Saturday, October 31, 2015

Black Halo

Jumpsuit (Black Halo); Shoes (Donald J. Pliner); Wings (Amazon)
Happy Halloween! This is not my costume... I've kept a tight lid on tonight's Halloween chili cook-off theme. If you were to take a hint from this ensemble, you might think it involved wings. You'd be wrong. The wings are left-over from Halloweens past. They're sure to show up over and over again, but they are not in the All Hallow's celebration rotation this year. 
Yet, when I wore this jumpsuit by one of my favorite brands, Black Halo, earlier in the week, I couldn't help but think about them. I can't imagine why... Actually, I think about them every time I wear Black Halo. It's a word association thing, I guess. Ultimately, while the jumpsuit made it to the office, I had to clip the wings...they just don't fit in my car! 
My hidden "dark angel" aside, if you're a fan of well-tailored, professional pieces in solid colors, you may find you love Black Halo as much as I do. The fabrics are high quality, and the details are exquisite without being over the top. Here, it's the asymmetrical neckline that makes it a standout piece. I like it so much I have a dress with the same neckline in navy blue. In Indianapolis, you can find the line downtown at Enza's Boutique, and on the northside at Profyle Boutique.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Cheap but Chic

The spider web T is a "found" item and I couldn't resist trying to scare up something to go with it. Pants (Joseph Ribkoff, The Secret Ingredient); Shoes (Bandolino, Steinmart); Striped stockings and glitter glasses (Walgreens)
 It's no secret that Halloween is my favorite holiday, and I definitely enjoy getting in the "spirit" of things with my wardrobe. This October, I've already been a cowgirl; a Roy Lichtenstein-inspired pop art character; a zombie; and a sugar skull (look for the lowdown on the latter two in upcoming posts). I've still got a masquerade party on Friday and a Halloween chili cook-off on Saturday, so of course I've got two more spooky get-ups lined up before the witching hour tolls on October 31. I know, I know...that many costumes sounds like an expensive endeavor, but I am really big on creating costumes using elements that are already in my wardrobe. It's both more cost-effective and more fun.

In the week leading up to All Hallow's Eve, I'm also apt to bring a (somewhat) subtle pop of purple or pumpkin to my everyday attire. But, there's a fine line between a touch of spooky spirit and looking like I'm channeling my second grade school teacher, who had a teddy bear sweatshirt for every season (Yuck - I prefer to keep my theme sweaters squarely in the "ironic, ugly-sweater party award winner" category, thank you very much).
I found these black fabric Bandolinos on sale at Steinmart. They're super comfortable and, although they're meant for everyday wear, they make excellent witch's shoes.
I might pair an orange belt with a black jumpsuit, but you're not likely to see me sporting jack-o-lantern earrings at the office.  And yet, when I pulled the purple and orange Halloween decoration storage totes from the attic this year (what...did you really think my storage totes weren't color coordinated?), I found this spider web t-shirt tossed in amongst assorted witches capes, wigs, and costume accoutrements collected over the years (many of which are left-over "lost and found" items from Halloween parties past). I'm not sure how I got it. I don't remember buying it, and I don't have a clue how long it's been there. But, since some friendly ghost left it for me, I decided I might as well try to scare up a look that was Halloween chic on the cheap. After all, Fashion is what you buy (or find in your attic, as the case may be); Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

How the West Was Worn

Who can resist a little air guitar when your purse is shaped like one!
You know how little kids think they can run faster when they get new tennis shoes? Or how it's really, really hard for them to sit still when those new shoes have little lights on the soles that glow with every step? Well, that's pretty much how I felt when I wore these crystal embellished boots from Roper to the Buckaroo Bash two weeks ago. 
It might have been because the Eitlejorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art's annual fundraiser featured not just one, but two great bands that played dance-worthy tunes all night... But, I have to admit the fact that my every step sent little constellations of flickering white lights across the dance floor had me more excited about busting a move than usual (now if only I knew how to do a proper Texas Two Step.
The fringed satin jacket, dress, Mary Frances guitar purse, belt, and six shooter pendant (it actually comes out of its tiny holster) are all eBay discoveries collected over several years.
I tend to prefer top-stitching and embroidery over bling when it comes to cowboy boots, but the "How the West Was Won" Western movie-themed event called for a bit of rhinestone cowgirl kitsch...or if you're me, a covered wagon-full of kitsch (you know I can't do anything halfway). I've had pajamas in this Alexander Henry cowgirl fabric (with a red background rather than black) for several years, and I couldn't resist when I came across this dress from the same fabric on eBay. You can find the dress here, and a similar version with a blue background is available here through Amazon. 
Lenny & Eva "Sentiments" bracelets like this one engraved with a Calamity Jane quote are interchangeable with each other and with different leather bands; Ring (David Yurman, G. Thrapp Jewelers).
The theme also called for my favorite Mary Frances guitar purse; my six shooter pendant; and  a brass and leather bracelet from Lenny & Eva engraved with a quote from Calamity Jane: "I figure if a girl wants to be a legend, she should just go ahead and be one." I wear the bracelet a's a reminder to fearlessly be myself, and it always makes me smile because I've been called Calamity Jane a time or twelve myself due to my penchant for calamitous slips, trips and falls. Remember this Calamity Jane post?!
A red crinoline from Amazon was in order for the Bash to give the dress more structure (and, like the boots, it made me want to twirl around), though I was a bit surprised when a stranger asked if she could look under my dress...but then she told me it reminded her of her "dance party clothes" as a teenager in the 1950s.
I have an entire "cowgirl room" filled with Western art (even the light switch covers are hand tooled leather); and my first original and still favorite piece of art (which I affectionately call "The Cowboy Crotch) looks like it could have come from the Eitlejorg's collection. So, I was really pleased to have an opportunity to kick up my heels to support the museum's fundraising efforts. 
The small Western themed silver "buckle" on my jacket is actually an elastic and metal ring I picked up in Las Vegas for $10 last month.
It was also great to see how much the other guests embraced the theme. From cowboys and saloon girls to Texas Rangers, the Wild West spirit was alive and well in Indiana!
From decor to wardrobe, Eiteljorg volunteer Deborah Kish (left) and the rest of the Buckaroo Bash committee did a great job "setting the stage" for the Old West move-themed event.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Forget Frankenstein...try Lichtenstein!

