Closet Q&A: Romper

"I think the idea of a flowery romper seems childish but I really want to able to wear this trend. Is there a gateway outfit to help get me there?" - Emily

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Rompers can be tough. They aren't a trend that everyone is comfortable wearing and the reality is, it can be difficult to wear them without feeling overly childish (especially in a flowery print). And unless you have a perfectly proportioned body (which most of us don't), it can be a process to find the right fit.

With that being said, there are a ton of different styles out there - from super feminine to ultra chic - and when you do find the right one, they are a fun, effortless way of dressing. The good news? There are a ton of affordable options out there right now, so you can experiment with the trend and see if it's right for you, without investing a ton of money.

In order to ease your romper search, I've provided a few tips to help you find the perfect one:

1. All rompers are not created equal. Try on lots of options. Different sleeve lengths, inseams, and cuts. Find the right one for your body.
2. Make sure it's not too short. Move. Bend over (I'm serious). Lift up your arms in the dressing room (trust me). If any hint of cheek shows, put it back. 
3. Also, make sure it's not too tight. Rompers should be effortless and breezy. Size up and belt it if necessary. When it comes to rompers, slightly too big is better than slightly too small. 
4. Know your style. Are you more bohemian? Find a great print and wear it casually with some flats. More classic? Find a solid color and wear it with heels. 
5. Treat it like a LBD. Look for a more sophisticated style (I'd suggest starting off with a solid, like black, for the most ease and wearability) and wear it as an alternative to a little black dress. This is a great way to wear the trend in a more sophisticated way.
6. Be careful of overly complicated buttons, zippers, and closures. Remember, you have to get in and out of this thing every time you use the bathroom. Keep that in mind before you buy!
7. And finally: Fake it 'til you make it. Can't find the perfect romper? Fake it! Find a great pair of shorts and matching top for the same monochromatic look, without all the hassle. It's the perfect gateway romper look-alike outfit. 

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Got a question? Let me hear it!


Currently Coveting: Fourth of July Packing List

Fourth of July: Packing List
1. scarf / 2. towel / 3. earrings / 4. hat / 5. shorts / 6. top / 7. clutch / 8. bikini / 9. dress / 10. picnic basket / 11. wedges / 12. sunglasses

I don't know about you guys, but to me, the Fourth of July weekend is the perfect time to embark on a mini road trip. It's the perfect time to pack up the car and just drive. And living in Michigan, there's no place better to escape to than one of the state's incredible beaches just a stone's throw from Detroit. This year for the fourth, I'm hoping to be spontaneous, jump in the car, and find a little coastal town to spend a couple days exploring.

And while I don't know where I'm headed yet, I do know what I'll be packing. In my bag, I'll be bringing casual, yet whimsical items for the holiday: stars, stripes, and of course, a color scheme of red, white, and blue staples. Perfect for a weekend of grilling, beaching, and fireworks.

What are you doing this holiday weekend?


Outfit Post: Gladiator Sandals

I first mentioned gladiator sandals over a year ago. Like a high school crush, I kept waiting for the phase to pass. To get over my butterflies. To move on to something more lasting and worthy of the investment.

But sometimes a crush turns into love and you just have to own your feelings and do something about it.

So I did. I finally bought a pair of gladiator sandals (on sale, mind you. I’m still into being practical...most of the time.)

But I have a confession.

Like real love, these sandals aren’t perfect.

Part of the reason I held off for so long to buy a pair is 1. I didn’t want to spend more than 100 bucks (and that was being generous) and 2. I have skinny little legs and finding a pair that fit my calves was nearing impossible.

And when I did finally find the right pair at the right price, I wasn’t about to let my skinny little chicken legs get in the way of love.

So I settled. I settled for imperfect, too large shoes because I was tired of not being able to wear all the outfits I had mentally styled with my gladiators.

It’s not something I recommend - in love or shopping. But unlike men, thankfully clothes and accessories can be altered.

So I took my imperfect sale sandals and fixed them. I spent 2 hours macgyvering my shoes until they fit around my legs. I used a combination of thumbtacks, nails, and screws to poke individual holes in every single leather strap from my ankle to my knee. That’s 16 unexpectedly difficult holes.

And in the end, all the pain and hardship and effort was totally worth it.

Love usually is.

dress: h&m
gladiators: madden girl
clutch: h&m (old, similar here)
sunglasses: ray-ban
necklace: old (similar here)


Girl Boss

After years of contemplating - and jobs in everything from marketing to child care to real estate to retail to online media - I am beyond ecstatic to officially call myself an Entrepreneur (with a capital "E")! For the past 6 months (and years more of daydreaming), I have been working on the launch of my own personal styling business.

This is something I have been planning, in a way, since I was a teenager. When I was younger, I used to make extra money cleaning out and organizing my mom's closet. Even before I really cultivated my love for fashion, I knew I had a knack for details and organization. I was able to embrace and utilize my type A personality on my mom's very non-type A closet. At the time, I didn't always know what was trendy or "in" but I knew what items worked and what didn't. I soon moved on to my sister's and friend's closets as well.

Then my fashion obsession began. I devoured the magazines (and even made my own). I watched all the runway shows. I taped episodes of What Not To Wear to learn how to better dress all women, not just myself. Somewhere in the last ten years I went from a type A tomboy to a type A tomboy who was obsessed with fashion.

