The Chelsea Boot

*This post was sponsored by Zappos

Never underestimate the power of footwear, especially great boots. I just can’t live without them. Here’s why: Strong statement shoes add the finishing touch to your outfit, and trust me, that doesn’t go unnoticed. Boots add an elevated and seasonal feel to your outfit that, when done right, can pull your entire look together. They’re so multi-functional that you can wear them with denim, chinos or even full suits. You can tuck the pants in for a more rugged look or keep the pants over the boots for a dressier feel. Depending on the vibe of the outfit, there are so many ways to play with styling boots during the fall and winter months. You can get so many looks out of them!

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I've been wearing Steve Madden boots for years. Their lace-up combat boots (in both black and brown) are staples in my wardrobe because they are comfortable and versatile enough to wear with everything. Now I have a new Steve Madden style to add to my collection: the Chelsea boot. I ordered the boots from Zappos, which is always such an easy experience. Shipping is free and fast. Plus, if you are as indecisive as me, they have a 365-day return policy, which takes the pressure off of having to make decisions too quickly. The Chelsea boot is one of my favorite styles because it’s both casual and formal. They don’t have laces, and the sides are elastic, creating a sleek and modern silhouette. That’s why they pair perfectly with a slim style of pants. Remember: the fit matters. They shouldn’t be loose.

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When it comes to shoe brands that deliver solid quality at an affordable price point, Steve Madden is one I often refer to my fellas. They have a variety of fashion-forward fall styles that you can filter through on Zappos, based on your own personal style. They come in a variety of different fabrics (leathers, suedes, etc.), textures, and colors. Most importantly, they feel so comfortable when I'm running through New York City every day. I rarely sacrifice comfort for style, so it’s refreshing to see that a brand I've been wearing for years doesn’t change the impressive quality of their footwear. Take advantage of the cozy seasons and get those boots ready for months of styling!

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5 Must-Have Fall Pieces

Today I am sharing with you five pieces that I cannot be without this season. The best part? You can mix and match them all to achieve multiple looks.

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1. Quilted Bomber Jacket

Blazer, chino pants, woven, repeat. Do you ever get tired of figuring out what to wear because, all season long, you’re putting together the same uniform? Enter the Quilted Jacket. If chosen carefully, this piece can replace a blazer for a slightly sporty, yet equally elevated look. There are many different types of quilted jackets, but I gravitate towards the Bomber. The Quilted Bomber has a silhouette that accentuates your shoulders and makes your waist look trim. You can dress up the jacket like I did above, or wear it more casually with a v-neck tee and denim - you all know I live for a multi-purpose piece of clothing. I love this jacket from Penguin because it’s lightweight, has gray accents that makes the blue pop even more, and is made with little details (like the arm zipper) that gives one of the hottest trends of the late 50s a modern feel.

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2. A Textured Gray Suit

I love a beautifully-constructed navy or black suit because they are safe go-to’s for most formal occasions. But, this season, I challenge you to step out of the safe zone and put on a show-stopping suit. This slim suit from H&M is constructed in woven fabric which means that a distinguished texture is created from the way the suit is sewn. I love a texturized suit because it adds elegance to your look - and the best part is, it makes your outfit look really expensive. The truth? This suit is less than $100. While we all have our fancy suits, when I want to play with textures, fabrics and even patterns for an event, I head to stores like H&M where I know I can score a suit at a great price that matches what I’m looking for. My tip to you is to be patient because you won’t always find what you want in fast fashion stores, but when you do, its worth the search!

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3. Baseball Tee

As much as I love a dapper suit, I also love being comfortable and hanging up my blazer for a day or two. But comfort doesn’t mean you sacrifice style. I was at an event the other night, and someone said to me that they are never caught in public wearing anything other than a suit. I felt like they’re missing out. There is so much fashion out there that isn’t being explored. A baseball tee is a weekend go-to of mine. I look for ones that have contrasting sleeve colors, fun details like the Aztec pocket in the one I am wearing above, and of course, a fitted silhouette. I say this often but I can’t stress it enough - fit can make or break your look. The clothing doesn’t have to be skin tight, but it shouldn’t be baggy because it will make you look disheveled. If it’s warmer out for all my west coast readers, throw shorts with the baseball tee to achieve a more seasonal feel and wrap a light hoodie around your waist. For cooler weather, pair a baseball tee with denim and boots.

