How To Sparkle This Holiday Season

I hope you take the time to read Allyson’s last post for Reality Chic. We are sad to see her go but will be of course supporting her in all her future and fashionable endeavors  I am personally going to miss her awesome posts and advice in the What to Wear column. She has been a great fashion blogger and addition to our somewhat and slightly snarky tone here. So again don’t miss her last post, and thanks so much to Allyson for being part of  Reality Chic! The girl is great at helping a 20 something transition her style!

The holiday season is that rare time in the yearly calendar when sequins are not only allowed, but also encouraged.  Seems that come December, the sparklier the better.  There are shimmering pants, skirts, shorts, shirts, shoes, gloves, earmuffs and everything in between.  Something about the festive nature of the season extends to our clothing, and suddenly the female population over age 7 is dressed up head to toe in glitter.

The best part about this seasonal wardrobe must?  When done right (and appropriately), you can wear this trend day or night, in the office or at the club…or to the family function.  If you’re more daring, there are a few pairs of pants with your name on it.  Feeling a bit more conservative and want to get in on the trend without converting fully to the shimmery side?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Below, from head to toe, your guide for all things bedazzled:

 

Jackets and Sweaters:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dresses:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skirts and Shorts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pants:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shoes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The secret to wearing sequins in a “this is not a costume I am a 26 year old working professional thank you very much” way is to keep the rest of the outfit simple.  Pair glittery pants or a sequined blazer with a basic white tee.  If opting for a shimmery dress, match with standard black pumps and stockings or tights.  Now is not the time for patterned tights.  The little black dress can be spruced up with glittery heels, but think twice before matching the glittery heels with the sequined dress.  Basically, it’s a balancing act.  Make sense?

One more thing.  This will be my last week writing for Reality Chic and the What To Wear section.  Unfortunately, after this post we must part ways, but I will continue to join all of you as a devoted reader and fan of the website.  I’ve enjoyed writing these posts for the past two years as much as I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them.  If you received any helpful advice from any of my articles that you’ve since put into action, well, that’s just the cherry on top.  Thank you all for taking this journey with me, and stay chic (and have some while while doing it)!

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

How To Keep Your Feet Toasty All Season Long

With the holiday season in full swing, it’s time we started getting a bit comfortable.  The temperature outside is dropping, while the fireplaces and radiators are getting cranked up inside.  Holiday movies are starting to play on endless loop on all channels, gingerbread lattes and peppermint hot cocoas are readily available, and pumpkin pie, sweet mashed potatoes, buttery biscuits and hearty stews are just a Seamless click away.  Yes, the stores and streets are filled with glittery dresses and sparkly stilettos, but when the snow starts to fall and Hugh Grant is on tv, why bother getting all dolled up?

Sometimes the best wardrobe solution is dressing down, and that cozy, comfy look starts from the feet up.  When spending a night in, slippers are an essential part of feeling at home (after all, you don’t want to tire out your feet with all those long walks to and from the bathroom and kitchen).  A solid investment that won’t cost you a pretty penny, there’s no reason not to have a cute pair of kicks for kicking back.

Below, I’ve dug up a few of the best pairs I’ve found on the web.  Get inspired, and then get settled on the couch.  Your feet will thank you.

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

How To Pack For Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year.  The fall foliage is on full display, you’re surrounded by family and friends, and the food is never-ending.  But if you’re one of the many young professionals who no longer call their hometown “home”, Thanksgiving is also a time filled with stressful travel arrangements and the realization that you have to complete that dreadful task required of anyone going anywhere for any reason at all: packing.

Remember when I said Thanksgiving was my favorite holiday of the year?  Well, packing is my least favorite activity ever.  Ever.  EVER.  I’m a chronic over-packer.  I never touch half the things I shove in my bag, and then curse myself as I’m lugging said (extremely overweight) bag over my shoulder.  And so, to make things easier on everyone, I put together a little list of the must-haves for your trip home.  Feel free to accessorize as you wish, but please, for your own sake, try to keep your checklist to a minimum.  The worst that can happen?  You re-wear an item of clothing (the horror!) after washing it in mom and dad’s laundry machine (heaven!).  Or, there’s that thing called Black Friday.  Last time I checked, that place you spent 18 years of your life had a mall.  So stop packing as if you’re vacationing in the tundra.  Where you’re going, there ARE roads.  And H&M.  Trust me, you’ll survive.

