What To Wear: Bowties For Girls

Who doesn’t love a guy in a bow tie? This piece of neck wear manages to do the impossible – be both fun and formal. I don’t think guys should have all the fun, thus why I encourage women to wear bow ties too. I bought my first bow tie about four years back and it has served me well. Ladies if you are still unsure about trying a bow tie, let me explain:

It elevates your style. Adding a bow tie to an outfit and doing so appropriately makes any outfit look sharp and adds an element of intrigue. We copy other menswear trends, why not mix this in with a more feminine outfit?

It’s an interest piece. Bow ties always catch your attention. Every single time I’ve worn a bow tie in public, I get approached by strangers telling me they like it.

It’s the perfect combination of bold and classic. Bow ties have been worn for centuries, yet they’re still a bold move for an outfit for both men and women. I appreciate those who take the risk and are willing to stand out.

Before I share some guidelines for bow ties for women, take a look at a few photos of inspiration from F.E. Castleberry who writes one of my favorite blogs, Unabashedly Prep.

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Now that you’re convinced, let’s go over the basics. Bow ties are not all created equal, so using men’s bow ties are most likely going to be too big for your face and make you look like a present. Sometimes you can adjust them in the back to make them smaller, other times the bow will still be too big, but don’t worry, I have a solution:

Boy’s bow ties are a great alternative to buying a regular sized bow tie. They are on the smaller size so they end up looking proportionate on a lady. Self-tie boy’s bow ties are few and far between (although I’m sure they exist), but pre-tied with the strap around the back are a great alternative and easy to find. My advice is to opt for pre-tied over clip-on as clip-on looks way too fake. photo 1You can find boy’s bow ties at many different stores, but Crew Cuts, J Crew’s boy’s department, has the best ones. I have two silk Crew Cuts bow ties and I’ve been able to buy both on sale. Notice both are pre-tied but look more realistic (especially the polka dot one) than a clip-on would. We aren’t trying to fool anyone into thinking we tied our own bow tie, however, the pre-tied will look more authentic and be more secure.

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The type of collar that’s preferred with a bow tie is a button down as seen in the following picture. It’s nice to slip the strap of the bow tie underneath and secure behind. I think button down collars look best, however, don’t let that stop you from donning this look. I’ve worn a bow tie with a normal collar before and just made sure everything was tucked under neatly.

photo 2Last piece of advice – unless you’re Janelle Monae, stay away from black or red silk bow ties. They tend to look either too formal or like a waiter at a fancy restaurant.

Have fun!


10 Items for Your Clutch

During wedding season it’s important to know what to pack in your clutch that will cover all your needs for the duration of the evening.  The clutch itself can either be a simple clutch or have a long strap attached to it, but it should be on the smaller side and more formal than your everyday purse. Invest in a clutch that will go with a good majority of the dresses you may wear to a wedding. I found a quality one at an antique store for $8 in navy blue and it has served me well for years. There are a few essentials to pack for the night:

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1. Breath freshener is a necessity since you’ll be talking to people and you may not know what’s for dinner. The wedding reception should have mints available in the restrooms, but you can’t count on that. I opt for Listerine strips because they are very tiny for packing purposes but also very strong.

2. A compact mirror is great for checking make-up without having to get up and go to the bathroom. It also is useful for seeing the back of your hair if you are using the bathroom mirror. My friend gave me this one from Paris and it has come in handy on many occasions.

3. You don’t need to bring your whole make-up bag but lipstick or concealer isn’t a bad idea. I always bring my lipstick to reapply it after awhile.

4. A tiny comb won’t take up a lot of space in your clutch but will be useful if you need to smooth any flyaways.

5. Oil blotting tissues are a lifesaver for long days, especially when part of the wedding is outdoors. Unless you have extremely dry skin, you will be grateful you packed this. I’ve used quite a few types and The Body Shop’s is the best I’ve come across.

6. A Q-Tip is small but handy, and can be used to fix eye make-up or any other small make-up fixes.

7. Bobbi pins should always be in your clutch, especially if you have your hair in an updo. You could use a few extra bobbi pins throughout the evening if strands come loose.

8. A hair tie should be in every clutch even if you don’t use it.  When it comes to the dance floor, you’ll be happy to have the hair off of your face.

