Thanksgiving Romper: Comfort & Class

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Adelyn Rae Lace Inset Romper - [Nordstrom, sold out] Similar Here & Here  ||  Black Block Heel Sandals - [Target]  ||  Gold 3D Pyramid Earrings - [Nordstrom, sold out] Similar Here  ||  Gold Apple Watch Sport - [Apple]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Cuff - [The Ultimate Cuff] Use Code: EMILYESSENTIALLY for 10% off!  ||  Gold Studded Hinge Cuff Bangle - [Rebecca Minkoff, sold out] Similar Here  ||  Delicate Gold Stacking Rings - [Melanie Auld]  ||  Half-Moon Convertible Calf Hair Pouch - [Banana Republic]

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving everyone!  I've had busy month leading up to the holidays, but I couldn't let this Turkey Day slip past without sharing a little outfit inspiration. Sometimes I struggle with how to dress for family Thanksgiving festivities. The plan seems to change year-to-year with who's hosting, who's coming into town and what our dinner plans are.  I can never decide if a dress, leggings or somewhere in between is appropriate.  Most times I wear a dress and tights, so this year I wanted to switch it up a bit.

I don't think a bodycon skin-tight dress is a good look after the largest dinner you'll eat all year.  Rather than worrying about a dress all day, a romper is a bit more comfortable and conservative.  The romper I featured here is stretchy, figure-flattering and the right amount of dressy - with or without tights.  You can't go wrong with black - it'll keep you looking slim even after you eat!

Holiday Suggestions:

  • Tights - they're always a good idea to add a bit of warmth to your romper.  Whether you go for a simple opaque pair, or something sheer with a bit of pattern or sparkle, you'll be glad you added them to your look.
  • Accessories - find a fun scarf, bag or jewelry piece to enhance your Thanksgiving outfit.  No need to go overboard with something bright red or overly festive; a subtle pattern (like the calf hair on my clutch above) can be a fun talking piece with family and friends.
  • Makeup - keep it easy.  For me, that means winged liner, lashes and a bold lip, but if that means mascara and tinted moisturizer for you, then you do you!  Don't add the extra stress of trying a new or complicated makeup technique for a big holiday occasion.  Everyone will be happy to see you as is, so don't overthink it!  A nice bold lip is a standard look though, and if you want one that will stay in place all day (even through the turkey and pumpkin pie), check out LipSense and my Facebook Page here!

Happy Thanksgiving from me to all of you!  I hope you get some fantastic Black Friday deals - my boyfriend and I have been eyeing a new flatscreen TV, so I must say I think I'll be stepping back from all of the clothes this year, much to my dismay.  Let me know what's on your must-have list in the comments below!

Emily Essentially
 

Halloween Paradise: Fire & Ice

I honestly cannot believe that today is Halloween!  This year has flown by, and with it another round of my favorite holiday has taken place.  Most people love Thanksgiving, Christmas or even 4th of July, but my favorite holiday (especially the last three years!), is Halloween.  It's not just the pumpkin carving and candy, but the creativity I can display through the ideation and creation of an epic costume.  I may be too old to trick-or-treat, but that doesn't mean I can't craft a killer costume!  In case you missed my post last year (read it here!), Theatre Bizarre is the world's largest masquerade party, held over two weekends at the Masonic Temple in downtown Detroit.  From burlesque circus performances to haunted roller coasters - anything goes at this party. You'll find every spooky, creepy and ghoulish creature imaginable hidden within the dimly lit and elaborately decorated halls of the eight story building.  Each detail is meticulously thought out, and altogether this is my FAVORITE event to attend in the city.

If you plan to attend Theatre Bizarre, you have to put some SERIOUS thought into your costume. With this being the third year my boyfriend and I have attended, we knew we needed to raise the bar.  Last year we received tons of compliments for our ringleader and lion couples-themed costumes, so we knew that another duo-inspired look would be the way to go.  I researched and came up with a few options, and we ultimately decided on a more abstract theme than in years past - Fire and Ice.  This was appealing because it left so much room for interpretation and creativity!  In keeping in spirit with Theatre Bizarre's motif, we did not directly replicate a character or item.  It was ultimately the right choice, and I'm in LOVE with the final result!

