Pounding the Pavement

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Downtown Chicago

There are certain events in everyone’s life that can be somewhat stressful; Events such as car shopping, apartment shopping, planning your wedding, etc.  I have hit the point in my life where it is time to purchase a new car and also move downtown, in Chicago, both for work purposes.  While I welcome these changes with the widest spread open arms, I have also welcomed in the sleepless nights, trying to shut my mind down from the decisions that need to be made.

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Downtown Chicago

Yesterday I spent the day in Chicago, apartment hunting, and since I haven’t lived in a city since London, my mind had seemed to have forgotten to remind me about the proper armor needed for city walking.  So, this week, since our neighborly city of Chicago is a place we all go somewhat frequently, I find it appropriate to discuss with you city wear and what to wear if you’re wanting to pound the pavement, whether it be in search for an apartment, like myself, or simply walking the magnificent mile and Millennium Park.

I showed up and ready to search in my trusted pair of flats. Well, no need to tell you how much of a big fat no-no that was! Those hard sidewalks and tough streets wreck havoc on your feet. To avoid your feet punishing you for the rest of the night and maybe even the next day, it’s best to pull out the tennis shoes.

Now comes the inner battle you might be fighting. Those New Balance 9000’s might be comfortable but make you appear as if the words style and fashion have never been heard by you ever before. So what do you do? Well, I suggest putting on a pair of simple street shoes. These are sneaker-like but don’t have so much of the bulk and build up of athletic shoes; however, they still off you good support.

One of my favorites is the TOMS brand.  There are several reasons I support TOMS. First and foremost because I can wear them all day and not want to cry at the end of the day from discomfort. Second, because they are a full slip-on but still offer a great arch support. Third, because you can literally get them in just about any color or design you want and as if that isn’t good enough, you can easily design your own! And lastly, because the company has promised for every pair of TOMS sold, they will donate one pair to a child in need. One for one. So, I know my purchase is doing some good.

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TOMS

The other thing to take into consideration while spending the day in your city of choice is comfortable clothing. Most likely, you will be going in and out of museums, buildings, or simply walking around a lot which can lead to quick temperature changes making you feel as though you’re going through “the change” all too much. The solution to city wear (and well, “the change” wear) is layers! Layers, of course, offer you the option to dress with more or less, when the time strikes appropriate. The issue with layers is that some are too thin or too thick. A bulky sweatshirt feels as heavy as a coat and if you’re wearing a coat as well, you could easily feel as heavy as a mammoth and make you regret your clothing choices instantly.

Alternative Apparel - Willow top

I suggest ultra-comfy, ultra-soft layers from lines such as American Apparel or Alternative Apparel. These pieces feel as though you’ve had them for years with a softness that only makes you want to wear them ever day all day. The best thing about them is while they aren’t thick, bulky pieces; they do keep you warm and are always offered in the latest colors, burn-outs, and styles.

I also firmly believe that one of the best pieces you can add to your wardrobe is a vest. A vest can remove the need to carry around a coat while keeping you just as warm. There are so many great options out there right now for vests so you don’t need to think about breaking the bank to add it to your closet.

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Club Monaco - Tila Vest

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Plastic Island - The Penny Faux Fur Vest in Mocha

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BB Dakota Vest on another Chicago-blogger

Whichever way you choose to dress while walking the streets of your favorite city, be sure to skip the high heels, flip flops, and bulky wear! The last thing you want is your dress to weigh you down while you’re trying to enjoy the sights or in my case, on the hunt for a place to live!

I work in the building on the left 🙂

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StyleMax: Fall Forecast

In these frigid days of blizzards, rapid winds, and negative temperatures, it can be difficult to imagine the upcoming warm, sunny days filled with beach outings, picnics, and outdoor concerts.  Beyond that, the fall season strikes again where we begin to gradually layer our clothing again and bundle up for the next few months, of what can feel at times, like hibernation.

From last week through the weekend, it was time for another StyleMax fashion market, held at the Merchandise Mart, in downtown Chicago.  I truly enjoy working these markets for numerous reasons, mainly because I get to preview what designer’s trends are to be for the upcoming seasons.  To give you a bit of background about what StyleMax is and what I do there, I will fill you in on the basics.  StyleMax is a women’s apparel and accessory tradeshow where designers and well-known brands showcase their latest and greatest collections.  Buyers from boutiques, spas, and larger stores from all around the world register to enter and walk around to their favorite exhibitors where representatives, like me, show them our latest collections.  Buyers then decide whether or not pieces from those collections will sell to their customer base in their stores and if it will coincide with other items already purchased from different exhibitors.  From the early start to the day to when the show floor closes down, it is a constant selling atmosphere and is difficult to view other designer’s collections and speak with them.  Therefore, I usually forego taking a long lunch and instead choose to walk the aisles of fashion and fun.

Burberry Prorsum Pre Fall 2011

Chloe Pre Fall 2011

This fall, the minimalism trend carries over.  Focus lies more on detailed stitching, cut, and the overall quality of the garment.  Be on the lookout for warm color tones such as heather beiges, browns, and grays.  Also, the line for jackets and sweaters becomes a bit hazy as the two create a hybrid leading to heavier sweaters that double as a coat if you were to go outside.  Think oversized, longer, cozier outerwear.  Details of large ribbing, cable knit, and tie-waists are visible along with the idea of “looking chic without trying” by adding some fur trimming to a number of its’ pieces giving off a sense of luxury.  As most exhibitors were not showing fall quite yet, still focused on spring and summer wear, one of the lines I represent is always ahead of the game and blows me away with the inventions and creations made with each fall collection.  This show, Katherine Barclay focused on asymmetrical cut sweaters, trapeze cut tops, and dresses that could be worn from day to night while allowing for comfort with its knit fabric.  Other labels are welcoming back the wide-leg trouser with easy going tops.  In terms of accessories – the more unique the better.  Accessories will be the way to make your statement in terms of dress this fall.  From chunky to ruffled, bubbled or absolutely absurd, you’re options are endless with these upcoming items!

Chanel Pre Fall 2011

Givenchy Pre Fall 2011

Vera Wang Pre Fall 2011

Even though days like this week make me never want to see a snowflake or put on a goose-down parka ever again, it is trends and collections like these that have me waiting in anticipation and excitement for my favorite stores to decide what to purchase and make available for me and other customers.  Until the next StyleMax fashion market where we will feature holiday 2011 looks, I will leave you with happy thoughts of intimate sweaters and novel accessories.