Coffee Table Books

I’ve been called a hoarder of magazines and like to think of Coffee Tables Books as the more sophisticated and grown up version.  They’re fun to flip through and a nice thing to have for when guests visit.  Personally, I choose ones that accent my home and stand out as little accessories since they are more than not for decoration than read cover to cover.

Here are some that I own/want:

Fashion:

Who What Wear $14.06, 100 Ideas that Changed Fashion $19.77, Irreverent $58.82

Beauty:

Ask $9.99, Beauty $13.57, Bobbi Brown Makeup Manual $21.12

Home:

Style and Substance: The Best of Elle Decor $29.70, American Fashion Designers at Home $42.55, Perfectly Kept House Is The Sign of A Misspent Life $34.65

Art:

Maps $31.50, Influences $3.62, The Big Book of Art $26.37

Photography:

Mario Testino Let Me In! $336.52, Lady Gaga x terry Richardson $50, Planet Earth $23.81

Travel:

         

Islands: 100 Ultimate Escapes $32.85, Lonely Planet’s Best Ever Travel Tips $9.95, The Travel Book $30

Funny:

        

Anti-Political Correctness and Inappropriate Jokes: The Perfect Coffee Table Book $9.95, 1200 Pick Up Lines $21.16, Boo: The Life of the World’s Cutest Dog $9.98

Random:

Post Secret $16.85, I had the Strangest Dream… $10.19, The Goddess Guide $7.98

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Belt Frustrations

I’ve always used belts (and most things for that matter) more for fashion than function, however there’s no doubt that the fit of a good belt can make your look polished, and most importantly – comfortable!  There are different opinions about what kind of belt should be worn with certain things, but I’ve always felt the first priority should be how it looks on your body (not on the model in an ad).  Once you get to know what kinds of shapes and sizes work for you, it is easier to buy without trying on.

The purpose of a belt should be to hold your pants in place as if you are standing up.  It’s important to know that if your pants scrunch in the back when you are wearing a belt that is fit snug on your hips – your pants are too big (at least in the waist).  Standing upright, you should not need a belt (for function) if you have the right size pants.  Belts are for sitting down and bending over.  A lot of people who are frustrated with finding belts actually don’t realize they’re buying the wrong size pants.  In that case, you can either invest in tailoring (which I would definitely suggest for a pair of jeans or work pants that get a ton of use) or… buy some new pants.

I’ve put together a compilation below, including some classic, some fun and some dream-worthy belts.  Happy shopping!

Tan Belt from Dorothy Perkins $9, Brown Leather Belt from Gap $16.50, Medium Tan Belt from Zappos $35 photos taken from websites

Saddle Belt form J Crew $24.99, Lauren by Ralph Lauren Belt from Zappos $58, Linea Pelle Belt from Zappos $99 photos taken from website

White Belt with Tassels from Dorothy Perkins $11, Linea Pelle Black Skinny Belt with Studs from Zappos $84.99, Linea Pelle Thick Belt with Holes from Zappos $92.99 photos taken from website

Hot Pink Belt from J Crew $29.99, Red Patent Leather Belt from TopShop $28, Patent Leather Green Belt from ASOS $10.91 photos taken from website

Striped Belt from ASOS $27.27, Joe’s Jeans Gold Belt from Zappos $53.99, Striped Belt from Gap $16.95 photos taken from website

Lavender Belt from ASOS $10.91, Yellow Belt with Bow from ASOS $10.91, Orange Belt from Piperlime $29 photos taken from website

Flower Print Belt from ASOS $16.36, Red + Purple Suede Belt from ASOS $27.27, Roxy Aztec Belt from Zappos $34.99 photos taken from website

Michael Kors Leopard Print Belt from Zappos $52, Linea Pelle Red Belt with Holes from Zappos $59.99, Linea Pelle Skinny Leopard Belt from Zappos $58.99 photos taken from website

Marc by Marc Jacobs Crossbody from Bloomingdales $198 (wrap this around your waist), Michael Kors Chain Belt with Pocket from Zappos $68, Belt Bag from Gucci $530 photos taken from website

See by Chloe Belt from ASOS $325.40, M Missoni Belt from Net-A-Porter $345, Salvatore Ferragamo Belt from Zappos Couture $360 photos taken from website

Dolce & Gabbana Pink Leather Belt from Net-A-Porter $275, Marni Embellished Belt from Net-A-Porter $235, Heart Buckle Belt from Diane Von Furstenberg $129.50 photos taken from website

Casually Put Together

I have a love/hate relationship with the casual culture in Los Angeles.  Although it is nice to know my favorite jeans are acceptable for most gatherings (including work!), there’s something nice about professional atmospheres where everyone has to put more effort into dressing.  I love dressing casually, but polished.  A happy medium between my east coast roots and acquired west coast lifestyle.  My favorite way to pull this off is by adding a great blazer or jacket in a bright color or print to make my outfit stand out.

