The High Roller

 

Peplum top: Forever 21 // Sequin fringe skirt: J. Crew // “Lyla” heels: Steve Madden // Clutch: Target  

Yes, I actually wear what you see me posting here. This fun (and comfortable!) white and gold look was my outfit for Saturday’s “Harlem in the ‘Ham” fundraiser, hosted by the UAB Minority Health Research Center’s Young Professional Board.

The look I was going for is “modern flapper,” in keeping with the event’s theme. The high-wattage glamour of the sequined fringe skirt is toned down by its sweater knit material and the addition of a simple cream strapless peplum. Simple hoops and a ring with a gold clutch and barely-there heels complete the look, along with sleek hair and a neutral face.

A special shout out goes to my glam squad: Kim Colvin (makeup) and James Adams, Jr. (hair). My hair and makeup held up after hours of circulating and schmoozing — but my feet were killing me by 2 a.m.! Congrats to the MHRC YPB for a fabulously executed event!

XO // Alexis

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Power & Passion

 

Silk blouse, wool slacks, leopard pumps and necklace via J.Crew

Who says you can’t go home again? I was really excited to get to shoot these photos in my hometown (Brewton, Alabama). I’ve been going home quite often lately and wanted to show off some of its beauty and meaning. When I saw the gorgeous geraniums out front at The Leigh Place, I knew it would be the perfect spot.

Although it’s not quite Fall, I’m wearing one of the seasons major upcoming color trends: Red. The fiery color of passion and power is one of my favorites, and wearing it from head to toe is a risk I’m willing to try. Wearing a monochromatic look in this way also has a slimming effect. If you’d like to try the trend in a more subtle way, separates make it easy. Just pair a blouse, shoe or slacks with a more neutral item. And a red lip is always in season–MAC’s Ruby Woo is a must-have that works for just about all complexions!

See more shots from this look at Instagram.

XO // Alexis

 

Rainbow Bright

 

Details: Crop top: Forever 21 // Skirt: Tracy Reese via Nordstrom Rack (s/o) // Shoes: Steve Madden

I’m known for my love of bedazzlement. But the truth is, I don’t wear sequins every day, or even every month. Now, I like a bit of flash and a sparkle, but more recently I’ve exercised a lot of restraint and limited myself to statement jewelry.

And then I saw this Tracy Reese skirt at Nordstrom Rack.

The rest, as they say, was history.

Now, about this crop top. I don’t normally wear them, but nothing else really went with the skirt. It needed something subdued to sort of balance it, and the little peek-a-boo at my midsection was just enough.

(See more of this look at Instagram.)

XO // Alexis

Golden Girl

 

 

Details: Linen fringe top (s/o) &  Tie-waist skirt, J.Crew // Shoes, Steve Madden // Clutch, & Earrings (vintage), 5th Avenue Antiques

Love, LOVE this skirt. I don’t wear yellow often, but this is richer, more saturated than most. It’s more of a mango (J. Crew has named it “marigold petal.). If I ever get to Cuba or the south of France, this skirt is going too.  But this look wasn’t for photos — I actually wore it to Art on the Rocks Friday night.  A bit of linen, a pop of color — perfect for a casual evening party.

Let’s also talk about my seed pearl and gold earrings. I’m all about a piece of statement jewelry, and it doesn’t matter to me if it’s costume. I stalked these at 5th Avenue Antiques for MONTHS. They’re similar to Miriam Haskell’s gorgeous, collectible pieces — but mine aren’t marked so I’m unsure of their provenance.

Are you enjoying the outfit posts? Let me know. (See more images on Instagram!)

Thank you for being a friend…

XO // Alexis

Photos courtesy of Lexicon Creative

The LBD

 

Details: Dress via Nasty Gal // shoes, vintage BCBG // earrings, TJ Maxx

If you’ve read virtually any blog or fashion magazine, you know the “little black dress” is the well-dressed woman’s staple.  Attributed to Chanel and once meant to be a wear-anywhere piece, it symbolizes a fashion uniform that women can rely on in a pinch.

To be honest, I haven’t had an LBD that really fit the bill in years.  I’ve had wear-to-work LBDs, and those that were perfect for parties, but not one that I could grab that made me feel like ME. But when I saw this one online at Nasty Gal, I had to have it. It made me feel like a swan when I put it on. Yes, it’s daring.

I love the pleats, the midi-length, and even the open back and cape of this dress. Worn with a pair of vintage gold BCBG Max Azria sandals, simple gold hoops, a sleek bun and a red lip, I am dressed for reclaiming my time.