Instead of starting with costumes first, as I did last year - I began by sourcing our makeup inspiration.  After seeing how long it took to create our looks in years past, I wanted to select makeup that I felt confident I could accomplish; one that would continue to evolve our intricate concept.  For mine, I drew inspiration from a few different Ice Queen looks by Desi Perkins, Jordan Hanz and my microblading tech, Houda Hourani.  I loved elements of each, and wanted to ensure I had a feminine-but-fierce look that embodied a frozen ice queen.  I  whitened my complexion and gave everything a frosted finish to elicit a frost-like effect on all of my exposed skin.  I added a very dramatic cut-crease and winged-liner eye look (complete with reflective glitter), and an ombre blue-to-white glitter lip for some glamorous, icy details.  I finished the makeup with sequins and A/B rhinestones all around the high points of my face, and let's not forget my intense white contacts that took the entire look to another level!  Add in some hand-dyed silver extensions, and my hair/makeup combination was frosted to perfection! 

For Andrew, I originally thought about doing a look where his face looked "melted" and exposed his facial muscles, but after attempting the makeup and finding it difficult to translate the vision to reality, I went for something a bit more literal - again inspired by Jordan Hanz.   His fiery makeup featured lava and lava rocks that melted across half of his face and down his chest.  I worked with some Mehron paints and a large selection of SeneGence ShadowSense creme-to-powder shadows, allowing me to create the dimension needed to make it appear that the lava rocks were "raised". The texture and depth of the look made his skin appear like it was melting into an endless lava pit.  I think the added details on his neck, hands and legs really ended up mirroring his costume, and was the centerpiece of his look.

Our costumes this year really enhanced the makeup I created.  As much as it pains me to say, my boyfriend actually wore MORE glitter and glitz than I did!  All for good reason - his glitter flame-encrusted red blazer was a donation to our cause by my Dad (thanks!), and we added some matching flame-covered compression shorts to complete his look.  It's amazing what some makeup, glitter and a few simple wardrobe pieces can do to create an entire costume, and it goes to show that you can take everyday items, add some puff paint or glitter and transform them into an elaborate one-of-a-kind ensemble!  

My costume was a bit more, shall I say...expensive.  I was lucky enough to receive a wedding dress sample that was then deconstructed and made to appear "icy" with some chunky glitter and iridescent touches.  By ripping out all of the dress' lining, I had a sheer tulle overlay and wore a white strapless bra and some bikini bottoms for coverage and a little sex appeal.  The major endeavor on my end was creating my icicle crown!  I watched a tutorial (again created by Jordan Hanz, can you tell I like her?!), and it inspired me to put my own twist on the look.  I created the icicles out of gobs of hot-glue that I glittered while still tacky.  I then affixed them to a foam visor that was cut into a tiara crown shape. Voila!  A crown fit for a cold-hearted ice queen.

The rest of our photos are below, and I just have to thank my dear friend Michelle of Enchanted Memories Photography for yet again nailing these shots and bringing my vision to life!  This perfectly documents another year of Halloween fun - thank you!

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Now that you've had a chance to peruse these professionally shot images, I'll share a few bonus, amateur shots from the party itself!  For the first time in three years, we had some friends tag along and we got the chance to expose them to all that is Theatre Bizarre!  As overwhelming as it may be for first-time attendees, they had a blast and I think we've created a new round of Halloween addicts.  Enjoy the photos below!

Happy Halloween to all of you!  I hope you loved our costumes as much as I did, and I cannot wait to start thinking about next year's looks.  I've already got a few ideas, but until next time...