Makeup and photographs by Kelly Oswalt for Red Carpet Reflection; Dress (eShakti); Cardigan (Jessica Howard);
Bag (Amazon); Belt (eBay); Boots (Diba, Amazon)
When you love Halloween as much as I do, and your super-talented makeup artist friend wants to practice some new techniques and different "costume" looks for the upcoming haunted holiday, you jump at the opportunity. Even when it's a Tuesday afternoon and you don't have a party to go to. Even when it means showing up for a coffee date with friends in full "face." Even when you have to stop for groceries on the way home because there's no food (and most importantly, Diet Coke) in your house...
It's a good thing I'm not very self-conscious about standing out in a crowd, because I definitely got a few double takes as I was out and about yesterday. A few children stalked me at Kroger and one poor woman said I "done freaked her out" when she saw me in line at the deli counter. As for my friends...they weren't a bit surprised when I showed up for coffee looking like something out of the Sunday comics. And, hey, if businesses can start putting Christmas decorations out before the Great Pumpkin makes his annual appearance (which is just wrong), I can surely pull off a Halloween look just eleven days before candy corn coma day.
I have wanted to try a Roy Lichtenstein inspired look for a few years, and I was excited for a chance to experiment with it. I pulled items from my everyday wardrobe to complete the pop art picture - pieces I wouldn't normally wear together, but which coordinated perfectly with my comic book inspired tote bag and Kelly Oswalt's makeup artistry. A quick Pinterest search also revealed a simple tutorial for pop art fingernails (because I don't do anything halfway). 
I was beyond impressed with Kelly Oswalt's artistic flair and I hated to wash it all away at the end of the day, but I look forward to finding an opportunity to have her recreate it. If you're in central Indiana and want a unique, professional look for Halloween, I highly recommend Kelly and her business, Red Carpet Reflection. Let her create some makeup magic for you!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Great Style Swap Caper

Who'd have thought one perfect piece would take me from a church service on Monument Circle last December...
From a Christmas Eve church service in the heart of the Circle City to a Zombie Burlesque show in Times Square, this little leopard capelet has been on several adventures with me in the past two years. It's soft; it's warm; it's easy to pack; and it has a to die for red satin lining. The best part? I acquired it at the inaugural Style Swap Indy, which means the cape itself cost me nothing, and my $20 ticket to the Indianapolis Star's fashionista-friendly fundraiser benefited local kids through the Star's Our Children campaign. Why should you care about a shopping fundraiser I attended two years ago? Because it's happening again! The Third Annual Style Swap Indy takes place just one week from today, on October 22nd, from 6 to 9 pm at the Omni Severin Hotel. If you're in Central Indiana, I don't want you to miss your chance to be part of it! Broadway and a midnight Zombie Burlesque show last week in Times Square!
Style Swap Indy, as the name alludes, is an opportunity to exchange a few of your gently worn but still stylish clothes or accessories for those in someone else's wardrobe. Come on ladies... we all have items in our closet that no longer get the love they deserve: maybe they no longer fit or flatter us the way they did when we brought them home; maybe a career move necessitated a new look; maybe we're just ready to recycle and move onto something new. Whatever the reason, Style Swap Indy is the perfect opportunity to trade those items for something new to you! The Star's Amanda Kingsbury provides all the details in her recent article, so I won't rehash everything here. But, I will mention that if you buy your ticket by 5 p.m. TODAY, you'll be entered to win a stunning pair of sterling silver Ippolita drop earrings from Reis-Nichols. 
I'm also excited for year's event because one of my favorite local boutiques, Enza's, is donating several brand new pieces for the cause; and my favorite local Popcorn twins will be serving up goodies from Just Pop In! Style Swap is a parTAY, with DJ Gabby Love spinning tunes while we shop, nosh, and sip on a complimentary beverage or two. I've already selected a few of my own choice pieces to share this year, including a marsala leather jumper from Asos that still has the tags on it (and you know marsala is this year's Pantone Color of the Year); a buttery soft pair of charcoal suede Coach boots that have never been worn outdoors; a braided leather and freshwater pearl necklace from Ross-Simons; and a sterling silver and freshwater pearl cross necklace (all of which are featured below). I hope these pieces get new life and a chance to shine on whoever takes them home. As for the leopard capelet... well, let's just say I've decided it still has a few adventures with Red's Shoe Diaries left in it.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Support Your "Girls" and Women, too!

