Winter Style: Lace-up Tops

By Natasha Marsh

If you’re a fashionista like us, you’ve probably spent the last few weeks owing and awing over the tie-up trend. From tops to dresses, it’s all that’s on our mind. The exciting thing about lace-up trends is the versatility, the option to rock out with your friends at a concert or enjoy a nice dinner date.

Hop on the tie-up train for as little as $14  (thanks F21!), or splurge with French Connection . Here’s a fabulous selection of our current favorites.

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Who doesn’t need the classic lace up. Find your perfect one at Topshop for only $28

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French Connection is the perfect place for your lace-up fix. Enjoy the classic lace up with this form fitting dress $95

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Or, opt for a unique twist to the trend on this side lace-up dress $71.

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Can we talk about this Bardot Paige lace up dress? It’s perfection for $69.

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I personally own this $14 top from Forever21 (shh! Don’t tell anyone) and I get compliments on it All. The. Time.

 

Gift Guide for the Beauty Addict

We all have that one friend in the group that would rather watch Youtube tutorials on mastering the smokey eye than get a glass of wine. Here’s how to shop for her and ensure her perfectly-lined lips burst into a big smile once she unwraps your present:
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We love Stowaway Cosmetics for two reasons: you pick a cohesive color palette based on your skin tone, and the products are delightfully sized for girls on the go, whether it means your gym bag, work purse or clutch. Their Essentials Kit has everything you need for a complete look. You choose a bb cream foundation, lipstick, concealer, mascara, eyeliner, eyeshadow palette and cheek and lip rouge and as you choose each one, you are prompted about your skin tone. The whole set costs just $100, which is great value. Their products are highly-pigmented and long wearing, which is an added bonus!

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This time of year we spend our time flitting in and out of holiday parties, sipping on copious amounts of champagne and not drinking nearly enough water. That unfortunately takes its toll on our skin, which is why I was so excited to find these Decorté Slim and Firm Concentrate face masks ($180). This three-piece mask plumps and firms the upper part of your face while helping to reinstate the contouring of the lower part of your face. It’s exactly what you need after a few back-to-back nights out. We tried it after being over served, and it brightens your skin while firming it, making you look well rested and hydrated. You really can’t put a price on that.

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Anyone obsessed with beauty knows that what you use to apply your products with is just as important as the quality of the products you use. Artis makes luxury, ergonomic makeup brush sets that are shaped like your fingers and apply everything from your foundation to eyeshadow and even moisturizer like a pro. Their The Digit Five Brush Set with Luxury Case ($185) has five essential brushes (for brows, lip products, foundation, concealer, etc.) and it comes in a great case, that makes it easy to travel with. You won’t believe how soft the bristles are and how evenly it applies product, without absorbing all of your foundation, which means fuller coverage.

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I love giving the gift of healthy, clean skin, and have always been a big fan of Ren Skincare. Their Evercalm gift set ($49) comes with cleansing milk, a day cream that has SPF and and anti redness serum. I’ve been using their cleansing milk which is super gentle and their day cream for ages, and have little bottles that I take on my travels.

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We also adore Ursa Major’s Traveler’s Skin Care Set ($41), which has everything you need for your vacations and business trips. It comes with face wash, face tonic, 4-in-1 face wipes and face balm. The packaging is super cute, and all of the products are bite-sized, meaning you can pack them in your carry ons. Added bonus: Ursa Major uses natural ingredients, eliminating synthetic chemicals and toxins, meaning you can feel good while making yourself look great. Also, we loved that when we opened up the box, the packaging had an adorable festive ski lift scene on it.

 

Read Our Other Gift Guides:

Gift Guide for the Baby

Gift Guide: For The Baby

As part of our series to help you shop for every person in your life, this year we’re tackling a baby gift guide, since we have a newborn in the family for the first time in a very long time. Here are some of our favorite gifts for little ones.

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How adorable are these “bib slicks” from Mini Maniacs that can easily be wiped down with a napkin as the child eats. The brand has a ton of cool and irreverant styles that will ensure your kid is the coolest on the block. This “Dolled Up” one, pictured, is $24.
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How cute is this Angel Dear Elephant Blankie?! It unrolls to a square shape so that the baby can lay in it. It’s super plush and just $13.
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One of the essentials for any newborn is the Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist humidifier. It increases moisture in the air to help the baby breathe better at night and in return get a better sleep. I love the way it swivels, and it comes in a fun range of colors, meaning that it will go well in any baby’s nursery. It’s also seamless to use, not requiring a filter. They also make a travel sized one, that packs great for sleepovers at the grandparent’s or vacation.
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I just ordered these Freshly Picked baby moccasins in camouflage color for my new nephew. I’m obsessed with these baby shoes, and they come in the most beautiful patterns and finishes.
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I’m obsessed with these Land of Nod teepees, which come in tons of colors and start at just $99.

