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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

8 Tips For How To Wear Over-The-Knee Boots

As a self-described shoe addict, I'm no stranger to a great pair of boots, especially ankle boots. This season though, I'm trying to switch things up; I'm enamored with over-the-knee boots. They are ideal for fall and winter, when you want to keep your legs warm but still look stylish. This Stuart Weitzman style is a splurge, and also a blogger favorite, but there are many options that you'll find right here for under $200.

Admittedly, over-the-knee boots can be a difficult style to pull off, especially of you're petite or have curvy legs like me. Fortunately, there's endless outfit inspiration to draw from (hello, Pinterest). With my eight simple style tips, you'll be wearing them with panache, just like my favorite street style stars pictured below.

how to wear over the knee boots, Stuart Weitzman Highland boots street style

photos via Pinterest

Do pair them with tights and a dress or dark skinny jeans when temperatures drop for a sleek and chic look.

Don't wear them with a short, tight skirt unless you're going for head-turning Pretty Woman vibes. A full skirt or dress (like this paisley style) will balance out the sexiness of the boots. For example, see blogger Julie SariƱana on the far right above.

Do choose fun and on-trend details such as laces, buckles, slouchy fits, equestrian details, or fringe to suit your personality.

Don't forget to consider the right length for your height. The longer your legs, the higher the over-the-knee boot you can wear. 

Do style them with A-line dresses, culottes, geometric prints, and faux fur (like this cute vest) for a bohemian-meets-modern update.

Don't opt for latex or patent styles, which can sometimes appear cheap. I find that suede textures (and faux suede) look more luxe (like this pair under $90).

Do choose classic colors such as black, taupe, or grey for maximum versatility like the ladies above.

Don't forget about color. Matching your boots to your tights or bottoms will visually elongate your legs. 

Shop my favorite styles under $75:

Styles under $200:

Monday, September 14, 2015

Sam & Libby for Target Review - Fall 2015

Fall footwear has arrived at Target, and with it, a new selection of shoes from Sam & Libby for Target. In keeping with tradition, I'm reviewing some of the ankle boots and pumps my store recently received. (Perhaps you've seen my fall 2014 Sam & Libby review or my spring 2015 Sam & Libby review.) Let's talk shoes!

Pros and Cons

Ankle boots are easy to walk in and felt comfortable
Good selection of styles, sizes, and colorways (with more options available online)
Chic details such as buckles, ribbon trim, and metallics
On-trend silhouettes (my absolute must-have is this block heeled bootie which channels the 1960s)

Sizing on boots seems to run small/narrow
Synthetic materials make the boots feel stiff
Price points are higher than other brands at Target stores
Many styles have other colorways that are only available online

Sam & Libby Fall 2015 Boots, Sam & Libby review

Sam & LibbyLeopard Dixie Pumps

The Dixie pumps pictured above and below retail for $39.99. In addition to leopard, they come in blue, black, wine, leopard, and blush. I tried on my usual size 7 and they run true to size. I found them to be much more comfortable and easy to walk in than they look. The heel height is 4". The single sole silhouette and pointy toe shape make them an instant classic, while the leopard print didn't look cheap. These are so chic with everything from to an LBD to skinny jeans. 

Sam & Libby Dixie pumps leopard print

Note the SJP-inspired grosgrain ribbon and Sam & Libby logo detail on the back. 

Sam & Libby Dixi ePumps Back Detail

The Orianna pumps come in black or pewter and retail for $39.99. They weren't as comfortable as the Dixie pumps but they felt easy to walk in. The heel height is 2.75". They run fairly true to size, although I could've gone down to a 6.5 (from a 7) due to the long and pointed toe shape. This is a great shoe for the office or for nights out, as it pairs well with trousers, fancy dresses, or even denim.

Sam & Libby Orianna Pumps

The Peyton ankle boot is Sam & Libby's answer to the popular Sam Edelman Petty boot (which I admit I own in three colors). The Peyton costs $44.99 and also comes in black. The sizing runs small. I tried on a size 7 with thin socks and found them to be narrow. I'd size up a half size or whole size if you plan on wearing them with thick socks for fall and winter. The comfort factor isn't as good as the Petty boots because they are synthetic. On the bright side, they have nice stitching details and are super versatile.

Sam & Libby Peyton Boot

The Marley buckle boot is a returning style from last fall. It also comes in black or navy and has a price of $44.99. It was the most comfortable of all the shoes I tried on. The heel height is 2.5", and they're super easy to walk in with a cushioned sole. The size 7 I tried on felt narrow, so once again, I'd size up if you have wide feet or plan to wear with socks.

