Casual, Cold Weather, Color, Real Talk, Recap, Shopping Guide

What Am I Even Wearing – Part 2

A few weeks ago, I started a blind trek into my fall and winter wardrobe, feeling a little under-prepared and undereducated on what’s hot and trendy for Autumn 2016. In need of a little fashion inspo-I turned to the street style stars of fashion week to figure out just want to put in my cart during my late night shopping sessions. I’m thrilled to announce that the 90s are alive this fall, but so are some new looks. I’ve rounded up my top picks to make your weekend trips to the mall a little more streamlined.

TREND 4 – WEIRDLY-SHAPED SWEATERS

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Photo Cred: Vogue.com

Thank goodness for the asymmetrical sweater, because its sister-knit, the regular sweater, really needed an upgrade. Be on the lookout for splits, cutouts, and dangling hems on brightly hued, deeply saturated knits. Last winter, I finally ponied up the cash for an Equipment sweater and it quickly became my go-to (as evidenced here and here), so I recommend shelling out a little more for a squishy-soft designer piece. But if that’s not your jam, try out a steal option.

 
TREND 5 – SAY IT WITH SLEEVE

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Photo Cred: Vogue.com

If summer was about the shoulder, fall is all about the sleeve. The statement sleeve is here and taking every mass retailer by storm. Some tops are tied up, laced up, or cinched, while others bell out or puff in the middle. For the first time in a long time, we have the opportunity to express ourselves with the bottom portion of our arms (FINALLY, amiright?) and I find that novel and exciting. If you’re gonna say something, say it with a sleeve that screams, “NOTICE MEEEEEEE.” Choose wisely how much you spend, or just be careful when eating large bowls or soup or reaching by open flames.

Quick shop = Tibi or F21

TREND 6 – PANTS YOU CAN REALLY LIVE IN

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Billowing bottoms are totally what’s up for fall, as as a women with hips and a booty, I’m thrilled. Skinny jeans aren’t going anywhere, but I’m so aware of my lack of stick-skinniness when I wear them. Say it with me: Wide leg pants that float away from your widest part are your friend. I live in a black trouser from Zara and can’t wait to take their cold-weather counterpart for a spin. A light-colored hue will keep chunky sweaters feeling too heavy. Pro-tip: A heel is best with these pants so your ankles still look lean and pretty. If you’re a flat devotee and you pick up some full-length wide trousers, have your tailor hem your pants so there is no break; this will keep your legs from looking stumpy or frumpy.

 

TREND 7 – BLOCK PARTY

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Photo Credit: Vogue.com

This season’s boots go in two extremes: high or low. You can either opt for the sexy over the knee boot—highly recommend this – it really will boost your morale!—or the street smart block heel bootie that literally goes all day and doesn’t bat an eye (if booties had eyes that is..). Having nearly walked holes into my Stuart Weitzmans, I’m seeking out a relief hitter from Rag and Bone, but these nearly identical ones really gave my designer dreams a run for their money. I love the block heeled boot because you get the lift of a pump, but the mobility of a flat. #cantstopwontstop

TREND 8 – SLIDE TO THE LEFT

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The uber trendy slides are the perfect way to show everyone that the world is your bedroom. These super-chic, difficult to walk in slides a la Gucci’s Alessandro Michele are popping up everywhere. They certainly have curb appeal don’t they? Shop at Saks for a pair, or head to Zara, to join the club of ladies slip, slidin’ around.

Happy shopping! I can’t wait to see the fabulous outfits my friends start putting together; and with the temperature dropping every day, I’m pretty sure I won’t have to seek inspiration from social media much longer. We’re taking it to the streets! Be sure to follow my  N E W Pinterest board for more fall-fashion picks.

Stay cozy, lovelies.

xx – Haley

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Cold Weather, Color, Daytime Look, Fall/Winter, haley hoover, Real Talk

What Am I Even Wearing?

WELCOME FALL. You are here now. You have officially taking up the roost and shooed my darling summertime away. It’s fine, I’m just a little stressed is all.