9. (Not pictured) License and credit card should go with you everywhere, but you don’t need to bring your whole wallet. I find these are the only two cards I really need when I downsize to a clutch.

10. (Not pictured) Bring cash in smaller bills in case you need to tip a valet or coat check. You’ll be glad you thought ahead.

Pairing Necklaces with Necklines

Pairing necklaces with various necklines can be rather tricky thus why I wanted to share with you a few ideas that may be helpful in solving this dilemma.  There are a few things to remember as you read on; these are just my thoughts, there are always exceptions (occasion, hairstyle…) to any rule, and you should always stay true to what works best for you.  My key to each necklace choice is balance – knowing when you need a thicker necklace, a more subtle look, or no necklace at all.  Keep reading to check out my ideas for what necklaces look best with these necklines:

1The crew neck is the easiest to pair with a necklace because it comes up to the neckline and looks great with most necklaces. Sometimes it’s best to go simple and forgo a necklace especially if the rest of your outfit is busy. A delicate pendant that shows up on the top can be subtle, yet elegant. Lastly, a round necklace (or a statement necklace) might add more style to a plain crew neck top.

2The scoop neck can be a little bit trickier. Depending on how low or high the scoop neckline is, there are a variety of options. Most of the time, a scoop neckline needs a necklace, which is why I don’t recommend skipping a necklace altogether. A delicate pendant looks nice, however, a round necklace that mimics the neckline looks even better. My favorite look for a scoop neck is a bigger necklace or statement necklace that fills up the space and adds some interest to your outfit.

3The v-neck necklace choice also depends on whether it is a high or low neckline. Most of the time, I don’t like round necklaces with a v-neck because it contrasts the shape of the neckline, however, I have seen it done well and a higher v-neck with a round necklace may work depending on the necklace. Sometimes with this neckline, no jewelry looks great and uncomplicated, especially with a more casual shirt. The best choice is a simple pendant that mimics the neckline and balances the skin-to-shirt ratio.

4The boat neck is one of my favorite necklines but it can be harder to style. A round, bib, or statement necklace tends to cut off the beautiful neckline leaving space between the necklace and ends of the top. While it’s not the most aesthetically pleasing look, I have seen it done well with the right necklace pairing. If you’re unsure about using a statement necklace with this neckline, opt for a simple pendant, or better yet, nothing. Boat neck tops are high and long, and look best with no necklace. Keep it simple and avoid creating a heavy look.

5The collared shirt can look great with any necklace, which is why most of my tops have a collar. Going with no necklace is simple, unfussy, and makes your look seem effortless in the best way. The delicate pendant necklace adds some interest without going overboard. The statement necklace looks great under a collared shirt because it can be tucked away while still dressing things up. Lastly, statement necklaces on the outside of a collared shirt is fun, just make sure the necklace hangs low enough to hit below one of the unbuttoned buttons.

6The one shoulder is a pretty off centered look that throws some interest into your top or dress. I’m pretty firm on my thoughts with this neckline – keep it simple. It’s already a unique neckline that cuts diagonally across you, so adding a symmetrical necklace cuts off the neckline. Big, pretty earrings are a much better way to add style into this look.


7Lastly, the strapless neckline begs for a necklace. This neckline shows the most skin, so it looks more balanced and classy when paired with a necklace. You can opt for the subtle pendant, but a collar, bib, or statement necklace adds far more interest to the dress while balancing the look out.



Summer Staples on Sale

There are a ton of sales going on right now, which makes it the perfect time to get some summer staples for next summer (Yes, Summer 2015). It’s not as exciting shopping at the end of a season, but you’ll thank yourself later for being so smart. Here are a few items I deem as my summer staples, meaning they’ll work with the rest of your existing wardrobe easily and they’re classic enough to be worn for years to come. Screen shot 2014-07-30 at 1.29.35 PM1. Chambray shirts are lightweight and can tone down bright shorts, or make white jeans look fresh. The best part of this piece, is you can keep it in rotation ALL year round. It’s worth the investment, and luckily you can find on at J Crew Factory for under $30.

2. Oxford cloth popover is a great short sleeve option that proves to be versatile and can also be worn all year round just by putting a sweater over it. This one is also on sale at J Crew Factory for $30.

