AJ Wears :: A Lace Dress

It's my birthday! 🎉🎉🎉

I've been on this planet for 32 years now, which sounds kind of crazy. In those 32 years, I've learned a few fashion and style lessons that I'd like to share with you now.

1. Always buy your proper size, and if they don't have it, be ready to tailor. It took me about a full 30 years to get this, but I'm finally old enough to skip squeezing into those tiny 2s & 4s from my early 20s and just buy something that feels good. I've also quit cuffing my jeans for function - I actually get them tailored to fit my height! What a novel idea.

2. Buy a steamer. I've always hated ironing, so I bought a little handheld steamer a few years ago and it changed my wardrobe. You know what's not cute? wrinkly and creased clothes (especially in blog photos). You know what makes you look instantly more put together? Freshly steamed duds! It only takes a minute or two to look like you've got your life together.

3. Spend where it counts. When it comes to fast fashion, I'm all for trying out trends on the cheap. But if you're looking to invest, timeless, well-made bags and shoes are the way to go. If there's a particular designer you're interested in, study the line to see what pieces they make year after year for ultimate longevity.

4. Buy good skincare. Yes, I've been through them all. But in an effort to age gracefully, I've started really investing (see the theme here?) a little more in my products. My current obsession? Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream.

5. You can be comfortable without wearing yoga pants everywhere. Thanks to cotton jersey, almost anything can feel like pajamas. Explore stretchy pencil skirts, jersey sheath dresses, and cotton jackets to feel good AND look good at the same time. The comfort thing is key, actually. This goes back to #1, but size matters. If you're tugging at it in the dressing room or can't sit down, you're going to be doing that every time you wear it too. Life's too short for jeans without stretch, amirite? 

Dress, Marissa Webb (rent it // buy it).
Bag, Moschino c/o Shopbop (similar sans teeth at Target // the real deal on Amazon).
Shoes, JustFab (similar from Charlotte Russe).

Accessory Talk :: Get Weird

Fashion is fun. End of blog.

I kid, I kid. But today is gonna get weird, guys. Not only are you going to get a little designer history from a couple of designers I find fascinating right now, we're gonna get all up in some pieces that are FUNKY.

Fashion puts the FUN in functional. As I continue to descend into the world of wearing black, white, and grey, I've discovered that I prefer to add color and personality with my accessories (purse-onality, if you will). There are so many designers that are really taking advantage of keeping things weird and light right now. Whether they're making a political statement or just trying to add a smile to your wardrobe, here are a few of my favorite statement makers:

Anya Hindmarch

Her quirky line of handbags and accessories all revolve around three design principles: British, humorous and personalised. You can go all in with a gum clutch that demands attention, or personalize your own bag with one of her many funky leather stickers. Hindmarch learned the art of bag making in London before opening a small shop of her own at 19. After gaining traction from designing everything from Oscar party gift bags to first class amenity kits, her namesake brand launched its first flagship store in NYC in 2013. Personally, I find her designs charming. The pop art feel of her line adds the perfect amount weird to any classic outfit.

Clutch & Stickers by Anya Hindmarch.

Moschino

I've already raved about my love for Moschino and my crazy saber-tooth quilted bag, but the history of the brand goes far beyond Jeremy Scott's excellent handle as current creative director. Franco Moschino started the brand in 1983 and became famous not only for his eccentric, colorful designs but also his ability to challenge and poke fun at the fashion industry as a whole. Their recent offerings often mimic other classic designers like Chanel, MCM, and Louis Vuitton by taking those brand aesthetics and adding a little...color. While many of the designs are loud and proud (and can only be pulled off by Katy Perry), the accessories can really make an outfit pop in a new way. And if you still find yourself musing over who would wear any of this, remember...there's always Japan. And Empire on Fox.

See the Chanel inspiration on the left? I DIG it, people. Both bags by Moschino.

ASOS

On the lower end of the spectrum (since those two are QUITE lofty price-wise), I love Asos for quirky, out of the box accessories. I have a yet-to-be-seen burger clutch from them that I stalked for WEEKS, because cheeseburger purse. From funky clutches that look like food or books to shoes with pom poms on the toes, Asos is usually my go-to for trying out weird trends for a lot less cash.

Watermelon Clutch // Pom Pom Heels // Paris Book Clutch

So why the weird? For me, I think it's basically because I'm still a kid at heart. I have bobble head collections at my desk and a stuffed pug I bring on all of our travels. I love wearing neutrals right now, and I want to look professional and put together, but I don't want to lose that edge or personality. I think being in Tokyo got me on this funky accessories train, because they all have cute charms on their backpacks or adorable hats or flashy shoes. My brain kind of went, Hey! I've always loved stupid stuff like this. I should wear it, who cares about being an adult 24/7?

And that's basically it. Adulting is already hard enough. When I'm stressed to the max, if I can look down at my shoes and find a little joy in the fact that they have funny eyes on them or I have a monster on my keychain, it was worth it. If you love this kind of stuff, check out Fendi's Monster collection or Charlotte Olympia's gorgeous flats. Even Marc Jacobs designs adorable mouse flats that I've had my eye on for years now. Having fun with jewelry and shoes and flats is the easiest way to make a big, weird, funky statement - so stay weird, blogosphere.

Some links in this post were sponsored by Shopbop. Some are affiliate links. And some are just links to Wikipedia, which makes me think of Ted from HIMYM.