The Magnificent Mile & So Much More

I love it when friends come to visit me in Chicago! It gives me an excuse to sightsee all of the things that I haven't been able to do on my own.
A sweet friend of mine from college, Sarah, is out here on business. She and I both held prominent event planning positions on our college campus and crossed paths many times. I never remember her working in anything paired without stilettos and pearl earrings. She's so classy and nothing has changed!
I love how perfectly coordinated Sarah is. The pink jacket is the perfect statement for Fall - I posted perviously statement jackets here.
That polka dot cardigan is from Target and I might need to have it.
Sarah confessed to me that she ran to Target that day to pick out the cardigan and her cute flats just for our adventure!

Our trusty travel companion, on the other hand, was the receiver of much scrutiny...
He felt so much pressure that he had to change out of his airplane attire into something more "acceptable" to show off in front of a fashion consultant! We gave him a hard time, but he took it in stride and he really didn't deserve it anyway...

Stay tuned for my outfit pics from the adventure.
Fashionably Yours,


Dear Gina, Fashion Assistance Needed!

A friend of mine from college wrote to me in dire need of some fashion advice. She's a real estate agent with a very opinionated client...Take a look!

"Help, I work for a real estate agent and I will be showing a house for her on Sunday. I need a stunning outfit that would adequately represent Mr. Fashion (the homeowner), his home, and my boss! I have no idea when it comes to fashion and my options are literally coming from my Grandmother's closet. 

The owner earned the name Mr. Fashion when I was wearing, in my opinion, a very cute tailored silk blouse that tied in the front with a little french knot. He flicked my little tie, put up his nose and said "I can always tell a fake when I see it. I was in the business. I like that your (insert boss's name here) invests in what she's wearing. A lot of people don't appreciate that she's willing to spend so much on clothes, but I do and they know that she always looks fantastic." Point taken...but one really big problem, I'm poor, like, stay at home Mom, my husband is a teacher and we live in a very expensive area, poor.

SO - here are my options: 
I know that he has an affinity for St. John suits. I happen to have one navy blue knit two piece St. John suit compliments my very fashionable Grandmother who was once a model. It's tasteful and not outdated. 
Second, a women's black double breasted Alan Austin suit coat imported from Italy. The best thing I have to wear with it is a white Liz Taylor blouse and some black slacks ala Target. I also have black skirts but I don't know if that would look nice. I mean, would it look cheap to put Target pants with a nice coat like that? What do I do? 
Third, another Alan Austin suit set in red imported from France. The suit comes with a pencil skirt that goes to the knees. My reluctance here is that it's red which, for business reasons isn't always considered acceptable. I want to look professional but I don't want to stick out like a sore thumb either. 
What do you think? Can you help me???"

Here's what I responded:

We will get you through this situation, I can guarantee it. How intimidating this Mr. Fashion is! I must say that I wholeheartedly disagree with his philosophy...you don't have to always only wear haute couture designer brands in order to be successful or considered fashionable. I definitely work from the viewpoint that anyone can look fashionable and tailored on any budget - but with that said, he does prove another point - that appearance does matter in your profession.

You are very lucky that you have your grandmother's closet to sift through. If you did not have access to her closet, I would suggest that you go to consignment shops in a more upscale neighborhood in your area. Certain vintage shops like that have designer brands at a deeply discounted price. It would be a good investment and you'd see a return for sure.
Here's what I think your wardrobe as a real estate agent should look like. Tailored & structured pieces with a little visual interest. And definitely more neutral shades, with a pop of color in your accessories.

Real Estate Fashion You are definitely right in staying away from the red suit set. It doesn't work in this situation in showing the house. You want your clients to see the house, not you - but you do want to compliment the house and look sophisticated enough to prove that you are knowledgeable to sell this baby. I really love the idea of the pencil skirt. It is very possible that it might work as a solitary piece with a structured white collared shirt, black heels, and pearls. He can't get on his high horse about a collared white shirt - no designer can claim that one!

                                                 Fashionably Yours, 


Child Abuse on a Purse?? You Decide!

Ok, really? I mean REALLY? And the featured child is the one on the left in the blue sweatshirt. This is really just cruel. There are other ways to show your kids that you love them. This is showing them that you are crazy.
At least if she went missing, you'd have a recent photo available to give to the authorities.

Fashionably Yours, 


I've Got a Soft Spot for these Softspots!