My closet organizations then started including personal shopping trips and styling.

Every time I would finish my mom's closet, she would sit me down and tell me I should make this into a business. It took me 15 years to finally listen. To finally realize something I was good at, and really loved, could be a sustainable business.

I'm excited to build a career that allows me to help build confidence in women, be creative, continue in the fashion industry, and be my own girl boss. Mostly I'm excited to empower women to find their own unique style that represents who they are; the individual style they want to present to the world.

I'll be launching my website very soon with all the dirty details, but stay in the loop by signing up for my newsletter! This will be a place where I will share styling insights, organizational tips, and answers to all of your questions. You'll also be the first to find out about any promotions and special deals (score!).

Thanks for following along and stay tuned! (And don't forget to sign up here.)

photos by Marissa Gawel


Outfit Post: South Moon Under

Last week was my 10 year college reunion. When deciding what to wear for my first night - the first time I would see my classmates in a decade - I knew exactly what to pick.

This dress. 

This is my no-fail dress. It's the dress that I always, always get compliments on. It's the dress that strangers stop me in the street to comment on. During my reunion, on my half mile walk from my hotel to the bar, I had five strangers stop me. Five completely random strangers on a 7 minute walk.

People have literally chased me down in the parking lot to ask me where I got it. It's been re-pinned thousands of times. It's brought tens of thousands of people to my blog to find out where it's from. I get weekly emails from readers pleading with me to help them find it.

A dress like that is wardrobe gold. And the store it's from - South Moon Under - is my holy grail of shops.

I first discovered the boutique when I was a teenager. Each year during our summer vacation, my family would pack up, pile into our family minivan, and head to one of the many east coast beaches. It was on one of these trips that I first discovered South Moon Under. And every year after, I would drag my mom back during our beach trips to shop. Several years later the store opened a location in my hometown of Reston, VA and I've been a frequent and regular customer ever since. Even after moving away to Detroit, I still make it a priority to stop in and check out the new merchandise whenever I'm back home visiting friends and family.

So I was beyond thrilled, honored, and humbled when the team at South Moon Under reached out to me to collaborate on an outfit post for the blog (I may or may not have reacted something like this). Hello, dream collaboration!

I'd like thank the dress for making my internet discovery possible.

When picking out an outfit for the blog, it would have been really easy to highlight a festival look or boho vibe (the store started as a surf shack in the 1960s so they have perfected the free spirited, bohemian style). But honestly, I wanted to do something totally different from the dress. I wanted to showcase some of the more modern, classic pieces they offer. And frankly, these shorts were love at first sight. French inspired, slightly nautical, with a hint of whimsy. Tailored but not stiff. Sexy but not overtly so. Feminine with a tomboy nod. These are my perfect shorts. And the perfect backdrop for some killer accessories in a pop of color, like these turquoise earrings and clutch.

And while I haven't been chased down in a parking lot in them yet, just give it time.

South Moon Under tends to have that kind of effect on people.

If you are on the east coast, check out one of their 24 locations (from Maryland up to Connecticut). If not, shop online and keep me posted on random stoppings, compliments, and inquiries from strangers.

Thanks again to South Moon Under for collaborating and for the sales team for being so accommodating as I tried on basically every piece of clothing in the store in order to find the outfit.

shorts: c/o south moon under
clutch: c/o south moon under
earrings: c/o south moon under
ring: c/o south moon under
shoes: nordstrom
sunglasses: ray-ban


Behind the Lens

I often get asked who the person behind the lens is in my blog photos. He's not a professional photographer. He's not even an aspiring photographer. He's my husband, Brad.

Brad has trampled through snow, wind, and rain. He's climbed over fences and under bridges. He's been late to dinners and meetings.

All for this little blog of mine.

And because today is his birthday, I'm sharing some of my favorite photos of the man who manages to capture my best side every day.

Happy birthday, my love.


Outfit Post: Packable Pieces

I hate to admit it, but I’m a constant overpacker.

Hi, my name is Dana and I am an overpacker.

I wasn't always this way. I used to plan and pack only what I needed. When I honeymooned in South Africa for 6 weeks, I carried everything I needed in a backpack. I spent a month wandering around Australia with all my belongings in a duffle bag. I traveled through Columbia for a summer with a carry on.

But somewhere along the way, I started planning less and packing more.

I'm not sure when this transitioned happened, but I'm determined to break this habit before it gets out of control and I start looking like this.

It's time to get back to the basics and start packing smarter.

On a recent trip to Florida to visit family, I challenged myself to not overpack. I thought about not just our itinerary for the week and the outfits I would need, but about what types of clothing would travel well and make a statement on their own without requiring a lot of extra fuss. Pieces that could stand alone or switched up with a couple layers.

This dress epitomizes that type of packable piece.

Besides the fact that it is super low maintenance and doesn't wrinkle, it also can be worn several different ways. I've switched out the matching belt for a wide, tan belt. I've added a denim jacket. I've worn it as a tunic over white jeans and wedges.

Pieces like this make getting dressed - and packing - a breeze.

I may have still overpacked (progress, not perfection), but I'm getting better at knowing which pieces will make my life easier and which pieces will just take up space in my suitcase.

dress: peacock room
necklace: stella and dot
bracelet: salikas'
sandals: old (similar here)
sunglasses: ray-ban