Emily Essentially
 

Windy City Stripes: All-Purpose Fall Dress

Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes
Emily Essentially | Fashion | Windy City Stripes

Striped Criss-Cross Smock Dress - [Lou & Grey]  ||  Nude Lace-up Heels - [Target, sold out] Similar Here  ||  Kate Spade Abalone Studs - [Nordstrom]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Sport - [Apple]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Cuff - [The Ultimate Cuff] Use Code: EMILYESSENTIALLY for 10% off!  ||  Gold Bangles - [Alex & Ani]  ||  Monogram Neverfull GM Tote - [Louis Vuitton]

Fall weather here in Michigan has been so tricky!  I keep waiting for the temperatures to drop, but we've been hanging solidly in the 70s (and even 80s!) into October, and frankly - I'm not gonna complain.  I've been taking advantage and wearing a few of my new transitional dresses while I can still go bare-legged.  The piece I'm wearing here is a new purchase I made in NYC a few weeks ago - head to the post here to see what I was there for!  I discovered an awesome new store - Lou & Grey, which is a subsidiary of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and that's where I was able to snag this all-purpose dress.  Lou & Grey is only a year old and doesn't have many brick and mortar locations, so check out their online offerings if you're in a state where they don't have a store to visit.

As I get older, I have started to transition my wardrobe priorities from hot little cocktail and going-out dresses to multi-functional lifestyle pieces.  This dress is a quintessential example of why it helps to stock your wardrobe with utility pieces for any type of event.  Let me share the different ways I can re-purpose and restyle this dress:

  • Work - I wore this dress to the office on the day we shot these photos. I adjusted the off-the-shoulder neckline to cover my shoulders, the length was appropriate for an office setting.  
  • Brunch - Throw on some sneakers (like a pair of Keds), add some sunnies and a fall three-season jacket and you're all set!  As the temperatures drop, you might even want to style this over some skinny jeggings for warmth and rock the dress as more of a tunic.  The tie at the waist can be manipulated to help achieve this look.
  • Baby/Wedding Shower - True story: I wore this dress two days in a row!  One to shoot this look while in Chicago, and the next to wear to my former roommate's baby shower.  It was the perfect dress for a fall shower, and I accessorized slightly differently to switch the look up.  An all-purpose dress like this looks great with a cardigan, blazer or jean jacket to dress it up or down.
  • Date Night - Add a little sex appeal for date night by styling with a sleek clutch handbag, a pair of strappy high heels and accessorizing with dressy jewelry pieces.  I'd add some smokey eye makeup and a messy chignon or a bold, statement lip as the finishing touch.

I hope these ideas are inspiration to you as you begin stocking up on some fall staple items.  This dress will be frequently rotated into my style calendar because its color palette, pattern and silhouette are flattering, and as I mentioned above, can be re-styled in endless ways.  What would be your favorite way to style a dress like this?  Sound off in the comments - I'd love to try even more ways to rock my new dress!

Emily Essentially
 

My Fall Wardrobe Essentials: Must-Haves for this Season

Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials
Emily Essentially | Fashion | My Fall Wardrobe Essentials

Brown Suede Moto Jacket - [Nordstrom]  ||  Metallic Wrap Tank - [Zara, sold out] Similar Here  ||  Black Cami - [Express]  ||  Skinny Distressed Paige Jeans - [Nordstrom Rack]  ||  Nude Lace-up Heels - [Target, sold out] Similar Here  ||  Hidden Message Initials Necklace - [Beth Macri]  ||  Kate Spade Abalone Studs - [Nordstrom]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Sport - [Apple]  ||  Gold Apple Watch Cuff - [The Ultimate Cuff] Use Code: EMILYESSENTIALLY for 10% off!  ||  Artsy MM Handbag - [Louis Vuitton]

It's been a minute y'all - all of summer to be exact.  And what a busy summer it was!  I'm so sorry for being M.I.A. for a few months, but it was much needed and I'm ready to focus on creating awesome new content for you all.  Before I give you some details on this fun outfit, let me give you a quick rundown of my summer:

