Friday, September 30, 2011

In the leopard business

I usually take a few liberties with 'business professional' on days when I don't have as many meetings. Animal print is a trend that I fully embrace in my casual attire, and part of this blog is about incorporating my everyday style into work-appropriate looks.  I am a firm believer that this can look very classy and sophisticated in an office setting as long as it's done right.  By 'done right,' I mean:

1) nothing shorter than knee length
2) nothing inappropriately tight
3) no more than 1 animal print piece or accessory per outfit
4) keep the rest of the look simple and classic
4) behave like a lady*

*this is actually an everyday guideline, but I thought I'd just slip it in there for good measure that's it.  When you find yourself walking out the door wondering if your animal print is 'too much' - ask yourself this: "Will anyone who sees me today have any reason to reference Peg Bundy?"  If the answer is YES- change clothes immediately. Please.  If the answer is NO- have a great day, Gorgeous! ;)

Charter Club skirt (similar), Zara blouse, AT Loft necklaces (similar), Vince Camuto pumps, Michael Kors watch, F21 bracelet and rings, NY&Co earrings (similar), Francesca's Collection clutch (similar), DG shades from TJ Maxx (similar)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Shopping the Leona Collection

Me with Lauren Leonard (right), the adorable and talented designer of Leona Collection

September has been so full of fun blogging events and activities... it went by so quickly! One of the events I attended was the open house for the Leona Collection store in Nashville.  The clothes were super cute and I enjoyed getting to know Lauren, Michelle, and the rest of the girls.  I immediately starting browsing the racks and fell for the 'Melanie' cinnamon wool silk skirt... as you can see below I was really happy about it.  It even matched the rest of the outfit I was wearing (always a bonus when shopping) ;)  

I also bought the Chloe blouse, which is a fairly simple basic black blouse from the front with a really chic bow detail in the back...

Lauren with a few of the beautiful Leona girls!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Introducing Millie from Emily Hallman! + a DISCOUNT!!

You all saw Emily Hallman's Rosie and Abigail skirts debut last week on Pencil Skirts & Lattes... her clothes are obviously amazing... but THIS DRESS. This is the one that I was dying to wear the moment I saw it. As soon as I tried it on at the fitting... I was twirling. That is the amazing thing about the pieces in Emily's collections... they are so feminine and lady-like and classic, but also so wearable. You can truly live in them, and they feel incredible.

I hope you will all take advantage of this EXCLUSIVE PS&L reader 10% discount to!! I was so happy to feature these pieces and will continue to style more of her new collections in the future. Signing up for this promo code is super easy... follow these steps, and I will be in touch with you to give you the code :)

1) 'Like' on Facebook
2) 'Follow' Pencil Skirts & Lattes on Google Friend Connect (click 'Join This Site')----->
3) Let me know when you've done both by commenting on this post

It's that simple!! This discount code will be valid for 30 days (until Oct 26)... Happy Shopping! :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Designer Obsession: DVF

Simply put: there is NO ONE else like Diane Von Furstenberg.  My favorite thing about her designs is that she understands the importance of designing pieces that are super flattering for women and always timeless.  For fall, I am obsessing over these simple sheath dresses in colors that are perfect for the season. With countless options for how to accessorize, a classic DVF dress is something every woman should own (albeit a bit of an investment piece - it is WELL WORTH IT).

My favorite way to style these simple frocks right now is with a great transitional ankle boot with a bit of edge to it.  Pile on your favorite patterned scarves, baubles, statement necklaces, and of course a pair of glamorous DVF shades (like these)... and you're set to look chic all season long.

1.) DVF Clean Lee Dress and Alexander Wang Cecilia glazed-leather ankle boots
2.) DVF Kimian Pleated Split-Neck Dress and Marni Cutout leather ankle boots
3.) DVF Dinna Jersey Work Dress and Alexander Wang Cecilia glazed-leather ankle boots
4.) DVF Aurora Sheath Dress and Sigerson Morrison Florida leather shoe boots
5.) DVF Margaret Sleeveless Shift Dress and Alexander Wang Freja suede and leather ankle boots

psst... if you're in the market for a DVF dress - do yourself a favor and check out this AMAZING Neiman Marcus Event event that lasts until Sunday!!