I have found the DREAM shoes of a lifetime. Of a teacher's lifetime. Of anyone who is on their feet for any amount of hours. Wow and wow! They are super cute and classy and definitely comfy.
I'm buying the ones above tomorrow from DSW. 

They have a soft, cushiony insole that keeps your feet dry and cool. I am most definitely wearing these on Monday!
Check them out at www.softspots.com

Fashionably Yours,

Friend Friday - Fashion Do's & Don'ts

Hello and welcome to another installment of Friend Friday! This has been such a great way for all of us bloggers to communicate on current issues in the blogosphere. Katy Rose, moderator of ModlyChic, sends us pertinent questions to what's going on in the fashion world each week. We all link up and answer them on Friday! If you are a blogger and are interested in joining, you can check it out here.
This week we are talking about the Do's and Don'ts of Fashion.

1. What do you think are some of the top fashion don’ts? (Things you would never be caught dead in and cringe when other people wear them.) See exhibit A! Socks with sandals - any type of sandals and socks is a definite no-no. If your complaint is that your feet are cold, then put on some REGULAR SHOES! Christmas sweaters or sweaters with cats on them - worn in all sincerity and not at my annual Tacky Sweater Christmas Party.
Also, a BIG BIG BIG no-no for me (and I will offend many people when I say this) No pajama pants in public! I don't care if they are comfortable. I don't care if they have Sponge Bob Square Pants on them. I don't want to see what you night sweated in.
2. What previous fashion don’t do you now wear with pride? I...really...can't think of any. If it was previously a don't and I'm not wearing it, then clearly it is a DO.
3. Do you think there is a universal fashion do? YES. It's called fashion dignity. This means always looking your personal best. Oh, and pearl earrings. Any woman in any style can pull these off. 
4. What items lately, either recently in style or coming in now, do you think should never make it off the retail shelves? A jean dress. Unfortunately, they still make these for plus sized women and advertise them as "fashionable" for them. That's an injustice. Also, some of the over exaggerated 80's neon gear. 
5. In your opinion, is there any blogger, fashion icon, celebrity who some how manages to pull off some fashion don’ts and still look good? Yes, The Olsen Twins. I love their style. They can do the don'ts so well. 


Submit Your Bad Fashion Photos!

You've seen some of the terrible offenders that I've caught on here and exposed. Now it's YOUR turn! Keep your camera with you and sneak snap some photos of some offenders. I'm looking to feature YOU and what you've found! Email me at ginajosephineaggie@gmail.com with your photo submissions! 
And don't let THIS happen to you...

Fashionably Yours,


HEY! Granny, We Found Your Underwear!

The worst part? She claims to be a fashion retail expert! Would you buy anything from her?
There are really...I mean what can I...haha...ok, wow...oh man, seriously? What can I even say, hahhahahahaa. 
Fellow blogger, Gabe and I, stumbled upon her one night wondering around my town's downtown. We couldn't even keep it together. I had to snap the picture and get the heck outta there.

Somebody please call her Grandma and tell her they found her missing underwear.

Fashionably yours,


Lovin' Leggings and Color Combos

I love my apartment building. The company we rent from prizes itself on the preservation and restoration of classic buildings in Chicago. My roommate and I joke about our hobbit apartment doors straight out of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter.
Either way, it makes a great backdrop for my photo-ops!
I've gotten more compliments on this belt than anything else in my wardrobe and it was a gift from a grab bag at The Midwest Blogger Meet Up
The belt was generously donated by ShopRouche.com.
You can buy it here.
Photography courtesy of my awesomely patient roommate, Lisa.

