It’s no secret that the difference between a cute look and a REALLY cute look is how you wear it. Styling an outfit is what makes the look “you” and defines the statement you want to make. Shopping for clothes is the easy part; putting a great look together is why there is a market for stylists. 😉
I got this fur and leather Theory vest a few years ago, and it has proven itself to be a worthy investment piece. I love it so, and it’s perfect for adding a little texture and warmth during the winter months. The only problem? I was limiting myself to wearing it to evening events only; it just felt a little fancy and didn’t seem to fit into my everyday wardrobe. I love a good fashion challenge though, so I became determined to figure out a way to make my fur work for day time. What better piece to pair it with than my favorite flare jeans?! With the cropped silhouette of the vest, I think the flared hem balances out the look and makes it all more proportionate. And layering a great vintage-inspired Led Zeppelin tee under it makes it feel more me! I tucked the front of the top into my jeans to avoid the frumpy, no-waistline effect an untucked tee can give, and I went to my go-to accessories: the skinny version of this J. Crew leopard belt and my trusty Rag & Bone Margot booties. Now this fave investment piece is a truly versatile piece too!
Confidence. That is a trait that would be worth millions if we could sell it. Unfortunately, confidence is oftentimes elusive to those who need it most. While we hear the mantra “clothes don’t make the woman” and that only what’s on the inside counts, we all know too well that when we are presenting our best self for whatever job or role we are seeking, clothes do help give us confidence. It might be that special “knock’em dead” dress or that “I mean business” suit. It could be the heels that make you feel 10 feet tall. Whatever it is, when you slip it on, you feel like nothing can stop you. That is why we support Dress for Success. We want every woman to feel confident and powerful on job interviews or even when they start on their newfound careers. Dress for Success Worldwide has served over 850,000 women in 20 countries (!!!) by not only making clothing available to disadvantaged women, but also by providing support and career development tools. Reading through the inspirational stories of how Dress for Success has brightened the lives of countless women made me think about the women who have helped me succeed.
Obviously, my sister and I garnered our confidence from our mother who daily told us how smart and special we were (and of course from our superstar Dad, but this post is about our circle of women). We had a team of women in our family and extended friends of our parents, teachers, and coaches in our small town who allowed us to feel supported while growing up and beyond. I was never told I could not — only that if I worked hard, I could. When I started my teaching career right out of college, I had a group of moms of the girls I coached who took me under their wings. Later, when I started my legal career, I was fortunate enough to work for and with some of the best female trial lawyers in the state. There are too many to list, but I distinctly remember Judge Alice Oliver-Parrot telling me that I did not have to change who I was to be successful in our male-dominated field. She said that a jury will know immediately if you are playing a role so be true to who you are and to what makes you unique. I now use that same advice with the young lawyers I mentor. My Class of 2014 Women on the Move sisters instilled in me a desire to do more charitable work and more mentoring. My friends inspire me every day, and so much of what I am able to do is because of the support they give me. So many women through the years have empowered me to stand up and do what is right, to take risks, and to make changes, and all have contributed to any success or accomplishment of mine.
When I want to feel confident or powerful, I typically wear black. In my field it is a go-to color for court (although I am not afraid to try color — I wear it often) and when I know I am going to be in the trenches negotiating or working out tough issues with opposing counsel. With black suits or business attire I can also add pops of color with my accessories when I feel the need. The dress I am wearing in the photo is sleeveless so once I am done working, I can take off the jacket and have another look. However, my go to superpower would be heels! I just feel like I can accomplish anything when I am taller and wearing these pumps. I also adore this Stella and Dot bag! It is perfect for travel and my files fit so well. The sides unzip if you need more room (the animal print accent on the side is a bonus).
While I am so grateful to all the women who have come before me, who mentored me, who supported me, and who loved me, I’d be remiss in not saying that my children are the ones who empower me daily to be a better person. I have two precious little boys and an amazing little girl. Through their eyes is now how I measure my success. I hope that my daughter never wonders if she is good enough or smart enough or bold enough to fulfill her dreams. I hope her ideas are never dismissed because she is a girl. I hope she has no idea what a glass ceiling is. I hope she doesn’t have to lean in because she is already front and center. I hope I give her the confidence she needs. I hope that in turn, she will empower girls and women to strive for their dreams and lift them and help them when they cannot do it alone. So thank you to Dress for Success for being there for the women who need confidence and a reason to shine. Please consider donating your new or gently used business attire, shoes and handbags and, more importantly, your time to Dress for Success — you will be empowering someone in your community and beyond!
