TRAPEZE ARTIST

If there’s one thing Dave and I will never agree on, it’s trapeze dresses. He hates the lack of a defined waistline, but I can’t resist the breezy style on the most humid summer days. I snagged this one from Kohl’s last week for a song. (I had a handful of Kohl’s cash, reward coupons and discounts to bring the price down to $14.) As you’ll see in the stock image, it has an attached waist tie that’s sewn into the back seam. I think it looks ridiculous and cheapens the dress, so I tied it in a bow at the back—a temporary solution until I visit the tailor. A leather belt like this one looks much better.

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In other news, check out this beautiful ring from Vrai & Oro. I’ll formally introduce you to the brand tomorrow, but think of them as Everlane-meets-jewelry. The retailer has an incredible offering of simple fine jewelry without the absurd markup of a traditional store. The ring I’m wearing is an exclusive piece only available here. I’ve been wearing it on my ring finger and as a midi ring on my middle finger.

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Kohl’s dress | Tory Burch wristletRivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Julie Vos cuff (also love this one) | Vrai & Oro ring c/oCynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Sam Edelman sandals

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SHIFTY

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Shift dresses are usually pretty unfortunate on my frame, stretching unforgivingly across my hips and clinging to the wrong places. Despite that, I still fell for this dress at Piperlime and decided to give it a whirl (it’s already sold out, but this one is similar). Aside from the rancid smell right out of the package (as I mentioned here), the dress is pretty fantastic with plenty of room through the hips (phew!). I have no doubt that this easy-to-throw-on piece is going to get plenty of wear this summer. 

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On another note, would you believe that I curled my hair for these photos? I. Hate. Humidity. 

Pim + Larkin dress (similar) | Coach bag | Gerard Yosca necklace c/o Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Sam Edelman sandals

Reminder: Enter to win $300 to spend on art at UGallery.com! 

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ROMPER ROOM

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After dodging the romper bullet for years, I purchased two this month and it all started with this Rachel Zoe version (see the other romper here). It’s a lovely mix between dressy and casual and it’s the first item in years that I knew I’d purchase the moment I tried it on—before I even glanced at the price tag. That’s not exactly an attitude my bank account can support, but fortunately a sale sticker was slapped on top of the original price. (Fair warning though, it’s a beast to get off. Wear it on days you expect to be dehydrated.) 

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Rachel Zoe romper | Tory Burch wristlet | Hermes bracelet | Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Sam Edelman sandals 

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TROPICAL PUNCH

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Watching reruns of What Not to Wear is one of my guilty pleasures. My favorite part? When the guest refuses to toss her ratty sweats, insisting that nothing else could ever be as comfortable. Eye roll. She’s obviously never tried on this number from DVF. This thing has so much extra space that I could eat my way through any city with room to spare and, whaddya know, it doesn’t look like I’ve just rolled out of bed.

Even if it did, I’d still wear it. I mean, nothing else could ever be as comfortable.

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Diane von Furstenberg dress | Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Hermes bracelet | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Sam Edelman sandals | Coach bag | YSL nail polish

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GRAPHIC ART

When I first came across this dress last year, I added it to my wish list without much thought. Then I saw it on Blair and panic purchased it before it sold out. (Tell me I’m not the only person who does that.) I couldn’t have predicted that it would become one of the most worn items in my closet. I usually wear it with a pair of classic black pumps, but I love how it looks with the vibrant pink of these sandals and the Oaks Lily scarf I bought as my souvenir from Churchill Downs. 

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ASOS dress | Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Hermes bracelet | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Coach bag | DV by Dolce Vita sandals | Vineyard Vines scarf

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DOUBLE PEARL

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I mentioned that I had my eye on this romper in last Friday’s post and I actually purchased it just hours later (it says it’s an online exclusive, but it was available a nearby store). I wore it to dinner that night, for afternoon drinks on Saturday and to run errands on Sunday (the day I took these photos). Move over, LBD. The LBR is proving to be my go-to piece for summer. I prefer the romper with a long pendant, but I wanted to give the oversize pearl trend a whirl with this necklace from Sammydress. Coming in at under $4, it’s a frugal way to try the double pearl trend. Be aware, though, that you get what you pay for. It’s not going to last through the season (I already had to glue one of the beads back on), but that’s probably okay for something as trendy as this.

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LOFT romper | Sammydress necklace c/oRivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Hermes bracelet | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Coach bag | Cole Haan loafers (similar and I love these for summer) | Zoya nail polish

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LACE & LINEN

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Third time was a charm with this dress. I first ordered a size 6, which is the same size as another beloved LOFT dress from last summer. Too small. I then ordered an 8 petite because the regular wasn’t available. Too short (as in “I’m pretty sure I can’t sit down and still be a lady”). Finally, an 8 regular popped back in my size and I jumped on it. Totally worth the hassle. It was my favorite dress to wear in Louisville and I have no doubt it’s going to get plenty of wear in Belgium. 