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Fall for a moment

It was considered 'chilly' here for about 2 days... and now we're back to warm weather.  Not only has the temperature risen - it is supposed to RAIN all week.  Blah.  So glad almost the entire week last week was so beautiful and we had such a great preview of fall.

A brief outfit post from one of the cool evenings here.  If you read this blog on a regular basis (awesome!) and easily tire of boots/tights/etc... we are in for a long couple of seasons together. :)

***PSST... I know you were all excited about the Emily Hallman 'Rosie' skirt worn here... stay tuned this week for a follow-up post with an exclusive discount code JUST for PS&L readers to  !! ***

AT Loft blouse (similar), Banana Republic shorts (similar on SALE with details I LOVE), Hue tights, NY&CO bangle (similar ON SALE!), Michael Kors watch, AT Loft necklaces (similar), Restricted booties only $36!!!, Eliza B clutch (similar), Anna and Ava elephant ring (similar UNDER $3!!!), Lancome L'absolu Rouge in Jezabel ---> this is my new favorite fall/winter red. LOVE.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Parker dress, Nordstrom opening, and a note on mimosas...

I can't even explain how happy it makes me to wake up in the morning to crisp, fall air. For the Nordstrom grand opening this weekend in Nashville, the weather was absolutely perfect.  I decided to wear my favorite Parker dress again, this time with tights and boots (love).  The grand opening, on the other hand, was insane. It started at 8am with a 'Pre-opening Beauty Bash.' I later found out that what this means is 500 women, all dressed up, without a stitch of makeup. Also, there was club music (from a DJ), a spokeswoman with a microphone, and lots of screaming from the 'crowd' on whatever was being given away. I'm not sure how you all feel about cosmetic counters, but I get anxiety when I am just trying to get to a shoe section and those ladies start coming toward me... waving their samples in my face. This 'Beauty Bash' was like a cosmetics counter on ROIDS. Absolutely insane (and a little scary).

The Photog and I found a bench far enough a way from the madness to still laugh at everyone people watch, but so that our eardrums wouldn't be affected by the craziness. Pumpkin Spice latte in hand, we had ourselves a pretty fun morning watching all of the crazies.  I also got to meet a fellow blogger there, Mindy from I Want Your... Blog , who is beyond fabulous.  We chatted, had brunch, shopped for a bit... so much fun.

Tip for Nordstrom:  if you're going to have an event in the morning, please be well versed in the rules of morning events.  Most importantly, that Mimosa's MUST be served for me to participate.  Thankfully, the Accessories by Anthropolgie store next door had the good sense to serve them.  And they were lovely :)

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!

Parker dress (same style, similar pattern here that I love), Banana Republic boots (last year.. similar here on SALE!!), Hue tights , Rebecca Minkoff bag , Tory Burch belt (similar here), Michael Kors watch , F21 shades (similar here), Essie polish in Carry On , Lancome L'absolu Rouge in Jezabel ---> this is my new favorite fall/winter red. LOVE.  

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rosie and Abigail

Two of my absolute FAVORITE looks from Emily Hallman's fall collection are Rosie and Abigail.  These girls are both sooooo beautifully feminine.  Of course, I chose to style these in 2 completely different ways. :)

For Abigail, the moment I slipped this gorgeous silk skirt on, I felt like I had been transported to the 50's.   This is such a chic, lady-like, classic skirt..... and the movement of it is amazing.  I can say this about most of Emily's fall collection... be prepared to twirl, because you NEED to twirl in a skirt like this :)

Emily Hallman Abigail skirt

For Rosie, when Emily let me know I'd be getting this french lace skirt to style I was SOOOO thrilled!!  So many options entered my mind on how to perfectly style a marigold french lace pencil skirt!! I decided for this post to show how perfectly chic and fabulous Rosie is for a crisp fall day.  I love layering all sorts of monochromatic shades together with one bright pop of color in an extraordinary piece that pulls the look together.  I'll be featuring more posts this fall on PS&L with Rosie, but this was my favorite look.