Outfit Details
Cardigan - H&M
Tunic - H&M
Leggings - Old Navy
Flats - Old Navy

Fashionably Yours,


Hot Mama! Maternity Fashion with Silvana

Who says you can't still look great & in style while pregnant? Today's featured contributor & my co-worker, Silvana, weighs in. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Silvana, I  have 2 sisters and a brother.  I’ve been married for 4 years and we have a 3 year old cock-a-poo named Dora.  I am currently 8 months pregnant and still working!  This will be my third year teaching biological sciences at The Willows Academy.  I have always maintained at least two jobs, 1 full-time and at least 1 part-time.  My husband told me to take it easy this summer and just relax, therefore I did.  My part-time jobs have always been in the retail business.  The first job I had was when I was 15 at Carson Pirie Scott, then I worked at Marshal Field’s before it became Macy’s.  This is actually where I met my husband, Allen.  My latest retail job was at Ulta, where I stocked up lots of makeup.  I resigned from that position to focus on my career in education.  I currently work part-time at Northwestern, where I teach gifted students different science courses.
Are you having a boy or a girl?
I am having a girl!
Do you have any names picked out?
I am leaving the naming up to my husband and we have not decided on one yet.
How would you describe your style before you got pregnant?
Up-to-date and trendy.  I do love my famous labels, therefore I did splurge every once in a while.  As a teacher, I wore pencil skirts with dress shirts and a cardigan or a sheath dress with a cardigan.  I pretty much have a cardigan in every color and style.  For the weekends I loved to wear my 7 jeans - they were the dojo style, which is more of a trouser fit.  My tops were always different, but most often they were fitted.  I love to dress up.  I rarely ever went out in sweats or gym shoes. I always wore heels, as well.  I have a huge shoe collection, most of which are at least 2½ inches tall.  I also like to accessorize with a scarf or some jewelry.  I liked to upkeep my hair color, going from a shiny black to a more chocolate brown.  It was never too drastic and I stopped highlighting because my hair was turning too light.
What has changed about your style since your pregnancy?
Since I’ve been pregnant a lot has changed.  The first trimester was easy.  I bought a belly band and I was able to wear my regular clothes.  For my second trimester, things were getting a little more snug, but I was still able to wear my pants with the belly band.  I had to get some new tops, which were a little more baggy in the middle.  Luckily, I was still able to find tops that were fitting in normal departments and not the “maternity stores.”  I also began wearing leggings with tunics, which I never thought I would wear.  I was always against wearing leggings, but they were so comfortable.  By the end of my second trimester and starting the third trimester, I had no choice but to resort to the maternity stores.  I bought a few maxi dresses in black, olive, blue, purple, and gray.  I also bought a pair of black linen pants and a pair of cropped jeans and regular jeans.  I bought one pair of dress pants which I have not worn yet.  I can no longer wear my heels, which has been the hardest thing to face.  I love my shoes and now that I can only wear flip-flops and flats is really depressing for me.  I have gone out and bought some flip-flops that can be dressed up and some cute t-straps flats, but its just not the same as when I wore my heels.

Before I got pregnant I shopped mostly at Nordstrom and or Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, BCBG stores, Bloomingdales, Banana Republic, and The Limited and Express.  Now I shop at Target’s maternity section, and Motherhood Maternity, A Pea in the Pod, and I have found a few tops at Nordstrom Rack as well.  I have also found a couple of formal dresses at BCBG.  I wore one for a wedding and I plan to wear the other for my shower.  
What 3 essential items are must haves?
I would say the three essential items to have are the belly band, a pair of leggings (with a tunic), and maxi dress - and of course a pair of comfortable shoes.  When you are pregnant, especially in the summer with the heat, you just want to stay cool and comfortable.  I would really love to be barefoot, but you can’t really go anywhere without a pair of shoes, unless it’s the beach!
What do you think about maternity fashion in general?
Maternity fashion in general has evolved from the funky patterns to more solids, but still there is not much of a selection.  There are some cute things out there, but I really don’t want to spend $70 for a shirt that will probably only be worn for less than 3 months.  There is a lot of the same styles and designs, which is why I still look at regular stores for tops because they still fit.  You really don’t have a choice in pants, but to go to the maternity stores.  I really didn’t have a problem with their pants.  Some of the tops are just not my style and I don’t want to be forced to wear them.

Some tips I would give pregnant women are don’t give up your fashion just because you are growing.  Also, don’t hide behind baggy clothes, you should still accentuate your new curves.  The baggy clothes will only make you look bigger and they give you no shape.  Make sure your tops are long enough even though they are tight.  No one really wants to see your bare belly.  Don’t be afraid of looking in regular department stores. You don’t have to be restricted to only shop at the maternity stores.

