Fall Into Fashion with St. Louis Fashion Week's First Night!

Thursday night, I attended the St. Louis Galleria's "Fall Into Fashion" - a fashion show featuring looks from the mall's stores, including Bebe, Anthropologie, True Religion, Franschesca, Cache, Ann Taylor, and more.

Before the show, guests sipped cocktails from Pinnacle vodka and Skinny Girl wines and knoshed on delicious appetizers.

This show was for a great cause as 100% of the proceeds from the event benefitted Haven House, a charity providing housing to families who are traveling from out of town for a hospitalized loved one.  As home to some of the premier hospitals in the country, it is awesome that there is local support for families who travel here for care.  Nothing can compare to home, but Haven House strives to come close!

Here are some of my favorite looks from the night:
True Religion Look (Source:  Alive Magazine)
Apricot Lane Look (Source:  Psyche Southwell of Economy of Style)
Look from Anthropologie (Source:  Psyche Southwell from Economy of Style)
New blogger friends:   Rachael of Style Every Day; Mary of Light Sleeper, Heavy Dreamer, and Julia of Oh Julia Ann (Source:  Psyche Southwell from Economy of Style)
The show featured lots of layering, mixed prints, leather, and tons of gorgeous purples and burgundies.

I enjoyed front row seats as a VIP blogger guest, giving me a terrific view of the show.  Unfortunately, I only had my cell camera, so pictures did not come out well.  I feature pics from several local bloggers and Alive Magazine.

Check out their blog posts for additional coverage!!

In the St. Louis area?  Check out Project:  Design happening this Wednesday at Windows on Washington.  Get more info and purchase tickets here.

St. Louis Magazine Honors The City's Most Stylish

This past Wednesday, I attended St. Louis Magazine's Fashion Soiree, an event celebrating St. Louis Magazine's Best Dressed over the last ten years.

The night's event included a fashion show styled by St. Louis Magazine's Jan Leach Givens with looks from several awesome local stores, including East + West, Esther, Mister Guy, and Paisley Boutique.  The St. Louis Rams also debuted their 2013 styles (who knew sports gear could be so fashionable?)

Some of my favorite looks from the show:
After the fashion show, the night's honorees were announced. 

Honorees included:

Faith Berger, Art Consultant
Tania Beasley-Jolly, Marketing Director at Saks Fifth Avenue
Tania Beasley-Jolly
Sohaila Danesh, Interior Designer
David Diener, Wealth Management Advisor
Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corp.
Jimmy Jamieson, Interior Designer
Kim Miller, Philanthropist
Susan Sherman, Co-Founder of Craft Alliance's Fashion Lab
Ozzie Smith, yep that awesome former St. Louis Cardinal
Doug Winship, General Manager of Mister Guy

One of my favorite things to do is to people-watch.  Maybe, it's the sociologist in me, but I love observing people.  I had fun snapping pics of some of the best dressed (in my opinion) party-goers.
Suzy Bacino, Jonathon Spradling, Megan Gelber, Taylor Perry
Ali Graeff and Marisa Lather of Vanilla in Vogue
Kendra and Mark Austin of Mark Austin Bespoke Couture
Middle:  Rikki Byrd, Founder and Editor-in-chief of  SCULPT Magazine (see more here)
Deborah Pontius, Carmen Ogonoski
This is what I wore to the show:
Blazer:  LOFT Petites (Available here)
Camisole:  LOFT Petites (Sold out on-line; may be available in stores)
Clutch:  Jason Wu for Target (old) (Available on eBay here)
Skirt:  The Limited (Available here)
Shoes:  Target
Since I considered this a working and networking event, I wanted a stylish but low-key outfit.  I was going for a feminine look with a masculine twist (my favorite combo) by pairing the feminine skirt and cami with a more masculine double-breasted blazer.  In the end, I think the proportions were off.  A shorter, more fitted jacket would have worked, but the jacket was a little too large for the flowy skirt.  Oh well!  :-)
Necklace:  The Limited
Bracelets:  The Limited and Torrid (Available here)
Earrings:  The Limited (Available here)
P.S.  Sorry I've been absent in the blogosphere for several days.  I've been busier than usual, but the worst part has been a week of crippling sinus headaches.  I couldn't take staring at a computer screen!  :-(

That said, I have a lot to share.  For my non-local fans, some of my next several posts, including this one, may be of limited interest as they relate to my coverage of the awesome St. Louis fashion events happening this week.  I'll also be throwing in some normal outfit posts and my Cassential Links for those of you who have been following me from all over the world.  

Have I said thank you enough for your viewership?  If not, thank you, spasibo, herzlichen dank, merci, asante, gracias, sag olun, etc.!!!!!