With cooler temps upon us, the next wave of trends is rolling in, too. I’ve been in a conundrum for the past two weeks as I feel a nip in the air when I walk to the train. One question pounds around in my cranium all morning as the J train inches towards Manhattan: “What am I wearing this season?” I’ve been pestering my friend Kate for months about what the new, hot boot will be, but she always shot me down saying it was too early and too hot to talk about fall. She was right.  But fall always got me buggin! I’ve never felt adequately wardrobed for autumn, it’s my worst season. I’ve never loved jeans and growing up, my corduroys always “swished, swished, swished” in such a way that I grew to hate most pants in general.

Determined to get it right, I start my research early. This year was tricky because things in the trend cycle are starting fresh—only the most daring and fabulous are in the know. We all knew to buy off the shoulder tops for summer this year, because only the coolest of the cool were wearing them last year.  At this point, I’m keeping my eyes on the stars. Thankfully, all of those glittering fashion plates are gathered at fashion weeks across the globe, so I found it fitting to report on what to wear through the eyes of the most talented street stylists—and photographers—out there. Here’s what to shop to nail Fall 2016 and spoiler alert(!)—if you’re a 90s baby, you’re in for a treat.

TREND 1 – EAT SPAGHETTI 

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Photo Cred: VogueRunway.com / Phil Oh

I wasn’t kidding about 90s swag; it is back and it is alive. I vividly remember having a purple tee and lime green tank combo that I rocked in the 4th grade (circa 1994?) and envisioning a grown-up version of that ensemble on my now is still a little hard to swallow. I’ll dip my toe via the most 90s establishment out there: The Gap.

Quick take = Zara Tank + Gap Tee

 

TREND 2 – BLACK AND WHITE AND PRINTED ALL OVER

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Photo Cred: VogueRunway.com / Phil Oh

Praise The Lord for a great printed blouse, a statement piece all on its own. Tuck it into jeans on your way to Sunday brunch or trousers when you’re running late for work on Wednesdays. Pick up stress-free wearable ones from Zara or JCrew Factory or find treasured, glossy (read: high maintenance) ones at Equipment and ALC.

 

TREND 3 – COLD CLAVICLES 

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Photo Cred: VogueRunway.com / Phil Oh

Get ready to keep freezing those shoulders off, babies, because the off the shoulder blouses and sweaters ain’t going anywhere! Trust, your arms will be warmed because crazy sleeves are all the rage too (see below). I’m looking at knits to stay cozy, but would be swayed for bright or ruffling versions when Saturday nights come a calling.

 

I’ll just leave these here for everyone to digest. Ready your wallets, ladies! It’s time to shop; I’ll be back later this week with a little more food fashion for thought.

Happy Monday, y’all.

xx – Haley

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Cold Weather, Daytime Look, Holiday, Real Talk, Recap

Best & Worst of Times – 2015

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I’ve always liked the little newsletters that come in Christmas cards. Maybe I’m nosy, but I like knowing what’s going on in people’s lives. I like the context, I guess. This is my last post of 2015 and a long overdue one at that. So, in honor of the season I thought I’d write my own newsletter.

In January I was thrilled to interview for an editorial position at the magazine I had always dreamed of working. (Think: Devil Wears Prada). After a—no joke—8 minute interview I learned the position I was interviewing for had been filled already. I was crushed.
In February I went through 3 weeks of casting for a well-known fashion reality show and learned why they say acting is not for everyone. I also learned that reality TV is for SURE acting. After just barely missing the final cut I stood weeping in the kitchen in Ryan’s arms. Crushed. Again.
A dear friend moved away in February and after watching two dreams slip through my fingers by what seemed, at the time, by my own doing, I felt like God had tricked me. Life didn’t feel fun.
In March, through a series of unexpected events, Ryan’s company shuttered and he very quickly (thankfully) started working at that same magazine I had interviewed with 3 months prior. I struggled to juggle  my genuine happiness for my husband finding his place and panicked anxiety —why I wasn’t good enough to land that job in January? The year wore on and I continued to look for work that excited me but nothing came.  During my 26th birthday weekend, while watching the sun set over Brooklyn with some of my dear friends, I decided I had to let go. It was time to love myself fully and to trust the Lord’s plan for me fully-er.

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That’s when things turned. When you open your palms up to God’s way and just stop trying, amazing things can happen. Honestly that statement is more deserving of a full essay, or a compilation of them, than one, trite sentence. It has truly taken me 20 years to arrive at this realization.

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Here’s the rest of the story –
In July, Ryan and I opened a business back home with our friends. Although it’s a random field in the entertainment industry, we’ve enjoyed six very good months of business with our three counterparts. Come to find out,  a new business keeps one very occupied, so you can imagine my surprise when it was the end of October and there was still no change to my full-time work scenario. I began to question how to move forward in my career. Should I freelance again? Should we move back home? Should I quit writing on the side? Was I wasting my time? No sooner did Ryan and I begin to pray about next steps when I received a call from the publishing company that I had interviewed with in January, this time for a different position at a different magazine.
After three rounds of interviews, I tearfully happily accepted a position in a role that seems to have been designed perfectly suit to my skill set.  Here I was, at the culmination of everything, towards the end of the year and finally my context arrived.

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So of course, the moral of the story is that it all works out, but more so, the moral of the story is that I just walked through a year that seemed so wrong for so long only to be peacefully led into a place that is perfect. I learned how to love myself, realized that “not now” doesn’t translate to “not enough,” and that all those bumps in the road shouldn’t load up as chips on your shoulder, but rather, boosts to stand higher on.
I wasn’t joking about my impatience. The struggle is SO real. And your twenties are SO weird. But God is good. I’m overwhelmed by His grace and abundant love. I’m thankful for one of the hardest years of my life. When I think of how He loved me hardest when I felt rejected, I about go weak in the knees. I’m most thankful He gifted me with my kind, patient, best friend of a husband, who, by the way, totally rocked out this year. Seriously, Ryan is the best.

So if want, you can fold up my newsletter and put in in your back pocket or you can throw it away. As for me— I’m boarding a plane to fly to my family’s home in Kentucky and I couldn’t be more excited to watch what unfolds in 2016.

Merry Christmas,

Haley

KEY PIECES: Sweater – Banana Republic // Boots – DSW // Vest – Intermix // Ryan’s Jacket – Jack Spade // Ryan’s Boots – Billy Reid // Ryan’s Glasses – Warby Parker

Per usual, all photos taken by Julia Hembree. Isn’t she great?

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Cold Weather, Memphis, Real Talk, travel diaries

Choose901 – An Honest New Yorker Tale

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After a week long NYC adventure in March, my husband, Ryan, and I along with three of our best friends hatched an idea to bring some new fun back to Ryan’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee. Thanks to our team’s business and finance savvy and dare I say, grit, we opened for business just a few months later. As of July 2015, I am part owner of Memphis Escape Rooms.  Our Memphis counterparts bear the brunt of managing our 15 part time employees and daily ongoings, while Ryan and I oversee social media, marketing and branding initiatives.

Like any good marketer, I’ve been researching my customers.  I pour over our social posts to see who clicked, who hovered, who replied or retweeted. It’s my job to let our brand speak in a way that connects with real, human people. But now this thing is happening that I didn’t expect. I’m becoming quite endeared to the people of Memphis.

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Ryan has always fed me bits of Memphis sociology like the fact that Marc Gasol went to Lausanne or  Mike Conley’s story of hard work to rise to the top. He’s referenced parts of the city that are changing and updating. I should also note that it was on a corner of main street on one of our first “real” dates that my then not-even-boyfriend looked at me with eyes so full of love for me that it actually scared me. So, okay, I guess this Memphis-love has been simmering for a bit.

But now I’m all in. And here’s why.

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We moved to New York City two years ago with bright shiny dreams and the naive confidence that’s required to pack yourself up and force your way into a city that likes to “test” new occupants. Daily, I’m amazed that I’m a part of this city. Our time here has been good. Trying, but good. I’ve learned more about myself in two years than many people figure out in a decade. I can tell you about luxury brands, the newest trends, the hottest gossip, and how to get to FiDi via the C/E line- all in 10 minutes. In New York, you learn to be concise and to deliver quickly. Trying to gain access into the traditionally well-funded, well-connected fashion world has taught me to choose my words, inflection, and facial movements carefully. Once, when corresponding with someone at VOGUE magazine, I was told to not use so many exclamation points in my emails. I used two exclamation points in a 7 sentence email. #oops.  By now, I’m used to proving myself when I walk into a room. I’m used to a pair of eyes scanning my outfit top to bottom to see if I’m wearing designer shoes or carrying the newest Celine. Sometimes I am, sometimes I’m not.

