Sparkle And Slim

Poolside Gossip print by Slim Aarons or Poolside Party and Desert House Party
Photography by:
Brennan Booker. Sequin Romper: French Connection (old) similar, and this one or this one, Cut Out Shoulder Sweater: Yigel Azrouel, Glitter Corset Belt: Raina Belts from KK BloomBoots: J.Crew, Flower cuff: Blydesign, Cleo Cuff in Rutilated Quartz: Thanks to eb jewelry studio, Pearl and Brass Necklace: Thanks to Kristin Hayes Jewelry, Earrings: Lauren Kingsley's Stella & Dot. Hair: Aurora Casteen at Borealis

Street Style: Plaza Midwood

We are closing into Christmas, and I am slowly but surely getting close to have shared all of the photos from the Southpark Magazine's FALL FASHION Issue.  Despite the fact that it is definitely too cold to still wear the below dress, at least if you are in Charlotte, I hope you are still enjoying the outstanding fashion.  This truly was my favorite photo shoot to date.  I loved moving from one neighborhood to the next around the Queen City.  At the complete opposite end of the spectrum from Ballantyne, Plaza Midwood is one of Charlotte's most eclectic and a favorite for many.  Outside of the one photographed in the below image, I'm having a hard time to think of another Dairy Queen located in Charlotte. If there is, this one is definitely a fan favorite.  In a city where everything seems to keep getting torn down for "bigger, newer and better" (I call hogwash on better), this DQ is the OG.  We kept Chelsea styled down and totally fun for this shot, just like the neighborhood. 

ModelChelsea LewisPhotographerZach AlstonHair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey.
Nicholas K Dress and assorted Thakoor silver jewelry from ChezElle Boutique

Street Style: Midtown + Kristin Hayes Jewelry

This was my Madonna shot.  I think it all came together in my head that this Midtown needed an outfit like this.  It is thrown together with this sorta gaudy, sorta cool 80's mixed mashed type of style.  I think about the old Midtown Mall, which previously served the community for decades, right where Chelsea is riding up the escalator by Best Buy at what became today's Metropolitan. Chelsea looks very late 80's/early 90's sexy and hot yet demure behind those red lips, side swiped hair and gobbed on mix and matched accessories.  Basically, I cannot ever get enough of my special friend Kristin Hayes' vintage caviar for jewelry.  QC Exclusive  just included her in their current issue.  Check it out on news stands all over the QC.  I can't help but wonder if they secret shopped my Instagram in order to further popularize my not for long hidden gem soon to be super star.  Having two young boys, I knew just what to expect on an escalator, but Zach capturing this photo was so impressive to watch.

ModelChelsea LewisPhotographerZach AlstonHair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey.
Keepsake Subtract Dress and Miss Mochilla bag from KK Bloom, Vivetta Botanica Shirt from Capitol, BCBGeneration Carnival Dress Sandals from Sloan Boutique.

Click HERE to shop Chelsea's outfit.  Also, be sure to nab the current issue of Southpark Magazine to see lots more of Kristin Hayes Jewelry, as well as Carolina Bride in January.  Your bridesmaids will covet your taste and style.

Mad For Plaid On Plaid

I have the tendency sometimes (often/all times) to go all out or go home with my dress, meaning you'll either find me completely unaffected in jeans or jean shorts, cowgirl boots and a sweatshirt or running gear OR I feel like making the effort that day.  If I'm making the effort, it's usually at least at 95%.  I went to an annual Oyster Roast last night, and prior to, I had intentions of dropping by Charlotte's finest men's clothing store, Taylor Richards & Conger, for a quick hello and holiday special delivery.  Haberdashery and style was on my mind. Alas, who was I kidding? Even I can't get dressed at 95%+ in 15 minutes.  So my effort was not in vain, it's the perfect opportunity to share some of my plaid favorites...

I quick Pinterest search proves I'm not totally crazy or alone, not that I would have a problem with either...

Now do you want to hop on the Plaid On Plaid train? Think you like it but not sure you are ready for head to toe plaid?  Start with a simple scarf in alternating plaid patterns...

Street Style: Myers Park

The Winter Style Issue of Southpark Magazine is fresh out on the news stands now, but that won't stop me from not sharing the last few looks created for the Fall Fashion Guide in September.  This fashion forward interpretation of Street Style in nine popular Charlotte neighborhoods was one of my all time favorites.  The image below was taken in my own neighborhood of the Myers Park area at my home away from home, Park Road Shopping Center (Blackhawk Hardware popcorn anyone?)

