I am beyond excited to share with Haute Mess readers that after nearly a year of full-time freelance-based work, I will finally be joining the corporate world!

While I enjoyed freelancing a ton because it allowed me so many opportunities to network and travel while on the job, I am so thankful to be joining a business that provides me with more mobility in my career.

This, of course, means that I’ll need to step up my office style! My new office is casual (meaning I’ll still get to express my personal style and be somewhat creative while getting dressed), but I still believe it’s best to look polished while at work.

Enjoy these Polyvore sets I put together (can you tell I’ve been on a huge Polyvore kick lately?), and let me know what your go-to outfits for the office are in the comments down below! Xx

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Happy Valentine’s Day, loves! I hope everyone’s day was filled with peace and love.

I’m feeling super inspired tonight, so I put together a few last-minute Valentine-inspired Polyvore sets; they also include some trends I’m loving for spring, as well as a few of some of my tried and true transition pieces. Enjoy! Xx

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I am so excited to be nominated by the lovely Kellie of Conscious Kitten for the Sunshine Blogger Awards! The Sunshine Blogger Awards focuses on bloggers who promote happy and creative lives.

Kellie’s chic minimalist style, her passion for conscious fashion (and animals, hence her blog’s name!), as well as her dedication are qualities we should all admire. Be sure to check out her Q & A here, and scroll through her IG (@kelliehayden) for some serious inspo (you’ll want to add her wedding photos to your Pinterest board immediately)!

Before I get into the Q & A portion of this post, I want to share with you my 11 nominees; bloggers who inspire me every day to be a more dedicated and creative version of myself.

And they are:

  1. Beauty By Kelsey
  2. NYC Bambi
  3. Amelia Says
  4. Pepperpout
  5. IMLVH
  6. Rohini Elyse
  7. Her Wearabouts
  8. Keller Rose
  9. Kind Of Luxe
  10. Damselflavored
  11. Simplest Of Things

My questions for you:

  1. Why did you decide to start blogging?
  2. What inspires you the most?
  3. What’s the best book you’ve ever read? Why is it your fav?
  4. What’s the blog post you’re most proud of?
  5. One beauty product you couldn’t live without?
  6. What makes you feel the most confident/like your best self?
  7. Describe your dream vacation.
  8. What are your hobbies besides blogging?
  9. What is a cause that’s close to your heart? Why?
  10. What is your favorite piece of clothing you own? Why?
  11. One piece of advice you wish you could give your younger self?

My Q & A:

Huge thank-you to Kellie for these great questions! I had so much fun answering them.

Why did you decide to start blogging?

I decided to start blogging so I could have a platform to share my work (I studied journalism in college). But it quickly became a place for me to express my creativity, as well as my personal style and other interests.

What are your tips for promoting your blog?

  1. Be genuine! I listed this one first because it’s the most important in my opinion! And I think it comes from having respect for your readers, as well as other bloggers. It’s obviously really disrespectful to copy another blogger’s hard work, but a lot of bloggers (or aspiring bloggers) fail to realize being genuine is a form of respect towards your readers or potential readers, as well. Most readers are smart enough to realize when a blogger is promoting something just for money or for clout. So in that way it is pretty insulting for the blogger to be out there promoting things and expecting their readers to believe they genuinely love it. Don’t promote anything you don’t truly love. Be picky with the brands with whom you choose to work.
  2. Work hard & invest time in your blog! If blogging were easy, everyone who tried it would be successful! But, there are so many aspiring bloggers who gave up on their work when they found out firsthand how difficult and time-consuming it can be. I believe it’s worth the struggle and the time, so invest your effort in taking quality photos/videos, writing, proofreading and editing, as well as posting consistently. Don’t forget to promote your posts on social media once they go live, and take the time to support your fellow bloggers, too! Which brings me to my third point…
  3. Engage! Show your support for the bloggers and brands *you* love by commenting on their posts and telling them what you love about them! Remember that it’s so important to be genuine here, too; I can’t stand when someone–especially someone who doesn’t even follow me or engage with me regularly–comments a generic “great!” or “cool!” on my posts. It’s even worse when they add a “check out my blog” or “check out my page” to it. I delete those right away. Always, always, always be sure that by engaging with others, you’re adding something meaningful to the conversation. Don’t be selfish. Also, hashtags!

What is your favorite piece of clothing that you own/have owned? Why?

