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August 6, 2016

Fall 2016 Back To School Fashion Trends

Although I'm no longer a student, I adore the back-to-school season. I enjoy looking forward to cooler weather, fall's arrival, and all of the merchandise that accompanies the back-to-school shopping season. As a teenager, I used to spend lots of time shopping. No surprise there, right? 

Many of my weekend afternoons in high school were spent roaming the stores and scoping out new trends at Westminster Mall in Orange County. That's why I'm thrilled to be teaming up with Westminster Mall to share some of my top back-to-school trends for fall 2016. With all of my favorite retailers (Target, Windsor, Heavenly Couture, Forever 21, Cotton On, JCPenney, DSW, Macy's, Charlotte Russe, etc.) in one nicely air conditioned space, it makes for a convenient and comfortable shopping experience. The mall gets bonus points for its easy parking and its proximity to the 405.

westminster mall california

So what are the must-have trends for fall? Here's a look at the styles on my radar, and where to snag them for yourself. 

Let's get started at the well-stocked Target in the mall. The new fall line from the Who What Wear collection just landed, and it's filled with florals, ladylike skirts, and ultra chic details. I had to get this floral bomber jacket, and I'm eyeing the floral print car wash skirt, too.

 photo whowhatwear-florals_zpsaynexlbf.jpg

Shop Who What Wear:

Button front skirts are still going strong, and this burgundy one from Rue 21 would pair well with sweaters, utility jackets, and boots for fall. 

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Shop button-front skirts:

The off-the-shoulder silhouette gets a fall update in a dark floral print at Q Luv. I can imagine this top styled with flared jeans for a retro look.

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Shop more off-the-shoulder looks:

Macy's pays homage to the '90s with flannels, plaid shortalls, mock neck tops, and faded denim in the Juniors department.

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Shop new arrivals at Macy's:

I fell in love with this quilted backpack at Q Luv. Besides the $20 price point, the benefit is that you can carry it as a handbag or as a backpack thanks to creative strap construction.

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The biggest story in denim this season is embellishment in the form of playful patches. Thank you to Allesandro Michele at Gucci for helping to launch this craze. This pair is by Arizona at JCPenney.

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Lace-up details and olive green are everywhere, and this blouse by a.n.a. blends both trends into one sporty, easy-to-wear top.

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Boho pieces like this lace-up swing dress and cold shoulder top from Forever 21 are evidence that off-the-shoulder and lace-up looks are still key items for fall. 

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Military references in the form of skinny cargo pants, camouflage, and utility jackets are everywhere. I found these camouflage skinnies at Charlotte Russe.

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Shop military-inspired looks:

Varsity jackets, souvenir jackets, and bomber jackets are popping up at almost every store I visited in the Westminster Mall. Styling tip: they pair well with vintage-inspired tees, midi skirts, leggings, and all silhouettes of denim. Get this look at Forever 21

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Shop bomber jackets: 

Bell sleeves are a key update on peasant blouses, like this one by American Rag on sale at Macy's.

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Shop bell sleeves:

See the top 7 footwear trends for fall 2016 and winter 2017 in my footwear report on Fashion Trend Guide. 

Thank you to Westminster Mall for hosting me and collaborating on this post. See more fall 2016 and winter 2017 fashion trends for Juniors in my MAGIC Market Week trend report on Fashion Trend Guide. 

Get access to more photos on my Instagram stories and on my Snapchat @thekeytochic. 

More fall trends:

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June 17, 2016

8 Shopping Tips For How To Score The Best Pieces At Target

You could say I have some experience shopping at Target. You could also say that I'm a Target Style addict. Don't believe me? I have the RedCard statements to prove it! Ah, how Target has evolved over the decades. Long gone are the days when we would be teased by our classmates for buying our school clothes at Target. This was the '80s, after all. Not so long gone are memories of my cringe-worthy sartorial choices from the '80s. Fortunately, there aren't social media photos to prove it. 

Fast forward to today. I actually feel old when I think of how long I've been shopping at Target. No wonder it's one of my favorite places to shop. I practically grew up there. Over the years, I've walked hundreds of miles patrolling the aisles at Target for everything from pretty pink lip gloss to perfectly faded boyfriend jeans and almost everything in between. While their fresh grocery department also takes up a significant amount of my shopping time, I derive much more enjoyment from their apparel and accessories departments. Ever since they began their designer capsule collections circa 2005, I've viewed Target as an industry leader and an enjoyable, dare I say cool place to shop. I've learned from experience how to spot the most stylish Target Style arrivals, when to shop at Target, and what to buy for a chic wardrobe. Keep reading for my eight shopping tips.


Spring 2015 Merona Bags at Target

1. Know where to shop. Not all Target stores are created equal. I have several stores in which I shop regularly, and one in particular is messy (ahem, shoe department!) and poorly managed. This store tends to be understaffed, disorganized, and harder to shop than other ones in my area. I avoid this one on weekends and holidays. My advice is to find the best stores by shopping at them and comparing the service, inventory levels, and cleanliness.