And so without further adieu, a packing guide for Turkey Day:

Your favorite pair of jeans.  Yes, pair.  Singular.  You only need one.  Just make sure they’re not too skinny (you are planning to eat a 15 course meal followed by a healthy dose of leftovers, right?):

A cardigan and a comfy, cozy sweater.  The sweater for obvious reasons, the cardigan to throw over basically any other outfit you wear throughout the weekend:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A dress.  Unless you live in Las Vegas, leave the sparkles and bandage dresses at home.  Pack a dress that straddles the line between casual and special occasion.  You want something that you can wear to the Thanksgiving dinner, and also to brunch with your high school buddies:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Versatile boots.  Boots are the easiest shoe to match with everything, and guarantee that you’ll stay warm throughout the weekend.  Pack a pair in a neutral color that matches most of the other items in your bag.  Shoes are heavy and take up space, so stick to one pair:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Outerwear.  This obviously varies depending on where you call home, so if you’re headed to San Diego or Miami, you can skip to the next one.  Otherwise, bring a good, warm coat that you can wear no matter the occasion, whether out to drinks with your pals or to your Grandmother’s house.  And don’t forget a scarf and hat.  As Grandma would say, you don’t want to catch a chill:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PJs!  This is my favorite part.  Pick your comfiest, coziest, most holiday-inspired pajamas:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is there something you never travel without?  Do you have a Thanksgiving must that I forgot?  Clue me in in the comments section below!

 

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

What To Wear Around Your Neck: Scarves

If there’s one thing I love this time of year, it’s a scarf.  They’re comfy, warm, and the perfect accessory.  I’m someone who usually keeps her outfit pretty simple.  I love sticking to the basics, but I hate the prospect of being boring.  Find yourself wearing jeans and a plain tee or sweater?  Throw on a scarf, and your outfit is instantly upgraded.  What’s even better about this solution?  You can pretty much wear the same exact outfit over and over again with different scarves, and it’s as though you’re wearing entirely new ensembles everyday.  It’s the perfect crime (of fashion, anyway).  And what’s even better than that?  You don’t have to spend a fortune on a scarf, ut instead can find an adorable one for as little as $10.

No matter who you are, how you dress or what you like, there’s a scarf for you.  Whether you like ‘em chunky, patterned, bright or plain, and whether you’re looking for a snood or a long, flowy wrap, we’ve got you covered.  I, personally, love them all, and am having the hardest time sticking to just one look.  What about you…what’s your favorite?

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

What To Wear: Ankle Boots

As temperatures continue to cool and we make our way into November (and the eventual start of the holiday season), it’s only natural that we start trading in our flats for their warmer, more weather-appropriate older siblings: the boot.  It’s fair to say we all have a few good pairs of boots stored in our closets.  OK, it’s fair to say we all have more than a few pairs at our disposal.  But what’s the fun of starting a new season if we can’t add a new pair (or four) to our collection?  After all, when we’re preparing to wear boots day after day and month after month until March, it’s not unreasonable to think that we need a pair in every color.  Hey, we need a pair to match every outfit option, and then we can maintain a constant rotation through the long winter of all our boots, right?

This season, however, why not spice it up a bit?  Instead of buying the same old knee-high riding boot in every color, why not switch out one of those slots with an ankle boot?  These babies add a fresh perspective to your wardrobe, and make that dress, skirt, or pair of skinnies look entirely new and reinvented.  Listen, I’m not saying trade in all your knee-highs, but I know you’ve got to be looking for at least one (perhaps frivolous) addition in one color to your collection.

Why not make it a bootie?  Below, browse through a few options in all your neutral must-haves for below the ankle.  We’ve got your browns, blacks, tans and grays.  Meaning you’ve got no excuses for not snagging a pair.  If boots were made for walking, these booties were made for skipping.  So skip to it.

 

Tan:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brown:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

How To Turn Your Scarf Into a Vest (In 5 Very Easy & Brainless Steps)

I can’t take all the credit for this post. This past week my best friend Katie from college came into town. Like many friends we have some common interests, one of which is our love for fashion. We were those girls that went home for Christmas only to come back with the same identical gifted wardrobe. So when she showed me this scarf trick, I couldn’t help but to become giddy (yes..giddy) knowing that I would get to share it with you all very soon! Consider this a craft for the not so crafty. Here ya go.. How to turn your scarf into a vest in 5 very easy & brainless steps!

 

How to Wear a Boyfriend Jean (Part II)

The boyfriend jean is one of those looks that celebrities seem to pull off yet when you try it on in the store it just never works. Fear no more my 20 something friends, I want you to wear the boyfriend jean without looking like you just took the walk of shame. So I created a simple little guide for remembering how to wear boyfriend jeans just like the celebs. Next time you’re in the mall snag those suckers and don’t look back. We’ve got you covered!

