The Stylish Empty Nester. Unplugged.

Happy Monday, folks!

Today marks my first day back in the office after a few days away.  I used my time enjoying my adult children visiting and reluctantly, nursing a lingering case of bronchitis.

This time last year I was beaming because of my youngest child’s graduation from college, yet I was a little ambivalent about her decision to remain in New Orleans.  But as parents, we raise our children to explore the world and be great, right?!  But I couldn’t deny the large lump in my throat and racing heartbeat when she revealed her plans in the Spring of 2016.  I fought back sounding emotional over the phone, and proclaimed, “I understand”.

When my children and I get together it is always an amazing time, but I just can’t get over the emotions I feel each time we part ways. It’s like I’m dropping them off at college all over again, but there won’t be anymore summer breaks spent at home.  They reside out of state and are living their lives as responsible adults.  Sometimes I wonder how my mother did it.  Clearly, I’m just having a moment and I am sure that it’ll take some time for me to adjust.  I will adjust, but my love for them will never.  They are my children, forever.

Me and my kiddos! Brad and Ashleigh.
Brad and his Muvaa.

See brief video of  my son’s photoshoot.  My daughter is behind the camera and my nephew is the model.  IMG_0989

MY STYLE

This floral dress is very pretty, with it’s cold shoulder design.  Perfect for a sunny day, it is light and airy and falls nicely on my form.  I love the cold shoulder designs that are very popular these days.  They are perfect for ladies like me who don’t have the most toned arms, but want to show a little! Ha!

I paired my dress with pink caged stilettos for that splash of color.

Until next time, peace and blessings!

I love y’all!

Julie

SHOP MY STYLE

DressNew York and Company // Shoes – New York and Company (sold out) similar here // Hoop Earrings – Old // Bracelet – Old // SunniesForever 21 // Images –  Photography by Nichole Alex

 

The Spruced up LBD (Little Black Dress)

Happy Friday, Lovelies!

It’s been quite an interesting couple of weeks.  I celebrated Mother’s Day with my children, who visited from Texas and Louisiana. Prior to their arrival, I came down with a horrible cold that turned into bronchitis.  Between work, trying to get better and spending quality time with my children, I’ve been somewhat MIA.  I had to remind myself that it is okay, because life is not predictable.  Sometimes you must take a break, regroup and start anew.

So, regarding the LBD…  Did you know that in the 1920’s Coco Chanel came up with the term ‘little black dress’? Ms. Coco became famous by introducing loose fitted dresses and shapes which ultimately freed women from the restrictive corsets worn previously.  And to think, the dress was supposed to be loose fitting! 

I’m sure many of us own, or have owned a number of little black dresses.  The simplicity of the dress is its color, which makes it uber easy to spruce up!

Try adding these to your dress:

  • “Standout” shoe or purse (could be in color or style)
  • Statement jewelry
  • Colorful scarf
  • Sassy attitude

Remember that balance is key.  For instance, the LBD I am wearing in this post has very dramatic bell sleeves.  There wasn’t alot that needed to be done to this dress, because the sleeves were just so amazing!  I just added a large hoop and a standout shoe.  Voila!

Until next time, love and light!

Julie

LBD – New York and Company // Red PumpsBaldi of New York // Images by Nichole Alex Photography

 

 

 

If You Can’t Smell the Flowers, You Might as Well Wear Them!

Hey there, Stylistas!

Thank God for another week and opportunity to make things happen!  I’m very excited that my children, Bradley and Ashleigh will be visiting me from Texas and Louisiana for Mother’s Day.  I can’t believe it’s been 3 years since my son has been home!

Now for this look.  It’s easy to see that floral patterned clothing is everywhere you look.  This is also trending, but is not trendy. I for one, have always been partial to florals because they are:

  1. Pretty
  2. Colorful
  3. Wearable.  If I can’t smell the flowers, I might as well wear them!
  4. A mood lifter.  They make me happy.

This lightweight, pseudo wrap dress can be worn belted or unbelted for a great look. It also has a built in slip and front slit.

Happy Monday.

Until next time, love and light!

Julie

THIS STYLE FOR YOU:  Dress – New York and Company // Booties similiar – Jessica Simpson // Images by  Photography by Nichole Alex

 

The Pleated Skirt. A Classic, not a Trend.

Hey there, beautiful folks!

It’s Monday afternoon and I haven’t had my caffeine!  This is what happens when you try to go cold turkey!

If you’ve been watching me, you’ll notice that my flair can’t really be pegged; or can it?  Okay, I need my caffeine.  So to get back on subject, some style experts are saying that this is the year for pleated skirts and yes they are trending.  But trust, the pleated skirt is a classic from way back.

For the curvy girl, know that this is one of the most flattering pieces for your body!  Generally A-line in form, they cinch in the waist and fall ever so nicely on the stomach and hips.  I can remember having the prettiest red and black pleated skirt that my mother purchased for me many years ago when I was in high school.  Also, early on when my husband and I were dating, he gifted me with a classic flannel grey one.  It’s still in my closet and in the regular rotation. So, know that when I saw a lovely blush pink pleated skirt in H&M, I had to have it!  And then I peeped a black one?  SOLD!