Emily Hallman Rosie skirt

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Interview with a Designer: Emily Hallman

Hands down, the best thing about the blog world is the wonderful people you meet.  Emily Hallman, of, is no exception.  I have always been amazed by people who possess the talent to design and create their own clothes... so getting to know Emily has taken my admiration to an entirely new level. First and foremost, she is real.  A REAL Southern woman... full of class, style, and ambition.  I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and interview Emily for Pencil Skirts and Lattes.  From the first moment we met I was charmed, awestruck, and have definitely never laughed that hard before.  This is what happens when a fashion blogger and a designer meet for brunch during a windstorm:

During the next week, I'll be styling several pieces from Emily's fall collection on Pencil Skirts and Lattes. Stay tuned to see her amazing clothes featured here, and also an exclusive discount code to JUST for PS&L readers!!  With that, I'll let all of you get to know Emily a little bit through this interview that I was so happy to have the honor to do.

PS&L:  So Emily, did you always know you wanted to create lovely clothes for a living?  How long has fashion/designing clothing been a part of your life?

EH: I've known for most of my life that I have certain creative talents. It took a few years, however, to hone in on exactly what those talents were and how best to execute them. My love for clothing truly began at age 8 when I made a suit for my younger brother using only copy paper and staples. When I discovered that I could actually study fashion and build a career around it, I jumped at the opportunity. Since I graduated from college, not a day has gone by that I haven't sketched, researched, created patterns, or sewn something. 

PS&L: I am beyond thrilled at the opportunity to feature some pieces from your AMAZING fall collection on Pencil Skirts and Lattes.  What were your primary sources of inspiration for this collection?  Are there any fall trends that you've specifically incorporated into your designs? 

EH: For fall, I based the idea for the collection on everything that I love to wear--full skirts and dresses, tailored blazers, and great fitting trousers.  I used fabrics that I love, and I highlighted a trend toward a return to ladylike, classic dressing.  

PS&L: Tell us more about the thought process behind these amazing designs. What types of things are most important to you when designing pieces... the shape, fabric, movement, etc?

EH: The thought process behind a collection is considerably longer than you might imagine. The most important factors when I am conceptualizing a collection is how well matched the chosen fabrics are with the designs I have in mind. Good design is nothing with a fabric that doesn't make sense. I love playing with volume and tailored shapes, as well as how a garment moves on the body. Clothing that moves with you is incredibly flirty--not to mention it's fun to wear. I never want to be restricted in what I'm wearing, and I want my customers to feel the same sense of comfort and freedom. 

PS&L: With all of that, you must know exactly the kind of woman for which you design these fantastic pieces.  How would you describe the perfect 'Hallman' woman... what types of qualities does she possess? What would we all love about her?

EH: First and foremost, the Hallman woman is  . . . a woman. I design grown-up clothing for confident, chic women who enjoy ladylike clothes made with the finest materials. Here is what we love about the Hallman woman: her clothing is an accessory to her personality, not the definition of it. She dresses to feel good, and isn't impressed with passing fads or amateur design. She loves special details, exquisite tailoring and proper fit.  The Hallman woman is smart, charming, funny, and incredibly stylish. 

PS&L: You are clearly SO passionate about your designs and such a talented artist, but I happen to know that you also work VERY hard at your business.  Based on the long hours and sleepless nights, what advice would you give to others who want to make a career for themselves in fashion design?   

EH: Education, education, education. A successful career in fashion design is not one that can be had by simply "buying a book" and throwing yourself into it.  As much as this industry has grown in popularity over the past few years, design is still a trade, and I am a firm believer that there are basic, fundamental skills that one must learn before exploring career opportunities in this field. You can't buy a career in fashion. Education, talent, and preparedness will take you beyond the superficial efforts of the imposters.

PS&L: Wow, I might have chills right now from hearing that. Being the inspiration that you are, I know PS&L readers will be interested to know what's next for Emily Hallman designs.  Aside from the sparkly winter collection (that I'm DYING to see!!), what does the next year look like for you?

