From left to right: Sahara Ray Swim, Danielle Guizio NY, Slate Swim, Danielle Guizio NY

Swimsuits are my guilty pleasure! I can never resist a cute one, no matter the time of year.

While my hometown is currently facing its third snowstorm in two weeks, bikini season is already on my mind.

When it comes to swim, I definitely prefer sexier, skimpier styles with flattering and feminine cuts. I am drawn to solid colors, or simple patterns that only incorporate a couple colors.

Similarly, I tend to go for classic styles over trendy options when it comes to swimwear. Swimsuits that incorporate clothing trends (think: last year’s choker bikini) look super cheap in my opinion.

That being said, I recognize that styles do change throughout the years–even when it comes to swimwear. That’s why I put together this list of swim styles that are killin’ it for Summer 2018. (Don’t worry–they are all hot enough to wear well past this summer.)

Bright colors: I will be the first to admit I love a classic black or white bikini! But after years of nude being the must-have color (thanks, Kanye), I’m starting to see a ton more brightly colored swimsuits on the market. And I’m loving it!

Paradise, an eye-catching fuchsia, by Minimale Animale [source: Minimale Animale]

Animal prints: As an Italian, I can’t say “no” to cheetah print. Thankfully, I’ve already seen a ton of fierce and fun animal print suits this year. From the classic cheetah in Em Rata’s new label Inamorata Swim to Minimale Animale’s fresh tiger pattern, I am so excited to rock some animal prints on the beach this summer.

WISH LIST: I am dying to get my hands on the Swami suit in cheetah by Inamorata Swim [source: Inamorata Swim]

Tiger Baby, a modern take on a classic pattern, by Minimale Animale [source: Minimale Animale]

Chain details: Never thought I would be into this trend, but subtlety is definitely key here. Instead of a standard suit adorned with a chain at the hip, I am loving swimsuits that utilize delicate, jewelry-like chains with clasps over classic tie-style closure.

I picked up a simple white bikini from Danielle Guizio NY that fastens with gold chains, and I think it’s the hottest thing ever! It’s sexy and feminine, and I know it will never go out of style.

Chain Bikini Top & Chain Bikini Bottom by Danielle Guizio NY [source: Danielle Guizio NY]

Racerback tops that tie in the front: Classic racerback tops can flatten your chest, giving you that less-than-desirable uni-boob (at least, that’s what they do to me). Racerback tops that tie in the front, however, always amp up the cleavage and show the perfect amount of skin! They’re so gorgeous, and such a great change of pace from triangle tops.

The Zinc Top (& Zinc Bottoms) in Toast by Slate Swim [source: Slate Swim]

The Ireland Top in Black Sabbath by Sahara Ray Swim [source: Sahara Ray Swim]

Strap-y tanga bottoms: When ditching your triangle top for the day, it can also be tempting to forgo the string bottoms that go with it; that’s where strap-y tanga bottoms come in!

Tanga bottoms are typically known for their thick, athletic-inspired straps. But when the straps become spaghetti-thin, tanga bottoms are just as ideal for avoiding huge tan lines as your go-to string bottoms. Plus, you’ll never have to worry about them coming untied completely or sagging when the ties become loose.

Kim Kardashian in the Kim Bottoms by Sahara Ray Swim [source: Sahara Ray Swim]

One pieces that feel like two: For making a poolside statement, there’s nothing better than a daring one piece–especially those that allow your stomach and bum to catch the sun’s rays.

I am loving Minimale Animale’s range of sexy one pieces. When it comes to swimwear, they always take the cake, and their one pieces are no exception. They have a ton of different styles (including a line for gals who prefer a little more coverage), so there is a one piece for every bikini-lover.

The Lucid Onezie Rib Suit in Sea Salt by Minimale Animale [source: Minimale Animale]

Follow:

Monthly favorites posts are my fav to read and watch, so I am super happy I’ve been able to keep up with doing my own this year–granted we’re only two months in. But so far, I’m two for two.