 

Read More of our Holiday Gift Guides:

Gift Guide for Beauty Lovers

Travel Diary: Palm Springs

Palm Springs is the perfect place to spend a long weekend, whether you’re looking for poolside lounging, nature, great food, or a combination of all three. We recently spent four days in the desert town and had the pleasure of staying at the Avalon Palm Springs (Read more about that here.) Here’s our list of must-dos in Palm Springs and all of our tips:

Joshua Tree State Park:
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First thing’s first, Palm Springs is a wonderful city that is easily navigable by foot or by bike, especially if you’re situated at The Avalon. Meaning, you won’t need a car. But, you’ll want to be sure to have a car for one of the days you’re there so that you can drive an hour away and visit the stunning Joshua Tree State Park. For a minimal entry price ($20 per car), you’re able to navigate acres and acres of desert and natural beauty.
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You can literally spend 12 hours at the Park and not see everything, and there are trails for every level. We did the novice trails, but there are also mountain climbers and serious hikers in your midst. Our advice is to get there early and pack a picnic and plenty of water. Check out a few of the trails and make sure to see the famous Joshua Trees, which only grow in this one area of the world. Also, be sure to stick around for the spectacular sunsets.

Brunch at Cheeky’s:
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If there’s one meal that you absolutely must have while in Palm Springs, it’s brunch at Cheeky’s. This local institution doesn’t take reservations, so get ready to wait in line. But keep in mind, it’s well worth the wait. The food is all fresh and delicious and the atmosphere is so California. Make sure to start with their bacon flights. Yes, you read that right. They will give you a plate of five different bacons to share, and we reveled in tasting each one. The jalapeno-flavored one was to die for. We then had scrambled eggs, an amazing turkey sandwich and the kale salad with some rose and mimosas, of course. We even disobeyed our no-carb rule and had some sweet potato tater tots that were so delicious and worth the extra few miles on the treadmill. Now, as if that wasn’t enough decadence, once the meal ended we looked over to the coffee area of the restaurant where fresh pastries were laid out, and bought a giant chocolate chip cookie to share. While we felt like we needed to be rolled out of Cheeky’s, every last calorie was worth it.

Bike Around Town:
Whether your hotel provides bikes to use, like our’s did, or you go to one of the many bike rental shops around town, rent bikes for at least a day. It’s one of the best ways to experience Palm Springs, and go through the beautiful Palm Tree lined roads and check out the modern architecture. You’ll also be able to pull into cute cafes and grab coffee or Palm Springs’s famous date shakes (so good!)

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway:
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This is truly one of the most unique parts of Palm Springs. Set at the mountain base, the Aerial Tramway goes to the tippy top of the mountain while rotating 360 degrees so you’re sure to get views of the entire landscape. The ride takes ten minutes to get to the top, and once you’re there, the views are magnificent. There’s also a cafe and restaurant at the top. There are great photo ops at the top and beautiful views every which way. Just be sure to bring a jacket, since it’s much cooler at the top.

Moorten’s Cactus Museum:
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When you think of Palm Springs, cactuses come to mind, and Moorten’s is the perfect little cactus museum to take in the different species and even do some shopping. For a small fee, you can enter this cactus museum of sorts and see all sorts of succulents and cactuses, which are displayed in the most beautiful manner (and make great backdrops for photos).

There’s even a greenhouse with rare cacti — seriously rare ones that don’t even look like plants. After perusing the cacterium, we did some shopping, bringing back some cactuses and succulents to take a piece of Palm Springs back to New York. They are on my window ledge as I type this!

Palm Springs Style Guide:

Palm Springs Travel Guide: Avalon Palm Springs

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We recently visited Palm Springs and between the scenic backdrop of mountains and palm trees and our amazing stay at the Avalon Hotel Palm Springs, we came away from the trip huge fans of the desert destination.

Palm Springs is a perfect mix of old Hollywood glamour (it was a famous destination of 50s and 60s era stars such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor), amazing architecture, perfect weather and modern luxury.