EH: I love that you are as excited as I am about the holiday collection! After it launches in October, I will be hard at work on the spring collection. You can expect some beautiful silk and cotton prints and lots and lots of linen. I'm also excited about getting Emily Hallman pieces in stores across the country!


Here is a sneak preview of items I've styled from the new Emily Hallman fall collection!!  More to come this week...


Monday, September 12, 2011

Love a good high-waisted jean

If ever there were a trend that I was ELATED to see come back around - this is it, folks. A few years ago, when jeans weren't only 'skinny' (I still wear straight/skinny jeans at times) - but you literally had zero chance of bending over without fear of a classless 'attack of the plumber' on the poor, defenseless soul behind you.... I thought my life was over. (Yes, I was - and am still - that dramatic). I just knew that real designers and women with real figures and curves would lash out in retaliation, bringing back these wider-leg, high-waist jeans once more for all of us to feel our best once again.

So happy that everyone came to their senses and these jeans are back. Dear fashion industry: let's PLEASE not do the whole 'super-skinny-no-really-they-are-THE-skinniest-extra-ultra-low-actually-so-low-that-you-need-a-Brazilian-wax-to-wear-these-jeans' again, ok? Can we all agree that even with a leopard print top and 5 inch platform heels, this looks much more classy? Thanks.

Michael Kors blouse (thrifted... no longer available, but adding this one to my wishlist), Karen Millen jeans (no longer available, but similar pair here), F21 earrings (similar) and bangles (similar), NY&Co chain bangle (similar), Cynthia Rowley bag from TJ Maxx (no longer available, but here's the one I really need), Gianni Bini heels (no longer available, but here are similar that I really wanted), Michael Kors watch (here)

Friday, September 9, 2011

How I wish I were here...

I absolutely love Playa del Carmen... I've been 3 times and still want to go back again.  The weather is just perfect, the beach is beautiful, and it is the most wonderful vacation spot.  These pics are from my vacation in May, funny how only a few months have passed but it seems like forever!

Happy Friday... enjoy the scenery :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

So many trends, so little time

I've always been so happy to see the next season (especially if the next season is fall) on the way, and part of that is most definitely picking out which trends I will go crazy over. My favorite "trends" usually end up not being trends at all...but become the new wardrobe staple every woman needs in her closet. Although I go through this every year - I have to admit that this year is THE WORST as I seem to be going completely insane with the thought of what is just around the corner.  Has there ever been a season in fashion that was just so..... you?  Well, Fall 2011 is SO Pencil Skirts & Lattes, my friends.

I am going crazy in anticipation over faux fur, pleated wide-leg trousers, fabulous aubergine and camel color palettes, and all of the shoe trends this season are sooooo on point.  In this post I've featured one of SEVERAL of my fall/winter 2011 dream looks... with some of my favorite trends along with some undoubtedly timeless pieces to compliment them.  I need all of these in my closet, ASAP!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Making the transition

FINALLY... we are starting to at least hear that temps are expected to drop in our area.  I'm in full transition mode with my wardrobe trying to make use of every last summer/fall/transition item I have.  There is just no better time of year than when the air starts to feel a little more crisp in the mornings when you walk outside.  For this particular morning, I chose my favorite lightly layered casual transition outfit.

Thrifted J Crew shirt (similar), Gap Outlet sleeveless cardi (similar), F21 shorts (similar), Ralph Lauren belt (similar), Franco Sarto shoes via TJ Maxx (similar), AT Loft necklace (similar) and bangles (similar), Michael Kors watch (here), NY&Co earrings old (similar), D&G aviators (similar), Rebecca Minkoff bag (here), Essie 'power clutch' polish (here)

I hope everyone is having a fabulous long weekend!  Which transition pieces are you excited to wear??

Friday, September 2, 2011

Continuing my obsession with Parker...

It's no secret that I'm a lover of all things Parker.  After wearing a favorite Parker dress in a recent outfit post (here), I have been searching for more of this perfection to add to my collection. (yes, that rhymed a little.  no, it was not intentional. but I'm going with it).  I'm absolutely IN LOVE with all of these neutral pieces - and the fact that most of them are sequin-embellished makes them that much better!!!

Which designers do you think get it right every single time??