3. Baseball caps are cute and keep the sun out of your eyes. Perfect for running errands or humid days where your hair isn’t cooperating. This one is 40% off at J Crew for $18, but if you shop in store you may be able to find it even cheaper.

4. White denim shorts are my all time favorite summer staple. I got this exact pair pictured above from J Crew Factory two years ago and they’re so comfortable. They have been constantly worn this summer since they go with virtually any piece. Do yourself a favor  and grab these while they’re 50% off ($29.50) at J Crew Factory.

5. White denim pants make any outfit look fresh for summer and can be dressed up or down. If you follow me on instagram, you’ve seen mine quite a bit this summer as it’s proven to be another versatile piece in my closet. Mine are from Lands End Canvas and are no longer available, but Gap has many options on sale for as low as $27.

6. White cotton dress makes an easy outfit to throw on and pair with any shoe or accessory. It’s effortless while still looking feminine. You can find many styles of white dresses on sale, but this one is currently $30 from Tommy Hilfiger.

7. Boat shoes are a staple for me, and now is a great time of year to purchase them. The Sperry Top-Sider website has some on sale, but 6pm.com has even more choices (and better prices). The one pictured above is from 6pm.com for $32 – a great deal for quality shoes.

8. Sandals are starting to go on sale so figure out which of your sandals may need to be replaced or a style you think you would wear a lot and keep an eye out. I think sandals are best tried on in stores, but I included this one from the Clark’s website on sale for $65. Not the best deal of my round-up, but Clark’s will last you years to come and are extremely comfortable. I switched into Clark’s wedges after my wedding ceremony and didn’t have sore feet the entire day!

Whether your summer staples are similar to mine or not, it’s a great time of year to look over your closet and decide what pieces you could see yourself getting a lot of use out of. Shopping at the end of the season will not only save you money, but will give you something to be excited about next year when you pull out your spring/summer clothes.

Four Ways to Get the Wrinkles Out of Clothes

Nothing polishes off an outfit than making sure it is wrinkle free. While it may seem like a tedious last step, it’s more important than you think. Wrinkled clothes can make a bad impression especially if you’re in a professional setting, and freshly ironed clothes show that  you take the time to take care of yourself. Sometimes you don’t notice a wrinkle until you’re out of the house and it’s too late. Now, it’s not the end of the world, but if you have extra time then spend it on making your clothes look their best. Here are the four ways I use to take the wrinkles out.

photo 41. Steaming is my favorite way to get the wrinkles out. This is great for all types of fabrics but especially silk, linen, and other lightweight fabrics that are more fragile. I use a Conair: Standing Garment Steamer from Bed, Bath, & Beyond, but you can also find a hand steamer as well. Pros: Great for pieces of clothing that are more delicate because they relax the fabric fibers rather than crushing them with an iron. Perfect for your dressier clothes since there’s little risk of burning them, and it can even deodorizer a fabric. Steaming is one of the safest, most gentle ways of making your clothes look sharp. Cons: Not many cons here. It takes up some space, but not as much as an ironing board. Sometimes it doesn’t work as well as an iron does in getting out the most stubborn wrinkles.


photo 32. Ironing is the most common method of getting wrinkles out. An iron along with some starch can get the hardest wrinkle out. Taking care of your clothes by pressing them also helps extend the life of the garment. Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use, and can be found in almost any hotel room. It works effectively if used properly. Just make sure to check the setting according to the type of fabric. Cons: It can be tricky to iron the back and front side of something that’s too narrow for the ironing board. Also, if you’re not careful, you could possibly leave a burn mark on the clothing.



photo 13. Wrinkle Release is the lazy way to get the wrinkles out. This is a method that I love to utilize on my everyday clothes. If I lay out my outfit the night before and notice it’s not extremely wrinkled then I’ll just spray a good amount of wrinkle release on it, shake it out, and hang it up. By the morning it has dried and the wrinkles have fallen out. Pros: Very easy method where you don’t have to heat anything up or spend a lot of time on it. Freshens up the fabric and works great with cotton. Cons: Not great for items that have a lot of wrinkles or on nicer fabrics. Needs to dry completely before use so it’s not the best option for a last minute effort.



photo 24. Shower steam is a last ditch effort reserved for”emergencies” and if you don’t have a steamer or iron handy. I’ve only used this method once when I was traveling in the Middle East and the hotel didn’t have an iron. You’ll want to hang the item up near the shower where it won’t get wet, and run the shower with the doors closed so the room collects steam and releases the wrinkles. This is much like the first option, but takes a little more time and not as concentrated. Pros: Can be useful when there are no other options left. Not a lot of effort on your part just hang it up and turn on the shower. Cons: Not guaranteed to be effective every time, and can possibly be time consuming depending on the piece of clothing.



