September 30, 2011

[Outfit] JCPenney Liz Week "7 Days of Style": Girl Friday

It's been a long time since I've shopped in JC Penney. Although they have great designer collaboration lines with the likes of Nicole Miller, MANGO and Charlotte Ronson, I never make my way to the store.

So, when JCPenney contacted me to shop the Liz Claiborne collection as part of their "7 Days of Style" Liz Week Celebration, I was eager to get there to see what was available and how I could incorporate the items into my existing wardrobe.

Seven bloggers were chosen to represent each day of the week. Being that I was "Friday", I decided to pull together a weekend look that is great for a lunch date or shopping trip with the girls. Plus, each of the items not only work well together, but with numerous other items in my closet.

The Ponte Poncho was a no-brainer. I have a semi-obsession with wearing capes adorned with brooches. This one is particularly special because it's reversible. Navy on one side, brown on the other. Oh, and it has pockets. LOVE!

The Button Front Shirt has a classic look and fit. Not only is it great for the weekend, but it will also work well with a pencil skirt for work.

The Leather Trim Bootcut Jeans are extremely comfortable and have a dark denim wash that's easy to dress up or down.

Of course I had to add some fun accessories! A belt for waist definition, a watch and some bracelets for a mini "arm party" and an oversized bag to hide some of the shopping bags from the hubby. Only kidding...maybe.

BRACELETS: Kenneth Jay Lane (purchased from the Randolph Street Market), Kate Spade
WATCH: Croton
BROOCH: Le Bouton
BELT: J. Crew
HANDBAG: YSL (purchased from Luxury Garage Sale 
SHOES: Maison Martin Margiela

A good high(price)/low(price) mix, don't you think?

To get your hands on the Liz Claiborne collection at JCPenney's expense, click HERE to enter the "7 Days of Style Contest". You could win an all-expense paid trip to NYC, a $1000 Liz Claiborne shopping spree and other fabulous goodies! Be sure to think of me if you win.

Have you visited JCPenney recently? Are you a fan of the Liz Claiborne collection or any of the other designer lines?

Disclosure: JCPenney provided me with a $100 gift card to shop the Liz Claiborne collection. Since I can never stick to a shopping limit, I forked over a little bit of my own money to cover my purchases.

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September 26, 2011

Kokorokoko: The Sartorial Time Machine [Excerpt]

"Looking to revisit the days when big hair and oversized earrings reigned supreme and acid wash denim was cool? Then, Kokorokoko [pron: coco-ro-coco] is the place to be!"

Click HERE to read my entire post on Chicago Like A Local.

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Special K™: Runway, Robert Verdi, The "Challenge" and a GIVEAWAY

A few weeks ago, Special K and crew hosted a "Strut Your Sassy" runway event right outside of the Thompson Center. Everyone, including tourists and those simply heading to work, were given a chance to walk the runway to receive some Special K goodies.

I even spotted a street performer and a mini model workin' the runway.

More important than the runway and complimentary snacks, that morning, was Special K's emphasis on the fact that when wearing the perfect pair of jeans, it's about more than just the number on the tag. It's about the confidence and sass you feel when you're wearing your favorite pair.

Celebrity stylist and all-around nice guy, Robert Verdi, was on hand to encourage everyone to walk the runway and give tips on finding the right jeans. Luckily, I was able to secure a few minutes with him where we talked about everything from his experience with Special K to the Fall trend he's looking forward to.


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September 22, 2011

Shop my Randolph Street Market "Editor's Choice" picks for charity this weekend!

Since there have been numerous posts on this site about the Randolph Street Market (Exhibit A, Exhibit B), I'm not going to bore you with the million reasons why I love it.

This time around, I want to extend a personal invitation to all of you for this weekend's market.

Not only is it the regular season finale (which means it's the last time you'll see vendors outside until May 2012), but the Randolph Street Market will also be hosting its first annual Editor's and Designer's Choice for Charity. And I'm happy to announce that I was selected to participate!

Here's how it will work:

Before the market begins, the handpicked media participants will peruse the venue and select their favorite items. These items will be labeled "Editor's Choice". Additionally, prominent interior designers will pick their favorite booth setups, which will then be marked as "Designers Choice". When "Editor's Choice" items are sold, a portion of the sales will go to the editor's charity of choice. The booths deemed as "Designers Choice", will receive free booth rent for one show next season while the designer will score 2012 season passes for themselves and their charities of choice.