{Thanks, Silvana!}
Fashionably Yours,


Featured Contributor - Liz on Chic Career Woman Commuter Fashion

Liz has always been someone that I've admired for her poise and fashion sense. She and I went to college together in Ohio and lived on the same floor of our freshman dorm. 
I distinctly remember 3 things about Liz:
1. In her pull out drawer underneath her bed were stuffed at least 70 pairs of shoes! We wore the same size, so I borrowed a few times.
2. I was sick one day during the winter and I get a knock at the door - it is Liz with a bottle of orange juice!  She put on her winter coat and walked down to the campus mart out of charity. I'll never forget that.
3. She always looked fabulous and the guys were always enamored with her! (Don't worry hubby, she picked you)

I picked Liz's brain about feminine fashion in the corporate world influenced by her Southern Charm. She's always represented a "southern bell" to me. I'm just a sarcastic yankee from Jersey and I envy her character!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Although I grew up as an Army brat and lived in a few places, I definitely claim Georgia to be my home state--I love The South! I went to a Catholic university in Ohio and moved to the Washington D.C. area after graduation. For a couple years I worked at a small non-profit start up organization and now I am a Development Specialist for a larger non-profit organization. Last but not least, I am a newlywed—I married an amazing man (and my best friend) this past spring. 
What is your normal morning routine?
I have tried for many years, but I am not a morning person. For me, the key to having a good morning is doing everything the night before… lunch packed, clothes picked out and ironed, coffee maker set, etc. If I go to bed being totally organized, I can ease out the door in under 30 minutes. Fabulous. If I’m not prepared… well I can throw on one of my go-to dresses, do my make-up at stoplights (there are 14 in my commute- PLENTY of time)  and drink the free coffee with the nasty powdered creamer at work. Not preferable, but it works in a pinch.  My commute is anywhere from 25-45 minutes.
What or who inspires your personal sense of style?
I am inspired by the classics--- Jackie O, Audrey Hepburn. I love any classic look. I also am inspired by a lot of my friends. Before I was married, I lived in a house full of beautiful fashionable ladies—it was fun to share clothes and accessories! Marriage is the best, but the hubby doesn’t really come through for me when I need the perfect clutch to complete the outfit.

How does your work wardrobe differ from your weekend attire?
My line of work is very conservative and often includes more formal events/meetings, so I definitely try to stick with the classic looks and dark colors for work. My weekend attire is a bit trendier, much more fun, and way more comfortable. Things I love to pull out on weekends: bangles, open-toed wedges, oversized purses, and sundresses.
How are you able to integrate your personal fashion style into a career professional wardrobe when it sometimes seems like work wear is drab?
I try to add a fun touch to every outfit—a dramatic piece of jewelry, a fun tank under a cardigan, a headband, or perhaps some great heels. I think one or two things make it fun and personal, whereas doing several things can start to look a bit unprofessional.
How do you integrate your femininity into a corporate wardrobe where male style dominates while still keeping it professional and chic?
I have a several work appropriate dresses. I actually prefer wearing a nice dress as opposed to a suit. If done right, I think it can look just as professional and really highlight femininity. I also have long hair, so I try to use a lot of bobby pins, clips, etc. to keep a feminine and corporate look without looking messy.
Finally, I love to wear pretty blouses or tanks with a basic skirt or trouser outfit—under a cardigan or blazer.  My favorites are blouses that can also stand alone with a pair of jeans for a Saturday night outfit-- Great investment if you ask me!
What is your favorite wear to work outfit?
This outfit is very comfortable and is great if I know I need to be walking around or on my feet a lot that day. Pants are from H & M, top is from TJ Maxx, cardigan is from Target, and I think the shoes were from either Payless or Target.
I don’t think the herringbone texture shows up, but the shirt has a great little textured pattern. The skirt is Target, the cardigan is Old Navy, and the shoes are Nine West.  It’s very classic.
What are three items that you could not live without?
Pearls (it’s the Southern in me)… a perfect little black dress… and a great pair of jeans.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Are we counting flip flops? Maybe 20?
Do you wear a lot of designer brands? Do you have a favorite designer?
I don’t think I wear a lot of designer brands, but I definitely believe in the power of designer jeans. Sevens or Citizens of Humanity are my favorite. I’d rather have one or two nice pairs rather than several mediocre pairs. I always pick quality over quantity when it comes to wardrobe staples like jeans. There is an amazing consignment shop near me that sells trendy designer items (www.currentboutique.com).  I consign and buy things there at least once a month. It’s a great way to stay fashionable within a budget without accumulating too much.
Describe your sense of style in 5 words or less.
Classic, feminine, dressy
Thanks for contributing, Liz. You have a lot of fashion wisdom!

Fashionably yours,

The Midwest Fashion Blogger Meet Up

On Sunday, Suze of Miss Vinyl Ahoy, hosted a small event for the fashion bloggers in the Chicago area to meet and greet and network. We had a great turnout!We are definitely a colorful group! I think that I was more nervous to pick out an outfit for today's event than I was for the first day of school or meeting the parents. How do you think I did?

Outfit Details:
Boyfriend Blazer - Old Navy; Top - Target; Leggings - Old Navy; Flats - Old Navy; Necklace - Thrifted

Joining us for brunch was Lara Miller, a Chicago-based designer whose work has been featured in magazines like Lucky, Marie Claire, and Vanity Fair. Elle called Lara’s pieces “sultry, sophisticated, and as endlessly variable as the woman who wears them.”  She was named one of the “Top 40 Under 40” by Crain’s Chicago Business as well as “Indie Designer of the Year” by Chicago Magazine
Our meet up was generously sponsored by We Love Colors and Spotted Moth.
Lunch was at P.J. Clarke's. The food looked awesome, but I couldn't eat any of it! It was riddled with gluten and dairy, so I brought a salad of my own.
Spotted Moth donated a gorgeous handbag for a giveaway! Here's the happy winner.
Here's where you can get the bag.
We also received awesome goodie bags! I got a beautiful belt from Spotted Moth and some chipper socks from We Love Colors. 
Check out all of these great fashion blogs that were in attendance on Sunday.

Fashionably Yours,


Friend Friday - Copycat Designers

Hello and welcome to another installment of Friend Friday! This has been such a great way for all of us bloggers to communicate on current issues in the blogosphere. Katy Rose, moderator of ModlyChic, sends us pertinent questions to what's going on in the fashion world each week. We all link up and answer them on Friday! If you are a blogger and are interested in joining, you can check it out here.

Can you spot the copycat?
Well, I don't even like cats, so just this picture on my blog is making me uncomfortable. Sorry, cat people.

Below lies my wisdom. Soak it in. We're talking about copycat fashion designers. 

1. Which side do you take… Copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank OR Copycat designs take business from the designer and cheapen the value of their work. Explain.

I am definitely 100% on the side that copycat designs are a way for the average consumer to stay current and wear runway styles without breaking the bank. I mean hello! What are people who are on a budget supposed to wear? Should they only be confined to wear shapeless scrubs? I think not. 
I also don't think that it is exactly "copying." Haute Couture designers set the mold for fashion and trends. It is actually an important part of the fashion economy that additional designers and clothing manufacturers replicate and produce the same styles at an affordable price. 
And, do they really need to make any more money? They're doing just fine, I believe.

2. Sometimes we do things, even if they are unethical or illegal (downloading music for free, watching full movies on YouTube). Do you think it is unethical for a designer to copy a vintage piece, make it current and sell it?  

I think it is called "inspiration." If a designer is inspired by a vintage piece and if they can make it current and marketable to a wider audience, they have talent. The consumer has the freedom of choice and intelligence to purchase or not. We can't place the blame on the designer. We hold the buying power.

3. Would you buy an item that is a very well done copy of a runway garment if it fell within your budget?

Yup - as long as it is a VERY, VERY well done copy. I don't go for stuff that says that it is Coach or Prada, but is a cheap rendition of quality. I'm not going to spend $100 on something like that for a fake persona. I'll spend $100 bucks on a couple pairs of sunglasses from Target whose designs might be inspired by top industry designers that are good quality and don't pretend to be something they are not. And if I had the money to buy a runway garment, I would do that, too. However, since I don't, I don't think that should exclude me from looking good!

4. According to the fashion laws, at least in the US, apparel design is seen as too utilitarian to qualify for copyright protection. Would you think this is detrimental to the industry or beneficial. (Check out this video on The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe to get a better idea of this concept:http://taxonomyofmywardrobe.blogspot.com/2010/08/fashion-and-copyright-laws.html)

I think that it would be detrimental to the fashion industry. It would greatly affect economics. Inspiration is everywhere. You can tell when something is fake and says "DNKY" and not "DKNY." Fabrics and materials differ in quality and there is no way that someone can think that "FRADA" is the same as "PRADA." Not everyone can pay $1000 for a stylish pair of heels! I'm sorry. Tom Ford, the lead designer at Gucci said, "We found that after much research that the counterfeit customer is not our customer." If designers weren't able to mimic trends, then we wouldn't have a global trend available to us.

5.  Own up… share the things in your closet that is a knock off. You know those things you got in China Town, on the streets of New York, or where ever. 
Now that I think of it - nothing! Nothing I own is a knock off and nothing I own is a haute couture brand. I stick to department store labels, Target brands, and quality clothing from mall stores.

Besides, isn't imitation the highest form of flattery?

Fashionably Yours,