Snow Gear Essentials for Less

The snow has finally come to Cincinnati… barely. And a day late of Christmas I might add. But I’ll take something over nothing, and I’m banking that there’s a lot more to come. And while I love looking at the snow from the comfort of my house wrapped in a bundle of blankets, I don’t enjoy venturing out into the cold as much.

It’s important to have the essential snow gear items handy when it comes time to pack on the layers and stay warm. Some of my essentials include a pair of warm gloves that still allow me to function and text. These gloves from Urban Outfitters look and feel warm, and still allow your fingers to function with your phone.

 

Also, too keep my ears warm; I love wearing a cozy headband style ear muffs. I like wearing these because they allow me to still do my hair and look composed and not hide my entire face under layers. Etsy has a great selection of warm headbands to choose from. This grey one is adorable and has a great knot detail, which adds the perfect amount of style.

Additionally, everyone needs a nice cozy scarf to wrap around him or her and help avoid the flu. I go for the heavier ones for extra warmth and I like the look of more layers for a scarf.  This cable knit scarf from The Gap does the trick. It comes in grey and black which are both great colors for matching with a multitude of outfits.

Finally, once you get out of the cold and back into the comfort of a heated room, be sure to throw on our favorite pair of slippers. I love this pair form Target because they will keep your feet nice and fuzy and warm but will still allow you to walk around the house without slipping and sliding everywhere.

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

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.

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.

4 Quick & Easy Halloween Costumes!

Somewhere between 7th grade and college, dressing up for Halloween became cool again. Unfortunately, princesses turned into erotic maids from Party City and Power Rangers turned into some kind of inside joke that likely stood for some sort of innuendo. Once you move on from the dorms it becomes a little less about the sexy cat and more about costume ideas with humor and/or pop culture relevancy behind them. However, let us not forget when you’re in your mid 20s dressing up on a budget is really what hails you a Halloween success. The challenge:  a decent costume on a budget. Outside of the tutu, it’s likely each of the outfits below could possibly be pulled together with things you might already own or at least could buy under $25.

The hipster is a go to pop culture icon. Just carry around your iPhone with ear buds and throw some peace signs while instagramming it.Duh!  If you’ve seen Ellen it’s likely you’ve heard of Sophia Grace & Rosie. All you need is a microphone and a hype girl. Don’t be surprised when your expected to rap some Nicki Minaj later in the night. If you’re in a last-minute bind, attempt the Rosie the Riveter look. Pop your collar with a blue button up, add a bandana, and don’t forget to flex. Last but not least is the ever so classic Where’s Waldo. This is always fun when there is more than just one of you!

Keeping Up With Kourtney Kardashian: Look for Less

From one stylish Kourtney, to another, I love everything Kourtney Kardashian. The Kardashian women have really made an impact on the fashion world since Keeping up with the Kardashian’s premiered (come on .. it’s my guilty pleasure).  From their O.P.I. nail polish line, to their exclusive boutiques, D-A-S-H to the Kardashian Kollection now available at Sears. Let’s not forgot their constant appearances in extremely stylish, to-die-for outfits, they are sort of on fire.

Kourtney Kardashian is my favorite of the three by far. While it might be because we share names, I actually do believe her, and her son Mason, are the most stylish of the clan. Check out this awesome look that Kourtney wore to an E! event. Simple, classic but with a little bit of color thrown in, through an adorable bauble necklace. I couldn’t resist recreating this look for less to wear even when you’re not expecting.

I found this sheer, long sleeved, collared dress from ModCloth, it is perfect for the colder days coming fast! Plus it can easily be worn to many occasions including that fall wedding you have. To wear the Kardashian look, try this dress with a yellow necklace from Bauble Bar. Don’t be afraid to wear another colored necklace; preferably one that suits your personality.  The yellow does add a little brightness to an often muted fall wardrobe. Add a pair of booties to keep your toes warm with this perfect shoe from DSW. Lastly, a structured black clutch brings this kute look together. So sorry.. couldn’t avoid it!

Dress from ModCloth: $59.99; Necklace from Bauble Bar: $32; Shoes from DSW: $44.95; Clutch from Target: $17.99

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

How To Dress Your Phone

All right, fashionistas.  As we all know, fashion isn’t just about what we wear on our bodies.  Yes, that plays quite a big part, but there’s more to looking great than wearing great clothes.  We all want the perfect pair of boots, little black dress, and winter coat. And it is pretty obvious we crave the softest, prettiest scarf and most enviable of totes.  But what about everything else that travels with us throughout the day and expresses a bit of our personality with every flash to the public world?  I’m talking phones, people.  That one item that you can’t leave home without, can’t go 5 minutes without checking, and basically hold our entire life within its little virtual walls.  Whether you hold it against your hip on the subway as you listen to music, carry on a conversation as you shuffle past people along the sidewalk, or sit checking your emails and playing with the latest apps to pass the time, your phone is constantly on display.  And unlike our bodies, we don’t change phone cases like outfits.  The case in which you choose to dress your phone is an extension of who you are, and your chance to add a little flare and pop to your daily (most likely corporate) routine.  So have fun, but choose wisely.

In celebration of the recent release of the iPhone 5, here are a few of my favorite cases.  Have a favorite of your own?  Or are you daring enough to go through life case-free?

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.