As an avid fan of the Randolph Street Market, I consider it an honor to be selected for the "Editor's Choice". I can't wait to get out there and designate my top picks for charity!

Wondering which charity I selected?

Whitney Young Dolphins Making A Difference (WYDMAD): It is a mentoring program started by some of my fellow Whitney M. Young Magnet High School alumni to provide 6th, 7th and 8th graders in the West Pullman area with academic support and character development. The program has expanded and now assists with the social and academic growth of existing Whitney Young students. I am a mentor within the program and have witnessed the benefits it has bestowed upon the mentees.

So, find some time to get to the Randolph Street Market this weekend! I'll be tweeting my "Editor's Choice" picks so that you know exactly what to buy. *wink, wink*

I hope to see you there!

Randolph Street Market
1340 W. Washington
Saturday, September 24 - 10am to 5pm
Sunday, September 25 - 10am to 4pm
($10 at the gate / $8 in advance)

Visit for more details and to purchase advance tickets.

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September 20, 2011

NYFW Chronicles: My Street Style Features!!

As mentioned in my previous NYFW post, some photographers captured my "street style" when I was at Lincoln Center.

Below are two of the features. Make sure you click the photo to see the entire article, one of which breaks down my entire outfit.
Yes! I made it on Tyra Bank's new website about all things fashion and beauty.
My "sleek and scholarly" look is featured on one the most popular black celebrity entertainment blogs.

Click HERE to view my full photo

Thanks to the above sites for featuring me! This has made my first Fashion Week trip even more memorable.

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How (and Why) to Shop TJ Maxx

As a shopper that refuses to pay retail for most items, I practically live in TJ Maxx. On my lunch break or on the weekends, you can find me at a TJ Maxx either in the city or as far out as Naperville. Even when I travel, I try to visit the nearest TJ Maxx before heading back home.

For some, TJ Maxx can be a bit overwhelming because, unlike department stores and boutiques, every section is not organized by designer or color. It takes patience to go through the many racks and shelves but I guarantee that finding a designer treasure at a fraction of retail makes it all worth it.

When TJ Maxx contacted me to take a tour of the State Street store (with a complimentary gift card) and learn more about how the retail locations operate, I jumped at the opportunity. 

Of course, there were quite a few things I wanted to photograph to give you an idea of what you can expect to find there. But this time around I was more focused on providing you with information on how to successfully navigate the store and understand why you should frequent TJ Maxx.

Here's a little bit of what I already knew plus what I discovered during my personal tour (along with a few photos to entice you even more).


1. Overwhelmed by the rows of racks? Start on the displays that are located in the front of the store and on the outskirts of each section. These displays are organized by designer and size to help ease you into what I like to call " digging in the racks".

2. Pay attention to the "compare at" value on the tag. Not only will this make you even more excited about the bargain you are receiving, this will also help when reasoning with the spouse on how much damage you did. Works like a charm every time.

3. Buy now, think later. Due to the high turnover and limited quantities at TJ Maxx, leaving an item in the store pretty much means it will be gone the next day, or even in the same day.  If you like it, buy it. And if you happen to change your mind, take advantage of  TJ Maxx's extremely accommodating return policy.

4. Shop often because every TJ Maxx (and Marshalls) receives more than 10,000 new items each week

5. Befriend the store manager to stay up to date on when new shipments arise.

6. Purple tags are a label lover's dream. These indicate premium brands such as Prada, Celine and Rachel Roy.


1. Items in TJ Maxx are priced up to 60% less than department and specialty stores. Additionally, majority of these items are from the current season. I can actually attest to this since there have been several times where I've scored an item at TJ Maxx and later spotted it at another store at the retail price.

2. The buyers at TJ Maxx are "ultimate treasure hunters". And rightfully so! Unlike department and specialty stores who buy on a cyclical schedule, TJ Maxx and Marshalls buyers travel over 40 weeks a year to over 60 countries to find the best deals on the latest trends. This opportunistic buying explains why each TJ Maxx receives such a large amount of items per week. And with 1700+ stores combined, the buyers also have the ability to negotiate better prices and pass the savings along to customers.

3. You can shop all of the trends in one location. TJ Maxx is going to be well-stocked with the following Fall 2011 trend items:
  • capes and ponchos
  • faux fur
  • leather (from motorcycle jackets to knee high boots)
  • outerwear, footwear and handbags in bordeaux, jewel tones and neutrals
  • animal prints
  • wide leg trousers and jeans.

Being a social media junkie, I was excited to learn that some stores are now on Twitter!

Here are the Chicagoland Twitter accounts:* (my favorite lunchtime getaway location) (the best location for high-end designer items)

These store managers actively tweet about their new shipments as well as the designer items they currently have in stock. It's the perfect way to stay informed.

My last piece of advice for shopping TJ Maxx...

Enjoy yourself! A trip to TJ Maxx is hardly ever quick. With so many great items for women, men, children and home, set aside some time to simply enjoy yourself. That's how all the best treasures are found. Just don't buy up all of the good stuff. OK?

Are you a TJ Maxx shopper? Let me know your favorite locations and why.

*If you're not in Chicago and want to find out if your local TJ Maxx is on twitter, visit the store locator page and enter your zip code. The twitter name will be listed with the store, if applicable.

**special thanks to Mikinzie Stuart and TJ Maxx for the tour and gift card.

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September 19, 2011

NYFW Chronicles: A day at Lincoln Center with Nicole Miller and Concept Korea

My first Lincoln Center experience was indeed a great one! To be able to attend the Nicole Miller runway show during my first visit to Fashion Week was insane!

When I arrived at Lincoln Center, I just stood there to soak it all in. The energy in Lincoln Center is electric. Street style photographers canvassing the area looking for well-dressed subjects while show goers are either chatting it up with their fashion cohorts or darting across the plaza to catch the next show or presentation.

Upon my arrival, I ran into Gabriel who was actually enjoying a day off from his action-packed, behind-the-scenes Fashion Week internship. ChiTown Fashionista was definitely representing Chicago well.

Then, it was time to catch the Nicole Miller show. As I was heading in, I was stopped several times by street style photographers and interviewed briefly regarding Fashion Week and my personal style (more to come on that). For my style to be appreciated at THE epicenter of fashion was surreal and certainly unforgettable.

Then, it was time for the show.

In the front row, I spotted Jennifer and Ashley Tisdale, Alexis Biedel as well as ELLE's Joe Zee and Keith Pollock.

I loved seeing Joe Zee capture moments with his cell phone.

I enjoyed the collection, filled with stripes and bursts of neon (click HERE to view the slideshow). I can't wait to see Nicole Miller's journey and hear more about the inspiration for the collection on the upcoming season of All On the Line.

After the show, I headed back to the main area to relish in the moment. Inside the "tents" was even more glorious. Prominent fashion figures, from editors to stylists, were reuniting with one another, recapping the shows and synchronizing schedules. The blogging community was also represented quite well. I felt right at home.

I had an opportunity to chat with celebrity stylist, June Ambrose.

When I asked how to get a petition started for her to have her own reality show (have you seen her YouTube videos?), she informed me that it is actually in the works and filming has already started. Move over, Rachel Zoe!

After pinching myself, I headed across the plaza to the Concept Korea presentation where 5 of the best emerging Korean designers were being showcased.

After seeing J. Alexander (a.k.a. Miss J) run past me like a flash of lightning, I headed up the stairs where I was welcomed by a sea of innovative designs. The Concept Korea collective consisted of Doho, Lie Sang Bong, RESURRECTION, SON JUNG WAN and Steve J & Yoni P.

Here are some of my favorite looks:
Lie Sang Bong

Steve J & Yoni P

Talk about a fun-filled day! As you can see, so much happened within a 2-hour time frame. And my one day in Lincoln Center was only scratching the surface. I can't wait to get back to New York Fashion Week to spend more time at Lincoln Center and attend more runway shows.

Onward and upwards!

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September 14, 2011

NYFW Chronicles: A Crazy, Lazy Fashion's Night Out at Macy's

When I realized that I would be in New York for this year's Fashion's Night Out, I eagerly mapped out every location that I would visit for what is now considered the biggest shopping celebration in the world.

Being overly ambitious and eager, I generated this map on the Fashion's Night Out website to help me determine my course of action.

I included every store from Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue to Manolo Blahnik and Coach. How I figured I could get to so many locations in a 3 - 4 hour time span is beyond me.

After all the strategic planning, the night began and ended at Macy's. This is due to the fact that A) it was the closest destination to my hotel, B) there was a boatload of celebrity and designer appearances and C) by the end of the night, my feet were aching and all I wanted to do was change into my flats and explore Times Square.

Here's what went down...

Raijean of arrived at my hotel and indicated that she heard Rachel Roy was already at Macy's making her appearance. We agreed that we would ditch the idea of visiting the Target for Missoni popup shop first and instead headed straight to Macy's.

We arrived at Macy's and stumbled upon a crowd of people surrounding models who were wearing INC gear and snapping photos of all the onlookers. The DJ was pumping out upbeat vibes that had models and consumers dancing throughout the store.

I spotted this stylish chap in the aisle.

Don't you just love his Kente cloth bowtie and cummerbund? I would later find out that his name is Sureme and he works for Alvin Ailey.

Rachel Roy and Amar'e Stoudemire were in the building to promote their newly launched collaboration collection. There was no opportunity to chat with either of them but I was able to snap a couple of photos.

After explaining to someone, "No. I don't mean Rachel RAY. It's Rachel ROY, the designer whose name is on all the signs in this section we're standing in", I realized that the frenzy may have been more for Amar'e than Rachel.

I did get a chance to check out the collection which appears to be targeted to Juniors. Here's my favorite look from the night.

I'm a fan of Claire Sulmers' blog Fashion Bomb Daily and was excited when I met her briefly at the IFB Conference.  We ran into each other again at Macy's, near the Rachel Roy department.

After chatting for a bit, she asked to photograph me and Raijean.  To our surprise, the photo shown below ended up on her website the following morning. SCORE! (click HERE for the entire article)

We headed upstairs to catch a  glimpse of Kelly Rowland. The line for fans waiting to meet her was beginning to extend the length of the store.  With no intention of standing in line, I decided that I would be happy with just a photo. But after waiting a few minutes (at that point Kelly was already an hour late) AND receiving word that Anna Dello Russo was on the 2nd Floor, I bolted.

Japanese Vogue fashion director Anna Dello Russo was at Macy's along with model Karolina Kurkova promoting the Fall/Winter I.N.C. collection for which she is guest editor. Due to the chaos, no one could get close to the fashion icon. But I managed to photograph both Anna and Karolina enjoying the evening's festivities, which also included a surprise appearance by Grammy award winning Hip Hop Violinist, Miri Ben Ari. Being that close to the woman whose style I greatly admire and whose closet I highly covet, was certainly the highlight of the night!

My crazy, lazy Fashion's Night Out at Macy's was a memorable experience. New York sure knows how to throw a shopping party!

Thinking, "THIS should be big enough to fit Anna in."

So how was your Fashion's Night Out? Did you find any great deals or meet any amazing celebrities or designers? Do tell!

Special thanks to hubby for tagging along and playing the part of paparazzi. I am grateful for his sacrifice, especially since I'm sure the Fashion's Night Out mania has left him scarred for life.

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NYFW Chronicles: The IFB Conference Photo Roundup

In addition to all the note-taking (click HERE for the complete rundown), I snapped quite a few photos at the IFB Conference.

Check out some of my favorite people, outfits and moments!

IFB founder Jennine Jacob kicking off the conference

Model Coco Rocha capturing everyone's usual

With Aimee Song of Song of Style

Aimee's ridiculously fabulous "arm party" | Leandra Medine of Man Repeller (the creator of said term "arm party")

Dru of The Colour Blog | Amy of Chicago Street Style

Jessica of Styloteque | Shainna of A Thick Girl's Closet 
Naja of (l) | Another stylish attendee

Even the oversized Target for Missoni doll was stylish

Sidenote: So...the jury is still out on whether or not the Target for Missoni doll is cool or creepy. The lifelike movements (she was faux tweeting the whole time) were a little too real for some but we couldn't stop staring at it.  To read her tweets, follow "her" at  Yes, her name is Marina.

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