My beautiful friend, and fellow founding DFSI board member, Karen Kennelly looks stunning in silver at Stepping Out In Style! My own dress is from Temperley London, and my gold shoes are by Schutz.
Last month marked the 13th annual Stepping Out In Style, the signature fundraiser for Dress for Success Indianapolis. If you're a regular follower of Red's Shoe Diaries, you probably already know that the germination, development and growth of this fashion extravaganza is one of my proudest accomplishments. Knowing that my little idea for a  fashion-focused fundraiser (with firemen!) so many years ago has become a hotly anticipated event that raises more than $200,000 annually to support the organization's efforts to help disadvantaged women achieve economic self-sufficiency is better than all the shoes in my closet (and you know that's saying something...)
It's been my honor the past few years to share the stage with fashion coordinator and local fashion icon Murph Damron, and event emcee Julia Moffitt, news anchor for WTHR. ~Photo By Faith Blackwell Photography / Dauss Foto
Not surprisingly, it takes a village of volunteers to help Dress for Success "step out in style" each year, and I am eternally grateful to the individuals, staff, corporations, and local businesses that lend their support for the cause. Even if you missed this year's stellar event, you can also support the women served by DFSI, and you can support your "girls" at the same time...Yes, I do mean those "girls." 
The Indianapolis Fire Department is an institution at Stepping Out In Style, and Enza Pappalia (center) of local boutique Enza's provides some of the stylish and unique clothing that graces our runway. Her own fabulous red and black lace dress is by my favorite designer, Byron Lars (and can be found at the boutique). ~Photo By Faith Blackwell Photography / Dauss Foto
From October 14th through the 18th, all Vanity Fair bras at Indianapolis Macy's locations are buy one get one free, and for each bra you purchase, Vanity Fair will also donate a bra to Dress for Success. Well-fitting bras in good condition are often one of the first "luxuries" to go when women are struggling to make ends meet (and I use the term "luxuries" with all due sarcasm). Come on, ladies, you know what a difference the right foundation makes in how your clothes fit and how your back feels! Unfortunately, the supply of these necessities are all too often woefully insufficient to meet demand at the DFSI boutique, and donations of new ones make a big difference to the women we serve. So, if you're in the Indianapolis area and you happen to be on the hunt for your own support, please consider a trip to Macy's to check out the Vanity Fair selection next week. With this buy one get one free offer, you'll get twice the support for your own "girls" and you'll be supporting the women of Dress for Success at the same time!
Jasmine Perry is a professional makeup artist with Makeup by Sparkle, a locally owned business that each year helps our models get runway ready. ~Photo by Faith Blackwell Photography
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Project Pink

Stills from my goofy, muppet hat wearing twirl for the Eyenamics "slomo" live action photo booth - a fun alternative to traditional, posed, event photos. Check out the fun video here.
Breast cancer is a serious disease. Raising money to find a cure is serious business. But that doesn't mean doing so can't be fun, even for those fighting their own battle with the beast. 
I have a pink and orange accessory obsession lately. Shoes (Poetic License, with custom monogram clips); Bag (Amazon); Sunglasses (a freebie (woohoo!) from a Miami football game last Fall); Earrings (Gordmans)
Case in point: Project Pink, a flashy, fuschia-filled fundraiser featuring fabulous fashions created by up and coming local fashion designers using upcycled Komen for the Cure race swag. Seriously, I want a fluffy little flared skirt made from dozens of Race for the Cure scarves!
The upcycled Race for the Cure designs on the runway at Project Pink barely hint at their humble beginnings.
Local survivors, celebrities and health care heroes serve as models, and watching them walk the runway is both delightful and inspiring. I had a couple of friends modeling, and another friend who designed one of the fab dresses. It was so much fun to support them on the catwalk.
So many sunglassess, so little sunshine... Dress (Trina Turk); Sweater (Jessica Howard); Necklace (Gordmans)
Not surprisingly for an event titled "Project Pink," most of the guests in attendance were also decked out in shades of blush and bashful (I like you a little bit more if you get that reference), myself included (not that I have ever really needed an excuse to wear pink).
I love all of these designs, but the flirty skirt made from upcycled scarves on the right, modeled by my gorgeous friend Wandini Riggins, is one of my favorites.
Cotton candy striped shoes and dresses aside, Project Pink is, at its core, an important fundraiser for Komen in the fight against breast cancer. I'm already looking forward to next year's event. I'm looking forward even more to the day when there won't be a need for it (because no one needs an excuse to wear pink, anyway)!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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