What to Wear: Summer Hats

Saying I love hats is an understatement. Not only do they add extra stye to any outfit, they are functional as well. Depending on the hat, it can cool you down, keep you warm, and most have a brim to protect your face from the sun. Another added bonus – if you color your hair, it will keep your color from fading in the sunlight. If you aren’t a “hat person”, I hope I can convince to try at least one style.  Here are a few summer hats from my collection:

photo 2Baseball caps are perfect from a day on a boat to running errands. They’ve come a long way from being exclusively for sporty styles and look cute on everyone.

(Clockwise from top left) 1. A Seersucker hat is a subtle, more feminine style, that pairs well with summer outfits especially whites and pinks. 2. This crest hat is my new purchase from J Crew that I got from their summer sale for $12. I love the crest and the contrast between the navy top and white brim. 3. Ralph Lauren Polo hat is fresh being all white with the navy logo. If you love Ralph Lauren as much as I do, you need one of these hats. I found this in the men’s section at the polo outlet, but I’ve seen it at Macy’s as well. 4. This color block baseball cap uses an unusual color combo with the pop of neon pink, so I’ll keep the rest of my outfit neutral when I wear this.

photo 1Straw hats are light weight and will keep you cool in the sun because they’re made out of breathable material and normally have a wide brim that blocks the sun. There are many types of straw hats, but here are my four favorite kinds.

(Clockwise from top left) 1. Kettle brim straw hat – I found this one at an antique store and I love the bow on the back. It’s not quite casual or formal, so it’s perfect for dressing up cotton dresses. 2. Panama hat – One of mine (and Teddy Roosevelt’s) favorite style of hats. It has a wider, flat brim than you would find with a fedora. This hat is seriously underrated, even though it looks great on almost anyone. It’s subtlety stylish, and when added to an outfit makes you look like you know what you’re doing. Mine is from H&M, but I’ve also seen them at J Crew and even Forever 21. 3. Boater hat – These are more old-fashioned with early 20th century roots, as seen in The Great Gatsby. I have one from Nordstrom that I’ve worn on Easter Sunday, but I was delighted to find the one I’m wearing in this picture at Forever 21. It had a plain black ribbon with feathers, so I cut off the feathers and added this navy and white striped ribbon to make it more fun for summer. This hat looks best with your hair down with some wave or curl. 4. Wide brim beach hat – Please wear one of these to the beach or pool! Sunburns on your face now will lead to sun spots (or worse) when you’re older. You can use bronzer to add some color to your face instead. Besides, these hats look glamorous and can be purchased inexpensively anywhere. I got mine at Target a few years ago and it’s kept its shape despite going on many trips with me.

Paul J. Havel

I came across Paul’s instagram account about a year ago and decided to follow after being impressed by his style and creativity. Each photo and video is of the utmost quality and attention to detail that has preppy accessory brands Bull + Moose and Smathers & Branson having him make videos for their own instagram accounts. Joe & I had the opportunity to meet Paul when he came up to Michigan with his family to visit Greenfield Village & Henry Ford Museum, and had a great time chatting with him for a few hours. He proved to be as cool and interesting as his instagram account led us to believe, and just as talented as we imagined. I’m most impressed by his videos that he shoots all on his iPhone. Do yourself a favor and check out his account and watch the videos he’s worked on –  you can find him at @pjhavel.

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me & paul

me & paul

Paul & Joe

Paul & Joe


Here are a few pictures from Paul’s Instagram Account:

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Riverboat Cruise

Last night I had the opportunity to go on the Detroit Princess Riverboat on the Detroit River for a two hour river cruise. My friend, Michael, and I coordinated wearing our boater hats which fit appropriately into the venue.