The Avalon Hotel was a great spot for us to take in everything Palm Springs has to offer. This boutique hotel keeps with the architecture and desert-mod vibe of the surrounding area. The lobby has hanging glass lighting fixtures and the wall is a vibrant pattern of yellow and white geometric shapes that immediately sets the scene for your stay. Cactuses are on all of the tables at the restaurant and around the three pools, a nod to the desert locale.
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The hotel rooms, pool areas and spa keep with a black-and-white theme that is really well executed and creates a cohesive atmosphere with clean lines. Our room had two queen beds that had hanging glass lanterns next to each. The walls are outlined in black and white and the closets have mirrored paneling. Our room was spacious and had a balcony overlooking the main pool. The suites are arranged in a 50s-era motel style that many of the neighboring hotels use as their model because it was a popular style of hotel in Palm Springs’ heyday. Each suite is equipped with an iPad that serves as your personal concierge where you can order everything from new towels to room service.

Upon checking into the hotel (only a 10 minute cab ride from the airport), we changed into our bathing suits and headed to one of Avalon’s three pools and sat at the cabanas. Palm Springs has always had an affinity for well-designed pools and lounging and the entire area takes their pools very seriously. Think back to the iconic backyard photos of the area from the 60s with their kidney-shaped pools and you’ll find that not much has changed since.
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We visited in early November and the weather was perfect for poolside lounging and imbibing. Pro tip: order their cucumber cooler – a mix of gin, cucumber, basil and lime as you swim a few laps and take the sun. Because there are three pools and a number of Jacuzzis, there were always ample amounts of sun loungers to relax and take the sun. The grounds are extremely well manicured, with bright green shrubs groomed into square blocks and giant trees formed into green balls at the top interspersed with gigantic palm trees. Avalon is right next to the mountains, so every which way you look you are spoiled for views – especially when the sun starts to set, casting a pink glow on the mountains. During the day, temperatures reached 90 degrees, but the heat is dry, so you don’t sweat. At night, temperatures dropped to between 60 and 70 degrees.

The area Avalon in is ideal. It’s a few minutes walk to “downtown” Palm Springs which is where all of the major restaurants and shopping is, meaning you don’t need to rent a car.
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The hotel also supplies guests with brand-new bicycles, free of charge, which we used every single day of our trip. In the mornings, we’d take the bikes and ride behind the hotel which is a beautiful area lined with palm trees and the most stunning homes that are truly blasts from the past. We’d ride past the Palm Springs Tennis Club and other parts of the city. We even took our bikes four miles away to the Parker Palm Springs for brunch one morning. This was a great way for us to see the sights, happen upon adorable places in the neighborhood and also get some exercise in. On that note, the hotel gym is open 24 hours a day and is really beautiful with new equipment. I used it once during my stay and opted to run outside through the hills near the hotel in the mornings the other days. The hotel also has yoga and meditation classes for guests, if that’s more your style.
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One of the (many) highlights of our stay was our treatments at Avalon’s spa, Estrella. We each scheduled hour-long, customized massages at the spa. It’s bright and clean and also keeps with the black, white and silver theme that the rest of the hotel has. After the treatments, we were treated to glasses of champagne and then took a dip in the spa’s Jacuzzi before getting ready for dinner. Our spa visit was perfect timing because we spent the prior day in Joshua Tree State Park and hiked (more on that in our Travel Diary).

Ultimately, Avalon was the perfect location for us to experience all that Palm Springs has to offer. The location is literally just steps from great restaurants, bars and shops. We were able to walk and bike to pretty much everything on our itinerary, and in our downtime, we relaxed by their pools with a good cocktail and a drink. It’s especially great for a girl’s weekend: All three of us came away from the trip relaxed, refreshed and with a lot of laughs.

Palm Springs Style Guide:

Winter Shopping List: Bell Sleeves

If there’s one silhouette you need to incorporate into your wardrobe asap, it’s the bell sleeve. It’s a nice, subtle throwback to the 70s without looking too costumey, and I find that it instantly dresses up any outfit. I’ve been living in my bell sleeve blouses for the last month, and really love the look. Here are our favorite ways to incorporate it across price points:
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We’ve seen this Elizabeth and James ribbed sweater on a number of celebrities, including Lucy Hale, and we love that the body is perfectly fitted while the sleeves are round and feminine. It comes in black and white. It’s pricey at $325, but it’s a statement piece.