Upon returning from our most recent trip to Memphis, I was just one day back in the grind when I found myself longing for the city that calls itself that very thing. While there, a meeting took place with a very prestigious  Memphis-based brand. This is a company that certainly can operate with NYC intensity, but doesn’t. After a 90 minute (!) (Sorry VOGUE!) meeting with a team that rubs shoulders with the nation’s finest, I was dumbfounded by how genuinely we were treated. No full-body scans, no condescending tone – just open creativity and a willingness to listen to a tiny little business who happens to be the new kid in town.

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It’s beginning to hit me that life doesn’t have to feel so stressful to be great. On the nights that I’m losing hair or my husband isn’t eating because our to do list only shows bright red deadlines, we certainly turn our heads down south where the business is good, the pace is markedly slower, and the tea is so so SO much sweeter.

I CHOOSE901 part-time right now for family, for success and for that big sigh that says, “I’m HOME”. If you’re thinking about switching gears, maybe you should CHOOSE901 too. It took the initial success of our little business to realize that no matter what Manhattan’s elite may infer, my husband and my friends, as well as myself, are smart. Memphians have good ideas. I see why the hilarious, yet strangely philosophical Tony Allen loves to remind us all that Memphians have grit and they positively are all heart.

Cheers y’all

Haley

All photos by the ultra-skilled Julia Hembree.

If you’d like to learn more about job opportunities in Memphis and happen to live in NYC – you’re in luck! Come chill out with sweet southerners this week in the city – I’ll be there for sure! Find out more information here

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Cold Weather, Daytime Look, Real Talk

Hiver

If you’re of a more chic descent or study, you’ll note that the title of this post is french for winter. Doesn’t everything sound better in french? I am not of chic descent or high-school study so I’m currently teaching myself french via an app on my phone. This week I’m learning seasons..which is actually metaphorical on so many levels.

Hiver is a strange time of year. Cold and grey; yet newness is looming. You sit around prepping and straining to see what lies ahead, sometimes with snow and cold wind burning your eyes. Other times you pull out your long lost sunglasses because that sun bouncing of the snow is blinding. Plans are made, then scrapped, only to be rescheduled for a warmer day.  Emails are sent, some met with quick replies and others fall silent. Fighting the urge to embrace mundane and wear the same jeans/sweater/boot combo is a struggle because at the moment, it’s the only reliability you have. Looking ahead can sometimes cause you to look past what’s happening here, now.

Currently, hiver looks a lot like the language I’m trying to learn. Graspable and definitely worth accomplishing, but still, it seems a daunting and unwieldily task. 2015 has looked so different from what I expected. I’ve found myself running home at the end of my day just trying to process, regroup and get ready for the next day ahead. Admittedly, I’ve been looking much further ahead – with the hope that next month will soon be tomorrow. Wishing life away – no bueno (throwback to the other language I DO semi-know). Living for today – beaucoup mieux (oh gosh, please let that be right).

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Winter overwhelming you? I’m with ya. My best {fashion} advice is to ditch the standard look and try something new. Layer up like crazy, wear something weird and get outside. It’s motivating and exciting to change up your look, if even just for a day. See the world we’re living in today, while you wait for the new day coming tomorrow.

Bisous,

Haley

Wearing: Coat – old (cool option here), Shirt – Husbands (JCrew, similar), Turtleneck – JCrew, Maxi – JCrew (wait til spring, but get one here now), Sunnies – RayBan, Leggings – Uniqlo, Socks – Husbands (JCrew), Booties – Old (similar here)

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Casual, Cold Weather, Fall/Winter

Get Loose: Winter Edition

Last week, I mused about winterizing a very un-warmthed wardrobe into one that can handle nor’easters and blizzards with ease. This week, I’ll share what I’ve come up with. As I’ve struggled thought sub-zero dressing, I’ve turned frequently to whowhatwear’s 30 Day Winter Challenge! It’s had me doing all sorts of things like belting chunky things and layering skinny things, etc.

The best way I’ve found to change it up is to switch up my jeans. We ALL wear denim, every day! But some days, skinny jeans just won’t cut it. I truly recommend boyfriend jeans (Bonus Points for Distressed Ones). You can tuck a fitted turtleneck into loose jeans with a belt and accentuate your whittled waist or layer up loosy-goosy sweaters and tunics to look oh so downtown and OH-so-COOL! I’m still lending wide-leg kudos to my trusty pair of distressed American Eagle boyfriend jeans that I’ve had since SOPHOMORE YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL. Sadly, I’m on the wrong side of 16 and am now realizing that these jeans have lasted me closed to a decade. A decade, ya’ll. How’s that for the best $20 bucks I’ve ever spent?