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Michael & me

Michael & me

my husband & me

my husband & me

Michael's outfit - boater hat, gingham bowtie, white cotton blazer, sailboat chinos, and tassel loafers

Michael’s outfit – boater hat, gingham bowtie, white cotton blazer, sailboat chinos, and tassel loafers

Joe's outfit - seersucker suit and pink cotton bow tie

Joe’s outfit – seersucker suit and pink cotton bow tie

view from the 4th deck

view from the 4th deck

inside of the dining hall

inside of the dining hall

parlor mirror shot

parlor mirror shot

freighter and the sunset

freighter and the sunset

freighter and the Detroit skyline

freighter and the Detroit skyline

Ragtime Street Fair

This past weekend my husband, Joe, and I headed over to Greenfield Village for their “Ragtime Street Fair”. Greenfield Village was founded by Henry Ford and holds historical homes and buildings from American history. I recently bought a membership there, so I’ve been taking advantage of the many events they hold such as this past weekend’s.

Our outfits for the Ragtime Street Fair are all clothes we owned just put together to (somewhat) fit into the era of the early 20th century. I took a straw boater hat from Forever 21 and replaced the plain black ribbon with a much cuter navy and white striped one. I paired it with a white linen fit and flare dress and boat shoes. My husband wore a white collared shirt with seersucker pants, my grandpa’s old newsboy cap, and boat shoes. Check out my photos from our day which include our ride in an authentic 1924 Model T.


Old time baseball games are played every weekend

Old time baseball games are played every weekend

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On the porch of the Wright brother's home

On the porch of the Wright brother’s home

Theodore Roosevelt impersonator on his way to give a campaign speech

Theodore Roosevelt impersonator on his way to give a campaign speech

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Women's suffrage

Women’s suffrage

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parts of the street fair

parts of the street fair

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Joe's outfit was on point!

Joe’s outfit was on point!

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In the 1924 Model T

In the 1924 Model T

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Joe with an old time police officer

Joe with an old time police officer

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What to Wear on a Summer Date

Warmer weather and longer days give way for more creative dates than the typical “dinner and a movie”. Whether it’s your first date with a guy or your 500th with your husband, here are some outfit ideas for four different dates that are commonly associated with the season.

photo 4Picnic: Lucky you, you get to go on a picnic! I chose a chambray dress and added some color with a vintage Ralph Lauren scarf. The wedges are made by Clarks and are very comfortable for walking yet keep the outfit feminine. Most casual outfits would work, and you can look nice without looking fussy. Here are a few tips to keep in mind: Please avoid heels as they sink in the grass and make you look high maintenance in the great outdoors. Swap out perfume for bug spray – your date would rather you smell like bug spray than hear you complain. Lastly, if you choose a skirt or dress, make sure it’s on the longer side as you we will be sitting on the ground at some point during this date.

photo 2Zoo: Going to the zoo is another fun date idea (except I normally avoid it until all the kids go back to school). Anyway, I went with olive green shorts, a lightweight top, and a panama hat to keep the sun out of my eyes. I like sleeveless shirts for most outdoor activities in case you get hot and sweat a little bit, it won’t be as big of a deal. Comfortable shoes are a must since you’ll be walking a lot, and a cross-body bag keeps your hands free so you’re not stuck lugging a huge purse around.

photo 3Miniature Golfing: Fun at any age, putt-putt brings out some healthy competition (or unhealthy in my case) between you and your date. You may go after dinner, so I opted for white denim and a button down shirt to keep it polished but not too dressed up. Adding watches are not only functional but can add a lot of style to an outfit as they become more rare. I’d rather look at my watch for the time than check my iPhone and risk the person I’m with feeling ignored.

photo 1Baseball Game: I went with a baseball tee, denim shorts, and a baseball hat with my home team on it. There’s no need to get all dolled up for a baseball game, I like dressing up too, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Wear something associated with the team you’re watching, and if you don’t have anything, then just add a dash of one of the team’s colors.  Regardless, keep it casual and functional. Any place you go with crowds, a cross-body bag is a must since it forces you to downsize your purse and also keeps you hands free. Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses since you’ll be in the sun and want to see the game without squinting, unless you’re baseball team plays in a dome, then I’m very sorry for you.

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