While I’m still into fall/winter styles (think: knitwear, tailored pieces and plaid, as well as dark, vampy and grunge-y makeup), Spring has been on my mind this month (if you couldn’t already tell by the insane number of Polyvore sets I’ve been putting together lately). I’ve been doing my best to transition these styles for the upcoming season.

Beauty-wise, I’ve definitely been loving things in the affordable range. My usual Glossier suspects make up the bulk of what I’ve been reaching for, but there are also a few new bits from ColourPop thrown into the mix.

ColourPop Stippling Brush: Until I purchased this brush, I didn’t get the hype around Tarte’s Shape Tape concealer. I’d been using Shape Tape for months, blending it with my fingers, which gave me good coverage but didn’t “wow” me in the ways that I expected to be wow’d by one of America’s top concealers.

ColourPop’s Stippling Brush has seriously made all the difference; I seriously wish I discovered it sooner. I apply Shape Tape with its doe-foot brush, tap gently with my fingers, then blend and buff with the Stippling Brush for virtually flawless coverage that looks almost airbrushed. I can’t get enough. $8, ColourPop

ColourPop Super Shock Highlighters: I am so addicted to these! I ordered ColourPop’s Super Shock Highlighter in the shade Off Tropic after Christmas when I had a little extra cash, and since then I’ve invested in three others: Might Be, Flexitarian and Over The Moon.

Off Tropic and Flexitarian are perfect everyday shades for me; I keep Might Be and Over The Moon for more fun looks.

Not only are these highlighters super affordable–like, under $10 affordable–they are amazing. They are so smooth that in the pan, they almost feel wet. And they definitely give your face that delicious “wet” look. All four apply so evenly and intensely, either with a setting brush, a fan brush or the ring finger. $8, ColourPop

ColourPop x Kathleenlights Moon Child Lip Gloss: Another ColourPop pick! I promise this post isn’t sponsored in any way; I genuinely love this brand and its products so much.

I am a glossy lip gal; I can never fully get the hang of matte lipsticks despite their popularity. So when I say that Moon Child is hands-down the best lip gloss ever, don’t take it lightly, because I’m not exaggerating.

It has a medium-coverage crème finish (that is the perfect light pink-y nude color) with the tiniest gold flecks. I love how it makes the lips look slightly juicier in the subtlest, most natural way. $6, ColourPop

OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Eye Crème: After being pretty unhappy with the previous two eye creams I’ve used, OLEHENRIKSEN’s Banana Bright is so refreshing.

I had previously used Youth To The People’s eye cream, which I honestly kind of hated. Other than the creamy formula, it pretty much sucked. It failed to do virtually anything, and it stung my eyes like crazy almost every time I used it.

After I (finally) finished YTTP’s, I picked up an anti-aging eye gel from OLEHENRIKSEN. While I saw some results with this product, especially as I got towards the end of the container, I didn’t like the gel texture at all.

As soon as I ran out, I ordered OLEHENRIKSEN’s newest cream formula that I’ve heard so much about! And this eye cream is definitely living up to the hype; the texture is amazing, it wears flawlessly under makeup and, so far, it works!

Although the container is small (most eye creams are), a little goes a really long way with Banana Bright. I spread it thin in the morning before makeup, then layer it on thick before bed. $38, Sephora

Herbivore Botanicals Jade Facial Roller: I can’t believe I went this long without using a jade roller! I am so in love. It’s great for getting serums, moisturizer and eye cream deeper into the skin after applying. And when the roller itself is cold, it feels so soothing.

Because I’ve only had it about a month, I can’t say if it truly has any long-term benefits. But I am looking forward to continue use! (Let me know in the comments if you would like an update down the road!) $25, Herbivore Botanicals

Blazer dress from Amuse Society: Like I said, I am all about tailored pieces right now, so a post on how I style this piece is coming soon! I love how versatile this blazer dress is; I can style it for work, a night out or anything in between. It is equal parts serious and sexy. $75, Amuse Society

Gucci Brixton leather Horsebit loafer: I’ve had my eye on these for over a year, so when I landed a new job a few weeks ago, I finally splurged. They are practical, comfortable and so gorgeous. Plus, they won’t ever go out of style. They basically haven’t left my feet since I got them.