2. It's Totally About Timing. I've noticed that new arrivals tend to hit the Women's apparel department on Sundays and Mondays. Not only is the store less crowded first thing in the morning (unless Lilly or Missoni madness are taking place), but the store is cleaner and more organized at this time. Interestingly, capsule collections launch on Sundays, and I've had good luck over the years if I shop bright and early when the store opens at 8 am. Shopping early in the week (and often throughout the month) yields the best results. If you're not a morning person or can't get to Target in the morning, then between 8 pm and closing is another time frame when I prefer to shop (there tend to be fewer young children and less post-work traffic). 

lace trim xhilaration dress and romper at target

3. Do a Different Department. I've been known to roam into the Girls', Boys', and Men's departments in search of printed tees, floral jumpsuits, and sporty pullovers. Don't be afraid to venture into these areas, especially if you are petite like me and can fit into Girls' sizes (just steer clear of sparkles, hot pink, and juvenile graphics). My all-time favorite floral peplum blouse is actually a Girl's size L (10-12). I'll never stick it in the dryer, though. 

4. Look for Labels that Work for You. I like Xhilaration in the Juniors' department for printed blouses, embellished rompers, and floral shift dresses, while Mossimo Supply Co. is good for casual basics tees and leggings. For activewear, C9 by Champion makes durable sports bras with fun details and matching moisture wicking leggings. In the Women's department, Mossimo is my go-to for casual pieces like skinny jeans with a nod towards trends.  Merona tends to be more classic and preppy, while the new Who What Wear collection (see my review) is my top pick for polished, professional clothing. Ava + Viv (Target's plus label), features bold, colorful prints. Knox Rose is on my radar for their flowy peasant tops and diaphanous blouses. The new dv by Dolce Vita footwear collection is a stylish option for embellished sandals, while Sam & Libby's bow ballet flats are everything. If you're more of an online shopper, Target has a much wider selection of apparel brands and merchandise online than in stores.

Merona peasant top and jacquard shorts

5. Scan to Save. I regularly shop the sale department to see what's been marked down. The Xhilaration line seems to get marked down the fastest (within a few weeks) because there's a high turnover in the Juniors' ready-to-wear department. Another thing I've learned? While a certain item may be full price at one Target store, it could be on sale at another. Or it could be 30% off at one store and 50% off at another. This is why it's best to regularly shop at more than one store if you can. Also, don't forget to use Target's Cartwheel app and coupons for additional promotions and discounts. I never leave Target checkout without using Cartwheel. 

6. Find the Fitting Room. While Target has a generous return policy, I almost always regret not trying on certain things like skinny jeans, rompers, and shorts. You don't know how it's going to fit and feel until you try it on. It may take more time, but it could save you time in the long run if you have to return or exchange it in the future. 

7. Realize the RedCard's Benefits. I don't want to be in debt or pay high interest rates, so I'm not a fan of credit cards, with the exception of Target's RedCard. With their RedCard credit card, you get free shipping, a 5% discount, and an extra 30 days to return merchandise. This can be smart if you're paying your balance each month. Or you can opt for the same benefits and no bills with their RedCard debit card. 

8. Shop Strategically. Due to the large size of Target stores and the sheer volume of merchandise, it's hard to get in and out in a flash. I tend to hit the apparel, accessories, and shoes first, since they are the most interesting and enjoyable for me. The I'll go to the office supplies, electronics, beauty, household goods, etc. If I know I'll be buying produce and groceries on that trip, I'll shop that area last so my items stay cold. (I'll also bring extra reusable bags so I can keep my food and fashion items separate). 

Got any tips you'd like to share? Tweet me @thekeytochic and keep up with my shopping adventures on Snapchat @thekeytochic.

Shop Who What Wear:

Shop Target Style:

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June 8, 2016

Six Tips For How To Wear The Off-The-Shoulder Trend

Hello, summer! Tank tops, bodysuits, and breezy blouses may come to mind when you think about summer tops, but this season, it's all about bare shoulders and stylish off-the-shoulder shapes. Think of the collar bone as the new area of interest. 

Here's a look at how I wore an off-the-shoulder top last summer. (See a similar Target Style option for summer 2016.)

how to wear an off-the-shoulder top, Target Style lace top and Mossimo boyfriend jeans

Below, some of my favorite street style looks.

Off-The-Shoulder-Tops-blogger-Street-Style, how to wear the off the shoulder trend

photos via Pinterest

Off-the-shoulder tops (and dresses) are easier to style than you think. They lend an easy, romantic vibe to any outfit while coming in a wide variety of silhouettes and prints. Go boho in an embroidered or lace blouse. Show some skin in a cropped style like Blair Eadie. Channel a chic and sporty vibe in an oversized poplin version like Olivia Palermo. Feel feminine in a ruffled style like Julie Sariñana. (I'm currently eyeing this style under $50 by Mango and this lace one under $35 by H&M.) Whatever you choose, here are my top tips for how to wear the off-the-shoulder trend.

Do show off that collar bone with radiant, glowing skin. Exfoliate with a dry brush and use a bronzer or shimmer lotion (I adore this one by Burt's Bees) for maximum glow.

Don't stash away those necklaces, chokers or scarves. They're ideal for pairing with bare shoulders.

Do tuck your top into your bottoms if your top is long and you're petite. This will create balance and give you a more polished look. 

Don't be afraid to choose a midriff-baring style. If you're modest, then opt for a high-waisted skirt or pants for a sliver of visible skin.

Do wear your top with a strapless bra for a chic and streamlined look.

Don't be afraid to try shoulder cutouts, prints, ruffles, and tie details.

Shop off-the-shoulder styles:

Accessorize with:

Pair off-the-shoulder styles with:

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