Stopping by BCBG one afternoon, I found this jacket (pictured below) and had to scoop it up for Spring.  It’s easy to wear over casual denim and T-shirts or even a printed dress.

Here are some other options…

Blazer with Zipper from Zara photo taken from website $129

Crew-neck Jacket from Zara photo taken from website $99.99

Fantasy Fabric Blazer from Zara photo taken from website $129

Eyelet Blazer from Forever 21 photo taken from website $27.80

Crop Open Blazer from Forever 21 photo taken from website $29.80

Polka Dot Blazer from Forever 21 photo taken from website $24.80

Tuxedo Collar Blazer from Forever 21 photo taken from website $29.80

Peaked Lapel Knit Blazer from Forever 21 photo taken from website $27.80

White Asymmetrical Blazer from Piperlime photo taken from website $99

Knit Blazer from Piperlime photo taken from website $199

Torn by Ronny Kobo Leopard Blazer from Shopbop photo taken from website $298

*love this subtle leopard print!

Elizabeth and James Hot Pink Blazer from Shopbop photo taken from website $395

Aqua Color Block Blazer from Bloomingdales photo taken from website $108

Splurge of the Season!

I believe in a good investment.  My bank account and plans to save for the future do not always see me eye to eye on this one.  I do, however, invest in something from time to time that will last, can be integrated into my wardrobe a lot of different ways and is not so trendy that I’ll be thinking, “did I seriously just pay $150 for suspenders” down the road.  Don’t get me wrong, I embrace the new “have to have” items, but usually not for over $50.

All that being said, I recently decided to take the plunge (after a lot of saving) and buy the Stuart Weitzman Over the Knee 50 50 Boots.  Yes, the price still gives me convulsions, but the fact of the matter is – I LOVE them.

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Photo taken from Stuart Weitzman

My guidelines to a successful splurge are what I like to call the 4 C’s:

-comfort (this for a fashion lover is anything that allows you to physically get through the night – just kidding… sort of)

-compatibility (does this fit with your lifestyle, wardrobe and personality?  I would not condone splurging on an amazing down puffer jacket for example because I live in California where I really don’t need one.  Instead I just bought the discounted version like a reasonable person at an outlet mall on the way back from Palm Springs recently, because I go to New York…. in the winter….. sometimes)

-condition (what will this look like in 5 years if I use it a lot, which you should be doing if it’s a worth while piece)

-compliments (I’m not gonna lie – if I’m paying money for something, I want return.  The way I see it, the more expensive it is, the more compliments I need to be satisfied with the price… shallow, but for a person who is tortured by a love of luxury fashion, added with an extreme proneness to buyer’s remorse – it helps.)

DISCLAIMER: I’ve broken all of these rules and have insanely impractical items in my closet at this very moment that I pretend I didn’t convince myself were worth it.  (I.E. leather driving gloves and 6 in heels – I’m 5’10” and there is no reason, under any circumstance I should be allowed out of the house coming in at 6’4″, only 2″ shorter than the average NBA player)

The fact of the matter is, these boots check out.  All of my requirements were met with flying colors.  Not only are they insanely comfortably (they are pull on – leather front, elastic back), but they are easy to wear and can be worn so many different ways (I love wearing them with something simple like a t-shirt and skinny jeans because it instantly cleans up a casual look).  They’re made well and let me tell you – I can barely leave the house without someone asking where to get them.  These sort of things are also great because just to break it down really simply – they take up 1/3 of your body, which means without even thinking, close to 1/2 of you already looks great.  In my book, that’s a win.

They come in a variety of shapes (heeled, flat, over the knee, under the knee) and ways (leather, suede), but I would recommend flat (1″), leather (called Black Nappa), over the knee.

Stuart Weitzman Over the Knee 50 50 Boot $595

Want the look at a better price?  If I hadn’t shelled out for the 50 50’s, I was also looking into the below styles as alternatives:

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From Left to Right: Dr. Jay’s Cam Boot $32.99, Delia’s Isabella Over the Knee Boot $36.50, Type Z Woodward Boot $70.99, Aldo $104.99, Chinese Laundry Otterbein Boot $109.95, Steve Madden Hazele Boot $199.95, Frye Shirley Over-the-Knee Riding Boot $448

Can’t find your size or want something else?  I love a challenge!  Email me and I’ll do what I can to help you out: taylorbraun@mac.com

Photos of boots taken from left to right: DrJays.com, Delias.com, Zappos.com, Zappos.com, ChineseLaundry.com, SteveMadden.com, Zappos.com