This one is so tough! I would have to say the old pair of Levi’s cut-offs that were my mom’s. They’re always the first pair of shorts I gravitate towards when spring comes around because they’re so comfortable and look great with everything.

What is your favorite book and why?

My favorite book is actually one I just finished called Startup. It’s relatable, funny and smart. Learn more by checking out my post here!

What is a cause that’s important to you?

I’ve always loved Feeding America, a non-profit that provides healthy groceries to those in need in the U.S. I also come from a strong military family; my grandpa was in the Navy and my great-grandpa was in the Army, so of course, supporting our troops and veterans is a cause close to my heart.

A cause that’s gotten my attention more recently is educating women and girls and preparing them for careers in STEM, business and law. I really love Girls Who Code, and wish something like that existed when I was growing up. Helping women find their places in the economy and find fulfillment through their work and their careers. 

What is something you’ve dreamed about doing, but have yet to do?

I would *loove* to spend a year in Australia, and while I’m on that side of the world, would also love to see other places like Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

What do you like the most about yourself?

I like that I am a quiet person. I can’t stand being around people who are loud for no reason.

What are your hobbies, besides blogging?

Exercising (my favs are cycling, hiking, pilates and barre), cooking and trying new foods, reading and traveling!

What is the best thing that happened to you in the past week?

I can’t say what it is quite yet, but stay tuned!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Follow your heart, but take your head with you.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Originality!


The Sunshine Blogger guidelines:

Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you.

Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

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From left to right: MAC Lady Danger, Diva and Ruby Wood, NYX Cherry Pie, NARS Cruella and Glossier Balm Dotcom in Cherry

Head-to-toe red has been such a hot look for a few months now, and I have been all about it.

Whether it’s an all-red outfit, or red paired with pink (à la a bottle of Glossier You) or neutrals, I cannot get enough of this classic color.

For this editorial-style look, I paired a mesh bodysuit with vegan leather lace-up pants–both in a bright, classic red.

The bodysuit has a high mock neck and extra long sleeves, while the pants are adorned with a zipper at each hip, featuring silver hardware. I added a black lace bra underneath for some coverage and contrast.

I am super into plaid miniskirts and other uniform- or office-inspired pieces this season. I’ve always loved the tailored look, and now that style back in full-force for 2018 after a few years of relaxed “athleisure” looks being the norm.

So, I also styled the bodysuit with a plaid mini I thrifted earlier this month. Ever since Reformation debuted a gorgeous range of school girl-inspired plaid miniskirts a while back, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect one for my petite frame at a more affordable price.

Though I love wearing heels, without them I’m 5’3″ and about 110 pounds, so miniskirts tend to be both too long on me and too baggy at the waist (even with shoes). So, shopping for them is extremely hit-or-miss. Not to mention, there are so many plaids out there, finding the right color combo in my size is tough.

I finally found this one, and it fit like I glove! The muted brown tones were just what I was looking for in terms of color, and the thin, brick red stripes accent it perfectly; I can’t get enough!

It is still freezing where I like in northern New Jersey, so I paired the bodysuit and miniskirt with an oversized vegan leather jacket and thick brown stockings for a streamlined look. I also added my go-to black booties for a little height, which tied in with the black lace bra and vegan leather jacket perfectly.

Going along with the tailored theme, I decided to bring my absolute favorite shorts into the mix. I bought this pair about six or seven (maybe eight?) years ago from American Apparel’s California Select line, and have been so in love ever since. There are endless ways to style them, and they’re just such a classic. The color, the cut, everything about them is fabulous.

To make them look a little more laid-back, I paired them with a floral cropped top from Rat & Boa. This boho-inspired piece is absolutely gorgeous; the color palette couldn’t be better, the material is amazing, aaand it even has ultra-femme bell sleeves (which I love). Plus, the tie front makes it ideal for showing off all my fav bralettes.

I completed the look with a pair of lace stockings and, once again, my black booties and black bra from the previous two looks–and I am so happy with how it turned out. Mixing prints and textures is the best way to spice up old and tired pieces, and it’s a great way to bringing boho looks into the colder months.

Shop my look:

Bodysuit, Danielle Guizio NY

Pants, I.Am.Gia, no longer available

Lace bra, Free People

Plaid skirt, thrifted

Leather jacket, thrifted

Floral blouse, Rat & Boa, no longer available (but the coordinating Cerretti dress is)

Shorts, California Select by American Apparel, one-of-a-kind

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Sustainability is sexy. And like most things in life, I partake in sustainable fashion using the 80/20 rule. That is, I shop sustainably 80 percent of the time (either secondhand or from “slow fashion” retailers like the ones listed below), and indulge in non-sustainable fashion (such as Free People or I.Am.Gia) the remaining 20 percent of the time.