  • I moved.  Twice to be exact!  I'm now a proud Detroiter and I'm ecstatic to start shooting in all of the cool locations nearby!
  • I launched a side hustle.  As you may have seen back in April, I became a LipSense distributor, and getting my business up and running has taken up quite a bit of my free time.  If you want to know more about this, head to this post or to my Facebook group!
  • I traveled.  I went up north a few different times to Traverse City, Charlevoix, and Mackinaw Island.  I also went to Las Vegas and completed the #1 item on my life's bucket list...I MET THE BACKSTREET BOYS!  Don't believe me?! Head to this Insta pic for proof!
  • I joined a new team at work.  I've begun working with a new team at my full-time position that involves me attending some pretty neat after-hours events.  Want a taste of those too?  Check out my Insta here when I attended Fash Bash at the Detroit Institute of Arts!

Now that we have that out of the way, let's get focused on fall!  The temperature dropped as soon as September hit, and it has me into the mood for sweaters, boots and of course...football.  So even though I shot this look earlier in the summer, it embodies my strategy for this season and how I plan to build my wardrobe around three major staple items.

Suede Jacket:

This BlankNYC jacket was a bit of a splurge for me at the end of last year, but worth every penny.  The quality is absolutely amazing, and the color is so rich it almost transforms depending on how you pair it with other items.  In this light it was a true, rich brown but at other times it can almost lean a bit pink/mauve, which I love!  If you watch Nordstrom's occasional sales, you can totally snag this jacket for a discount.  It also comes in a ton of other shades if brown isn't your jam.  Personally, I've got my eye on the grey one next.  Layer this over a fun cocktail dress for a rocker-chic vibe, or pair with a top and jeans as a warmer more stylish, structured layer.

Statement Bag:

I know my Louie might seem a bit frivolous at first, but I swear by LV for their quality and classic designs.  This bag actually replaced one my Dad had bought me in high school, which was made out of limited-edition denim fabric.  Unfortunately in college my car was broken into, and that purse was stolen.  It had appreciated in value over time, so I took that nice insurance check I received and walked into the Louis Vuitton store to buy this gorgeous Artsy design.  It holds literally EVERYTHING and the classic monogram print never goes out of style.  Plus - I love the braided handle detail, it looks so rich!  Investing in a quality handbag that will be in style season after season is a great way to spend your money in my opinion.  Whether its Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel or something like Michael Kors, Coach or Tory Burch - they all create beautiful signature bags that you can attach to your personal style.

Sexy Jeans:

Jeans can be a tricky beast to tame, at least in a petite girl's world!  Whenever I find a brand or pair that fit perfectly, I usually buy it in every wash/color I can get my hands on.  This pair is no different.  I discovered Paige jeans in high school and haven't looked back since.  Their denim is soft but durable, and the styles they create somehow always fit my curvy-yet-petite lower half.  I've had to hem some of my flair/boot cut pairs, but for their skinny jean style, I never have to worry.  Every girl deserves a pair of go-to jeans that make her butt look great, and these give me a lot of confidence at the moment.  The bright blue wash is classic and can be dressed up or down.  The distressed rips at the knees add just enough edge without being distracting, and I won't get too cold as the weather continues to cool down.  Check this brand out if you get a chance...you can find them at Nordstrom Rack from time to time so you can score a deal if you're patient.

It feels so good to be back at it here at Emily Essentially!  I have some fun content coming your way this fall, but this was a good foray back into the blogging world to dust off a little rust!  Leave me a comment below on your favorite fall must-haves and lets compare notes.  I can't wait to style these pieces all over again in new, exciting ways and continue to share their versatility!  Until next time...

Emily Essentially
 

How to Dress for Success: Networking Style

How to Dress for Success: Networking Style

Do you have an upcoming networking event that you've been invited to participate in, but don't know what to wear?  It can be tricky to find the perfect outfit for meeting people and sharpening your professional network, I recently attended a networking event at Detroit's Cobo Center for the North American International Auto Show. I was able to interact with different bloggers, car company executives and other automotive employees.  I was a little anxious about what to wear, but three ensembles I wound up choosing were a hit.

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Cozy Meets Couture with My New JORD Wood Watch

Cozy Meets Couture with My New JORD Wood Watch

Some may say that the clothes make the girl, but in a world where everyone's a fashionista these days, I say it's something different.  I say it's the watch that makes the girl!  Trends come and go, but timepieces are meant to be cherished and...well, timeless.  For me, I need something that first and foremost is going to keep me on time.  But beyond that obvious request, I desire a unique watch that makes a statement about my personal style.  A woman's watch should be versatile, chic and classy - and when I had the chance to collaborate with JORD, I knew I had found a winner!

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Wintery Hues of Pink

Wintery Hues of Pink

Winter has been pretty finicky here in Michigan.  We had a white Christmas, then a temperature spike into the 50's and now we rotate between rain, snow and temperatures that make it hard to decide what to wear.  What better than a fun bomber jacket to solve that issue?  As long as you aren't going to be outside for extended amounts of time, a bomber is a chic and stylish top layer to keep you shielded from the wintery weather.  No more boring grey/black pea coats or puffy down jackets - it's time to rock some fun outerwear!

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New Year's Eve Ball Drop Chic

New Year's Eve Ball Drop Chic

Another New Year's is here already, can you believe it?!  It's been quite a year, one of lots of changes and major life events, and what's better than to cap off 2016 in style?  If you're heading out to celebrate with friends, or hosting a party at your home, you should 110% make sure you've got something glitzy in the mix for your ensemble to celebrate wth some pizazz.

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Subtly Chic Holiday Glam

Subtly Chic Holiday Glam

Can you believe that Christmas is just a few days away?!  This year has certainly flown by!  With all of my professional responsibilities and working on all kinds of blog stuff, the holidays have certainly snuck up on me.  I did manage to do some pretty major shopping on Black Friday, but many of those pickups were wardrobe staple investments and accessories.  I didn't think too far ahead about what I might wear for my Christmas Day festivities, so I challenged myself to style a holiday ensemble from my current wardrobe.

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Plaid Poncho: How To Do Winter White Right

Plaid Poncho: How To Do Winter White Right

Remember that rule your Mom always told you?  Never wear white after Labor Day?  I don't know if you've noticed, but there's been a lot of rule-breaking going on lately, and I think it's time to get in on the action.  Sure white is usually reserved for summer, but I'm ready to break that long-standing fashion rule and "winterize" my white clothes.  After all, my home state of Michigan was rocked with 10 inches of snow this past weekend, so white is a really prevalent color around here! 

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"The Game": Spirited Style

"The Game": Spirited Style

Rich tradition. Divided loyalties. Intense competition. Every year on a cold Saturday in late November, the football programs at Michigan and Ohio State collide in a high-stakes battle of Midwest bragging rights. Regardless of how each team performed during the season, the rivalry between the Wolverines and Buckeyes is amongst the greatest in all of college football. 

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Black Friday Guide: 6 Must-Shop Stores

Black Friday Guide: 6 Must-Shop Stores

I'm already preparing myself (and my bank account) for the damage I'm about to do on Black Friday. You know all of those 'Door Buster' deals? I'm the one busting the doors down at 4 am (or after eating my share of turkey on Thanksgiving)! What kind of rock-bottom prices will we see at our favorite stores? I'm glad you asked!

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Black & Tan: Color Block for Fall

Black & Tan:  Color Block for Fall

I'm petite - measuring in at a whopping 5'1" on a day when I feel like using good posture.  Sometimes all of those wild and crazy prints that runway models can pull off can leave me looking like a frazzled oompa-loompa.  No offense to my fellow shorties out there, but let's be honest - we have our hurdles to overcome when it comes to fashion. 

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Halloween Fright: A Ringleader & Her Lion

Halloween Fright:  A Ringleader & Her Lion

There is something about Halloween that brings me that feeling of sheer excitement and joy.  I'm still a sucker for all of that Halloween candy, and love seeing the innovative and cheeky costumes each and every year.  But for those of us who live in Metro Detroit, there is one event that gives the term "Halloween Party" a whole new meaning!

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