Ombre Look for Less for Fall

While ombre was a major trend this summer, I think it can be easily incorporated into fall. I love the subtle effects of this trend and how it can be worn many different ways.

I was really inspired by the Spring Ready to Wear 2013 looks from Burberry Prorsum. While, this is a spring look I think ombre should still stick around for fall.

 

Check out these dip dyed slouchy socks from Free People, I love the different color combos! These would be perfect for fall with a pair of low boots and some skinny jeans to add a warm and colorful look to fall’s muted tones.

 $20.00

This statement maxi skirt from Urban Outfitters will make you stand out this fall. This bright fire-colored chiffon would be perfect with some teal or black tights underneath and a tight, long sleeved shirt. This skirt is so unique it would be great for many occasions.

$89.00

I love this dip dyed hi-lo dress in orange and cream, this dress could be great for a warmer fall day with some boots, or pair it with a chunky grey sweater and some leggings for a perfect fall, ombre look.

 $42.00

Must Have Jewels for Fall for Less!

This fall has been all about the jewel tones in your clothes! From jewel tone pants to jewel toned jackets, colors like emerald, deep purples and royal blues are taking over.

While jewel toned clothes are gorgeous, we can’t forget to incorporate these beautiful colors into our jewelry too! I’ve picked out some must have fun jewelry pieces for fall that will make a statement and complete your look. I’m someone who could wear the same basic and boring silver jewelry everyday and never mix it up, but the fun designs and colors that are coming out for fall have really inspired me to step outside the box and try some new, fun jewelry.

 

I love this emerald and opaque necklace from Swell Caroline, a great place to find fun and trendy jewelry. This necklace could be worn from fall to winter very easily and would be a great piece to wear to holiday parties, come the season!

Emerald Necklace – $36

 

Or check these diamond drop earrings in deep purple. If you’re not in to the big and chunky necklaces this would be a great option for you. Wear these earrings with any simple top and jeans with your hair in a chignon to show off these killer earrings.

Purple Diamond Drops – $22

 

I love royal blue and this necklace form Bauble Bar is such a great way to incorporate it into your wardrobe. I would wear this with a simple black or white dress, with some leggings and boots. Let the necklace do the work for your wardrobe!

Blue bauble necklace – $32

Or if you’re looking for something simple and sweet try this bracelet from Urban Outfitters with a simple jeweled stud on one end and the initial of your choice on the other end. This bracelet is so versatile it can go with you anywhere.

Initial bracelet – $16.00

Finally, if you’re a golden girl try this cutout cuff from Target for only $16.99. I love this statement-making cuff for a night out anywhere. Wear it with jewel-toned pants and a white top for a girl’s not out or for a hot date try it with a jewel toned dress.

Cuff Cut Out Bracelet – $16.99

 

Courtney Ott is a student at the University of Cincinnati in the college of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning (DAAP), majoring in fashion. She is a proud native of Cincinnati, and her hometown favorites include Skyline Chili, Graeter’s ice cream and the Cincinnati Reds. As a broke college student, Courtney has become an expert at finding the look for less. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneyWOtt

 

Spring 2013 New York Fashion Week: Tadashi Shoji (Watch It Live)

Watch Live From New York Fashion Week


Tadashi is probably one of those designer names that sounds familiar but you have no idea why or who it is. Let me try and refresh you. Recall Octavia Spencer (from The Help)? She just so happen to wear a Tadashi Shoji dress to every event during the entire award season this past year. Sound more familiar?

Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji escorted by Oscar (her oscar)

This past Thursday I had the opportunity to sit third row at the Tadashi Shoji show for Spring 2013 New York Fashion Week. If you’re worried my 20 something budget and mindset has changed. Fear no more, I wore my H&M dress along with pulling a Kate Middleton by “recycling” my Target heels. Alright, so Kate would never wear Target, but I did follow her trend and sported these same heels two years in a row.

This Year

Last Year (check out those shoes)

I’ve become slightly obsessed with Tadashi’s dresses and it was no different this time around. I could have peeled them off the runway models (probably wouldn’t have been that hard) and wore them to… Well, I could have at least peeled them off the runway models. Lets be real, I have absolutely no where to wear these glamorous gowns too. Maybe an adult prom? eek! Nevermind that terrifying thought.

If it was possible to read into any type of trend coming this spring from Tadashi’s divine dresses it was that lace, sheer, and pastels aren’t going anywhere. His flowing dresses varied in color from bold blue’s often with patterns, oranges, nudes, and pastels. They were gorg!

The Front Row included Daisy Fuentes (model, host, comedian), Angela Simmons (daughter of music icon Russel Simmons), Troian Bellisario (a.k.a. Spencer on Pretty Little Liars), June Ambrose (stylist and reality star). Yea.. I didn’t really know who they were either.

My favorite part about Fashion Week is acting as if I somehow belong there. I walk the fine line trying to look like a veteran New Yorker because it’s likely when and if these people find out that I prefer wearing sweatpants most the time they will somehow ban me from attending. I still pinch myself when I walk in and look somewhat touristy by asking people to take my photo in front of the Fashion Week sign, but who cares. Right? Below is a little behind the scenes action into New York Fashion Week.

Lobby/Entry

Pre-Show

Tadashi Shoji

Watch The Highlights From The Tadashi Below