 

 

 

 

How To Wear A Hat This Fall

 

There’s no other way to say this other than to put it bluntly: I’m obsessed with hats.  Remember how a little while ago I pledged my undying love to the wedge sneaker, emphasizing how they stole my heart and I would never be the same?  Well, while my feelings haven’t changed about my pumped up kicks. I have found those same feelings blossom for hats.

All hats, you ask?  Not particularly.  Yes, there’s a place in a girl’s closet for every type of hat (ok, most types of hats…there are definitely exceptions), but for me, I’ve had a multi-month love affair with the structured, brimmed, felt hats that can (thank god) be seen almost everywhere this season.  I first fell in love with 1970’s classic bohemian photographs featuring the likes of Joni Mitchell and Jane Birkin smiling beneath flowing locks and perfectly perched hats.  Then Emma Stone started wandering around last winter with Andrew Garfield and hat in tow, and I was a goner.  I had to have one.

Problem is, when push comes to shove and winter is at its most brutal, what is a brimmed hat that simply sits atop your head and neglects to shield your ears going to do to keep you warm and protected against that deadly chill?  Honestly, I have no idea.  Which is why I never invested in one.  I’d favor one of those fuzzy wool headband turban things any day, or a solid pair of earmuffs, or those hats with the earflaps.  But autumn is the time to snatch up a hat and wear it in all its glory.  It’s that perfect crisp, slightly chilly, mostly sunny time of year, when the leaves are changing and we can wear light fall jackets, loosely tied scarves, and that perfect hat (and pumpkin spiced latte in hand) to complete the ensemble.  Yes, they are more fashionable than functional.  But isn’t that what makes fashion so fun in the first place?

Browse through a few of my favorites from this season’s selection below, and then tell me – are you all about the hat, or do you think this look falls flat?

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

What To Wear: Blazers

I hate when people say that blazers are a year-round fashion item.  In the dead of winter I prefer a warm, cozy sweater.  And in the summertime heat I start sweating at just the idea of a lined jacket draped over me.  But come fall, specifically this time of year that we find ourselves in right now, the blazer rules.  It’s cool enough to wear as a jacket outside and to keep on at the office to pull an outfit together. Yet it’s still warm enough that we don’t need to double layer with any other coats.

Now, I am a firm believer that everyone should own a black blazer, as it’s a wardrobe staple.  Nothing instantly upgrades an outfit like a simple black blazer, and nothing can be added to any other piece of clothing as effortlessly as a black blazer either.  But as much as I encourage everyone to run out and pick one up, I also think we should all be having a little fun with the blazer.  Why not try one in blue?  Or one that’s covered in sequins?  Or maybe it’s polka-dotted or covered in patterns or has leather sleeves.

Whatever your style, in fall 2012, there’s a blazer for you.  So whether you need something to top off your work wardrobe, or need something to throw over your shoulders on a lazy Sunday morning, or are looking for that perfect stand-out item for a Saturday night out on the town, never overlook the blazer.  Need some tailored inspiration to get you started on the right track?  Click through below for a few options and then let me know, what’s your favorite blazer of the season?

 

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.

How To Find That Perfect Slipper

Gone are the days when slippers were reserved for the bedroom.  Smoking slippers, smoking loafers…whatever you want to call them, are here to stay and ready to take to the streets.  It’s time to retire the trusty sandals and return to the world of close-toed shoes, but that shouldn’t mean going back to the same old pair of flats.

The smoking slipper is a great alternative for when you want to spruce up your outfit without going to drastic measures.  And if you’re of the mindset that these loafers only come in monogrammed velvet accompanied by a nightcap, you’re sorely mistaken.  These babies are popping up in endless fabrics and patterns, and there’s one for every type of style.  So whether you want preppy or punk, runway-ready or street-style casual, boho-chic or corporate-cool, there’s one for you.

If there’s one thing to make sure of this fall, it’s that you add a pair of smoking slippers to your wardrobe.  Trust, you won’t be sorry…and that one pair will most likely end up being joined by a few others by season’s end.  Need proof that these shoes are for you, or inspiration to get you going on the right track?  Browse the collection below and then let me know your faves!

 

After graduating from college in ’09, Allyson Barkan flew off to Greece to teach English Literature at a private high school and explore Greek and European culture for a year.  Since returning stateside, she now works in Entertainment Public Relations in New York City.  For travel advice, stray observations as a 20-something in the big city, and the occasional hilarious misadventure, follow Allyson atwww.allysonbarkan.com and on twitter at @aebarkan.