Ready to Roll

I almost didn't include this outfit on the blog.  
Jeans:  The Limited (old)
Military jacket:  Old Navy (Similar here)
It is ultra casual, maybe too casual?  Heck, just a year ago, I wouldn't have even worn an outfit like this anywhere I expected to be seen, let alone publish photos of myself on the web.  
Purse:  The Limited (Similar here)
T-shirt:  Torrid (Available here)
These jeans are at least four years old.  I ripped them myself, and the years of frequent wear have worn the holes much more than originally intended.  I love these jeans.  They're comfortable and the perfect length for my motorcycle boots.

My motorcycle boots...worn on actual motorcycles....I couldn't possibly feature these boots on a fashion blog, or could I?

Can you tell I think way too much? I was over-analyzing and taking myself too seriously.  It's just clothes, after all.

Besides, I have always meant for my blog to show everyday style.  Life presents itself with many different occasions, and sometimes you just need clothes that you can throw on and go.

Bracelet (Purchased locally)
I wore this outfit the weekend before last.  My honey was still home-bound from his accident, and he was getting super stir-crazy.  While I was ready to spend my Sunday lounging at home, surfing the internet, he was longing to get out of the house.  I took pity, and we loaded up the kids for a Sunday drive along the Mississipi River on the Great River Road, the Midwest's version of the Pacific Coast Highway (love you, Cali!). 

We had fun checking out a local kid-friendly art fair, nibbling at a delicious fudge shoppe (where I also found this cool snake coil bracelet!), and ending our day at a local Mexican restaurant.

My outfit was perfect for walking around the art fair, and the military jacket was just the right cover-up for the slightly chilly temps and occasional raindrops.

All in all, it was a Sunday much better spent than had I trolled the internet all day!  Darn it...I hate it when the man is right.  ;-)

How do you dress for extra casual days?

For this tee in other looks, see here and here.
For this jacket in another look, see here.


Glam Geek

Today's look takes my "Chic Geek" tee to a slightly edgy androgynous glam place (Does such a place exist, and how do I get to such a wonderland??!!).
Blazer:  New York & Company
Pants:  The Limited
Clutch:  Target (Similar here)
I've only recently started wearing t-shirts outside of the house again.  

In high school and my early years of undergrad, I wore a LOT of 
t-shirts - my favorite music (John Lennon, Pearl Jam, R.E.M.), my favorite quotes (Nietzche), my social causes (vegetarianism, animal rights, Amnesty International), portraits of my favorite authors (Steinbeck and Poe... because I couldn't find Camus) - you name it, I had it on a t-shirt. 

Maybe it was t-shirt overload or maybe it was an effort to mature my sartorial choices, but at some point around my junior year of college, I stopped wearing t-shirts except as lounge wear.
T-shirt:  Target (Available here)
Bracelets:  Express, The Limited, Claire's, H&M
Over the last year or two, I have seen my t-shirt collection grow.  I have a lot of kids, creating a need for a more casual weekend wardrobe that works for my lifestyle.  I also realized that there are a lot of cool t-shirts out there, and I was missing out.

My t-shirt looks are often super casual (stay tuned for tomorrow's post), but I also love the idea of dressing tees up with fancier fabrics like velvet, silk, and faux leather.
Rings:  Earthbound Trading Company and The Limited (Available here)
Shoes:  Target
Some of my previous t-shirt looks:
Cabana Coral
Bettie at the Movies

A Shorts Story
Hello Kitty


For this tee in another look, see here.
For these pants in other looks, see here and here.
For this blazer in other looks, see here and here.


Pencil Me In

Many in the body acceptance movement would say flattery-schmattery, that worrying about traditional constructs of figure flattery (taller, thinner equating better) is a waste of time and that promoting such is regressive or unenlightened.

I tend to disagree with that idea somewhat.  While I generally say, wear what you want (and I sometimes wear pieces that aren't traditionally flattering to appease my fashion desires), I think most of us are drawn to what makes us look most streamlined.  Most often, the pieces that make us look taller and thinner are those that show off our bodies in the best of ways.  

Skirt:  Target Petites (Available here)
Blouse:  Ann Taylor Petites (Available here)
Blazer:  The Limited (Similar here)
Earrings:  Target
For example, pencil skirts are super flattering for most curvy women.  They show off curves while creating a streamlined silhouette.  In a pencil skirt, you're certainly not hiding fuller thighs or a fuller bottom.  You're showing them off in the best of ways!
Ankle boots:  Payless
I am especially in love with this new pencil skirt I just picked up from Target.  Because it's knit, this skirt is a little more fitted and pencil-y than I am usually able to get from other pencil skirts (even after alterations).  

