Dear Sweet, New Naya Boots | Coffee with Naturalizer

Boots have been my footwear of choice for half of my life. At age twelve, I found a pair of black leather knee-high boots at my grandparents’ house that I wore obsessively, but only while staying in Denver — for a reason unbeknownst to adult Julia, I was convinced they were too scandalous to wear at home. By age fourteen I found my next two key pairs: steel-toed lace-ups (they were perfect with my pink hair) and slouchy leather. Throughout high school, I wore boots daily, and only managed to remove them for prom. In college I started looking for boots with heels or pointy toes or hardware details. And now, at twenty-four, my boot addiction is still going strong. There’s simply no better footwear.

So it makes perfect sense that I would lose my mind when Naturalizer invited me to pick out a pair.

It was the perfect way to spend a Thursday morning. Thanks to comfort shoe company Naturalizer at the Saint Louis Galleria and Brown Shoe Company, I was invited to Coffee with Naturalizer through Saint Louis Fashion Week.  And the shoes I left with are perfect.

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Now, before we move on to the amazing boots I was given, let’s peek inside the store. Designers Ron D’Aloia and Jenny Matthews attended the breakfast, along with some amazing people from Naturalizer and Brown Shoe Company. While I sipped my coffee and side-eyed the phenomenal boots by the door, we were introduced to the glories (and surprising styles) of comfortable shoes. The Naturalizer was the first shoe company to create shoes for women’s feet — no joke, before its 1927 inception, women’s shoes were created using slightly smaller men’s shoes, which would be a more uncomfortable version of me trying to wear Lance’s tailored-for-huge-shoulders suit several sizes smaller. These days, the store carries women’s dress and casual shoes in sizes 4 through 12 in various widths and calf-sizes.

There’s a huge stigma against comfortable shoes that even I started to embrace. It’s like saying you want a healthy breakfast or a sensible car — saying you’re in the market for comfortable shoes brings about images of squishy soles and ventilation panels and weird perpetually dusty shades of beige. Ah, silly Julia; wrong again! Comfort is key. Not only does Naturalizer house the fashion-forward (and incredibly comfortable) line Naya, but it is in its second collaboration with HGTV star David Bromstad. Take a peek at a few of my favorites below.

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While picking one pair was incredibly hard, I wouldn’t be the Julia you know and love, err, tolerate if I didn’t go for tall leather boots. I’m tickled to welcome grey boots to the collection, and have been rearranging planned outfits to find new ways to wear them daily.

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Currently wearing… Naya North Boot, c/o Naturalizer [HERE] | Trapeze dress, H&M [SIMILAR] | Vest, Saks Gray Label, Off Fifth [SIMILAR] | Necklaces, one vintage and two c/o  Pitaya [SIMILAR] | Hat, World Market [SIMILAR] | Bracelets, vintage and Jacobs by Marc Jacobs


More STLFW coverage coming soon! Spoiler alert: I wore these boots a lot.

WHAT / WEAR | STLFW Emerging Designer Competition

WHAT // Saint Louis Fashion Week’s Saint Louis Fashion Fund Emerging Designer Competition presented by Brown Shoe Company

EMERGING DESIGNER COMPETITION

There’s something so inherently pretentious about saying you saw something before it “got big,” but the recent Saint Louis Fashion Fund Emerging Designer Competition during Saint Louis Fashion Week was clearly an evening full of designers that will soon explode with success. Pretentiousness be damned; I’m thrilled to have seen these emerging designers from the front row.

The event featured two contests: the Designers To Watch and the Emerging Designer Competition. Truly Alvarenga took home $2,500 in the attendee-voted Designers to Watch competition, and Daniella Kallmeyer snagged the top $15,000 prize from Brown Shoe Company. Charles Harbison was given a surprise second-place prize of $3,500 from Gary Wassner, a judge in the contest and fashion financier. Other judges included Christene Barberich, Refinery29 EIC; Colleen Sherin, of Saks Fifth Avenue; Marci Ranger from Naturalizer; and designers Stan Herman and Tess Giberson. These judges were selected by none other than creator of New York Fashion Week and all-around legend Fern Mallis, who was — not to sound too much like a super-fan — sitting across from me. I can’t even.

As I’ve mentioned before, I was a STLFW ambassador, which meant I got to see the designs up-close and within swooning distance. Below are a few of my favorite looks from the evening; to see more, check out my Instagram feed.

Danielle Kallmeyer

Jessie Liu

Remi Canarie

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Collina Strada

WEAR // Moto vest with a velvet dress and leopard tights

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Photo courtesy of Christopher Gibbons for ALIVE Magazine

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Currently wearing… Vest, Saks Gray Collection [LAST SEEN HERE / SIMILAR] | Dress, H&M [SIMILAR] | Tights, Target [HERE] | Necklace (layered chains), Lia Sophia [SIMILAR] | Necklace, c/o Pitaya [LAST SEEN] | Bangle, vintage | Purse, Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot To Handle Tote, Off Fifth [HERE in current color]


 

More STLFW coverage coming this week!

Wear it to Work: The Colors of Autumn

My name is sleepy and I am Julia.
My name is Julia and sleepy.
Julia is sleepy.
Sleep.

If you’ve been following me on Twitter and Instagram, you know I’ve been busy with Saint Louis Fashion Week. (I promise, full coverage is coming to the blog soon.) I’ve been tied up post-event each night trying for a few hours of sleep here and there, because between the shows, shopping, and dinners I’ve been at work. Oh yeah, day jobs. Don’t those get in the way… Times like these require predetermined work outfits that need no morning brain power, because I have been using all of mine to keep from tipping over while blow-drying my hair. This seems like a great time to feature an office look on the blog—in reality, maybe it’s not, but I’m waiting for my triple skinny vanilla latte to kick in, so my creative juices are working on a five-minute delay. Whatever. Below you’ll find my favorite no-thinking-required fall business-casual look. It’s simple, it’s clean, and it’s perfect to repeat monthly weekly (guilty) at my 9-to-5.

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Currently wearing… Eyeglasses, DVF [SIMILAR] | Earrings, Forever 21 [SIMILAR] | Cardigan, Banana Republic [SIMILAR] | Necklace, c/o Soft Surroundings [SIMILAR] | Top, c/o Pitaya [LAST SEEN / HERE] | Skirt, Banana Republic, partially c/o Rung [SIMILAR ] | Socks, American Apparel [HERE] | Boots, Steve Madden [SIMILAR] | Purse, Marc by Marc Jacobs Too Hot To Handle Tote, Off Fifth [HERE in current color]

I’ve been waiting for cooler weather to feature this fun pencil skirt. I picked up this skirt at a blogger event held over the summer at Rung Boutique. Carmen of The Ruby Zipper served as hostess while we all tried our hands at fashion trivia and learned more about the nonprofit resale boutique. The store—along with connected Sprung Boutique, which features gently used attire for tots and other parental necessities—helps to support a St. Louis nonprofit,  The Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis. Scroll down to take a peek inside the store.

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Since stock is bound to travel at the speed of sound in this tidy and fun second-hand store, I’m sure the inside has changed since I snapped these pictures at the event… And just typing that has me wondering what other goodies they now have available.

I’m off to the STLFW Wrap Dinner to see a few of my favorite St. Louisans and bid adieu to some great out-of-town bloggers. Time to chug this latte. The party isn’t over yet; I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


What’s your favorite fall work outfit?

The Cat’s Meow | Hip to Halloween with Pitaya

Autumn is madness. There’s event after event after gala after event — and they all take place in the best type of weather, which you definitely don’t want to miss. A good Midwestern fall is rarer than a cute size 8 women’s shoe left on a clearance rack, so turning down an invite or activity is not an option. Take all the obligations of the season and pepper in a few holidays, some dinner parties, a handful of meetings, and two crazy projects at work, and you can guess why I want to wear pajamas all day, every day. But, alas, I can’t. I actually hate when people do — I totally understand it, I just refuse to participate.

Super soft leggings and shapeless mini-dresses/tunics are my new solution, and I am obsessed with the striped wonder I just got from Pitaya in the Delmar Loop.

stripe pitaya tunic with fedora denim jacket stone necklace and statement earrings (3)

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stripe pitaya tunic with fedora denim jacket stone necklace and statement earrings (4)

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Currently wearing… Striped Crew Neck Tunic Dress, c/o Pitaya [HERE] | Jacket, vintage | Hat, c/o Pitaya [LAST SEEN / SIMILAR] | Earrings, c/o Pitaya [SIMILAR] | Necklace, c/o Pitaya [I can't find anything else quite like it! Check in stores!] |Fleece-lined Leggings, c/o Glick’s [HERE] | Clutch, Target [SIMILAR] | Socks, American Apparel [HERE] | Boots, Steve Madden [SIMILAR]

Cover bedhead with the hat. Grab ultra-thick socks to give your feet some relief, almost like wearing slippers. An over-sized jacket finishes the cozy-chic look and accentuates the looseness of the tunic. And it all feels so… comfortable.

