March 30, 2012

7 Warm-Weather Wedges Under $50

clockwise from top left:  2 Lips Too Too Desire Wedge Pump, $45 | Delia's Stephanie Wedge, $40 | Charlotte Russe Cork-Inset Striped Linen Wedge, $25 | Baby Phat Juno Wedge Sandal, $42 | Delia's Candice Wedge, $35 | SODA Terani Platform Wedge, $27 | Charlotte Russe T-Strap Cutout Zebra Wedge, $25

One of my loyal readers reached out to me, seeking help on finding a fabulous peep toe wedge under $50.

I look forward to reader requests that involve a budget because they become even more of a challenge. But, since she loves color, this made my search easy and frankly, quite tempting.  I would rock every single one of these myself. And with those prices, who can stop at just one pair anyway?!

So tell me. Which one would you add to your Spring/Summer wardrobe?

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March 28, 2012

Four Star Style: Chicago's Urban Fashion Showcase

A few days ago, Crown Royal presented Four Star Style, a fashion event showcasing the stars of Chicago's urban fashion life. Held at Gallery 1028, four fashion brands, including Iridium, Leaders 1354, Sir & Madame, and Modahnik, displayed their latest collections on the runway while DJ iLLA and DJ Legacy manned the 1's and 2's.

Before the runway show commenced, attendees got a chance to chomp down on bags of freshly made truffle oil popcorn (which I must admit tasted like heaven) and partake in the Crown Royal life by drinking some of the liquor brand's many mixtures. Can you say Crown Royal on ice?

Iridium had a lot of anime and cartoon prints in their collection for both ladies and gentlemen. Camouflage and other prints must really be in this season because I saw them in every single collection. If you're a girl with a passion for comic books and super heroes, Iridium's latest line is perfect for you. It's definitely a look I haven't seen before, but it can be interesting when styled correctly.

Leaders 1354 stuck to what they know best: men's wear. The brand has been in business for 9 years, and if it isn't broken, don't fix it. One thing I loved about Leaders' latest line were the political statements featured on the knit tops, such as a photo of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 1968 Olympics Black Power salute. If you're looking to make a statement with your apparel, Leaders 1354 may be the look for you. Check out their latest Spring II collection online here.

Sir & Madame presented a more urban hipster take on street style. Their pieces for men and women featured prints, which as I said before seemed to be the theme of the night. A peacock skirt from Sir & Madame hit the runway paired with a sheer orange blouse and cheetah print wedge heels; it's sure to be a winner among the ladies. For men, the brand offered bags and really hipster shirts. There was a camouflage shirt that I particularly loved because it was two-toned and featured elbow patches. Every man should have a least one shirt, sweater or sport coat with elbow patches.

Honestly, I've never heard of Modahnik and I'm disappointed that it's taken me so long to come across the line. I love tribal prints, and Modahnik presented a take on tribal prints that was more chic than overbearing. Sometimes when an entire look is based on prints, it can be overkill, but there wasn't one look that I didn't love.

Overall, the event was a celebration of urban style, which we don't see often enough in the fashion industry. The featured trend was prints for men and women, including tribal, floral, animal and camouflage.

Can you get with all the prints this season?

Photo Credit: Crown Life Chicago

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March 23, 2012

LINKING UP: Matching Nails and Handbag; The New Coach Legacy Collection; A Local Blogger's Stylish Launch Party; The Perfect Leather Skirt

Stockholm StreetStyle captures a matchy-matchy nail and handbag look I can't wait to recreate. (click here to see the goodness)

Refinery29 gives us a peek at the upcoming Coach Legacy Collection and it's too good to be true. (click here to be wowed)

Miss Renaissance celebrated her website launch in style! (click here to see what went may spot a familiar face amongst the photos)

B. Jones Style found the perfect vintage leather skirt and it has pockets! (click here to find out how it was styled)

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March 21, 2012

JAKIMAC: Leather Rings and Zig Zag Bling

I first discovered the coolness of JAKIMAC at the One of A Kind Show.  The leather two-finger rings caught my attention and had my twitter followers going crazy after I tweeted out the picture above. Then, when I found out that they were a Chicago-based jewelry line, it made my encounter with the brand even sweeter.