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4. Crew-Neck Sweater

Who doesn’t love sweater weather? Many people have very simple sweaters in their closet but don’t always pull them out because they aren’t quite sure how to style them. My first tip? Find a modern design like this Herringbone Sweater from Ryan Seacrest’s Distinction Collection. Next, pair a crisp dress shirt with the sweater and layer it with your favorite complimenting tie for a sophisticated and preppy feel. I love the look of a tie slightly popping out from underneath a sweater because it subtly shows you put thought into the outfit. Throw a blazer over this look and use that as your jacket for the day to dress it up a touch more.

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5. Combat Boots

One of the only things that makes me excited to say goodbye to summer is that I get to wear boots for the next few months again. I basically live in boots all fall and winter. Whether it’s with denim, chinos, or even a suit, there are so many styles that work with all of your outfits. I have been buying lace up combat boots from Steve Madden for years. I love the “messy” look, tucking my pants in my boots, or cuffing them once and wearing my pants over the boots. They can change the entire vibe of your look and instantly make you look cool (probably way cooler than I am, but I’ll take it).

Easing Into Fall

The weather is playing tricks on us, again! One day you’re mad that you aren’t wearing enough layers, while the next day you’re trying to peel the skin off your body because it’s randomly and overwhelmingly hot. Until we are a few weeks into autumn, figuring out what to wear each day is a mission. Here are my four tips to starting off the fall season with style and comfort in mind, so that you’re ready to tackle whatever Mother Nature throws your way.

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1. Fabric Matters

You can never go wrong wearing a sport jacket. If you’re not required to wear a suit for work, make sure to stock up on a few sport jackets that are made of a lighter fabric. Keep the wool away until the temperatures really drop. I like to use a sport coat also as a jacket when there are warm days and cool nights because it is one less piece of clothing to worry about during temperamental weather. It’s as I like to call it, a two-for-one piece. I am very into pairing sport coats with silk v-neck tees and Henley’s for a more casual look. And while  people like to say not to wear white past Labor Day, I think certain “rules” need to be updated. White pops against fall oranges, reds and yellows so I love to make a statement throughout early fall with white pants. You still can get away with wearing shoes with no-show socks to achieve the sock-less look for a few more weeks, so don’t be afraid to play with that look.

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2. Use Those Shoulders

In New York, we are still getting near 90-degree weather so certain days still require shorts and a tee-shirt. But this doesn’t mean you can’t put a fall spin on this look. Choose an autumnal toned tee and pair it with a flat-front short for an elevated version of a simple outfit (and leave the cargo shorts behind - they’re a bit too casual for most occasions). Then choose a versatile light sweater or henley to wrap around your shoulders. This instantly creates a cozy feel to your look and also serves as an extra layer throughout the day-to-night transition.

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3. Keep Out Your Short-Sleeve Button Downs

This summer I have been obsessed with short sleeve button downs and have written about the proper ways to sport these. These shirts don’t have to go away for the season just because fall is here. For meetings I often wear a collared shirt, but it can sometimes be too warm for a heavy long sleeve version. To prevent feeling overheated, I still wear my short sleeve button downs while running around New York City and just throw a light jacket over them when the temperatures drop around sunset. Cuff the bottoms of your pants and pair an Oxford dress shoe with your look for a fresh feel. I like to play with patterns and fabrics so I often gravitate towards multi-toned footwear.

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4. Bring Back the Flannel

Yes, it is entirely too soon to wrap yourself in your favorite cozy flannel, but it isn’t too soon to use it as a layering piece. The weekends are always spontaneous and I’m either running around the city or going on an outdoor adventure. I like to be comfortable, but still look put together. To achieve this, pair your favorite tank with a pair of flat front shorts (as you can see, white shorts/pants are not going anywhere just yet) and wrap a flannel around your waist. This gives you an effortless look while also providing you with something comfortable to throw on if the temperatures drop at night. And if they don’t? Then you are still giving a cool 90’s throwback vibe and everything feels right about that.