Maxi dress time

All of my loyal readers know how much I love a good maxi dress. I could wear them all year round, but live in them during the spring and summer. Right before I left for Miami, I took one last shopping trip just to make sure I was not missing anything. Turns out, I was definitely missing this stunning blue dress that I purchased on sale at Fashion Statement boutique in Bryn Mawr @shop.fashion_statement Make sure to stop by this fabulous boutique for unique and stylish pieces.

This dress has pockets!!! I feel like I don’t need to say anything else, but I will elaborate. The color is so brilliant that I wore red metal lipstick by Lipstick Queen to compliment the vibrancy. As for accessories, the temperature was scorching so I decided to keep it light. I wore my favorite oversized straw hat that I purchased last summer at H&M. The dress has spectacular movement, it’s unbelievably comfortable, and looks like it should be worn in Greece.

Ashley

Ashley

rooftop

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

American Giant Hoodie

The weather has been brutal this winter ranging from below freezing to spring like sunshine. On those exceptionally chilly days, this particular piece of apparel has saved me from frostbite. I’m not really sure if I would have gotten frostbite, but I recently saw the movie Everest. A movie based on a true story of the climbers that experienced a deadly storm as they scaled Mount Everest. Watching the movie was enough of a terrifying experience, let alone actually enduring that type of treachery on your body. Anyway, after seeing the film, I definitely do not want frostbite.

I read several articles featuring this company that specialized in quality made clothing, more specifically hoodies. American Giant, was founded in 2011 and has developed a superior brand both in quality and customer service. They believe in manufacturing in the U.S. keeping costs down by eliminating elevated marketing budgets and building multiple storefronts.

Typically, a hoodie is not a winter wardrobe staple of mine. Hoodies can be oversized and unstructured. However, the hoodies from American Giant, like the classic full zip, is made with the highest quality cotton with reinforced elbow patches and tailored for the perfect fit. The classic fit is warm and soft, adding an insulated layer underneath your coat.

I chose to wear this fabulous zippered hoodie in Phantom Grey with a pair of navy cargo pants from H&M and a brightly colored scarf.

American Giant

American Giant

Supporting Ethical Brands

I believe in supporting brands and companies with a solid mission. A company and brand that is focused and aware of the world and its struggles. Ideally, I want to one day live in a society where a company does not have to claim “sweat shop free” or “not tested on animals.” Hopefully, one day that will just be a given. Veganism has changed the way that I look at all of my passions within the lifestyle industry from fashion to beauty- not just food. Making conscious, ethical decisions about where I buy is just as important as what I buy. I have discontinued making any purchases that are not vegan, only keeping the articles of clothing purchased prior to conversion, as I believe that would be just as wasteful. Throughout my vegan journey, I try to educate myself about the environmental issues attached to certain products as well. For instance, palm oil is technically a vegan food, but it is not ethical. Palm oil plantations cause large scale deforestation, which leads to greenhouse gas emissions, habitat destruction, and reduced biodiversity to name a few.

“Luxurious” fabrics including furs and leather as many of you know are vastly procured through painful and torturous injustices towards animals and cause heavy pollution to the environment through the tanning process.

Other fabrics including wool, silk, and cashmere are also not vegan friendly.

These are my personal beliefs and in no way am I trying to pressure you into converting to a vegan. I am simply sharing my thoughts on the matter. The point I am trying to make is that you do not have to compromise your personal beliefs for fashion and beauty. Companies such as H&M for instance base their H&M Conscious selection on a basic principle, to supply customers with plenty of fashionable, trendy clothing and accessory options that are good for people, the planet and your wallet! As CEO, Karl- Johan Persson states, “ we have set ourselves the challenge of ultimately making fashion sustainable and sustainability fashionable.” I tend to shop at H&M often and recently purchased many exciting items for amazing prices, making sure that all items that I purchase are vegan. H&M places the highest emphasis on animal welfare, having teamed with the Humane Society to see that best practices are enforced if you so choose to purchase leather.

Jimani Collections, a beautiful jewelry, accessory, and home goods company has created a sustainable solution to poverty. Jimani partners with impoverished Kenyan women, providing employment, a safe workplace, and education within the product design and product creation. Jimani links consumers and artisans to promote equitable trade while alleviating poverty. More to come on this company and products in future post.