ModelChelsea LewisPhotographerZach AlstonHair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey.
Sundry Madras Plaid Basic Shirt at Denim House, Keepsake Cream Midi Skirt at KK Bloom (similar),  My Grandmother's Vintage Purse, J.Crew Ankle-Strap Leather Heels (similar here and here), Kristin Hayes Jewelry Vintage Brooch, Target Oversized Black Sunglasses.

How Not To Wear: The Blanket Scarf Edition

We’ve all seen the women in the magazine ads and on Pinterest wrapped up in the seasons latest trend, the blanket scarf.  These women are always wrapped in a beautiful plaid bundle, laughing at something that is apparently on the ground, near their feet, and casually tucking a strand of hair behind their ear.  They look amazing and warm and comfortable.  The item is clearly one of those trendy must haves for fall.  One of my awesome clients purchased one, and so we thought we would have a little fun with it.

First of all, let me tell you…the blanket scarf is not a scarf.  At all.  It’s a blanket in every sense of the word.  A blanket that you could cover up with for warmth on a cold winter night.  A blanket that you could wrap around a sad, cold, homeless dog on the side of the road that would immediately provide warmth, comfort and a renewed lease on life.  See below... 

My client's first day wearing this “scarf” to the office inspired lots of comments that were all in the same genre of, “Oh!  You look…cold.”  The blanket scarf should not be worn as an actual scarf as part of your all day outfit.  First of all, you will probably have a heat stroke.  The sheer volume of the scarf will make things like typing or answering the phone or eating lunch, slightly difficult.  Unless you are in an urgent situation where your ears may freeze off, do not drape the scarf over your head unless you like being mistaken for a modern day Mother Theresa. 

The trick is to wear this piece as more of any item of clothing, not just an accent piece around your neck. It likely works best at a football game, a tour of homes, a patio happy hour, or any other occasion that takes place outdoors in the fall or winter.  My favorite look is to wear it as a top with a brooch to secure it in place while showcasing the alternate pattern on the opposite side of the scarf.  The brooch is back in a big way right now!  Try to raid your mom’s jewelry drawer next time you are home for some unique options, or check Etsy for some one of a kind brooches as well. 

You could also add a belt to keep the scarf in place and add some individual personality to the look.  I prefer the look with skinny jeans and short or tall boots. 

If you are a risk taker, you can wear it as a skirt with tall boots and a chambray shirt.  A brooch or pin will keep everything in place and avoid any potential wardrobe malfunctions.  This look is much easier to pull off if the scarf is a more neutral color so you do not look like you should be sporting a pair of bagpipes as opposed to a handbag.

The blanket scarf is now one of our favorite go-to looks for the season!  It’s a very easy item to throw on and take your outfit to the next level.  If you have rocked your blanket scarf this season please post your picture and share your fashion genius with the rest of us!

noteworthy.

I am very excited to share with you the launch of my friend, Emily's, new digital magazine and website, noteworthy.  As the title states, Emily is sharing a little bit about a lot of things stylish, only which however, she views as "noteworthy."  I'm tickled she asked me to be a part of her launch!  I sat down with Emily to give her my two cents on one of the season's hottest trends, the flare denim jean.  I appreciate Emily speaking accurately on my behalf in that, while I do love the flare jean, a trend is personal and should never be forced.  Without further adieu, if you've had those bell bottom blues since the last (not so) fair attempt with boot cut jeans in the late 1990's, I'm excited to share with you my top picks for this season.  See the entire list and more over at noteworthy...

Street Style: SouthPark II

ModelChelsea LewisPhotographerZach AlstonHair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey.
Alice + Olivia Luisa A-Line Midi Skirt at Neiman Marcus, Enza Costa Printed Cashmere Sweater from Denim House, Joie Paxton Laser-Cut Bootie, Ceri Hoover Pony Hair (also here) and Heather Benjamin Antique Tusk Ring from Sloan, Vintage Chanel Chain Necklace at Monkee's of Charlotte (also these earrings), Kristin Hayes Jewelry Vintage Brooch, Chain and Stone Necklace, Earrings from ChezElle, Blydesign Brass and Floral Cuff, Alexis Bittar Assorted Lucite Braclets from Denim House (also here and here), eb jewelry Studio Green Quartz Cleo Cuff

