I must say, I was quite upset when Zac Posen said he was closing his fashion label. It certainly feels like something is missing without him (in the little corner of the high fashion world I admire at least). I was very inspired by his creations. So many of them took my breath away. I am still holding out hope that he’ll be back. If you’ve watched “House of Z” on Netflix, you know he is a resilient man and this isn’t the first time he’s fallen down, only to get back up better than ever.
Anyway. What I’m trying to get at is that although I still very much miss Zac, a new designer has caught my eye and his work gives me the same kind of feels (almost) as Zac’s. Let me introduce to you Brandon Maxell (these looks were in his spring/summer 2020 collection):
The first time Brandon came onto my radar was with this dress Mandy Moore wore to the 71st Annual Emmy Awards. I had to know who the designer was. I was in awe. I’m still in awe. The color blocking. The draping. The fit. Pure perfection.
I really like that although he has some killer gowns that we’d normally only see on celebrities (like Mandy), he also has a huge variety of everyday pieces that any woman could wear. Even if a person can’t afford his clothing (I know I can’t) – his looks can inspire us to get creative with what we have or can afford! I already know I’ll be doing an “Outfit Imitation” with thrift finds of one or more of his looks. He takes classic pieces and looks at them with fresh eyes, using new fabrics, combinations, and fits.
It’s also commendable that he does menswear in addition to womenswear. I’m wondering if it’s easy for him to do both because his womenswear collections obviously have a strong menswear influence.
I don’t know much about who he is as a person or his backstory yet, but what I found online via Wikipedia is this: Brandon Maxwell (born September 18, 1984) is an American fashion designer, television personality, director and photographer. He is the founder and creative director of Brandon Maxwell, the luxury women’s ready-to-wear label. Prior to launching his eponymous womenswear label, Maxwell entered the fashion industry as a stylist. He began assisting Deborah Afshani in 2009, followed by Nicola Formichetti in 2010, where he was introduced to Lady Gaga, as Nicola was her stylist at the time. In 2012, Maxwell took on the role of Lady Gaga’s fashion director. Many influential women, including Michelle Obama, Karlie Kloss, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Viola Davis, Queen Rania of Jordan, and Kerry Washington, among many others, wear Maxwell's brand.
And he’s on the Bravo’s new version of Project Runway. Knowing this makes me want to get cable!
In summary, I’m completely obsessed with Brandon. He’s rolling out his pre-fall 2020 ready-to-wear line right now and WOW. Here are some pieces I love (I have literally visited his Instagram page multiple times to re-look at these outfits):
I think I like him so much because 1) I didn’t know until I found him that this is my ideal way of styling clothing and is (luckily) close to the way I dress already – only elevated – which makes me want to push my wardrobe further; 2) a lot of his looks are attainable without having to buy his pieces and they’re not so “off the wall” that you can’t find something similar at a lower price point (not saying what he’s doing has “been done before,” of course I would buy if I could, I just can’t, so mimicking is the next best thing); 3) his use of color is sublime; and 4) I’m just extremely inspired by him.
What do you think? Do you like his stuff, too? What designers are really speaking to you right now? I’d love to know! I’ll forever be looking for more designers to fill the Zac Posen size hole in my heart.
All photos on this page are courtesy of Brandon Maxwell's official Instagram page @brandonmaxwell.
I have a large chest, so I never thought cute bralettes would be an option for me. Turns out, I just hadn’t been looking at the right ones for my body type. I found the perfect version at (of all places) Scheels! I hate going to Scheels. There is nothing for me there (or so I thought) – it’s just not my scene. Until now.
My dear aunt invited myself, mom, and sister to a “Ladies’ Night Out” that Scheels in Cedar Falls was hosting. The tickets sold out in four minutes, so that told us a lot about how awesome the event must be. I heard “everyone gets a swag bag” so was in without hesitation. Little did I know I’d find several items I liked enough to buy in the moment, and others I’d like to go back to purchase.
To sum up the evening – it was AMAZING. Below is a photo of the swag bag contents. Completely unreal. The buzz everyone was on from the swag bags to the sales to the prizes was palpable.
As part of the swag bag, we got a $10 Scheels gift card. I also won a $10 gift card at their wheel of chance game. That gave me $20 to spend. There were many sales going on, so we browsed through all areas of the store, including the women’s clothing. I came across a section of super cute bras. Some were half off, making them $10. I had to get at least one. I found this olive green “Women’s Fornia Lattice Front Bralette”:
I loved it immediately, but even more after I put it on. It was comfortable. It supported my “girls.” It was padded. And most importantly – it was pretty! I have styled it two different ways since getting it, shown below.