These are just a couple of examples of companies that stand for more than just the superficial. Their story, concept, and mission stems from an awareness larger than just the trends or demands in fashion and beauty. For a shopaholic like myself, retail is my cardio. Shopping releasing endorphins just as powerful as an hour in the gym. The experience is even more impactful knowing that the items in my bags did not harm the environment, animals, or people! The simple truth is there is a way to remain fashionable with very little and convenient changes and it begins with knowledge. I continue to learn everyday and make mistakes regularly, but I will never stop striving.

SupportingEthicalBrands

Illustration created by Wendy Buiter. Character is wearing H&M Chiffon Maxi Dress and Jimani Collections Alanna Masaai Beaded Tassel Necklace. Thank you to my sweet Sophia.

Classic style

Sadly, I needed to cover a few unwanted grey hairs over the weekend. After my mane was back to looking its old self, I felt ready to take some photos of a classic look that I wear quite often. The air was crisp this weekend with beautiful sunny days. I am originally from Upstate New York and by now I probably sound like a broken record telling you this, but I am used to seeing spectacular fall weather. The leaves are one of my favorite parts of a NY fall. The colors are breathtaking. I have lived in PA long enough to have seen some stinkers when it comes to the autumn season- brown, shriveled leaves fallen to the ground without even changing color. Not this year! Must have something to do with the way we have abused the environment for so long, but the trees are vivid and bright and still intact until they inevitably cascade along the trunk. It was the perfect time to break out this ensemble.

I am wearing black ponte pants from Ann Taylor– a wardrobe staple in my opinion, a black lace 3/4 sleeved top from a quaint boutique in Paoli called Polka Dots, an older pair of Vera Wang for Kohl’s biker booties, and topped the whole look with a faux leather biker jacket from H&M. This is such a versatile outfit that can be worn casually, as I have done, or dressier with a clutch and heels. If you were wearing this look in the evening you could swap my pinky colored lipstick for a red or deep plum. I chose to keep my makeup pretty simple and tried my hand at liquid eyeliner, which was an exercise of skill for me. My hand is steady as a rock and then just as I begin to apply eyeliner I shake like a leaf (multiple idioms included). This time I had no problems at all. I used Two Timer- a dual ended eyeliner by NYX Cosmetics, which I absolutely love.

Ashley Basla

Ashley Basla

Ashley faux leather

Ashley Basla

Ashley Basla

 

70’s vibe

Those who know me know that I am not the biggest fan of the 70’s. For instance, check out Pantone’s 40 years of color. Let me draw your attention to the 70’s-  avocado, browns, mauves, mostly muted and muddied colors. When creating a classic fashion look I tend to find inspiration from the 50’s. However, on a recent shopping trip I actually found a 70’s inspired look that I absolutely love. It’s flattering on all shapes, warm and cozy for the autumn season, and very chic.

I am a fan of a classic crisp white shirt with jeans. This look is slightly modified with a nod to the 70’s era. I paired the white button down with high waisted and flare jeans. For accessories, I didn’t want to overdo the look and make it appear too much like a costume. I chose a gorgeous blush pink wrap. Flare jeans tend to run on the long side so if you are shorter and do not like the look of your pants dragging, then I suggest wearing boots with a heel or a platform. I am wearing a pair of Tory Burch booties that I purchased years ago. Otherwise, my entire look was found at H&M.

Ashley

Ashley

Ashley

As for makeup, I embraced to trends of the 70’s, wearing soft metallic colors- no contouring, no lip liner. I began with Laini Cosmetics BB cream and am wearing both blush and eyeshadow from the Independent palette from Laini Cosmetics with Laura Mercier creme eye liner in envy only applied in the eye socket. To finish the look, I chose No.1 lipstick Sophia Loren shade from Dolce & Gabbana. Tip: apply your blush to the apples of your cheek and upward towards your temple when aiming for a more 70’s softer look.

Ashley

Ashley

Let me know what you think about this look. Have you embraced a style that you never thought you would like? Let me know.