When I speak as a stylist about having timeless pieces in your closet and mixing them with a trendy piece, the outfit in this post is spot on.  It spotlights last season’s off the shoulder blouse (this is actually a tunic) with a classic.  It’s sassy, ageless and sophisticated.

Again, have fun with style, because it’s totally yours!

 

Until next time, love and light!

Julie

Tunic Dress – H&M (old) // Pleated Skirt – H&M // Obi Belt – New York and Company // Shoes – Ross Dress for Less (old) // Images by – Gervel Sampson Photography

With Style, Step Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Happy Thursday, Stylistas!

Do you ever find yourself apprehensive about making a change in your work life, family life, love life or style life?  As creatures of habit, we tend to be slow to make changes if it makes us even a little uneasy.  And as we age, it seems like it is even harder!

At 52 years old, I still shop at Forever 21. Don’t judge me. #teamyouthfulspiritforever

Some of us are stuck on the name “Forever 21”, but trust, there are a lot of hidden gems in that store.

Stylistas, here are a few tips to help you step out of your style comfort zone:

  • Purchase clothes from a new retailer.
  • Consider another point of view (i.e., hire a stylist).
  • Purchase a colorful article of clothing, that you never would have worn in the past.
  • Don’t let your age limit you.  Just keep in mind that your goal is not to look like a teenager.

I hope you take these tips and apply them to your style life, if needed!

Until next time, love and light!

Julie

Rust Duster similar here – Forever 21 // Brown Tee similar here – Targetstyle // Graphic Print Bell Bottoms similar here Forever 21 // Fringly Sandals – Steve Madden // Medallion Necklace similar here – NY and Company // Sunnies similar here – Old // Images byGervel Sampson Photography

Dressing up Your Denim

Blouse – New York and Company // Boyfriend Jeans – Forever 21 // Ombre Pumps – Baldi of London // Necklace – Old // Watch – Jord Watches

Hey there!  I’m glad we are mid-week and I am looking forward to spending my weekend celebrating the birthday of another dear friend and working on my passion!  I had the pleasure of collaborating a few weeks ago with a beautiful soul, Mrs. Gervel Sampson of Gervel Sampson Photography. The story of our meeting was truly a show of God’s intervention.  I’ll tell you about it later! Now, let me tell you about dressing up your denim!

Everybody needs a white shirt in their closet.  But, how about a white shirt that strays away from the boring and is so beautiful it takes your breath away. Plus, it masks some inches around your waist in the process!

The beautiful blouse in this post is really breathtaking and I’ve come to the conclusion, I may need another color.  It’s a bit tricky to get on, but it amazingly compliments the figure with it’s wrap style.  I paired this beauty with distressed boyfriend jeans from Forever 21.  Keep in mind that because the blouse is so “fancy” for lack of a better term, it’s not a bad item to balance the look for perhaps a date night, or for what people on the west coast call, “California Casual”.  I’ve dubbed the ombre pumps, my Wizard of Oz shoes!

Enjoy the rest of your week!  And until next time,

Love and light!

Julie

 

Covered Perfectly’s Peekaboo Blouse

 

Hello beautiful people!

I’m excited to bring a product review on one of Covered Perfectly’s pieces from their most recent collection!  Can we begin by calling 2017 the year of the sleeve; bell sleeves, butterfly sleeves and now the peekaboo sleeve?!


As I have mentioned during previous reviews of Covered Perfectly products, the fabric of the blouse is 95% micro-modal and feels amazing next to my skin. It is also asymmetrically draped, which works for those days you want to just throw on some leggings or a form fitting jean, pant or skirt and not stress about signs of a tummy bulge. I paired my blouse with a pencil skirt.  And let’s talk about these sleeves!  They are beautifully constructed.

Stylish Paradox readers are entitled to a 20% discount on up to two items.  Just use the discount code SP20 when checking out at Covered Perfectly. The discount will apply on up to two items or take advantage of the buy 2 get the 3rd FREE deal.  Only only one of the discounts will work.

Until next  time,

Love and light!

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

 

#TheFierce50 & Stories of Empowerment: Stylish Paradox meets 2ChicDesigns

Today, February 19th is the launch of the first annual Fierce 50 campaign, bringing together 50 female bloggers, 50+ in celebration of midlife on the 50th day of the year! This campaign will bring awareness with the hopes of shifting the worldwide perception of the 50+ demographic. Even ESPN Journalist, Hannah Storm offered her words of wisdom and was interviewed in support of The Inaugural Fierce 50 Campaign.

I’d like to introduce you to to my amazing #fierce50 partner, Cynthia Lawson, the creator of 2chicdesigns!  A talented designer of handbags and accessories at www. 2chicdesigns.etsy.com, she is also a wife, mother of two adult children, grandmother and sales representative.  I know… she has a lot of jobs!