Confession: I often buy things for occasions that haven’t actually happened, like brunch with Oprah or a vacation on the Amalfi Coast.  But I plan to wear this to what is being billed as the “Party of the Year”:   the imerge Innovation Awards, an event celebrating Birmingham’s own innovators, creatives and entrepreneurs on August 23 at the Alabama Theatre. If you consider yourself a part of driving Birmingham forward, you should be there too.

XO // Alexis

 

Take flight

 

The details: Blouse, SHEIN; Shorts, J. Crew (no longer available)

Spring and summer style has seen many trends, but none quite as special as the statement sleeve blouse. When I saw the Johanna Ortiz-version of this blue and white striped look on Sarah Jessica Parker several months ago, I was in love! Fortunately, SHEIN has an affordable option, and that’s where mine was found. I love the puffed and gathered lantern sleeves and the box-pleated peplum — so flattering! I can wear this with shorts (as seen), denim, or even a tailored skirt or slacks.

Stripes and gingham are a quintessential Southern staple, and this is a look I know I will keep in rotation. (Think you’re too old to pull this off? Think again: “Mama” Tina Knowles-Lawson was spotted in a look-alike top as well. Maybe you wouldn’t pair it with short shorts. But why not crisp cigarette pants or jeans? Go for it!)

Now all I need is a yacht…

See more photos over on SCDD’s Instagram account, and thanks for reading!

XO // Alexis

 

Sunday Funday 

 

THE DETAILS: Earrings (sold out) & Tie-shoulder eyelet blouse by J.Crew  // “Gretel” slide by Ann Taylor  // Denim by AEO (old) //”Bien Fait” scarf by Madewell (old) // Japanese picnic basket, vintage from 5th Avenue Antiques

I generally hate taking photographs. It’s why you don’t often see “outfit of the day” posts here or on Instagram. I’ve also been reluctant to do them because this blog is to inspire you to reassess your own style, not necessarily to get you to buy what I’m wearing or to dress just like me.

But.

How do you know I practice what I preach? That I take risks, that I shop EVERYWHERE, that I mix high and low and vintage and that I love matchy-matchy looks? That I sometimes get it wrong, but when I get it right…it’s magic?

So.

Enjoy this post.

This is the perfect “Sunday Funday” look for me: broken-in jeans that I love and should’ve bought 6 pairs of, an eyelet blouse (easy to dress up or down) and comfy but chic flats. My clutch is one that is super popular right now. Cult Gaia makes an “Ark” bag that is absolutely breathtaking (I want the black acrylic, pink acrylic and mother-of-pearl!), but I found this one at 5th Avenue Antiques for $16!

XO, Alexis

Photography: Lexicon Creative 

 

Warby Parker opens in Birmingham April 8

The retail gods are answering prayers in Birmingham: we have a Trader Joe’s, H&M…and on Saturday April 8, we’ll officially have a WARBY PARKER!

If you aren’t familiar with the affordable and very chic purveyor of eyewear, you should be.  It launched in 2010 as an online destination for eyeglasses under $100, and quickly distinguished itself by offering eyeglasses people actually wanted to wear at (gasp!) prices they could afford.  The only hitch: there were no brick and mortar stores to try on the glasses, although you could make a selection to try on in the comfort of your home (and return the pair(s) that didn’t work.)

But now Warby Parker is opening its first store in Alabama, and at The Pizitz, no less. I toured the new digs and I have to say: I can’t wait to get my prescription filled.

The store is thoughtfully designed with tons of natural light (the better for trying on new frames). It feels more like you’re in a hip bookstore than an eyewear boutique, and this feeling is enhanced by multiple book displays, card catalogs (remember those?), globe lighting and even a Reference Desk, where you can receive help.  A bright blue mural balances the decor, which carries over into the classic, utilitarian unifoms designed by Whitney Pozgay (who we had the pleasure of meeting at a CFDA event in Atlanta years ago!).

The generous team at Warby Parker gifted me with a pair of “Pearl” sunglasses in Marzipan Tortoise, and I have to say: I’m in love with them.  I plan to add the “Tilley” (in Grapefruit Soda) to my collection next. The other thing I love about Warby Parker is they offer free returns and free shipping (always!), so you aren’t penalized for being indecisive! They will also repair your scratched lenses for free the first 12 months you own them.