I'm also in love with the on-trend midi length of this one.  I've largely moved passed the high-low look, but I have to admit, I love the way that it really adds a lengthening element to this skirt.  I manage to look taller in what I usually think of as an awkward skirt length.
Bracelet:  eBay (Similar here)
Clutch:  Vintage (eBay)
Full disclosure:  The first time I featured this skirt on my blog, I was wearing a misses size.  I had only thrown the outfit on for pics and hadn't worn it out yet.  When I realized that the skirt was available in petites on-line, I decided to give the petites version a try.  I was in between sizes on the misses skirt, had opted for the larger version, and wasn't 100% content with the fit.  The petites version in the same size provided a more streamlined fit without being too tight.  The difference between the petites and misses size was slight, and probably imperceptible to most, but it made this picky girl happier!

I'm always excited when I can wear a new item without spending time and money on alterations!

How much does figure flattery play into your fashion choices?

For this skirt in another look, see here.
For this blouse in another look, see here.
For this jacket in other looks, see here, here, and here.


St. Louis Fashion Week Kick-Off Party & Blog Awards - My Not So Glamorous Life

Last night was the kick-off to St. Louis Fashion Week and the Blogger Awards!
Pants:  The Limited (Sold out on-line; may be available in stores)
Blazer:  The Limited (Available here)
I'm so excited to announce that I won the People's Choice Award for "Best Delivery of Personal Style"!  Thank you all so much for voting for "Style Cassentials."  Your support means so much!!!

For the awards and party, I wanted a polished, clean look that had just a little bit of edge.  I decided on an all-black outfit with gold touches.

Heels:  Simply Vera by Vera Wang (Sold out on-line; may be available in some Kohl's stores)
Clutch:  The Limited (Available here)
Top:  Ann Taylor Petites (Available here)
Bracelet:  Local shop
I took these pics at the end of the night.  My feet were sore, and I was super sweaty - the humidity had taken its toll on me and my flat-ironed hair.  :-(

In looking at the pics, I noticed the kids had also gotten hold of some chalk and drew on the house.  Ha! 
Before the Awards
As glam as I may start my evening, reality always sets in!!!  I'm not complaining...it just reminds me all the more that while the images we see in magazines can be beautiful, they aren't real. 

They're taken with perfect lighting, hair and make-up artists on stand-by, and then air-brushed and re-imaged to impossible standards (see more here).  I'll take real-life - sweat, chalk, and all!
Belt:  The Limited (Similar here)
Earrings:  New York & Company (Available in silver here)
With Julia of "Oh, Julia Ann"
Photo c/o Psyche Southwell of "Economy of Style"
P.S.  Thanks again for voting!

For this top in another look, see here.


Kiss and Tell

I just wanted to extend a big thank you (and cyber-kiss) to everyone who voted for me for the St. Louis Fashion Blog Awards.  I'm so honored to be nominated and am excited to hear the results tonight at the awards presentation!
Blouse:  The Limited (Available here)
Pants:  The Limited (Similar here)
Blazer:  The Limited (Similar here)
Clutch:  Vintage
My almost daily bombardment of requests for your vote is over.  Asking for your vote everyday was not always an easy thing to do.  Doing so felt obnoxious, self-serving, and needy, qualities I generally dislike, and I certainly hope no one was put off by my frequent reminders.

At the same time, I have learned some very important lessons over the last year or so:

1)  You don't usually get what you want unless you ask for it.

2)  People aren't inclined to believe in you and help you work towards your goals if you don't  first show that you believe in yourself.

3)  You have to be your biggest cheerleader.
Heels:  Target (Available in other colors here)
Bold, gutsy, self-assured people often get further in life.  It is not because those people have more education, are more attractive, or are smarter.  It's that those people create excitement in others.  They make people stand up and take notice. 

The daring to show your self to the world is not an innate quality.  While it may naturally come easier for some than others, I definitely believe it's possible to develop these characteristics through affirmative efforts.

I'm s.l...o....w....l.......y learning to become one of those people, but it is a daily conscious process for me to remember to put myself out there and to garner the courage to actually do it. 

Women are often socialized in this culture to not take up a lot of "space", to put others' needs and wants before their own, and to not ask for or demand too much from others.  

Through a lot of reflection on my life, I realize that I was taught these lessons in many ways, lessons that cripple many women from realizing their full personal and social potential.

Asking for what you want, saying "Hey, I'm out here, and I'm fabulous...Notice me" feels "ballsy" because it IS.  So many of us, women particularly, have been taught that doing this is arrogant, selfish, and needy.  

It is not.  
Bracelet:  The Limited
We all have something unique to contribute, and it's in recognizing our own potential and uniqueness that we make ourselves useful to others.  Asking others to take notice of us in a direct way shows confidence.  It shows that we believe in ourselves and the skills, talents, and ideas that we can contribute.  It makes people remember your name and makes them WANT to take a chance on you!

Do you ask for what you want?  Do you like kiss/lip prints?