LOFT dress | Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Hermes bracelet | Jennifer Meyer x J.Crew bracelet | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Sam Edelman sandals | Coach bag | YSL nail polish

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BUDGET BABE

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I often discuss ways to shop smarter with my French Wardrobe series, but for many of us, that means shopping on a budget. When Kohl’s challenged me to create a summer outfit for $100, I embraced the opportunity to prove that you can find closet-worthy pieces at any price point—and It helps that Kohl’s has fantastic sales to help you stay on budget. Nearly everything in the store was marked down 40% or more, making it fun to see just how far my dollar would stretch. Here’s what I fell in love with:

Candie’s sandals$44.99 $24.99
My outfit actually started with these darling strappy sandals when I spotted them at Kohl’s in Louisville. My size wasn’t available at any of the area locations, but a quick store search showed a pair in a size 7 back in Madison. I wasn’t sure what I’d pair them with at the time, but I knew navy sandals would be a summer staple in my wardrobe and I adored they were by Candie’s. My mom had a pair of the brand’s signature heeled mules back in the ’70s and I remember fawning over the shoes in Jenny McCarthy’s ad campaign when I was a teen. 

Peter Som for Kohl’s dress$74 $44.40
There are dozens of darling white dresses at Kohl’s right now. I fell in love with this eyelet version from Peter Som’s Design Nation collection. The quality of the cotton eyelet is great and the ruffled hem gives it visual interest. Best of all, it has pockets. 

Apt 9 crossbody$34 $19.99
I was initially drawn to the punchy hue of this crossbody bag, but it was the practicality of the item that won me over. If you click over to see more images of it on the Kohl’s site, you’ll see that there’s plenty of room for your essentials, including a spot for your cell phone. 

Apt 9 sunglasses$26 $12.99
I had $10.62 my budget for my final item and opted for a pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses started at $8.99, but the subtle cat-eye frames of a slightly more expensive pair were most flattering. (Had I thought to sign up for Kohl’s emails before I shopped, I would have been able to save an additional 15% on my purchase.)

Total Spent: $102.47 | Total Saved: $76.62

Even though I went over by a teeny bit, I did receive a $10 Kohl’s coupon good toward any purchase in early June. That means I’m still $7.53 ahead, right? I’m planning to put it toward this set of stackable rings by Lauren Conrad.

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Disclosure: I received a $100 gift card from Kohl’s for the purposes of this post. All opinions are my own. 

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ROAD TRIPPIN’

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We’re back from our Memorial Day road trip to Louisville, Ky.! The city is only a seven-hour drive from Madison (eight hours with the inexplicably long construction traffic jams), which is close enough for a day-long drive and a great excuse to take Dave’s convertible on the road. Sunscreen should have been my top travel essential (I have quite the sunburn on my scalp from driving that long with the top down), but it was actually this Hayden Reis tote. It’s made of durable, lightweight sailcloth (read: packable, water resistant and wipes clean) and was large enough to stow all of my on-the-road essentials with plenty of room for souvenirs. My bag is the larger "Ditty" version, but Hayden Reis’ upbeat, preppy designs also come in a smaller "Middy" size, which is a bit more manageable for daytime use. There are also plenty of summer accessories like this darling pouch to stash your wet swimsuit and a mesh bag for beach-combing finds. 

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Lilly Pulitzer tunic | J.Crew shorts | Rivet & Sway sunglasses c/o | Tory Burch wristlet | Hermes bracelet | Golden Thread necklace c/o | Cynthia Jones ring c/o | Lacee Alexandra ring c/o | Sam Edelman sandals | Hayden Reis tote c/o | Floto duffle bags

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Outfitted

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If you’re following along on Instagram, you know I recently treated myself to a DVF dress as an early birthday present. I loved the dress when it debuted with DVF’s spring collection, but it was out of price range at $545. So, you can imagine how excited I was to spot it on sale—in my size!—at Bergdorf Goodman last week for $190, barely more than I’d spend on a J.Crew dress. Serendipity! (Here’s the link I used in case a return happens to pop back online.) I still need to take it to a tailor to have the bodice brought in, but other than that, it’s pretty much perfect. 

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Wearing: Diane von Furstenberg dress | Kayu clutch c/o | Kate Spade heels | rings: Julie Vos c/o (similar), Lacee Alexandra c/o, Cynthia Jones c/o, Karen Hsiang | Zoya “Blu” nail polish

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