I legitimately live in this Free People bell sleeved tunic, which I have in white. (It comes in a range of colors.) Added bonus: it’s on a major sale at just $29.95 and pairs well with jeans, leather pants, you name it.
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Want something boho and whimsical? For Love and Lemons has you covered with this Willow Dress.
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I’ve been obsessing over this off-the-shoulder MLM bell sleeve shirt for approximately three months, so I should just bite the bullet and buy it already. I love the silhouette and think it’s really versatile. It’s $150.
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I love mixing textures, and sheer and lace are some of my favorites to work with. That’s why we love this Free People shirt, which you can tuck into a pencil skirt, or pair with skinny jeans. It’s on sale for $100.
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We also love this look on a dress, because it adds some movement. This Nicholas dress is $395.

Shop The Look:

Aspen Travel Guide: The Little Nell

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If you’re looking for a luxury ski vacation that combines the charm and rustic feel of an alpine village with all the modern conveniences and luxuries of a five-star resort, then look no further than The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado.

This ski-in, ski-out hotel, which locals fondly refer to as “The Nell,” is the only five star resort in Aspen, and a friend and I recently had the pleasure of staying here for a long weekend.

The hotel’s amazing service started from the second we landed at the airport in Aspen. The hotel’s drivers were waiting for us at the airport, all too happy to relieve us of our luggage and bring us to the hotel, which is conveniently about a 15-minute drive away. A quick note about their drivers: they are super attentive and around all day and night, meaning you won’t need to rent a car. From driving you to restaurants in town in their Cadillac Escalades, to the four ski mountains, their service was impeccable and made traveling around Aspen a breeze.
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When we got to The Nell, we found it all dressed up for Christmas. The fireplaces were roaring, and the tree all lit, with festive touches throughout the hotel. After dropping off our bags, we sat down by the fire in the lounge and had a cup of the hotel’s famed hot chocolate. Pro tip: have the hot chocolate. Even better, ask them to spike it. We were addicted to this drink throughout our stay.
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Next we went to our room, and it was the epitome of cozy. The Nell has 92 rooms in total, which overlook Aspen Mountain. The color palette of our room was super calming, with cream and chocolate colors throughout, and a pleasant surprise was the fireplace under the television, which we turned on literally any time we were in the room. There were other touches throughout the room that really stood out to us, as well. As mundane as this sounds, the Nell has the best bath towels. They are enormous and plush and perfect to wrap yourself in after a day on the mountain skiing. We had his and hers sinks and vanities (perfect for two girls getting ready for a night out in Aspen), and in addition to the shower, there is a gorgeous bathtub with a moving rack for you to stock everything from soaps to a glass of champagne while you soak.
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Calling the bar a “mini-bar” would be downright insulting. The in-room bar is stocked with full bottles of alcohol in a polished display. The Nell also stocks the bar with complimentary snacks, ranging from chocolates to nuts to candies and free soft drinks, that are restocked on a daily basis. There are Bose bluetooth speakers and flatscreen LED televisions in the room. Also, there is ample space for your clothes and gear.

Next, we sat out to explore the town. Part of what we loved about The Nell is that it is ideally situated, just walking distance from restaurants, bars and great shopping. It’s also a few blocks away from the Aspen Art Museum, which should be a must-visit on your trip, and is free to the public.

During our trip, we were lucky enough to dine at The Nell’s Element 47 restaurant, as well as have apres ski at both Chair 9 and Ajax (Read our separate post on eating and drinking at The Nell, and why it is the ideal place for wine lovers).
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One of my favorite things I did while at The Nell was taking advantage of the ski-in, ski-out nature of the hotel. Early on Sunday morning, I was part of The Nell’s “First Tracks” program, which I highly-recommend for any skier. At 8:00 a.m. I went to the First Tracks office just outside my hotel room and was greeted with coffee and fresh-baked muffins and my ski gear ready and waiting for me. After some breakfast, myself and a few other guests rode the Aspen gondola to the very top of the mountain, a full hour before the mountain opens up to the public. This was such an amazing experience and I got to see the mountain in its most pristine form and take some stunning photos before skiing down, with virtually no other skiers near me. Better yet, the hotel offers this as a complimentary perk (one of the many ways they go above and beyond the standard resort experience).

We also loved that the hotel had a work hard, play hard vibe. In the morning, everyone buzzes about to go skiing (There are four mountains nearby, with the Nell situated next to one of them. A ski pass grants you access to all four). By the time apres ski rolls around, everyone hits up the lounges and bars for some champagne and spiked hot cocoa while making new friends.
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The lobby of the Nell has fresh, hot cider daily, which was our go-to after a hard day of skiing. The hotel also has a really festive vibe. While we were there, they had their tree-lighting ceremony, complete with sugar cookies, hot cocoa, Christmas carolers and even a visit from Santa. Another night, they had the opening party for Chair 9, which was a blast.