Street Style: SouthPark I

The third look for SouthPark Magazine's Street Style photo shoot was one of two we granted to the SouthPark, given the neighborhood is the magazine's namesake.  This was the first time I have worked with Paul Simon or Paul Simon Women on a project.  I haven't been in the store in years, and to be quite honest, I had the stereotype in my head that this was a place for only my Mom to shop.  Not so.  I look at Chelsea's chic modern look, and I don't think "my Mom's clothes" for one second.  I always tell my client that the fit is the very most important thing with your clothes.  Secondly, the styling is what personalizes an outfit.  The three pieces; the pants, sleeveless turtleneck sweater and cape, all from Paul Simon Women, are the base pieces to this outfit. It's no secret that fringe might be the fall season's single most popular trend, so the cape was my starter piece. The end result could have gone in a number of directions.  The hat, one of my most prized pieces from my personal collection, is a total statement maker. For whatever reason, Chelsea's makeup, hair and hat, (Kudos to HMU Artist Chelsea Kimrey) remind me of a Parisian Nancy Sinatra.  The Loeffler Randall Rider Bag is also my own. After hours and hours of souring boutiques all over Charlotte and coming back to the studio with an arsenal of options, I still found this one to be the best fit for the overall look.

ModelChelsea LewisPhotographerZach AlstonHair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey.
Rani Cashmere Fringe Cape, Autumn Cashmere Cotton Cable-Knit Sleeveless Sweater and Lisette Same Plaid Stretch Pants from Paul Simon Women Cole Haan Boots, Eugenia Kim Hat, Loeffler Randall Medium Rider Bag, Double Happiness Necklace at Sloan Boutique

What I Wear Every Day + Free Shipping Code

If I'm not the only fashion blog you follow, one thing you know about me is I love anything and everything that no one else has.  Another thing I think most others do want, however, is to be comfortable while looking good. Enter La Senorita Jolie.  If there was ever a call for every day clothes that feel like pj's for the stylish and put together, it's La Senorita Jolie. This IS a sponsored post, but I am only sharing my secret with you, because I feel 100% passionate about the product.  I wear their tees, sexy sweatshirt and maxi dresses all summer long.  I wear them on set when I am styling commercial shoots and all the time when I am with my children. Today was Fall Parish Day, which is one of two casual days at our church, and I found my new tie dye maxi and black cotton shawl perfectly suitable for the occasion.

If you're interested in hopping on the LSJ train, you can shop all their looks here.  If you're interested in REALLY hopping on the train, you might want to consider completing an application to work as an LSJ stylist. The clothing is easy to layer, understated and affordable. The product is available in sizes XS-4XL, so it's a product for REAL women.  Interested in learning more?  Check it out here, and if you order anything for yourself, be sure to use the Free Shipping Code: KMJBHC.

SouthPark Mag: How It Went Down & Get It

Model: Chelsea Lewis, Photographer: Zach Alston, Hair and Makeup: Chelsea Kimrey.
Adrienne Landau Fur from Denim House, MinkPink Crop Top from KK Bloom, Alice + Olivia Loran floral jacquard skirt from Neiman Marcus, Eugenia Kim hat, Joie taupe suede boots and Nima jeweled clutch from Sloan, Twine & Twig Cowrie Collar, Chakoor silver bracelet from ChezElle.

I shared this photo last week at the bottom of a previous post.  This project is one of my favorites to date, if not my favorite.  A big thank you to SouthPark Magazine for putting their trust in me and giving me so much creative freedom for this shoot.  When I met with the Editor to discuss ideas for their Fall Fashion editorial, she asked me for my ideas.  My first question was "Do you have any parameters?"  Her answer?  "Fall Fashion".  Okay. Well, let's play ball!  I had not given it any forethought, because I was just so excited for a second opportunity to express my love of fashion on the pages of this great magazine.  But goodness, the proverbial flood gates were wide open.  No trends. No boring catalog sales pictures. Just straight up art, created with an amazing team and the intent to showcase the fall fashions available at some of Charlotte's hottest boutiques.  

The cover shot, taken in Dilworth, is one of my favorites. Just about every single items the model, Chelsea, is wearing, comes from a different store.  If you are interested in how the outfits came together, the crew came to my house; my basement transformed into a studio.  I mixed up some Buffalo Trace and Coke, along with fresh muddled cherries. We turned up the music, and suddenly I was that little girl at my Grandmother's house. Mixing and matching her clothes with my Great-Grandmother's.  This skirt, that hat, these shoes, that shirt, no this one, these earrings, this necklace, another necklace, oh wait one more.  Oh hell, just put 'em all on.  And so the outfits were born.  Not too much time, not a great deal of thought, but certainly a fair amount of discretion. If you live in the Queen City, be sure to visit these stores, or you may shop the post straight from this page, below the above image. 