Fall Style Pieces

Nightmare Before Christmas

Fall and winter are my favorite seasons for fashion, but I usually do my shopping in dribs and drabs. I like to first make a game plan, picking staple pieces and supplementing the rest with last year’s wardrobe. I have a collection of boots, coats, and sweaters which carry over each season so I try to add accessories and new pieces to freshen up the look.

Here are some of my picks for a stylish and impeccable fall wardrobe.

Faux suede leggings at Ann Taylor. You cannot kill the clothing from Ann Taylor. The quality is remarkable. Each piece keeps its shape and color beautifully even with multiple washes.

Houndstooth jacket at Zara. The blazers at Zara are the perfect option for those of us who like the fit of tailored clothing without having the trouble of getting it tailored specifically.

Long sleeved bodysuit at Asos. Adding a thin shirt to your wardrobe is important so you have the option to layer.

Knee high boots at H&M. The taller the boot, the warmer. They can be worn over leggings or with opaque tights and a skirt.

Chucky knitwear at shopbop. A well fitting sweater is a staple for fall. Depending on the weather you may only need a flattering sweater with a scarf and a pair of jeans.

Plaid poncho

In celebration of the official first day of fall, I am posting my plaid poncho. Yesterday was sunny, but there was a briskness in the air, a beautiful day for layers. September can be a tricky month in terms of weather. It is important to keep transitional pieces in your wardrobe to bridge the gap between summer and fall. I like to layer summer dresses over jeans or leggings. Simply throw on a light jacket, cardigan, or blazer over sleeveless dresses for extra warmth.

In these photos I am wearing a sleeveless black tank dress over faux leather and suede leggings. To really pump up the fall wardrobe, I wore booties with a zipper detail and bundled with my oversized plaid poncho, all purchased at H&M. I have a confession to make about the poncho. I saw it hanging on the rack and immediately grabbed it. However, I thought it was a large scarf. It was not until I returned home and removed the tags that I noticed there was something off about this scarf. That’s because it was a poncho! I fell even more in love with this accessory. Sometimes that just happens.

“The best part is you can shorten it and wear it again!” One of the most infuriating quotes from the movie 27 dresses. Sadly, it is a rarity that bridesmaids dresses will be worn again let alone outside a wedding. This sentiment does ring true to this outfit choice. Switch the poncho with a moto jacket or a tuxedo blazer with a autumn colored scarf like pumpkin orange or royal purple. The booties could easily be swapped with a pair of heels for a night out. The possibilities are endless, which makes this the perfect look to keep on hand during this season.

plaid poncho

DVF bag

plaid poncho

plaid poncho

 

Modern grunge

I was a 90’s kid through and through. Platforms, overalls, dark lipstick. I tried to wear all of the fashion trends at some point. Alanis Morissette, No Doubt, and the Spice Girls were CD’s loaded in my three disc player. Pogs, Beanie Babies, and all things Lisa Frank. What an era? What a contradiction of sorts- listening to Alanis contemplate her ex and the irony of life while carrying psychedelic cartoon school supplies!

Now the grunge look is back trending for this year’s A/W fashion season and I am ready. Ready to actually do it right this time. Carefully pulling together an outfit that incorporates the trend while remaining true to my style and what is most flattering on my figure. After all that is most important. Trends come and go, but you want to avoid looking like you are wearing a costume.

Time to shop. I was on a mission to find a look that resembled the 90’s grunge era while picking pieces that would still be appropriate throughout the upcoming fall season. I headed over to the King of Prussia mall and braced the Labor Day sales crowd, which was intense. H&M and Forever 21 were on my radar. I had an idea of what I wanted before walking into these stores, which is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it is challenging to find the exact outfit that I conjure in my mind. On this occasion I made out like a bandit- with sales to boot!

Tunics are a major trend this season, but if you want one that is more form fitting try pairing it with leggings to keep the aesthetic looking sleek instead of boxy. Black boots or booties are the perfect fall/winter shoe. I chose to keep my jewelry simple, wearing a pair of striped earrings and silver stackable rings. As for my bag, a book bag that I saved from the 90’s to tie the entire look together.

Booties and leggings

Book bag

Black and white tunic

DSCN9445

Makeup was kept simple as well, but still reflected the 90’s with visible lip liner and a little gloss added on top. Hair was slightly punk, as I created a faux mohawk. This is very simple to create. Simply, make four ponytails evenly down the length of your head. Each ponytail is braided and then pull through the braid creating a fat and uneven tail. Start to make a bun and fasten with bobby pins. Repeat down the length of your head.