There are so many Gucci loafers and slippers to choose from nowadays, but I opted for the pair that can be worn as both. The convertible back can be folded down and flattened, transforming a classic pair of Horsebit loafers into slippers. $730, Gucci

Byredo candles in Peyote Poem and Woods: I mentioned that I’ve been wanting to try these scents in last month’s favorites, so on Valentine’s Day I treated myself to them (after a couple glasses of red).

Can’t decide which one smells better! Both have the musky smell that I love in a candle and in perfumes. (Honestly, everything I’ve smelled from Byredo smells heavenly.)

Every night I’ve been burning one or the other four about an hour to an hour and a half while I read so I don’t go through them to quickly. I can’t live without candles, and these are definitely top-notch. Prices vary, Byredo

Follow:

Caution: The post contains Sex And Rage: A Novel spoilers.

[source: Counterpoint Press & Mirandi Babitz via Elle]

February is a short month, so I chose a relatively short book called Sex And Rage by Eve Babitz.

With its breezy, almost poetic writing style, this novel is pretty different than anything I’ve ever read. But Sex And Rage 

Sex And Rage takes place in Los Angeles, so I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is unfamiliar with the area; the author makes a ton of references to certain landmarks and local nuances. That, combined with the read’s light, airy style, gives this read a warm-and-cozy, homelike feeling. If you are also familiar with L.A., I think you’ll really like it, too!

Jacaranda and her sister April are L.A.-natives who grew up on the beach, surfing day in and day out. After high school, Jacaranda moves inland to Hollywood with her boyfriend and gets involved with a hard-partying crowd, sliding through life on her good looks and a part-time surfboard painting gig.

Before the reader knows it, Jacaranda is a 28-year-old writer, separated from Max and living in a small, unfurnished apartment. Her new love interest, a Hawaiian heartthrob she’s known since she was a kid, moves in–but he doesn’t realize the extant of the alcohol problem Jacaranda developed over the past years.

On most days, after a 7 a.m. wakeup call from her editor in New York, Jacaranda is heavily drunk before noon. Jacaranda met her editor at a popular local cafe (blackout drunk, of course) while she was visiting L.A.

But when she goes back to New York and Jacaranda has enough of her book finished to meet with publishers, she insists Jacaranda makes the cross-country trip.

Her live-in boyfriend is all for it; he himself frequently leaves L.A. without notice to go surfing in Laguna Beach. Jacaranda, on the other hand, is super hesitant, so she often drunkenly picks a fight with him. She’ll then call her editor crying, saying that something’s happened and she can’t come to New York.

The truth is, she’s too comfortable in the socialite lifestyle she’s developed and the high-rolling, socialite friends she’s made. That, and she doesn’t want her editor and the publishers to see what an alcoholic she is for themselves; she fears New York is too serious, too public for her.

After putting up a good fight, Jacaranda makes the trip to New York–she decides her group of friends aren’t as friendly as they seem. Unattached and living in an era without cell phones or social media, she cuts ties with her socialite lifestyle (which mainly consisted of drinking White Ladies among L.A.’s wealthiest power players, whom she once called friends).

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel! It was exciting and did a good job keeping my attention. The main character was equal parts relatable (in that she was a young woman not 100-percent sure of her path–I am by no means an alcoholic…Just had to throw in the disclaimer) and interesting. I would definitely consider reading more work by Eve Babitz!

But for now…Next up is Women Who Work: Rewriting The Rules For Success by Ivanka Trump.

Follow:

Thrifted vegan moto jacket (Poshmark), Levi’s (Melrose Trading Post) and shoes (NYC)

I am an expert thrifter; my entire family is, really. I grew up thrifting alongside my mom, my aunt and my cousins. (My cousin Devon even bought her wedding gown secondhand from a vintage shop, which is ah-mazing. Hey, Dev!)