When Cynthia and I first spoke over the phone, there was an instant connection!  She is a beautiful spirit, a woman of strong faith and hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Cynthia’s fashion journey began in 2000, when took her seven year old daughter to a modeling agency. To her surprise, when the casting session ended, she was asked to model too! Initially, she was very shocked, but accepted the assignment with immense gratitude and enthusiasm.  She modeled with three agencies that employed both professional models and ordinary working girls of all ages. This is where her fashion education began, as she learned about dressing for her body and ways to enhance her personal style.

The runway shows she participated in were exciting, however it took time for her to perfect her signature look. Along the way, she noticed how the industry was obsessed with youth culture and appearances. Not to mention, if you were outdated or looked old, you were invisible.

Cynthia’s mission over the last fifteen years has been to overcome this stereotype. Armed with fashion magazines and the E network, she often noticed that women like her were not represented. But in 2009, she discovered a hidden world of fashion blogs written by stylish women of all ages. These inspirational blogs became the fuel she needed to bring out her true self.

Cynthia worked her way from the top down and updated her look with a sleek new hairstyle. She realized that a good hair style can immediately update your look and take years away! She searched for the appropriate style of clothing that complimented her form, and became adventurous with her color palette.  As she looked at herself in the mirror she noticed, she looked younger than she did fifteen years ago.

Her personal “style formula”  was created and she continues to add to it.  This has been the guiding light in her life and has really given her purpose.

 

Cynthia’s  family has been an inspiration and has encouraged her on this journey.  Her husband recently retired and they recently celebrated 27 years of marriage!  Her husband has also become her photographer.

Cynthia is grateful to God that he has orchestrated her life for good and stands on the scripture Psalm 92:12-15.  She believes that she will continue to flourish, grow and she supports the notion that the Fierce50 campaign will change the way the world sees woman 50 and older!

She quoted, “We are fierce and powerful, and most of all supportive of each other.”

Ladies, make sure you look Cynthia up ….  And let me tell you, she designs some fly handbags!

Finally, if you have enjoyed reading this blog post and learning more about the Fierce 50 Campaign, please visit this page http://catherinegraceo.com/meet-women-fierce-50-campaign/ to see an archive where you will find each of the women that are participating in The Fierce 50 along with their blog posts.  If you or someone you know is interested in either joining or supporting the movement, please contact info@catherinegraceo.com.  We have  lots more planned for this year and beyond so, stay tuned!

Join the movement!

Until next time, love and light!

Julie @_stylishparadox

To read my story, go to http://2chicdesigns.blogspot.com/

 

 

Covered Perfectly and the Sylvia Draped Top Love Affair.

Hello beautiful people!

I’m happy to bring you another review on Covered Perfectly.  This time it’s a beautiful royal blue blouse from their Micromodal Collection.  Properly named, the Sylvia “Draped” blouse, it falls wonderfully on the body and has 3/4 sleeves that are complimentary to the arms.  I love the micromodal fabric, as it is giving and soft to the touch. The item is definitely well constructed.

For this post, I decided to pair the blouse with a metallic gold skirt, floral jacket, statement neck piece and royal blue shoes.

I am excited because in the coming weeks, I’ll be joining the Covered Perfectly brand again for their spring collection photo shoot.  #feelinghonored to be asked back!

Stylish Paradox readers are entitled to a 20% discount on up to two items purchased from Covered Perfectly.  Just use the discount code SP20 at checkout. The discount will apply for up to two items or you can benefit from the “buy 2 get the 3rd FREE deal”. Only one of the discounts will work.

Stay posted for the #fierce50 campaign, launching Sunday, February 19th. More information coming your way soon!

Have a great week and be blessed!

Until next time,

Julie

 

The Shirtdress. Your man’s shirt with a feminine twist.

Shirtdress – WhoWhatWear Collection // Coral Necklace – Laura M. Gems // ShoesSteve Madden // Sunnies –  Targetstyle // Images – Maya Lott

Hey there, and a happy Monday to ya!

I wanted to share with you this classic, yet elegant shirtdress from the #WhoWhatWear Collection.

Have you ever put on your husband’s shirt when he’s out of town to have the feeling of him being close to you, so to speak?  Or used your man’s shirt as a pseudo robe, because it’s comfy and feels good on your body?  We all know that the shirtdress is just a man’s shirt with a feminine twist!

This simple, black shirtdress from the #WhoWhatWear Collection is free flowing, feminine and reminds you of your significant other’s button down shirt.  It’s perfect and comes with the option of being belted or unbelted to suit your fashion mood.  For this post, I decided to button the dress all the way to the neckline and add a statement necklace made of red coral.  Thanks, Sis!

 

Another way I like to wear this dress is to put a lace camisole underneath and button down the dress, just so the lace peeks out ever so faintly.  #Letmestyleyou and we can discuss a lot of options or ways to style your wardrobe pieces!

This number is definitely on my regular rotation, especially when I’m in a hurry to get to my day job.

Until next time, love and light!

Julie