Dress: Leifsdottir (old), here and here for similar | Jacket: Pink Tartan (old), here for similar | Pumps: Christian Louboutin, less expensive options by French Connection and Sam Edelman | Tote: Stella and Dot (no longer available), here for similar
October has always been a favorite month of our family, with birthdays, anniversaries, football season, and Halloween. But in recent years, October also represents something much more special and personal — breast cancer awareness month. Our mother has twice survived this evil disease. Her first diagnosis was in 1997 at age 47, and she was diagnosed again ten years later. She has undergone two mastectomies, grueling reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and hours upon hours of doctor and hospital visits, all with a smile on her face. With her remission spanning eight years this time, we were all hopeful we had seen the last of this monster. But cancer is ugly and mean and vengeful. Just last month, we were told that Mom’s cancer markers were elevated, and after lots of tests, the doctors have found suspicious lesions on her liver, spine, hip, and a rib. We are currently awaiting biopsy results, but her doctors at M.D. Anderson believe the spots are metastatic cancer, stemming from the original breast cancers. It is no doubt deflating to receive such news, but in the words of Chastiti’s eight year old, Payne, “WE WILL FIGHT!”
Cancer sucks, there is no doubt. But we have a loving and healing God.
As Jesus went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered “neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1–3.
God is good always, and we are praying to see His healing works displayed in our sweet mother. We are hopeful that this quickly-assembled team at M.D. Anderson will batten down the hatches and beat this disease stalking our mother once and for all! We’ve had barely 6 weeks to process the information but we believe that our mother has many angels who are watching over her, and together WE WILL FIGHT!
Lately, there have been many criticisms of “breast cancer AWARENESS.” Many people feel that any efforts for “awareness” are unnecessary because everyone already knows about breast cancer. While that may be true, we love that the entire month of October is dedicated to honoring the ladies who have been affected. It represents a show of solidarity as we stand united in support of women across the world who have lost a part of their womanhood and even their lives to this beast. While certain organizations have been under fire in recent years for their dubious practices surrounding the proceeds from their pink efforts, there are many legit organizations that truly donate every penny to research and support for patients.
This year, Chandra decided to show her support by taking part in the DEFINE body & mind Pink Ride. This outdoor event was held at the DEFINE Montrose studio, and the hour long Revolution ride included multiple DEFINE instructors, a D.J., strobe lights, and more pink than you can imagine! With all proceeds going to research organizations, this incredibly fun event was a great way to show support, raise much needed funds for research and show solidarity to all those who are affected personally or peripherally by this disease.
While there are so many great and amazing organizations that raise both awareness and funds, Chastiti has a special place in her heart for The Rose. At age 21 Chastiti had a suspicious “lump” found by her doctor in her left breast, and it was removed and thankfully benign. When it happened again six years later, right after Chastiti finished law school (and the year after our mom had her first round of breast cancer), her doctor referred her to Dr. Dixie Melillo, who immediately put her right at ease. Again, the results revealed a benign cyst. But during those appointments in Dr. Melillo’s office she began to read about and learn the mission of The Rose — Dr. Melillo is one of the founding members, along with Dorothy Weston Gibbons, of this non-profit. The goal of The Rose is to reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing screening, diagnostics, and access to treatment for women regardless of their ability to pay (they even boast mobile mammography!). While fortunate to have insurance and the ability to pay for quality care, Chastiti also recognizes the staggering number of women who put off screenings or treatment because they have no idea where the money will come from. We all know that early detection is the key to beating this disease and with the American Cancer Society now recommending to move away from annual screenings and starting mammograms at age 45 instead of 40, we need more organizations like The Rose to fight that battle. The Rose strongly encourages women to continue annual screenings and that women between the ages of 40–45 benefit from mammograms. The Rose, since 1986, has provided women the opportunity to obtain top notch care regardless of ability to pay. Both of the founders came from humble beginnings, and they are the epitome of what giving back truly means. So please, if you know of any woman who needs or wants a mammogram, treatment, or counseling, but is concerned about being able to afford the care, please refer her to The Rose. Also, if you would like to help and want to see your money put to good use, donate now to The Rose.