I wore this outfit to a bar to watch a show. I was feeling myself for sure. It was something I threw together last minute (building the outfit around the bralette) and now it’s all I want to wear!
I wore this to do yoga. I stand a little straighter when I’m in gear that makes me feel good. Trying to embrace my shape, it’s different than what I’m used to, but I’m feeling surprisingly good in this season of my body.
The cut is perfect. It goes down a little further on the rib cage and shows just enough cleavage. And like I said before, it’s just so comfortable. Comfortable and sexy don’t normally get mentioned together to describe a piece of clothing – but this bralette is the exception.
I’ll be back to buy another in a different color and probably check out the other styles Scheels has. My mom picked one up that she really likes with a high neck, I’ve linked it here.
Let this be a friendly reminder – don’t write a store off just because traditionally it hasn’t been a good fit for you. We evolve. So do stores. Second chances are a must.
In case you are wondering what else I got – I picked up this warm, quilted vest that was half off as well. Again, in olive green. That color is one of my favorite neutrals for fall.
The "I crave new shoes" switch got turned off inside me awhile ago. I used to veer to that section first, buy way too many, would get pairs that were too big or small if I liked them enough, etc. There were several instances where a shoe would be a few sizes to small for me, usually in my sister's size, and I forced her to buy them so I could live vicariously through her. Yeah. I loved shoes that much.
Nowadays, I try to stick to the basics and wear the basics until they literally give out on me. I came to this point with the brown and black pairs of tall boots I bought over five years ago. The brown pair lost their heels. The black pair became so saturated with salt (Iowa life) I couldn't keep them clean anymore.
I heard that Payless was going out of business across the country, including the one in our local mall. I thought this would be a great opportunity to find a deeply discounted pair of one or both of the tall boots I had to dispose of (RIP). If you've ever shopped for tall boots, you know they're not cheap.
I was right! The current promotion they are running in store only right now is 20% of all shoes, 40% all tall boots. Score! I was able to snatch up these pairs:
I wore the black pair to an event my organization had a booth at for 10 hours and they were very comfortable! I even walked on a good amount of ice in them and didn't fall. So I think that speaks volumes about the stability of the boot due to the heel's height and thickness!
While at Payless, I of course checked out what else they had and ended up leaving with two pairs of shoes I had my eye on for a few months. A pair of slip on tennis shoes in a yummy burgundy shade:
And this pair of booties that I'm not going to lie, I dreamt about. I had visions of me in these boots. I had to have them. They will help me fulfill all of my punk rock girl band fantasies (minus me actually being in a punk rock girl band part...). I'll wear these for the first time tonight for a girls' night and I can't wait to pair them with a pair of tight skinnies and a fitted biker jacket.
This is the look I'm going for on girls' night:
Also loving this option for work:
And that's that. Check back in another 5+ years for the post where I share the new shoes I had to purchase because all of these pooped out on me!
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
It's the holiday season and that means it's TIME TO SPARKLE!
Although we don't have any plans for New Years Eve yet, I wanted to have something fabulous on hand just in case. Something sparkly.
I found just what I was looking for at Ann Taylor:
The total cost of this outfit is $365! I knew I could pull together a similar outfit for much less.
I set out for our local Stuff, Etc. store. Stuff tends to have higher prices than other thrift stores, but they also normally have better quality and name brand items because they run on consignment. For this type of outfit, I figured they'd be my best bet.
At first, I wasn't too thrilled with my finds. They had a pretty limited selection of skirts. Because of that, I wandered into their dresses. That's when things really started to come together!
I found a great soft pink and rose gold sequined dress to start:
Then I found this white cable knit sweater:
And to top it all off, I found the most beautiful and perfect (and maybe worn one time) Nine West rose gold metallic heels:
Just look at the combination of these three items together - SWOON - #goals #ootdeveryday #paletteperfection:
This outfit is EVERYTHING. I feel so lovely in it. I want to wear it everyday. Can I wear it everyday? Too much?
Wondering how I styled the sweater and dress? I made the dress into a skirt! The top of the dress was a light enough material that I simply folded it down inside the skirt and tucked the sweater in to mimic the look of the outfit I wanted to copy.
In total, this outfit cost me just $29! Although I think the dress will be reserved for special occasions, I can see myself wearing the sweater and heels on a regular basis.
I'm now ready to ring in the new year in style - even if we don't go anywhere - you better believe I'll be rocking this look!
If you'd like to learn more about my "Outfit Imitation" series, click here!