My Week Behind The Scenes

I am coming off of one crazy busy work weekend.  As you may recall from a previous post, this weekend I was a presenter at the Southern Women's Show.  I shared my tips for Fall and Winter Teacher Style on a budget that will not break the bank.  A HUGE shout out to my lovely assistant, Phanta.  I would have been in over my head in preparations without her.  Thursday afternoon and evening was a full one of creating outfits for the upcoming weekend's eight outfit changes for 12 models.  Thank you Phanta and Prosecco.

Earlier in the day I took an almost four hour bicycle adventure with Wild Nugget Worth over to Park Road Shopping Center, onto the Greenway, through Freedom Park, UP East Boulevard to Carolina Smoothie, back down East Blvd to the playground at Freedom Park and back on the Greenway through Park Road Shopping Center back home to meet Phanta, as well as a client, to give her this cool Free People jacket in time for Fall.

Back to that bike ride.... Most of our tours start with a visit at Black Hawk Hardware for some popcorn.  Like all the rest, this one did too.  Almost always, Willie is outside helping a customer, and we stop to say hello. I was trailing Worth, and as he approached Willie he put on his breaks.  With little reaction time, so did I.  And then I Super Womaned it over the handlebars, arms out wide flat on the concrete.  No idea how I was saved from a face brake... it must have been the Southern Women's Show Angels... I managed to make it out with only a handful of major bruises and a sore neck.  Willie came to our rescue with popcorn and a water for me and Sprite for Worth.  Needless to say, our next stop was to the bike shop for a new helmet for me.

Friday morning, clad in my DVF Supa Star Wrap dress, I loaded up my trusty rolling rack, and I was off to the show.  Thanks again to Phanta, to all the models, Marcia, The Southern Women's Show, The Charlotte Observer and everyone else involved.  We had a great first day.  If you missed it but want to know my top Teacher Fashion pics, do not dismay!  Pick up this Sunday's paper, where you'll find it all in the Style section. 

Bright and early Saturday morning I was off to High Point for a quick shoot with my friends at Julie Lopez Shoes.  We always have a great time on set, and I got to work with two of my favorite hotties, Jillian and Amy.

I've told you about them before, but if you haven't checked out Julie's shoes and you are on the market for a good looking, comfortable, Italian-made luxury shoe at a less than luxury shoe price, take a look. I LOVE my Layla nude python pump.  By noon, I was back down I-85 to Charlotte for another round of Teacher Style dialogue with the adorable Cristina Bolling, staff writer for The Charlotte Observer, followed by an IMMEDIATE crash in my bed before two more rounds on Sunday.

I hope YOU had a wonderful weekend.  One last thing, if you are over at Southpark Mall, be sure to grab the September Fall Fashion issue where we captured some pretty fantastic street style looks covering nine Charlotte neighborhoods.  Thanks to SouthPark Magazine for putting their trust in me.  One of my absolute most favorite projects to date!

Lizzie Fortunato

I promised to tell you more about the designers I met at Poole Shop's annual Back To School event.  In my last post I shared gorgeous designs by NOVIS.  Equally fantastic are the jewelry and handbag designs of Lizzie Fortunato.  This team is comprised of adorable twins Elizabeth and Kathryn Fortunato.  They did go to Duke, but that is the only cross thing I can say about these otherwise absolutely delightful, adorable and talented young sisters.  See... 

I believe it was at Poole Shop that I first saw Lizzie Fortunato jewels in person.  I remember their collections consisted a lot of these unique leather, suede or fabric tube necklaces with brass detailing.

They have expanded their designs and collections, including handbags, all the while producing an intriguing, as ever, current product. Here are a few favorites I found while perusing the internet.  Many have tried to emulate the eye catching designs of Lizzie Fortunato, but there is only one OG.

Jeans That Charge Your Phone

There is really is something for everything.  Made By Girl blog editor, Jen Ramos clued me in on this one, and its just too good not share with you.  Have you ever been out an about for the day, fretting that your battery is going to run dead before your important call comes in, or you just really neeeeeed to see what your friends are doing tonight.  Well, this is just jean-ious.  Joe's Jeans has come out with the #Hello jean, a denim that charges your phone right in the pocket. With two small children, I am always on the go.  Because I need and want to be hands free, I often carry just my phone in my back pocket along with my ID and debit card, so this jean is actually quite brilliant if you ask me. Don't believe me.  Watch here....

The #Hello jean comes in a variety of colors.  I'm thinking about the grey pair for myself, because this color is great for casual during the day or paired with heels at night.  Check them out here...