A few months ago I put together a post on my favorite U.S.-based fashion retailers, and while most of those *are* sustainable sources of fashion (looking at you, Backbite, Reformation and Revice), I left out a few notable names.

Hot-As-Hell: With a name like Hot-As-Hell, this definitely isn’t your mother’s sustainable fashion label. So, indulge in ultra-femme lingerie, swimwear, loungewear and ready-to-wear without any of the guilt you’d get shopping at a department store.

Timeless and wearable, HAH’s constructs quality pieces that fit impeccably–thanks to Jacalyn Bennett, a 30-year veteran of lingerie and apparel design.

Per the brand’s website, “HAH is proud to work with vendors who are pioneers in their industries, socially and ecologically conscious and experts in their respective fields.”

Additionally, the label cares about their production methods just as much as it cares about its products and customers.

The site continues, “HAH is committed to minimizing waste, through our smarter usage of resources and raw materials…Ever conscious of the environment and the products we make, we work hard (and smart) to ensure that our legacy is something we can be proud of. In keeping with the HAH ideal of eco-friendly design, we have launched a number of sustainable initiatives…”

Nüdwear: Kick your Victoria’s Secret habit to the curb with Nüdwear, a sustainable lingerie company based in New York. Specializing in no-show bras for the backless, strapless or plunging top lover in you, this innovative, one-of-a-kind label also has a gorgeous selection of slips and robes.

Per Nüdwear, “We feel that it is our responsibility as a brand to minimize our impact on the environment through sustainable manufacturing practices and by using eco-friendly materials, packaging and mailers.”

Sure, nearly every gal loves splurging on a sexy For Love And Lemons or Agent Provocateur set to show off now and then. But, think of Nüdwear as the essential, everyday lingerie you *don’t* want to be seen; looking seamless is the whole point.

Re/Done: If you love denim, you need a pair of Re/Done jeans. I’m not so much of a denim lover as I am a denim obsessor, so I invested in a pair of Re/Done’s Ass Rip Jean: the same as the brand’s signature High Rise Jean, except its pre-torn right below the cheek.

Re/Done–known for its white label–is completely different from any other denim on the market in just about every way possible.

Per the brand’s website, “We take the vintage denim apart at the seams, repurposing it as the fabric of our new jeans…The pair you select on our website is the pair that you will receive at your doorstep. We simplify the tedious process of searching for hours or days to find the perfect looking vintage jeans, then having to find a ‘denim’ tailor to modernize the fit, yet give you that same personalized experience, ultimately taking individuality a step further than anyone else.”

And all of that is done sustainably in the United States.

“We are proud to manufacture our jeans in Downtown Los Angeles using water conserving methods and no harsh chemicals. Quantities will always be limited since each pair is handpicked, hand cut and distinctly one-of-a-kind.”

In addition to *tons* of denim–including jackets, shorts and skirts–Re/Done has an impressive collection of leather, t-shirts, bodysuits and sportswear. Explore #myredones on Insta for a little taste of all the brand’s white-label-clad pieces.

More than just a denim company, Re/Done is “a movement to restore individuality to the luxury fashion space, a movement to keep heritage brands relevant and a movement to create sustainable fashion.”

Enjoy the sustainable look I put together with #myredones (Ass Rips, of course) and a simple-yet-sexy ribbed tank from Reformation Vintage.

As Re/Done’s site states, these jeans took a little breaking in before they felt right. The racerback tank, however, was killer from the second I put it on. It has that perfectly flattering fit, plus it’s COMFORTABLE and looks amazing with just about everything. (And it’s just the right amount of see-through). I want to wear it all day, every day. (I’m definitely going to grab a couple more next time I’m in L.A.)

I’m also wearing Red Earth’s Have Fun Lipstick Matches in a gorgeous coral-red color; such a creamy and buildable formula. Peep the super cute packaging, too! I’ve been having so much fun testing out this brand’s range.

Shop my look:

Tank top, Reformation Vintage (Melrose Ave, Los Angeles)

Jeans, Re/Done, similar here

Have Fun Lipstick Matches, Red Earth

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