Before we continue, let’s take a moment to discuss the fact that the Pitaya necklace pictured above was priced at only $12… And it wasn’t even on sale! I can’t even.

Now, on to the real story: I can’t stop wearing this tunic. This tunic is so irrationally soft and comfortable that I have tried to think of ways to wear it every moment since shooting this photo.

Can I wear it to work?
Not as a dress, but maybe as a shirt.
Can I wear it around the house with cozy pants?
Totally!
Can I eat in it?
With zero waistband restrictions.
Can I sleep in it?
Like a baby.

It’s madness how much I don’t want to take this tunic off. So, I tried to think of new ways to incorporate it into outfits. With Halloween so close on the horizon, I am happy to report that this tunic turns into a fun, cute, and oh-so-warm costume…

Easy Halloween | The Cat Burglar
Need a costume? Grab your tunic and… Shirt | Pants | Gloves | Lipstick | Mask | Boots | An old reusable tote and a Sharpie // Graphic: Polyvore

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My thought process was this: A pair of black jeans and boots, plus a turtleneck and money bag, turn this tunic into burglar costume… Better yet, add a feline mask — What, don’t you own one? — and go as a CAT BURGLAR! Bonus points if you pretend to burgle people’s cats. Hahahaha. Combining my love for cats, holidays, bad jokes, and this tunic! So. Purrfect.


What will you be this Halloween?

WHAT / WEAR | STLFW VIP Blogger’s Lounge

WHAT // STLFW VIP Blogger’s Lounge

Oh, what a fun weekend! The Saint Louis Fashion Week VIP Blogger’s Lounge at Scape American Bistro in the Central West End was hosted by Lindsay Pattan and Jimmy No Show, and — drum roll, please — presented by Well Dressed Midwest! Okay, so you’re not excited because you don’t know what that means, but I have been dying to tell you. So many meetings! So much brainstorming! You see, I proudly serve on the Well Dressed Midwest steering committee, and I have been excited about this project since Lindsay first brought it up… I’ll go into all the details soon, but for now you should know this: Well Dressed Midwest is a spectacular blogger network full of resources, brand opportunities and more. And I am so excited.

Now, back to the event. Blogger after blogger circled the upstairs of Scape, moving from booth to bar to booth. Think of it as equal parts brand networking and cocktail party. I met some spectacular people — saw a few fantastic familiar faces, too! — and fell madly in love with a new cocktail. Oh, and I left with four bags of amazing new goodies I can’t wait to share — including a drawn-on-the-spot fashion sketch of yours truly!  Take a peek at a few of my favorite photos, event features, products and more.

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With Rachael, Mary and Marissa // Photo courtesy of Victoria Lafferty for ALIVE Magazine

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Fashion sketch by Noah MacMillan for the Regional Arts Commission

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The Foundrie

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The Clover

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Suzanne Lay

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With Carylee // Photo courtesy of ALIVE Magazine

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Glik’s

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Vogue Footwear

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The Regional Arts Commission

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The Well Dress Midwest steering committee // Photo courtesy of ALIVE Magazine

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Pinnacle Cocktail (lemon-lime soda, cranberry juice and Pinnacle Cranapple vodka) at Scape American Bistro

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Sara’s Social Booth

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Shirt Kong

  WEAR // Quilted crop top with blazer and midi zebra circle skirt 

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Photo courtesy of Victoria Lafferty for ALIVE Magazine

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Photo courtesy of ALIVE Magazine

 Currently wearing… Blazer, Express [HERE] | Crop top, Target [SIMILAR] | Skirt, Express [HERE] | Shoes, Vince Camuto, DSW [SIMILAR] | Bag, Coach [SIMILAR] | Necklace, DIY [TUTORIAL] | Bangle, vintage | Earrings, DIY


More Saint Louis Fashion Week fun coming this week! See you there.