The hotel has a nice spa and gym that we checked out on our last day since there wasn’t enough time to ski. I had the most wonderful deep tissue massage with Francisco (request him!) and then went to the steam room before going to the gym. There’s also an outdoor jacuzzi with views of Aspen mountain that we recommend.
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We would be remiss not to mention the hotel staff. We already raved about how great the valet service is, but the concierge is equally wonderful. For instance, we had stalked a reservation at Matsuhisa Aspen (their version of Nobu) for literally a month in advance of our trip, only to be completely shut out. We casually mentioned to the concierge that we would love to go on the Saturday night at 8 p.m., quite a tall order, and within minutes, we had ourselves a reservation at prime time. Same goes for other tough-to-nab reservations we wanted, and they always had the best suggestions for us on nights where we didn’t have a set plan.

The Nell is the perfect place for ski bunnies (or aspiring ski bunnies) as well a couples looking for a luxe trip with top-notch service. We enjoyed our stay from beginning to end, and can’t wait to visit again!

Aspen Style Guide:

Essential Beauty for Girls Who Work Out

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As someone who is obsessed with running and Soul Cycle, I spend a lot of time at the gym and in fitness classes. I’ve also noticed it’s become more social — instead of grabbing dinner or a drink after work, sometimes my girlfriends and I will opt to take a barre class or spin class together and catch up. That’s why I’m so excited about Sweat Cosmetics.

Sweat is made with natural ingredients and is designed for women on the go and workout lovers. 83% of women tested reported Sweat performance powder stayed on through an hour-long workout.

I’ve been using their mineral foundation for the last month and have been really impressed by the results. The foundation comes in a capsule that you insert and twist into the bottom of a kabuki brush. When you shake down and tilt it, the perfect amount of foundation comes out of the brush. The brush is extremely full and does a great job applying the foundation and what I really love about it is that the foundation is extremely long lasting. I apply in the morning before a day full of meetings and then I hit up a workout class in the evening. After the class I can shower and leave my face alone and still be fine to meet up with friends for a dinner.

The foundation also is packed with SPF and is light and breathable. Get this — it’s water  and sweat resistant up to 80 minutes. The foundation, with the brush (which is refillable) is $42.

FALL EDIT: VELVET

By Natasha Marsh

Seen all over the AW16 runway, velvet has made it’s way back and it is here to stay. Velvet, in the form of tops, dresses, pants, or shoes, will both complete an outfit and give it a unique vintage feel. It did not take long for celebrities to embrace the trend for it’s luxe, rich, nostalgic look. Supermodels Gigi and Kendall Jenner show us how to master the look. To follow the trend, here are some key pieces:

DRESSES

Velvet dresses of the season, whether you are attending a party and opt for a formal look, are meeting the girls for a night out and in need of a more relaxed look, or would like a mixture of both, we have it all.
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Roland Mouret:
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Asos:

TROUSERS
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Wide leg velvet trousers, what more could you ask for.
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Velvet Cutoffs from Palmer: Pant style of the season married with the fabric of the season will have you in the front lines of the fashion game. These pants from Palmer emphasis a high waist and can easily suit your work wardrobe or a night on the town.

SHOES
Get the perfect fall burgundy color in these Chloe boots or Sam Edelman Heels.
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Chloe: Loving the lace up details of these Chloe shoes.
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Sam Edelman: These ones are a steal and are a great, rich color.
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Or enjoy a beautiful black flat with these Nicholas Kirkwoods.

COATS
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Our style icon, Gigi Hadid, shows u show to dress up a jean and a top with the perfect oversized velvet coat from Lavish Alice.

Celeb Style: Olivia Culpo

By Natasha Marsh

Olivia Culpo, one of our favorite actress/model/legends, known for her flawless skin, style game, and man candy is our current style crush. Below are some of her best looks and where to find similar products.

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One Colored Superstar– Olivia shows us how to style the same color in the most put-together outfits. Really Olivia, you make it look so effortless!

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All Black Everything- a look that will never go out of style, and one that Olivia has mastered. Olivia takes a classic look and adds either a pop of color in acessory or a change of fabric.

 

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Dressed to Impress- whether she is out shopping, meeting for lunch, or attending a meeting, Olivia is always dressed to impress.