Sam & Libby Marley Boot

The Deanna boot is another style they revived from last fall, and this metallic colorway was a refreshing change from typical black. Like the other boots, it's $44.99 and the sizing felt small. This is  a pull-on style with a 3.5" heel. They were easy for me to put on, but I'd size up since they felt narrow. The chunky heel makes them stable and sturdy. I like these styled with plaid tops, dark denim, and casual dresses for fall.

Sam & Libby Deanna Metallic Boot

I was pleasantly surprised by the Audrey boots. They also come in navy, pink, and black online and cost $44.99. I tried on size 7 and they fit pretty well because of the long pointed toe shape, although I'd size up for the same reasons listed above. The heel height is 3", and I found them much easier to walk in than I expected. The shape is classic and flattering, while the heel height makes them versatile for both causal and dressy occasions.

Sam & Libby Audrey Boot

I saved my favorite style for last. The Eliza boot also comes in glossy black and retails for $44.99. The 2" block heel gives them a mod 1960s vibe, and the leopard print adds some attitude. They also run narrow, so I'd size up at least half a size. These are similar to Sam Edelman's Edith boot, minus the suede details and black textured heel. I love these styled with an A-line skirt or shift dress.

Sam & Libby Eliza Boots Leopard print

Shoe addicts, unite! See more of my favorite footwear and Target finds by catching up with me on Facebook or Snapchat @thekeytochic.

Shop Sam & Libby:

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thakoon for Kohl's Review

Today marks the debut of the London-inspired Thakoon for Kohl's DesigNation collection, so I stopped by my local store to browse the goods and do a fitting room review. My Kohl's store had a strong selection of blouses, sweaters, and tees placed front and center on three L-shaped racks. While sizes range from XXS to XL (or 0 to 16) online, unfortunately for me, my store did not carry XS in many items. 

The predominant color palette is a dark one with shades of moody charcoal, burgundy, navy, and crimson. My store carried quite a few of the tops and sweaters, but not the outerwear or many of the dresses.

On the racks:

Thakoon for Kohls Mock Layer Sweater

Above, the mock layer sweater and below, the oversized cable knit cardigan. Both also come in a light cobalt colorway.

Thakoon for Kohls Cardigan

The iconic graphic sweater below runs big and is soft yet lightweight - perfect for layering.

Thakoon for Kohls Graphic Sweater

Thakoon for Kohls Review

Thakoon for Kohls Hang Tag

Fitting Room photos:

Below is the print pocket shirt (as seen on Kate Bosworth) and the ponte wrap skirt. I'm wearing size small in the shirt, which has an easy fit, and a size XS in the skirt, which runs big on me. The skirt is soft and stretchy with nice seam details, a faux wrap design, and an A-line shape. If I worked in a bank or more formal office, this would be a go-to look for me. I adore the floral pocket detail, as it livens up the serious stripes.

Thakoon for Kohls Print Pocket Shirt

The iconic graphic crewneck tee comes in three different prints, has a vented hemline with a sporty ribbed crewneck, and runs big. It's a nice medium weight and is made of comfortable jersey. I'm wearing a size small. I think it would be great under the plaid vest from the collection (which my store sadly did not have).

Thakoon for Kohls Graphic Tee

Below, from left to right: I have on the mock layer sweater in XS. It has a small amount of wool, so unfortunately, I found it slightly itchy. The back has a longer panel of sweater knit material, while the front is a faux shirt layer. In the middle is one of my top picks - the colorblock print hem tee.  The fit is super comfortable with blue and black panels and a striped faux layer in front. It strikes me as fun on top, business on bottom. I'm wearing size XS. I think it would pair well with black skinny trousers for a casual office. On the right is the iconic print peasant top. I'm wearing size XS, and it's still big on me. The fabric is lightweight polyester with a split neck design. 

Thakoon for Kohls Mock Layer Tops

Below, a close-up of the peasant top and its cute London-inspired print.

Thakoon for Kohls Print Peasant Top

Below on the left, I'm wearing the pintuck floral shirt in a size XS. On the hanger, this didn't look appealing, but I was surprised by how flattering the pintuck detail was in the fitting room. The pleating in the hip area gave it some shape on me. Beware of tight-fitting wrists on this style. In the middle is my favorite piece, which was also a surprise hit for me. The floral ruffle drop-waist dress was incredibly comfortable and not too flimsy, like I was expecting it to be. I have on a size XS, and I also belted it to define the waist. I would've loved this even more in a blue floral colorway. On the right is the iconic graphic sweater in the London print. I'm wearing size small, so it's slightly big on me. It's lightweight and made of a soft rayon/cotton/nylon blend. It also works well with the rest of the collection. 