Southern Women's Show + Ticket Giveaway

The Southern Women's Show is back in Charlotte August 28-30 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Uptown Charlotte.  If you've never been, this is a fun and relaxing yet informative weekend just for the girls.  Thanks to the Charlotte Observer, this year, I am excited to participate not just as a viewer but as a special guest where I'll be on the Spotlight Stage talking to teachers about how to look great dressing the part!  If you are at the Southern Women's Show, please come by and see me!  As a presenter, I've been given a few extra tickets to giveaway to my readers.  If you and a friend are interested in going any day, please email me: whitley@thequeencitystyle.com. I'd love to send you tickets! 

WHEN: August 28 – 30, 2015 Fri: 10am-8pm, Sat: 10am-7pm, Sun: 10am-5pm

WHERE: Charlotte Convention Center in Uptown Charlotte

HOW MUCH: $12 at the Door, $10 in Advance, $7 for Groups of 10 or more in advance.  Teacher Appreciation Day is Sunday, August, 30th!  Faculty and staff get in FREE with school ID!

White Denim All Year Round

I met with the cutest new client today.  She was wearing her white jeans from LOFT, and they looked great on her; proof that you don't have to spend a fortune to look fantastic.  BUT, just in case the white denim you're looking for cannot be found at LOFT, I've put together a look book of white denim in every style, shape price point and size.  And if you didn't get the memo, don't put your white jeans away as early as you might expect, WHITE is gonna be big for fall.

 I wore my white   J.Crew denim   for a recent   Goodwill Back To School   television segment. Sorry, Eugene, for catching you mid sentence!  I paired my white denim with my new   Twine + Twig   Cowrie Collar made by my friends and talented sisters,   Elizabeth and Jacquelyn  .

I wore my white J.Crew denim for a recent Goodwill Back To School television segment. Sorry, Eugene, for catching you mid sentence!  I paired my white denim with my new Twine + Twig Cowrie Collar made by my friends and talented sisters, Elizabeth and Jacquelyn.

Shop your favorite paper whites here...

Could I Be The Breakthrough?

People.  Do you know how old I am?  38 years old.  AND a mama to two crazy boys.  Do you think I am too old to be playing dress up and sharing my outfits here with the rest of the world?  Probably, but one thing is for sure, I know I will never stop it with the playing dress up.  I feel 25.  I am going to be on the pages of one of Ari Seth Cohen's Advanced Style books when I am old and grey.  Just you wait. In the meantime, just like my Grandmother and Great Grandmother did, I get so much joy from putting outfits together.  It's an art that fills my soul!

So, one reason I keep sharing my outfits here is because readers like you make me feel really good. You say things like "Love ya from head to toe, but even more on this inside", "You are our very own Carrie Bradshaw of a new era!", "Thank you for making our hearts sing", "Thank you for sharing your love with us" and last but not least, "There is only one you!"  Your readership and your kind words make me feel like Sallie Field when she accepted her Oscar for one of my all time favorite movies, Places In The Heart. "You like me!  Right now, you like me!"  And, so I guess part of the reason I keep sharing my passion for playing dress up with you is that I think it brings you joy.  And, that brings me joy.

A long time reader sent me an email about H&M calling for the next Breakthrough Fashion Blogger of the Year.  Can you imagine?  It seems a little comical for a 38 year old mama of two boys to hold such a title, but what the heck!  If you keep coming here and giving me Sallie Field moments, I'm gonna keep playing dress up.  So, here it goes... the below outfit is one of my very first posts.  Charged with the challenge to create an outfit of all yellow using only pieces in my closet, this is what I put together, styling a great little pair of yellow linen shorts from H&M, and to this day one of my favorite scarves, also from H&M.  So, what do you think?

And For All You Two Piece Lovers

Last week I shared a post with fantastic one piece suits, so for all you two piece bathing suit wearing ladies, this one's for you.  Shop my favorite picks of the season. If you are viewing this from your reader, click on the title of the above post!

I'm a Sucker For A One Piece

I've always loved a one piece bathing suit.  Interestingly, sometimes I think they can be more difficult to wear, like they aren't as forgiving as two pieces at times.  But when I'm feeling fit, I do love a one piece bathing suit, like the one I wore below recreating a moment in time featuring my Grandmother (far right) and some of her friends.  Below are a few of my current favorites. Shop 'til you drop, because summer time starts this Memorial Day weekend!

Airport Style: Bianca Jagger

There is no question that today's Airport Style idol was a major style icon of the 1960's.  Previously married to Rolling Stones lead singer, Mick Jagger, the Nicaraguan born former actress embodied a statement making style at every turn.  Whether she affixed a long white feather to a netted spotted veil, wore a sexy flowy Halston caftan to dance the night away at Studio 54 or effortlessly styled a young girl gone graceful look to travel by air, Bianca turned our heads all the time.  She joins the ranks of those on my Style Icon Pinterest board.