While our sweet mom is scared, anxious, and of course mad, she is a fighter. She has already made several new friends with other patients and families at M.D. Anderson (for those that know her, you’re not surprised!) and is getting to laugh every day with her precious grandchildren while spending time in Houston. Our amazing Dad is fighting right along with her and will no doubt, challenge cancer to a good old fashioned fist fight if cancer decides to not cooperate. Mom has an amazing set of friends back home, and we know they are wishing they could be here with her too. She is currently undergoing radiation for the very painful tumor on her hip, and we are hoping to get the results of her liver biopsy very soon so that a comprehensive treatment plan can be put into place. We worry about the numerous lesions in various parts of her body. We worry what else the biopsy might reveal. We worry about her. We worry about Dad. We worry about her friends who are also battling cancer. We worry not only about history repeating itself with us, but with our daughters. But again, WE WILL FIGHT.
We ask that you pray, and not necessarily just for our mother. Pray for her healthcare providers to do their best. Pray for new research and funding to support it. Pray that ALL women are empowered to obtain and have access to screenings and treatment. Pray for those who have been affected by this monster. Pray for a cure.
…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6–7.
I know I’m really late to the boyfriend jean party, but the truth is, I just wasn’t feeling this vibe for so long. I remember Katie Holmes was the trailblazer for this look back when she was still Mrs. Cruise, and I was so very confused when it actually caught on!
As I gradually warmed up to the idea of boyfriend jeans, I started trying them on in shops here and there, and I inevitably ended up disappointed and empty-handed. The problem was mostly in the booty. I don’t have a lot of junk in my trunk, so when pants are designed to fit baggy and saggy, it usually does not bode well for my rearview! Just like anything else, the boyfriend jean needs to fit your body properly in order to avoid looking schlumpy. I was delighted when I found this pair of Emerson Slim Boyfriend Jeans by Citizens of Humanity while shopping at Tootsie’s. Instead of a literal “boyfriend” translation, they have a more streamlined, slim cut than the pioneer boyfriend jeans, while still maintaining the requisite relaxed look. As a result, these jeans give me the boyfriend look and feel without drowning my frame (and rump!). Love them! Wear them every day! Want them in every wash! (Including this distressed wash.)
This pretty little Club Monaco camisole top was a great find because it goes with practically every single bottom in my closet. And it’s on sale to boot! My daily errands and school runs, as well as weekends full of playing with my kids, call for simple looks like this. It’s a much better option than yoga pants, no? 😉 I opted for my fave Schutz gladiators, but as fall approaches, I will be switching them out with my Rag & Bone Margot booties and adding a leather moto jacket, like this one from Madewell.
My fun statement necklace is from local designer, Panache By B. This chic and affordable line features handcrafted pieces “sourced from artisans in local and international women’s co-ops through Fair Trade organizations.” For every $75 purchase, Panache By B donates $11 to carefully selected non-profit organizations promoting social justice. I sure love supporting local artists, especially those with a philanthropic heart!
Another great way to transition this look into fall is of course with a colorful scarf that doubles as a wrap! The one I’m wearing is from the Houston-based accessories line Manoosh. Partnering with different artists, Manoosh transfers their abstract artwork onto fabric, creating these stunning silk and cashmere blend scarves. Each scarf is truly a work of art!
And as if these scarves aren’t fabulous enough on their own, Manoosh also collaborated with the Susan Poorman Blackie Ovarian Cancer Foundation to honor their namesake who passed away last year by creating the “Susan Scarf.” The gorgeous teal watercolor scarf features the work of local abstract artist Marilyn Biles, and all proceeds go directly to SBP to fund ovarian cancer research. Join us next Wednesday, September 16, at Tootsie’s to celebrate the launch of the “Susan Scarf!”
Jeans: Citizens of Humanity (I also love the distressed wash on this Citizens pair.) | Top: Club Monaco — ON SALE! | Scarf: Manoosh | Sandals: Schutz | Necklace: Panache By B | Clutch: Aspiga (similar styles by Alice + Olivia and Berry) Feather Bangle: similar by Max & Chloe and Melinda Maria | Gold Ball Bangle: Marco Bicego | Gold Bangles: similar by Express