Thakoon for Kohls Prints

Below, a closer look at the pintuck shirt, which also comes in white or pinstripe blue. 

Thakoon for Kohls Pintuck Shirt

Another peek at my favorite piece that my store had - this floral ruffle dress with a drop-waist shape. The ruffles have a plaid print and crinkly crepe texture, while the top is a soft knit. It's simple, chic, and perfect for layering with a turtleneck or winter coat and tights. Note the asymmetrical ruffle design. I can imagine this dress on a variety of body types given its drop-waist shape and flouncy hem.

Thakoon for Kohls Floral Ruffle Dress

Below, I'm wearing the lightweight floral high-low hem top dressed down with my own jeans and dressed up with the ponte wrap skirt from the collection. I'm wearing size XS and the fit is big on me. It has a sporty ribbed crewneck which I liked. I rolled the sleeves, which are tight in the wrist when buttoned. 

Thakoon for Kohls Floral High Low Top

Lastly, I tried on the checked shirtdress in size XS. It's lightweight polyester and has a sash/tie belt and partial button placket. Sadly, there were no pockets on this dress! On the right is the mock layer sleeveless sweater. It has a floral top layered under the sweater and runs big. The back hem is longer than the front, and I'm wearing size XS. 

Thakoon for Kohls Shirtdress Sweater

Overall, I appreciated the floral prints and the dark color palette, but I just didn't find any of the pieces to be particularly trend worthy or exciting in terms of silhouette. With all of the great trends hitting stores this season (wide-leg pants, mod '60s-style turtlenecks, culotte jumpsuits, fringe, suede, Victorian, '70s, etc.), I wanted to see more innovative and on-trend designs and fewer "safe" items such as shirtdresses and mock layer pullovers. On a positive note, I think this collection is ideal for the woman who seeks a professional wardrobe with fun details. The mock layers make it easy to put polished outfits together, and the lack of tailored silhouettes make this collection appealing to a variety of body types. 

See how Thakoon for Kohl's compares to recent Thakoon runway looks.

Keep up with me on TwitterFacebook, or Instagram for more photos and shopping info.

Shop #ThakoonforKohls:

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Four Footwear Trends for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016

Browsing the latest footwear collections at the trade shows each August and February is always a delight. Perhaps you read my report from last season featuring spring and fall 2015 footwear trends. Shoes happen to be my all-time favorite fashion item, so it's with much excitement that I report on some of the best trends that I spotted for fall 2015 and spring 2016. 

After visiting as many footwear booths as I could fit into my schedule and ogling hundreds of shoes, several themes seemed to reappear quite frequently. Here are the four trends that I feel are key as we move into fall 2015 and spring 2016.

1. Western Movement
The Wild West served as inspiration for a variety of ankle boots for fall. Embroidery, buckles, and fringe provide plenty of embellishment for exploring new territory. Clockwise, from top left: Grazie Footwear, Diba True, Luichiny, and Michael Antonio.

 photo WesternBoots-ShoeTrend-2016_zps4rrtrkqd.jpg

See more Western styles:

2. That '70s Show
With the proliferation of style influences from the '70s this fall, footwear follows suit with the height-boosting platform. I spotted all kinds of styles ranging from espadrille wedges and clogs to earthy neutrals and snake print stunners. Clockwise, from top left: Stephanie Classic, Schutz, Luichiny, and Carrano.

 photo Platforms-ShoeTrend2016_zpsgaqejihq.jpg

See more platforms:

3. Gladiators fit for a Goddess
The gladiator sandal continues to be a strong item moving into spring 2016 with key updates including metallic finishes, colorful suede styles, and even high-heeled versions. Clockwise, from top left: Schutz, Very Volatile, Diba True, and Mas Artisan

 photo GladiatorSandals-ShoeTrend2016_zpsthtnj5bb.jpg

See more gladiator sandals:

4. Block Party
Pumps and sandals got a more demure treatment with the '60s inspired block heel silhouette. Clockwise, from top left: Ukies, Capodarte, Schutz, and Steps on Green

 photo BlockHeels-ShoeTrend2016_zpsfy79eref.jpg

See more block heels:

For more trend forecasts, see my fall/winter 2016/2017 trend forecast, my spring/summer 2016 trend forecast, and my fall 2015 back-to-school fashion trend report on The Key To Chic.

Want even more shoe inspiration? Browse the newest from CarranoTopshopUkiesMichael AntonioSchutz, Luichiny, and Boohoo for the latest trend direction.

Catch up with me on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram and Snapchat @thekeytochic.

Shop shoe trends for 2016: