Madison's Preppy Guide to Life blog for more about this field trip and the fabulous fashions we experienced).  I’m actually wearing the cuff on the "wrong” side, but while playing in Rocha’s design studio, I discovered that the fuchsia suede-backed orange python band could be fastened with either side facing out.   When I asked, Diego said the reversibility was not intentional, but because he only works with the highest quality materials, (even on the underside of his work), I decided it was like getting two bracelets in one and that he should market them as such.  I can’t wait to see if he implements my suggestion!  Regardless, it looks great both ways and I'll be able to wear it twice as much.  The montage below includes a photo of Diego and me in his studio with the orange python side of the cuff facing out, as well as another black and white ensemble, this time revved up with bright yellow details and bumble bee snaps on my Lindsay Phillips snap shoes.

Dress and belt:  The Limited

Bag:  Bodhi Safety Clutch

Shoes:  Lindsay Phillips snap shoes

Both of the above looks feature Lindsay Phillips shoes, which I first discovered on a trip to San Diego several years ago and which offer maximum versatility while taking up minimum space in your closet or suitcase because the fun details are interchangeable, allowing you to change the look of your shoes to match your outfit!  I love to coordinate every detail, so these shoes are a dream come true.  Of course, I had to take it to the next level with the "Switchflops" in look #1, using velcro to temporarily add buttons from JoAnn Fabric to match the damask pattern in the maxi dress.

With the 97th running of the Indy 500 just one week away, look for more black and white complemented by color and high octane shoes to come!

How do you wear black and white? 

Friday, May 17, 2013

My My My My My Derby Shoes!

Can I really launch a shoe blog with a post about...Hats?  I woke up with the idea at 3 am this morning and decided, "Why not?!"  I've been kicking around the idea of a footwear-focused fashion blog for some time now (pardon the pun and the alliteration - sometimes I can't resist), but couldn't decide how to begin.  However, with the recent encouragement of friends and a seasoned fashion blogger I recently had the pleasure of meeting, I finally decided to step forward and dip my toe in the blogging waters.  (I promise I won't make bad puns in every post, lest would be readers think I'm a heel.  Really, I can stop).

Why on Earth would I kick off Red's Shoe Diaries with a post about hats?  Well, I love hats, nearly as much as I love shoes, and last week I had the opportunity to wear some seriously fun chapeaus on three separate days, first to a "Hats Off" luncheon hosted by the Fashion Arts Society at the Indianapolis Museum of Art celebrating the opening of a new Majestic African Textiles exhibit, and then to the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby, where I lost more than I won, but thoroughly enjoyed both the thoroughbreds and all the fashionable threads.   It was this seemingly endless fashion parade that finally gave me the chutzpah (or should I say"shoetzpah") to write this inaugural post.   Okay, okay, that one was definitely a misstep....  Anyway, here are a few photos from my three day Hatstraveganza, complete with the coordinating footwear since this is, after all, a blog about shoes:    

IMA Fashion Arts Society Hats Off Luncheon, May 2, 2013
Hat: Steinmart (with added embellishment from Hobby Lobby)
Dress and shrug:  Jessica Howard (Macy's)
Shoes:  (Rack Room Shoes)
You can view pictures of other fabulous hats from the Hats Off luncheon on the Dressed Her Days Vintage blog, and in Cathy Kightlinger's upcoming Talk of Our Town piece in the Indianapolis Star.

This was my first time at the Hats Off Luncheon, and I was head over heels happy to be awarded the "Hatastique" award for best all around ensemble, though I was really impressed and inspired by the effort put in by all the attendees to put their best foot (and hat) forward.  Despite its midwest pedigree, Indianapolis does, in fact, have a lot of style!  When I told my husband that I won a prize, he said "Of course you did."  Being far wittier than me and highly skilled with a good pun, I'm surprised he didn't say I was a "shoe-in!" Speaking of shoes, the ones I chose for the luncheon are a favorite.  I purchased them last summer at Rack Room for a steal.  I liked them so much, I bought a second pair in a BOGO deal, which I then customized to coordinate with a different dress, but more about that pair and how to customize basic shoes in a future post. 

Kentucky Oaks Hat:  Steinmart (with feather and floral embellishment from Hobby Lobby)
My Shoes:  DSW (with added floral clips from Payless)
Dress:  Jessica Howard (Macys)
Purse:  Mary Frances Collection
Floral Statement Necklace:  The Limited
For me, style is in the details, and finding the right elements to perfectly coordinate dresses, shoes, and hats was a lot of fun and easy to do with a little hot glue and some hat clips.  The band on my Oaks Day hat is actually the fabric belt that came with the dress - it adds a touch of coordinated ivory to the hat, and I added a $4 pink stretch belt from eBay  to add a bit more contrast at the waistline of the dress.

Kentucky Derby Hat:  Steinmart (with grosgrain ribbon, feather and floral embellishment from Hobby Lobby)
Dress:  Ralph Lauren (Macy's)
White Stretch Belt: eBay
72 inch cultured pearls
White peep toe pumps:  (Macy's)
Wellies:  Western Chief (
When I stumbled upon the brown and white Ralph Lauren polka dot dress in April, I immediately thought, "It's the Pretty Woman dress! (remember the stomping of the divots scene?!)  It's timeless and I think I'll be wearing it for years to a variety of events, and probably even to work (sans hat).  Unfortunately, it rained nearly the entire day of the Derby, so the white peep-toe pumps actually never made it out of the car.  Instead, my toes stayed warm, dry and comfy in these horse print rain boots (Look for a post dedicated to fun and stylish rain boots in the future).  I've learned from past Derby Day experience that balancing comfort and style is an absolute must.  When my feet hurt, I'm miserable, and life is too short to be miserable!

By the way, you may have noticed the fantastic spectators my husband is sporting in these photos.  He hasn't worn these anywhere other than the racetrack, but I absolutely love them.  In fact, spectators in all shapes, heel heights and colors are my favorite style of shoe and I have collected multiple pairs over the years.  Look for a future post dedicated to the beauty of the spectator!

Thanks for reading!  I hope you'll visit again and take a walk in my shoes!