Over the years I’ve gathered a ton of tips and tricks for successful thrifting, and I am thrilled to be able to share them with my community. Not only is shopping secondhand an environmentally friendly alternative to fast fashion, it is a great way to find unique, high-quality pieces at an affordable price.

It’s no secret that clothes, shoes, accessories, even home furnishings aren’t made with the craftsmanship of yesteryear, and for this reason alone I believe thrifting is worth the hassle it can sometimes cause.

Thankfully, technology has made thrifting something you can do from the comfort of your couch with a bowl of popcorn. For more of my preferred methods, keep reading!

  1. Your local, trusted tailor is your best friend! This is my first tip because it is the most important! Americans don’t utilize tailors like they used to, and for that reason, we modern Americans suck at dressing ourselves. By supporting your local tailor, you’re actually doing yourself a huge favor, too: not only will you be more comfortable and confident in your clothes, you’ll actually get more wear out of them. Because thrift shops almost always stock one of each piece, it is unlikely all your finds will be the right size. DON’T LET THAT DISCOURAGE YOU. I cannot emphasize this enough! If you find something you love, but it’s a little to big, a little too long, or needs some patching up, take the time to bring it to a tailor you can trust. It’s worth it. This tip is especially useful for petite gals like me; I’ve found that vintage retailers tend to stock sizes 27 (i.e., size 4) and up. Sizes 24 (00), 25 (0) and 26 (2) are super hard to come by.
  2. Download buy & sell apps! Poshmark and Depop are my favs, but there’s also a handful of others like Mercari or even Etsy. You can make bank by selling your own pieces, and you could also score pre-loved goodies from across the country or around the world! Spend a Saturday or Sunday uploading to your virtual closet so that others can shop from you, then settle down and explore what’s out there! Though a scammer may try to contact you every now and then, they are pretty easy to spot, and the apps, which are businesses in and of themselves equipped with 24/7 support teams, are safe and reliable. Poshmark even allows returns if your purchase doesn’t arrive as listed. However, I will say this: STAY ON THE APP AND ONLY BUY/SELL DIRECTLY FROM THE APP. A surefire way to spot a scammer is if they message you, reply to you or comment on your page asking if you’ll buy from them or sell to them off the app (either through Paypal or some other method). Politely tell them that you only buy/sell directly from the app, and block them if necessary. And definitely don’t give them your email address.
  3. Pictures matter! When it comes to selling on apps like Poshmark and Depop, pictures matter! Your potential buyers want to see clear, well-lit, unfiltered and unobstructed images. Think about it–you wouldn’t want to purchase something if the picture of it is crappy, so why would others? Invest some time in taking good quality pictures for your virtual closet (smartphone cameras work fine!), and remember that if you model your pieces, they are more likely to sell.
  4. Be patient! This tip applies to real-life shopping, as well as shopping through apps. Every once in a while, you may get lucky by finding your dream piece right away, but most of the time, it will take time! For this reason, thrifting digitally has a clear advantage over thrifting IRL. Most of the apps allow you to save a piece for future purchase by “liking” it, whereas leaving a piece behind on a thrift store shelf in hopes of finding something better can give you that one-that-got-away feeling. If there’s something super specific you’re looking for, apps are your best bet. You can check for it by typing a word or phrase into the search bar multiple times a day and on multiple different apps to maximize your chances. With a little patience, you’re sure to come across the right one in a matter of weeks, days or even hours! As far as thrifting IRL, strategic searching takes time, energy and even a little research, but it is almost always rewarding!

Some of my absolute favorite pieces were thrifted by yours truly. If you’re in LA and love thrifting as much as I do (or are a first-time who wants to get into thrifting), stop by my go-to spots Melrose Trading Post (open only on Sunday’s–get there early!), Reformation Vintage (8253 Melrose Ave) and Wasteland. The best part is that these spots are all on the same street, with walking distance of one another (although Wasteland has two other locations in Santa Monica and Studio City, both in the LA area).

Follow:

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

Follow: