Bigger is Better?

Bold, colorful and unique statement earrings have become prominent in recent years, but it seems as though the accessory is only growing— both in popularity and physical size. Brands such as Bauble Bar, Mignonne Gavigan, J. Crew, Kendra Scott, Sachin & Babi, Sheila Fajl (shop via my link for 10% off) and Lisi Lerch make the trend accessible for varying budgets and tastes. The best part of statement earrings? The fact that they can add a level of fun to any ensemble. Black turtleneck? Add a bold red lip and red tassel earrings! White sundress? Grab your blue geometric earrings!

For this season, we can only expect statement earrings to become bigger and better! Nieves (2018) of Who What Wear adds, “of course, statement earrings never quite left, but in 2019, we can expect new and exciting jewelry trends that make an impression, exploring new, fun colors, shapes.” Additionally, Bennett (2018) of InStyle describes earrings seen on the runway as “daring, with chunky, oversize hoops and long, dangling styles that dropped below the shoulders.”

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2019. 

With the abundance and colors, styles, shapes, sizes and materials, statement earrings can certainly find a fit in anyone’s jewelry box. Additionally, their variety and adaptability make them appropriate for numerous occasions— a girls’ night out, a cocktail party, a football game or even the office.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2019. 

Whether you are a statement earring addict like myself or have yet to try the trend, here a few tips on finding the right pair.

  1. Consider the material and its weight. If you have sensitive ears, opt for a pair made of thread rather then beads, as they can really weigh your ears down and make them hard to wear for long periods of time.
  2. Find your color. Is their a specific pop of color you gravitate towards? Do you cheer for a particular sports team that may sway your color decision? Are you more of a neutrals fan or do you love boldness? Take time to think about what color earrings are best suited for your lifestyle.
  3. Start with the basics. For your first pair of statement earrings consider buying a basic pair of thread tassel earrings for a moderate price. If you like them, explore different styles at higher price points, as you see fit.

Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but right now, it is all about what is on your ears.


References

Bennett, A. (2018, December 27). 2019’s Biggest Jewelry Trends Are Not for Conservative Types. InStyle. Retrieved from www.instyle.com.

Nieves, B. (2018, December 20). The Only 2019 Jewelry Trends to Know. Who What Wear. Retrieved from www.whowhatwear.com.

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2019: The Year of the Animal

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2019 will be the year of the pig (Birkenbuel, 2018). However, within fashion, I believe that 2019 will be the year of the animal, no matter the specific breed or species. With various animals prints abundant on retail’s racks, it is hard to deny that leopard print, cow hides, snakeskin and other animalistic motifs will reach peak popularity this year.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2019.

Headlines deeming animal print as the current trend have been published for the last several years, but 2019 marks the true saturation in the marketplace. In fact, “The controversial print has essentially been embraced as 2019’s equivalent to a neutral: Think leopard print dressed worn with oversized khaki jackets, tiger print coats worn over white tailored separates and a pop of snakeskin in the form or a boot or handbag” (O’Neill, 2018).

In past years, animal print has been reserved for more luxurious occasions, but now, the trend is found in street style and even in athleisure. Additionally, the loud patterns and are not only reserved for faux fur coats, but are now utilized in jewelry, shoes, belts, leggings, scarfs, trousers and the list goes on. While the print looks fabulous on all bodies, it also can play a role in your home— from leopard pillows, faux cow hide rugs and tiger striped throw blankets.

Ready to take a walk on the wild side? Log onto to favorite online shopping platform or visit your nearest boutique; animal print should not be hard to find!


References

Birkenbuel, R. (2018, December 28). When is the 2019 Chinese New Year? How to celebrate the year of the pig. NewsWeek. Retrieved from www.newsweek.com.

O’Neill, G. (2018, September 19). The Single Trend That Has Completely Dominated Fashion Month. Harper’s Bazaar. Retrieved from www.harpersbazaar.com.au.

How To Be A Successful “Maxxinista”

What’s better than a bargain? As a fashion-minded yet budget-conscious college student, I often find myself at stores such as Nordstrom Rack, Saks Off 5th, Marshalls, and, of course, my favorite place to shop- TJ Maxx.

Often, my friends are surprised to discover that a certain item I am wearing is actually from TJ Maxx. They usually say, “Wow! I need to go there with you next time!” It’s like my friends think that I have some secret way of sifting through their crowded racks. Although I really do enjoy “the hunt” for something unique and affordable at TJ Maxx, here are my tips to being a successful Maxxinista!

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

  1. Be selfish. If I am being honest, I have my most success at TJ Maxx, when I go by myself or with one other person (read: my mom) who doesn’t want to actually shop side by side. Looking throughout the store by yourself frees you from any distraction and let’s you focus on what you like!
  2. Have a game plan. Often times I go into TJ Maxx without one specific thing that I am looking for, but I still develop a game plan to keep me from getting overwhelmed and spending too much money. I start by asking myself what I might actually be in need of at the moment. Do I have enough workout gear to wear to class each day? Answer: I could always use more of that, so I definitely check out the activewear section. Dresses? Answer: Not something I see myself wearing in the next few months, but I’ll at least pass through to see if anything catches my eye.
  3. Not totally sure? Take it home to try on. The lighting in TJ Maxx dressing rooms can be harsh, so if there is ever a garment that I am not completely sold on, I buy it, to take home and try on with my undergarments, shoes and accessories in my room, where there is better lighting. If you decide you actually don’t like the piece, returns are TJ Maxx are super simple.
  4. Peruse Rent the Runway section. This piece of advice can vary depending on the TJ Maxx location. For example, two of the TJ Maxx stores by my home in the D.C. area has an expansive Rent the Runway selection; whereas, the choices are a bit slimmer at the TJ Maxx in Athens, GA. However, be sure to sit through these garments carefully, as you can find notable brand-name designers at such a steal! Pro tip: the Rent the Runway garments has a purple tag, rather than a white tag like the other merchandise.
  5. Don’t skip the shoe section! Seriously, some of my favorite pairs of shoes are from TJ Maxx. I have scored $60 Jack Rogers and $15 Catherine Malandrinos, as well as some unique shoes that I maybe would not have found elsewhere.
  6. Don’t get sucked in while you are waiting in line. TJ Maxx has a special talent for reading your mind when it comes to the products placed at the point-of-sale aisle leading to the cash register. Pumpkin scented candle? Gotta have it. A new shade of nail polish? Well, it’s only $3.99! Unless it is a product you truly will use often, don’t let yourself fall into this trap!
  7. Shop often. One of the biggest reasons I have success at TJ Maxx is the fact that I stop by the store, bi-weekly if not weekly. TJ Maxx gets weekly shipments so if you choose a day of the week that works for you and always go that same day, you are bound to find something new each time!

Happy shopping, fellow Maxxinistas!

Seeing Stars

In this day and age, we all want to be among the stars. However, because this fantasy can only become a reality for some, the rest of us have decided to done stars on our clothing and accessories. From metallic stars added to a leather bootie, star studs emblazoned on a belt or even a star-print pajama set, this motif has taken over the mainstream fashion industry.

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Personally, I own a pair of jeans with black beaded stars embroidered on them and a pair of maroon leggings with stars covering the legs. Clearly, the star trend permeates both street style and athleisure. Additionally, I plan on purchasing Sheila Fajl’s Equulei Hoops, once they are back in stock. Although this infatuation with stars will probably only last another few seasons, I think it is such a fun and whimsical trend.

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A pair of jeans with black beaded stars embroidered from Lord & Taylor’s DesignLab line.          

Truly, it is incredible that such a familiar shape has been transformed into a fashion symbol in the present day. In elementary school, a star is something you strived to receive with kindness to classmates and turning in your homework. Nowadays, it seems as though we all can be stars…or at least wear them!

Boring Baubles? No Way!

Whether you need new jewels for your hot date on Valentine’s Day or want to treat your girl squad to something shiny, look no further! Jewelry designer, Sheila Fajl, has a variety of pieces, meaning that you are sure to find something perfect for you.

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Although the brand offers everything from necklaces and rings to handbags and chokers, my favorite items are the Sheila Fajl earrings. Most specifically, I absolutely adore the Everybody’s Favorite Hoops in Brushed Gold. I recently purchased the Shawn Earrings in Gunmetal and I think they are so unique yet still understated. Take a look at my gift guide to catch a glimpse of the brand’s variety of earrings— I hope you’re all ears!

If you like what you see (how could you not?!), head over to Sheila Fajl’s website to pursue the brand. However, be sure to shop via my link to receive 10% your entire order. Happy shopping!

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Slogan Sass

Slogan tees have certainly been around for a while in the fashion industry. However, more recently, designers have grown more creative and more progressive with their use of slogans on various garments.

According to Alyssa Hardy (2017), “What you wear can say so much about your personality and beliefs. Lately, with so much uncertainty in the world, brands across the country are coming up with ways to incorporate these causes into something that everyone can wear: the classic white tee.” Therefore, the slogan tee has certainly become a political statement, in addition to a fashion statement. Additionally, slogan tee dates back to the 1960s with the birth of individuality in the fashion industry, and survived through many decades of evolving fashion. Why are these statement pieces still relevant in today’s street style and runway shows? Racked author, Elyse Hauser, think that social media may have an influence. “Maybe that’s why the slogan tee has boomed in popularity during the Internet era. It’s how we talk to each other. Text messages. 140 characters or less. A new post every day” (Hauser 2017).

Perhaps social media is responsible for the continuation of this style, but also, the blossoming of brands that dedicate a major portion of their brand to slogan pieces may have made a contribution. For example, Wildfox features lines of graphic tees and slogan sweatshirts each and every season. With their global partnerships with brands such as Coca-Cola and Mattel, they are able to create quite popular designs. Personally, I just purchased a Wildfox slogan sweatshirt from the Marshall’s in Athens, Georgia and I cannot wait to wear it with leggings to class and over a swimsuit once summer rolls back around.

Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Additionally, major fast fashion retailers such as, Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal and Asos, among others, all stock various slogan tees. On the other end of the spectrum, couture designers like Gucci, Dior, Paco Rabanne, Moschino and Givenchy have incorporated the trend into their recent collections. In addition to unique slogan tees for the individual, some brands designed these tees for coordination with a friend. For example, Show Me Your Mumu featured “Big Sis” and “Lil Sis” tees this season and last season they saw success with a “Fun Brunette” and “Smart Blonde” slogan tee pairing.

Slogan tees can tell a story. Whether that story is a political one, a personal one or simply a playful one, the message is seen by numerous people via a slogan tee. These garments give the individual the power to show what causes she fights for or if she is an avid coffee drinker. Some like to wear their heart on their sleeve, but others like to put words in its place.


References

Hardy, A. (2017, October 30). T-Shirts With Protest Slogans That Actually Help Causes You Care About. Teen Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com.

Hauser, E. (2017, March 7). Sassy Slogan Tees Are Here to Stay. Racked. Retrieved from https://www.racked.com.

Shop With Sheila

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am rarely seen without Sheila Fajl’s Everybody’s Favorite Hoops in Brushed Gold dangling from my ears. Thick yet lightweight and , these hoops are so versatile, look fabulous with every ensemble and can easily translate from day to night.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017. 

Sheila Fajl, a Brazilian-born and Californian-raised woman, stands for beauty in all of her jewelry products. “Beauty, to her, is in the soul. It is in how you wear your body, and has nothing to do with standards or size,” according to the designer’s website. With a focus on Sheila’s roots, all of the products are handmade by artisans in Brazil, and are, in fact, some of the most “eco-friendly” products in the jewelry market.

As an avid Sheila Fajl wearer, I have been given the unique opportunity to serve as a Sheila Fajl Brand Ambassador. Along with that privilege, I can now offer friends, family and Talk Trendy To Me followers, 10% off of any Sheila Fajl purchase. To shop with my discount, please visit Sheila Fajl’s website via my page. Happy shopping!

The Shoe That Saved Us

For years, women have been sacrificing either function or fashion when dressing. It seemed impossible for designers to create pieces that married both of these aspects. However, in recent years, fashion and function now happily co-exist in multiple garment types. With the rise of athleisure, the marriage of fashion and function is even more prevalent. According to J. Holland (2017), athleisure is “sporty clothes and shoes that people don’t necessarily wear to play sport – grew by a staggering 42% between 2008 and 2015, according to Morgan Stanley research.” Additionally, this clothing type is not just reserved for the gym, to the contrary, “it’s a conscious style choice. It’s not just what you throw on to play with your dog in the garden” (Holland, 2017). Specifically in athleisure footwear, one shoe type certainly saved us all—the slip-on sneaker.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

From busy Millennial moms and comfort-focused Baby Boomers to trendy college students and fashion-forward children, the slip-on sneaker knows no age limits and has infiltrated the fashion industry. “Whether you want a leather-bound slip on or an embroidered floral lace-up pair, your everyday shoe game just got stepped up,” says T. Stephan (2017). In addition to the variety of choices, the slip-on sneaker can often just complete an outfit. When throwing on jeans and a loose v-neck, I always reach for one of my three pairs of slip-ons. However, a few years ago, my choices would have consisted of booties (the more dressy option), sandals (the more summery option) or boots (the cold-weather option). Therefore, slip-on sneakers certainly make life easier and also transcend seasons, upholding the advent of “seasonless dressing.” According to E. Stalder, seasonless dressing functions by this philosophy: “instead of limiting yourself to pastels in spring, brights in summer, and vampy shades in winter, wear any palette you want, no matter the season. Ditto for fabrics.”

A pair of Steve Madden gray suede slip-ons in July? Why not! Pairing Circus by Sam Edelman’s motif slip-ons with black jeans in December? Heck yeah! No matter the weather, the season, the occasion or your mood, it is always safe to reach for a pair of slip-on sneakers. Have yet to treat yourself to a pair? Check out some of my favorite styles!

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References

Holland, J. (2017, October 6). Are tracksuits and trainers the future of office attire? BBC. Retrieved from bbc.com.

Stalder, E. (2016, December 15). What Is ‘Seasonless’ Dressing, and How Could it Improve Your Style? StyleCaster. Retrieved from stylecaster.com.

Stephan, T. (2017, July 25). 19 Next-Level Platform Sneakers That Don’t Feel Basic. E! News. Retrieved from eonline.com.

Saturday in Athens

Even when the Dawgs are on the road to Knoxville to (hopefully) beat the Tennessee Vols, Saturdays in Athens are still the best. This morning, my friends—Lauren, Annika and Grace— and I hit the Athens Farmers Market to soak in some of the local culture and buy a few fresh treats. For breakfast, we enjoyed organic baked goods from Sanvi’s Sweets and Savories; I savored every last bit of the Indian-inspired Spinach and Ricotta Pastry Puff. After perusing the artisanal jewelry, home-made pottery, fresh jams and authentic hummus, I decided to purchase some organic arugula and sweet potatoes (to share with my roommate Lauren).

However, when shopping for fresh produce at the farmer’s market, it is essential to carry the perfect bag to store all your goodies. When we were headed out the door this morning, I knew exactly which tote to reach for— my pom-pom basket tote, of course! Truth be told, my favorite part about this fun and whimsical piece is the fact that it was a bargain (only $8 at Marshall’s)! With gray-tinted wicker, striped handles, a drawstring enclosure and various-colored pom-poms, it adds pizazz to any ensemble…or serves as the perfect grocery tote at the Athens Farmer’s Market!

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Lauren Linkowski, 2017.

Because pom-pom basket totes are certainly more of a summer accessory, I only have a week or two left to use this playful piece. With temperatures starting to lower (to the low 80s and high 70s) here, in Georgia, it seems as though fall is coming; and what better way to welcome the season, than with a relaxing trip to the Athens Farmer’s Market. Happy Saturday, y’all!

Target’s Reclaiming Of “Tar-Jay” Title

As headlines often mention the “retail apocalypse” in today’s market, it is necessary to argue that retail is not dying—but it certainly is changing. Many factors—such as the increase in ecommerce retail, shift in consumer behavior and ever-changing trends—can all lead to transformation in the retail space. However, some retailers are adapting to this change better than others. One retailer that has successfully combated the pressures of today’s market has over 1,800 stores in 49 states—Target.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Target realizes that they need to change, adapt and reinvent multiple facets of their company to stay relevant in the retail space. Often, people compare Target to Walmart, K-Mart or other big-box stores. However, Target set themselves apart in the 1990s and early 2000s with more refined, fashionable clothing brands. Now in 2017, Target recognizes that their exclusive brands need to be transformed. According to Kavita Kumar (2017a), Target “is saying goodbye to well-known brands such as Merona and Mossimo and introducing new labels in an effort to not only make the retailer more relevant in the face of newer competition but also to pick up market share from those chains that are struggling.” In addition to revamping their clothing selection, Target also has plans to expand their beauty products. According to Lauren Thomas (2017b), “the collection, called Glow Studio, will feature four-step routine kits that simplify a typical 10-step Korean beauty regimen, making it more accessible to users.” As another private label endeavor, Target aims to sees much value in “growing its beauty offerings at a time when players like Ulta and Sephora are expanding their physical footprints” (Thomas, 2017b). Therefore, Target realized the need to change their product selection and is actively taking action to do so.

Along with reinventing their clothing and beauty brands, Target will use this change in product to help streamline their position in omnichannel retailing. Kumar (2017a) adds that “over the next 18 months, Target will launch more than a dozen new brands, four of which begin hitting stores in coming weeks. They will be accompanied by a ‘More in Store’ marketing campaign that will feature TV and print ads, a big direct mail piece and an increased digital investment that includes tapping into social media.” By promoting these new clothing brands via TV, print, mail and various social sites, Target maximizes their potential to target a wide variety of consumers via the platform they prefer.

In addition to the store level, Target is also making changes at the corporate level. As of August 2017, Target hired Minsok Pak to fill the role of Chief Strategy and Innovation. Pak comes with experience such as “senior vice president of Lego’s stores and e-commerce sites around the world” (Kumar, 2017b). With the new leadership of Pak, Target hopes to hone their presence in the sphere of retail innovation and technology. For example, “innovation efforts are being embedded across all of the work Target does, such as current efforts to launch more than a dozen private-label brands in the next two years, remodel hundreds of stores with an eye toward integrating more digital elements, and remake its supply chain for the digital era,” says Kumar (2017b). Once again, Target plans to focus on digitalization to streamline the omnichannel experience.

Another connection to omnichannel retailing is Target’s plan to remodel over 600 outdated stores. By doing this, Target “will focus on creating more engaging guest experiences on the shop floor,” according to Pamela N. Danzinger (2017). This approach should see much success as many consumers now look for an aesthetically pleasing, fun shopping experience, rather than just a dull warehouse full of poorly-displayed merchandise. Along with the designed stores, “Target also plans to operate 130 small-format stores by the end of 2019 located in college communities and dense urban areas,” adds Danzinger (2107). By doing this, Target is making themselves physically available to more consumers, despite the limitations of location.

Potentially the most notable of the aspects, Target is bringing new, innovative thinkers into their retail space. With their Techstars Retail Accelerator program, “Target invites leaders from ten startups to work with and be mentored by Target executives for 13 weeks” (Danzinger, 2017). The opportunity allows Target to give real-world business advice to young, aspiring entrepreneurs, with the potential that those entrepreneurs could have their inventions sold across the nation at Target. The program is certainly mutually beneficial, and benefits Target in the sense that they are using young Millennials and members of Generation Z to then market specifically to those cohorts.

These various efforts toward reinvention and innovation seem beneficial, but have they stimulated recent success for the retailer? According to Daniel Keyes (2017), Target’s efforts certainly have manifested in the retail space. Keyes (2017) adds that Target revealed “a 1.6% year-over-year (YoY) uptick in revenue to $16.4 billion for the period. The retailer also saw its same-store sales rise 1.3% YoY, marking the end of a three-quarter streak of declines in the metric.” Looking toward future success, Lauren Thomas (2017a) claims that “a focus on executing new merchandising, and on offering customers value through pricing and convenience, will differentiate Target from the competition.”

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Although Target has certainly seen recent success— a claim that is upheld by specific data—and experts in the retail industry predict continued growth for the retailer, how does the reinvention of Target affect the retail industry, as a whole? Because Target operates with over 1,800 locations, the retailer serves thousands, if not millions, of consumers. Since Target is able to deliver a charming shopping experience, with on-trend clothing products, unique home décor, high-quality groceries and other various household, beauty and electronic items, then their customers will be pleased, affecting consumer attitude and the overall retail industry. In addition, Target’s reinvention may spur its competition to reevaluate the state of their companies. Therefore, Target’s changes and adaptations not only benefit them, but could potentially positively affect other retailers who want to remain competitive. Additionally, because ecommerce retail will likely drive the majority of sales within the coming years, Target’s efforts to improve their online and mobile sites, as well as streamline their omnichannel experience, provides consumers with a platform—other than Amazon—to shop for a vast variety of products.

“Target is pulling out all the stops to bring back its “Tar-Jay” magic” (Danzinger, 2017). After making recent changes and with plans for even more transformation and growth, Target is on the fast track to reclaiming their former glory as a more prestigious, “one-stop-shop,” big box retailer. The retail environment has drastically changed recently, and Target recognized this reality and made the radically bold decision to adapt alongside the industry. Although many consumers already have difficulty walking out of Target empty-handed, the retailer just made that concept even more of a pervasive challenge.


References

Danzinger, P. N. (2017, August 29). Target’s Renaissance: New Blood, Not New Brands or Stores, Will Bring The Company New Life. Forbes. Retrieved from www.forbes.com.

Keyes, D. (2017, August 2017). Target sees in-store and online improvements. Business Insider. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com.

Kumar, K. (2017, August 16). Target refreshes brands to stay chic and relevant, phasing out Merona and Mossimo. StarTribune. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com.

—–. (2017, August 23). Target taps Minsok Pak to be new chief strategy and innovation officer. StarTribune. Retrieved from http://www.startribune.com.

Thomas, L. (2017, August 16). Target shares jump as shoppers return to stores, boosting sales. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com.

—–. (2017, September 6). Target to roll out exclusive K-beauty brand, growing its makeup offerings. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com.