Grown up BF jeans can be found for a steal here and a splurge here I’m here to report that there’s life beyond the skinny and so much worth in a solid cuff and chunky heel. Let loose and get loose with oversized pullovers and your high school jeans. StyleMePerfect (6 of 25)

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To recap: I recommend you opt for a wider leg jean (even for one day) and to check out WWWD.com’s 30 Day Winter Challenge to play with your wardrobe. If you’re serious about staying stylish or even just bored with your wardrobe, this article is for you!

If it looks like I’m cold in these pictures it’s because I am. Happy Friday love bugs!

– Haley

Wearing: Sweater – JCrew (Sold Out, Try This – big sale! Code: SALETIME), Tunic – Zoa New York (Similar), Jeans – American Eagle (the oldest, see links above!), Shoes – Nine West (old, try these), Hat – Gifted from Mama (try this), Necklaces – Anthropologie (Similar), Bag – Alexander Wang, Cuff – JCrew x BaubleBar (similar)

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Casual, Cold Weather, Shopping Guide

Winterize Me, Baby

It’s still winter, in case you forgot. My southern girl roots have grown deep in the thought that February brings Valentines day AND light jackets! Such a thesis, coupled with the fact that I am employed by an industry that works 6 months ahead and you’ll find me in a real conundrum every morning at 7:30am when I need to be dressed – STAT.

The past two weeks have found me dashing out the door and booking it for my morning train. Progressively, it’s taken me longer and longer to get dressed in the morning because the outfits just. weren’t. coming. together. I realized that my casual winter wardrobe seriously lacks season (and temperature) appropriate substance. Read: I DON’T BUY WINTER CLOTHES. I hate the season and usually give my poor Amex some much needed rest during January, but I really need to woman up and winterize my looks. This means layering up things I own and maybe adding in a fresh piece or two. I’ll thank myself next year – Sorry Amex! (Who am I kidding? This type of admission is music to my creditor’s ears.)

For inspiration, I turned to Pinterest and the Blogosphere because this time of year, I think all of us north of the Mason Dixon could use some help shopping our closets. Southern chicks -y’all can still read this! I pride myself in reinventing the old to make something fresh, so here are my tips for winterized coolness. Mind you, I will be referencing this blog piece for the next few days as I’m sure a nor’easter is looming.

 One: Layer Your Maxi
Maxi Look

Inspo Pic via becauseimaddicted.com

 We die for the maxi in the summer, so why not in the winter? Add a chunky turtleneck overtop and let the flowiness do the talkin. Slip tights if it’s really nippy because, hey, 13 degrees is  real thing we’re all going to face. Don’t forget to add in saturated colors like wine (my personal fave) or navy!
Two: Office-Approved Party Dress
office layering

Inspo Pic via dresscorrilyn.com

Oh, that holiday dress you splurged on back in December? Yea, you’re wearing that to next Wednesday’s Annual Review. Pull out your trusty white button down you wear in the summer with cutoffs (and if you don’t have one – get thee to the JCrew!) and pop it under your sleeveless frock. Add a statement necklace and dark (wine, again) nails for a subdued, yet pull together look.

A note on winterizing dresses: shift and tunic dresses instantly transform when you pop leather pants underneath. Perfect for a day-to-night look!

Three: Go Hard for Layers

manrepeller

Inspo Pic via Manrepeller.com

To really get creative with my day-to-day ensembles, I turn to none other than my girl, Leandra Medine at Manrepeller to find all-out creative looks. Don’t be afraid to layer up pinstripe pants with a turtleneck (my no-fail-go-to for winterizing outfits), another bright sweater and yet one more denim jacket on top. Bonus Points for a bright clutch too.
Three tips, endless options. Keep going cold ones! And don’t forget to tag us in your social media world*  if we helped get you dressed with vigor again.
Here’s to more hot coco and turtlenecks for at the very least 6 more weeks.
– Haley
SMP Stylist
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Insta: @stylemeperfect
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