To celebrate the brand’s new presence in the Magic City, a limited-edition pair of Birmingham-exclusive sunglasses, Madison in English Oak with Flash Mirrored Pacific Blue lenses, is being offered. And a lenscloth with a print of the mural is given away with each purchase.

Warby Parker at The Pizitz is located at 1821 2nd Avenue North / Birmingham, Alabama 35203. It’s open Monday through Friday, 11:00 a.m.–8:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

*I was not compensated for this post although I did receive a pair of sunglasses as a gift. The thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own.

Still rolling

Roll Tide, darlings!  The Tide faces off with Clemson tonight, so I’m showing some school spirit in my vintage Starter jacket, with black on black separates from J. Crew underneath. The fringed sandals just make it even more feminine, which I think is key to styling an athletic jacket. Why should guys have all the fun in rocking them, and why should they be limited to weekends?  (Even better: the jacket is machine washable!) The jacket’s major pop of color is coordinated with my signature Ruby Woo lip.

A very special thank you to Derrick A. Curry of Camera Play Photography for handling the photo shoot! Check out his work and like his business’ page on Facebook by clicking HERE.

 

Be the Hostess with the Most-est!

Baby it’s (finally) cold outside! And that means entertaining has moved indoors. What’s better than enjoying food, friends and family, set in your comfortable home?  My grandmothers Mamie and Dorothy were fabulous entertainers, and they had a knack for sharing southern hospitality that just made family, friends and even strangers flock to their homes.

I’m missing both of them, and so I’m sharing what they taught me to keep their memories alive. You know if I’m doing something, I like to do it grandly, and that comes directly from them.

Incorporating any–or all–of these tips will help you entertain with flair, year-round:

  1. SET THE MOOD.  Add a soft around your home with lit candles. Choose scented pillars, votives or tapers in light spice or floral fragrance, and mix them with unscented varieties. I love to place these in my kitchen, guest bathroom, on my dining room table and around my living room–and even in groups inside my fireplace! Find inexpensive options at your local big box discount store, or in TJ Maxx or HomeGoods.
  2. SET THE TABLE. When entertaining, my grandmothers felt guests’ manners rose to the occasion, so having a formally set table encouraged better table manners.  Rather than pulling out folding trays, use your dining room table to its advantage. Pull out your best china, flatware and linen–or even nicer clear plastic plates–and add an inexpensive runner if you’re not using a table cloth, and use a simple but impactful floral arrangement. Serving buffet style? Upgrade your servingware with nicer platters and utensils. (Again, you don’t have to spend a lot.)
  3. ADD SUGAR AND SPICE. Have something sweet, savory and spicy to balance your guests’ palates with a varied menu. Whether it’s classic Chex Mix, a beautiful spread of cheese and fruit, or even old school gummy bears, have something for them to snack on, and serve it in an unusual fashion, like martini glasses! Affordable gourmet snacks can be found at your local grocer or discount home store.
  4. SIP SOMETHING SPARKLY. Serve some great bubbly, whether it’s an adult beverage, fizzy fruit juice or even carbonated water (just garnish it with lime!). Have a mix of options for guests who don’t imbibe, or who limit sugar from their diet. Serve in nicer glassware! Fun cocktail napkins are a fab touch, and a chic alternative to plain paper towels.
  5. DRESS YOUR BEST, BUT FOCUS ON GUESTS. Surely you knew an outfit would be in the mix! My grandmothers loved hostess gowns, glam caftans and luxe lounge wear. Even if you’re entertaining at home, rise to the occasion and get out of your yoga pants. Try a luxe pair of silk day-to-night cocktail pajamas or even a simple lace dress. I also love to throw one of my vintage aprons on for good measure (even if the pie I’m serving is Mrs. Smith’s!). Be comfortable and cute; don’t wear anything that you’ll tug or fuss with all evening.

True hospitality is not about how much you spend on linens or glassware. True hospitality is about the effort you put into making your guests feel especially welcome year-round.

Whether you’re serving ham sandwiches and store-brand soda or a spectacular gourmet seated dinner, you can do so with grace, intention and style–and that, darlings, is the most important thing.

Check out these retailers  when shopping to entertain: Swoozie’s, TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Target, World Market, Fresh Market and Publix. They all have gourmet sections with food, beverage and/or decor that make an impact without putting a huge dent in your wallet. (And Etsy and eBay have awesome vintage aprons.)

Platter, vase and glassware via TJ Maxx; dress via J. Crew; apron via eBay; Champagne via Moet; Sugarfina gummy candy via Swoozie’s; Table runner  via HomeGoods; Hydrangeas via Publix

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