Faux Mohawk

Ashley

Let me know what you think!

Back to school

I attended private schools from K-12, which meant uniforms. Growing up this did not bother me as it did others because it made my mornings incredibly simple. I knew exactly what I was going to wear each day. This freed time for me to worry about more pressing issues like my hair and makeup. It was not until I began college that I wore my own clothes to school. At this point it was easy for me to adjust because my class times were later than the former 6 am bus pickup.

For those of you who are able to wear your own clothes to school I have gathered some options for the upcoming and sad to say fast approaching school year. Here are also some tips that I have learned along the way.

  1. If you are not a morning person, try to shower the night before to avoid getting up even earlier. You can easily style your hair by gently pulling it back, fastening with bobby pins to ensure that your hair remains in place.
  2. Make time for breakfast! It really does make a huge difference. Plan your outfit the night before and lay it out neatly to eliminate extra time and frustration in the morning.
  3. Make sure to dress for success. If you are comfortable attending class in pajamas, fine, but if you are not as productive in casual attire then wear what makes you feel your best. I had a professor thank me at the end of the semester for dressing so nicely to class. It showed that I made an effort to learn. Check the weather forecast so there are no surprises in the morning.
  4. Set your alarm and place it just out of reach. This way you will have to physically get up to turn off the obnoxious sound instead of hitting the snooze button repeatedly.

Ok, now for the exciting part, the clothing! Consider that Fall is just around to corner and the weather will have a brisk chill to the air. Add layering pieces to your wardrobe, a long sleeved button down or cape for instance are excellent choices. This will cover the in between days that are not cold enough for a jacket, but still not warm enough to have your arms exposed. I am really into plaid for the fall season.

H&M plaid button down shirt

H&M plaid cape

Jeans are the perfect fall staple. They can be worn both casually and dressy and just a change in the denim color changes the whole look.

H&M jeans

H&M jeans

Purchase a lightweight jacket or coat. Something that is not too bulky when going to class. A faux leather motorcycle jacket is a great choice.

H&M motorcycle jacket

If you are starting college this year or heading back for a new semester, there may be a significant amount of walking required around your campus. Owning a pair of supportive and sleek kicks is important. Check out Target for some fabulous finds like this pair of quilted high top faux leather sneakers.

faux leather sneakers

Make sure to have some sporty attire on hand, like a pair of yoga pants or activewear for working out or just on the days you want to feel extra comfortable. Walmart has an extensive selection of activewear and at an affordable price point. The rest of the clothing featured is from H&M, which has some exciting pieces for the fall!

activewear

Wide brim hat

I have been in search for the perfect wide brim straw hat since the beginning of summer, but finding it a bit challenging to stay within a budget. There are wonderful hat designers and a beautiful selection- for a hefty price. I am all about a good deal- especially when I am searching for a novelty item. Traditionally, I do not wear hats in the summertime and therefore am not entirely sure that this purchase will last longer than one season for me, which makes it important for me to not overspend.

Over the weekend, I did a little shopping at the King of Prussia Mall and stopped into H&M. Really I was looking for a kimono to wear over a top I have hanging in my closet. No luck on the kimono, but as I was wandering- there it was- staring back at me- calling my name. The perfect wide brim straw hat. That is how it works sometimes, you find it when you are least expecting. As I mentioned in another post sometimes shopping experiences can be a bit disappointing for me, as I conjure up in my head exactly what I am looking for- the design and trying to match the image in my head can be difficult. On this occasion, I was not disappointed. I found the exact hat I was looking for all summer and at a steal!!! This hat is $12.95! I mean you just cannot beat that price, plus it is excellent quality and has a beautiful black trim.

AshleyBasla

I paired my new fabulous find hat with a beautiful Badgley Mischka one piece bathing suit. I was drawn to the details, plunging neckline, open back, and ruching around the waist, which is anything but the typical plain one piece bathing suit. It is also available in other colors besides black, including red, magenta, teal, and navy. I paired the suit with a mini black drawstring coverup by Robin Piccone that I purchased several years ago.

AshleyLauren

Ashley

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