JAKIMAC utilizes leather to create a unisex collection of that is equally attractive to guys and gals. The rings are constructed with one strip of repurposed leather, studded with brass pyramid rivets and stamped with the JAKIMAC logo. Although there are several colors available, they are all neutral enough to be added to your personal collection with ease.

Red was my favorite until I recently spotted the fresh white one on their website.


The rings are definite standouts but the creative mix of zig zag leather and brass chains on the Spiked Punch earrings have me adding those to my wishlist as well.


Visit to view the entire collection. If you prefer to check out JAKIMAC in person, check out their list of stockists, which includes four locations in the Chicagoland area. And with those affordable price points (most items are $30 and under), there's no excuse to not walk away with at least two items. You for you and one for me.

What do you think about JAKIMAC? Any personal favorites?

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March 15, 2012

Project Runway's Viktor Luna helps Macy's Create a little MAGIC

Project Runway Season 9 designer, Viktor Luna, and Macy's teamed up on Thursday, March 8 to bring a little magic into Chicago's fashion scene. I don't know about you, but I'm usually glued to my seat during every season of Project Runway! I love the show, and when I heard that Luna, one of my favorite contestants from season 9 was going to be at the Macy's on State Street, I couldn't pass up the chance.

Viktor Luna is a fashion designer born in Guadalajara, Mexico. A third generation seamster, he learned from his mother at a young age about construction and tailoring. In 2003, Viktor moved to New York City to study fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology. His work has garnered him positive reviews and attention from a number of fashion publications, which led to him being a finalist on Project Runway season 9, where he showed at New York Fashion Week in September 2011 (pictured above).

At Macy's, contestants from the audience got the chance to style models for different scenarios. Those who styled the best looks won $100 Macy's gift cards. As you can see, the venue was packed with women excited to create a little magic. 

Viktor outlined a few trends for the upcoming season, including color blocking, bright colors, flowers and prints. My favorite look (pictured below) featured bright, bold colors and the current hot trend, color blocking. Bold color combinations make for a eye-catching, confident look that's perfect for the Spring season. When you've been wrapped up all winter, there's no better way to make a coming out statement than to splash a little color into your outfit.

What's your favorite Springtime trend?

*Project Runway photo courtesy of

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March 13, 2012

Click You're It: Attend the Smashbox Photo Event

If you haven't heard, Nordstrom Michigan Avenue has teamed up with Smashbox to host fashion and celebrity photographer Steven Khan for a photo event on Saturday, April 28. Yes, it's perfectly fine for you to get excited.

I, like many other men, don't know the first thing about cosmetics. I've always considered beauty products to be a woman thing. However, that all changed when I was introduced to Smashbox after receiving the brand's Photo Finish Hydrating Foundation Primer as a perk from Klout. While I will still never wear makeup or make cosmetic adjustments to my face, I think primer is safe for every man to use.
Let's be clear. Primer is not makeup. So, it's cool for men to use without feeling effeminate. In a city like Chicago, where the everchanging weather tends to cause dehydrated skin, the hydrating primer is perfect to have a fresh, healthy look throughout the day. I wouldn't lie. I swear I can almost feel my skin getting nourished as I spread a little of the primer on my face in the morning. The key to it is Hydraplex, an extract derived from desert plants that restores skin and prevents dryness. And this is just one of the many products the company has to offer.

If I haven't already convinced you that Smashbox is the answer and that you should attend their photo event, here's a few more reasons you should go. Steven Khan's work has appeared in countless magazines for years, and attending the event gives you the opportunity to get a mini photo shoot with him. For me, that alone is worth it. Every person who spends $100 or more, gets to experience the photo session and will receive a CD of photos to take home.

So far, 3 of my friends have booked an appointment with me. There are no gimmicks — all you have to do is call for a free appointment and buy a few products. To book an appointment today call (312) 464-1515 ext. 1083, and ask for Claire Latronica. Tell her Gabriel sent you. Hurry before all the slots are filled.

Are you ready for your close-up?

*photo credit - Smashbox

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Street Style: Chicago Fashion through Chicago Communities

Last week, ten emerging fashion designers showcased their talent during the Chicago Fashion Foundation’s 5th annual Future of Chicago fashion show event at the Chicago Cultural Center. This year's theme, "Street Style: Chicago Fashion through Chicago Communities," challenged the fashion students to create looks inspired by Chicago.

One of the night's highlights was the host Corri McFadden, founder of eDrop-Off and star of Vh1's new reality show "House of Consignment." I was also pleased to see Chicago's luminary fashionistas, including Chicago Tribune social columnist Candace Jordan, former Project Runway contestant Peach Carr, and Akira owner Erikka Wang, judging the show.

This year's design student contestants were the School of the Art Institute students Kara Fenoglietto, Elaine Hoang, Tosha Sherman, Michelle Castellano, Kendel Kennedy and Crystale Crubaugh; Illinois Institute of Art students Elizabeth Leukuma, Raven Norman and Stacie Randall, as well as Elena Bobysheva of Columbia College.

While I was excited about seeing the pieces the young designers created, I was really captivated by the beautiful design of the venue. The Chicago Cultural Center never disappoints! Given the event's theme, I believe it was quite fitting to have the showcase at a location where the city's cultures converge.

The participating fashion design students created innovative pieces that brought street wear to the runway. I was amazed at the maturity in terms of overall look and construction that some of the designers displayed. The students presented looks representative of the signature street style of local Chicago neighborhoods such as Rogers Park, Chinatown, Andersonville and Ukrainian Village.

Congratulations to Columbia College student Elena Bobysheva for winning the 1st place $5,000 prize for her winning look inspired by Ukrainian Village (pictured above). Everything about Bobysheva's design was right! From the midnight black deep v-neck blouse to the cobalt blue thigh-high split, the entire looked worked and illustrated the cultural vibe of Ukrainian Village. I loved it!

So, what do you think? Would you wear the winning look?

*photo credit - Chicago Fashion Foundation

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March 12, 2012

[GIVEAWAY] Win Tickets to Launch: Driving Fashion Forward

When some of the North Shore's best boutiques partner with Mercedes Benz dealership Autohaus on Edens for a fashion event, you can pretty much guarantee it's going to be a good time.

Launch: Driving Fashion Forward is a fashion event that will include a runway show as well as a Columbia College student designer competition.  Held at Autohaus on Edens, this North Shore event will also benefit the Party Dress Project, which is an organization that resells donated party dresses and then distributes all of its proceeds to local charities. For complete event details, visit

I've got my tickets to the event. And now I'm looking for one lucky reader, and their guest, to join me this Sunday!

To enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets ($90 value), simply fill out the entry form below.*

Best of luck to each of you!

[winner announcement]
Congratulations to Quinarra! I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.

*The giveaway ends Thursday, March 15 at 11:59PM (CST). Winner will be selected at random.

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Sarca: Rare Finds Off the Beaten Path [EXCERPT]

Ruthie Davis shoes at Sarca

Although the gems and baubles may grab your attention initially, the racks of clothing will have you in awe. The ample amount of textures - think lace, feather, fur, sequin -  and rich colors will have you wanting to play dress up in the super chic dressing rooms. - Chicago Like A Local

Click here to read my latest article on Chicago Like A Local and find out what makes Sarca one of Chicago's prime shopping destinations.

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March 6, 2012

Use Your Klout to Save Big on (Limited Time Only)

I often mention designer flash sales site on Twitter and Facebook, especially on days when they have my favorite brands on sale.

However, since I am such the enabler and love sharing hard-to-pass-up deals with my readers, I had to dedicate a blog post to announce the partnership between and the social network influence barometer Klout. Starting today and running through March 10, Klout members can receive major discounts on based on their Klout score.

[here's how it works]

1. Based on the information below, your Klout score (sign up here if you're not a member) determines which day you can claim your perk.
  • March 6:   Klout score up to 20, user gets 20% off
  • March 7:   Klout score between 21-40, user gets 40% off
  • March 8:   Klout score between 41-60, user gets 60% off
  • March 9:   Klout score between 61-80, user gets 80% off
  • March 10: Klout score between 81-100, user gets 100% off    
2. On your designated day, go on to Klout and claim your perk. I suggest you do this early, around 7:30am CST, to be sure you don't miss out.

3. Redeem your discount on within 24 hours. (here's a Gilt invite if you need it)

Although the Gilt sales change daily, with so many great items from big names like Kate Spade, Diane von Furstenberg, Missoni and Amrita Singh, using that discount within a day will not be a problem. Also keep in mind that Gilt offers deals in men's, children's and home goods

So, mark those calendars and synchronize those watches to ensure you are ready to claim your perk on your designated day!

You know I will.

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T-Shirt Alert: Threadless Collaborates with Gap

Yes. That's correct. Chicago's own Threadless has collaborated with mainstream retailer, Gap!

If you're unfamiliar with the brand, Threadless is an online community - with the exception of its two local retail locations - known for providing artists the opportunity to bring their designs to life on t-shirts, backpacks, iPhone cases and more. Users submit their designs, which are then in the hands of the community. Based on votes, Threadless determines if the design will go into production. Artists are compensated and consumers get an ever changing selection of customized merchandise. Brilliant concept, right?

The Threadless + Gap collaboration, which includes designs by international artists from Canada to Indonesia, takes the exact same democratic process and makes it available to an even wider audience. Now, consumers can visit their local Gap store to see the designs up close and try on the super soft cotton tees that will have you wanting to head towards the register with at least two in hand.

Last week, Gap and Threadless hosted a soiree for press to check out the newly-launched collection. Music, food and drinks were in abundance while attendees shopped both the Threadless collection and the new Spring goodies Gap had in store.

I walked away with the Love You and So Into You tees. Both of these have a sentimental theme, which is completely in contrast with the more humorous men's designs I favored: Pyramid Scheme (displays an actual pyramid screaming "Gimme All Your Money!") and Born for the Job (shows a block of cheese holding up a camera while telling his subject to "Say My Name").

Unlike the regular Threadless tees, the Gap collaboration designs are gender specific. So unfortunate. My fingers are crossed that Gap will make each of the designs available to everyone. I mean, a girl could use that Car Audio tee in her life!

Click HERE to view the entire collection. Then, let me know which t-shirt is your personal favorite.

*Threadless + Gap will introduce new shirts in late Spring. Enter your own design(s) to be considered for the next round (submissions close on March 19, 2012).
**Special thanks to Bethany Allen and Threadless for the invite and complimentary t-shirt.

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March 1, 2012

My Luxury Garage Sale "Off the Cuff" Interview

I'm so honored that the ladies of Luxury Garage Sale decided to feature me on their Off The Cuff blog this week!

In this interview, I talk fashion (of course), reveal some of my style icons and share the details on my favorite shopping partner. Can you guess who it is?

Head over to their blog (here) to read the full interview. And while you're there, make sure you peruse their current selection of consignment goodies.


The "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" Wrap Up (with My In-Laws)

Well, that's it people! The month of February has come and gone.

[the photo]
With March being the month of my wedding anniversary, what better way to wrap things up than with this picture of a stylish couple which also happens to be my in-laws.

They were photographed at a party in the late 1960s. Dad looks so put together (which is still the case to this very day) and Mom looks stunning in her floral suit.  Due to fashion's continual reference to the past, it is no surprise that floral suit remains relevant today. With Spring approaching and floral being a huge trend this year, there are many who would wear that jacket with a tee and jeans or that shift dress with a solid colored blazer or cardigan.

No one knew then that a few years later they would give birth to my future husband. But aren't we glad they did? *smile*

[the wrap up]
Thanks to everyone that submitted photos this year for the "Celebrating Black History Through Fashion" series. From the candid shots (like here and here) to the sartorial glimpses back into time (like here), I am grateful for those who decided to share a piece of their history with my readers. Because at the end of the day, it's about honoring those who helped us get to where we are today, personally and fashionably.

To view all of the photos (past and present), click HERE and enjoy!

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