Gala, Banquets and more, taking advantage of grown up dress up

Getting all dressed up every day is usually out of reach for me. Most days I am on the run.  I get dressed in the dark, grab my kids and spend the rest of the day on the run.  It’s safe to say that most days my appearance isn’t magazine worthy.  But there are other days when it totally is.  I appreciate the opportunity to pamper myself and get all dolled up for an adult night of fun. The awards gala at the Black Enterprise Entrepreneur Summit most recently provided me the perfect medium for my love of dress up.

Now by excited I mean by the result, not all the work it takes to get there. After a busy day of seminars I was still left with the daunting challenge of getting kids to the sitter, getting make up done, curling my hair, throwing on a dress and doing it all without breaking out in a cold sweat.  As a working mom I will say that the challenge can almost make just staying at home easier.  But easier is not always better.  As a working woman it is important to play dress up every once in a while.  It is a great reminder of not just who we were before the kids and responsibilities but who we are, our core.  We all deserve to feel like a princess every once in a while even far after the dream of a fairytale life has ended.

So with the running and curling and rush I walked into the gala still in rushing mommy mode, but once I walked it I finally received the fruits of my labors. Looking amazing has a funny way of making you feel amazing and the walk you walk when you feel amazing is a must in every woman’s life.  Not just the walk but the talk as you see yourself as your best self, even if it is just superficial.  And as people do their second take wondering if you are the same hectic business woman they saw earlier, you can do an internal victory lap. Sometimes you may not have it all or be Wonder Woman but at least you look great faking the funk.

Bold colors and fun prints with Pinko

Spring always makes sure that love is in the air and it always evident once the wedding invites start to roll in. For spring events and weddings I love to start taping into some of the beautiful, vibrant colors and bold prints that help shake off the winter for me. While in Milan I fell in love with the Pinko brand and decided to give my print maxi a spin for my first Spring wedding of the season.

Long Pinko dress (2)

I feel somewhere in some style book I never read or would ever follow there is something about how mixing bold prints and colors is a no no. However, as style should be an extension of our personalities I agree to disagree. This Long Dress in Raschel Pinko dress delivered a mix of things I absolutely love: the comfort and ease of a maxi, the fit of knits, and bold colors that ensure you leaving a lasting impression. The dress also took some fun liberties like this wide strapped back closure. The black fit offered a break from the colorful pattern while still managing to keep the dress flirty and fun. The empire waist of the dress worked to flatter almost any figure as you can accentuate your best parts while keeping the curves to a minimum at someone else’s special day. By transitioning the top print from the rest of the dress you keep the eye busy and the vibe cool with a blend of luxury design blended with a vivacious color palette. At this romantic ceremony this Pinko dress gave me the ability to enjoy the celebration from outside ceremony to end of night party with style and effortlessness!

Pulling out my inner vixen with my birthday ensemble

BCBG Vixen Birthday outfit 2016There are certainly times in your adult life where fashion guidelines towards being conservative must be followed. Say that important job interview or visiting a new church.  In those circumstances by all means dress your age and even air on the side of caution.  Your birthday, however, is not one of those days.  As opposed to another year older point of view I take birthdays as a true celebration of life.  However old you are the birthday is a gift and understanding that others may not have reached that number sets a gratitude to your birthday that makes you want to cherish every moment of it.

As I see birthdays as a celebration of anniversary of my birth and an appreciation of the life I have to life I tend to do it big on my birthday and that mentality has to extend to my outfit of choice. This year I stuck it out with BCBG as with all the hard work I have put in since giving birth I wanted to celebrate my curves.  No matter the age there is away to do midriff right and I think a little peak a book worked for me.  I choose a cropped faux leather shirt to give me the bold look that was perfect for celebrating aging like fine wine.  I paired a deep purple bondage skirt to make my look not quite soooo revealing and give a push of emphasis towards the curves and lines instead of the skin.  All and all I wanted vixen and I think I pulled it off, Happy Birthday to Me!!!

Back to basics with black and white

Black and White Casual Style (3)The basics of every wardrobe should be strong structured clothing that you can embellish to fit your mood and style. But being basic doesn’t mean it has to be boring. You can still pack a ton of style and energy into a black and white outfit! With autumn upon us a well-planned black and white outfit can provide structure and a pop of variation to make your look memorable. For my play on black and white I choose a white turtleneck and a pair of black stretch pants. Yes that sounds basic and downright boring but with the play on color gone the focus can be on fit and silhouette. In order to get a focus point I added a long flowing vest to the mix which really highlights the brightness of the white turtleneck. Paired with my favorite casual knee boots the look was classic yet still very modern.   What I like best about this black and white look is that it can work pretty easily in a range of settings. I took the look from my grandmothers birthday party to dinner in a look perfect for both because it was less about the clothes and more about what was in them…Me!Black and White Casual Style (1)

Letting your shoes do the talking with Giuseppe

Giuseppe Opening (10)With shoes being such a big part of any fashionistas closet you have to look being beyond trendy. Your shoe choices need to be an expression of you and well designed enough to not be out the door. At the Giuseppe Zanotti store opening in the new River Oaks District they showcased why the designer is not only known for amazing designs but has also withheld the test of time (and the fickleness of trends).

Giuseppe Opening (12) Giuseppe Opening (8) Giuseppe Opening (7)You always now if you are going to have a great store party when you can follow all the beautiful people to the store. With the beautiful designs of the River Oaks District as the perfect setting the flowing drinks and trendsetting people still managed to serve as backdrop to the mesmerizing shoe designs. Giuseppe is in a league of their own for me in their ability to match perfectly the fabric with the design. Seamlessly blending sating with futuristic nods and ostrich with tried and true favorites keeps them both innovative but classic at the same damn time. Something that is required for your shoes to move beyond a passing trend to more of an investment in your wardrobe present and future. From everything from the fun sky high heels, to fancy flats to even tennis shoes that can take you from day to night they served up all kinds of fabulous at their party.  Giuseppe Opening (4)

Making a bold statement with Josie Natori

Natori coverA minimal look is a quick way for an easy win when it comes to fashion and staying cool in the hot Houston summers.  The sophistication a clean LBD or white blouse and jeans can provide you with an opportunity to kick it up a notch and add a pop to change your look from memorable to unforgettable.  When looking for a great balance between modern and sleek apparel paired with bold accessories look no further than Josie Natori.

Natori trunk show (5)


Last week Tootsies showcased some of the great looks Natori has to offer at their Designer Mix and Mingle.  The great things about meeting a designer and seeing their personal style is you begin to understand the story behind the work.  From her background as a successful executive in the financial world to a powerhouse in the fashion world she exudes not a quiet confidence and subtle chicness. Natori trunk show (4)Her vision is translated into pieces that allow you to quickly dress up and dress down while all embracing the shapeliness that makes us all women as well as the differences that make us all unique.  The enthusiastic shoppers pulling strong necklaces and earrings seamlessly paired with sleek dresses and jackets with a wide range of style aesthetics was a clear example of the commanding impact of the Natori brand.

Natori trunk show (9)

Some of my favorites for the trunk show were the strong bracelet and necklaces combination presented at the show.  Strong mixes of black, gold, and silver not just provide an accent piece for an outfit, but it also pulls together influences from all over the globe.  With ease an intricate gold showstopper or versatile black beaded necklace/belt hints at tropical or tribal cultures from miles away.  The great handmaid pieces were surprising light adding to their flexibility and ease to wear and flexibility when mixing and matching in your closet.  Natori trunk show (7) Natori trunk show cuff up closeWhen paired with Natori fashion basics you have an opportunity to blend the basic and ornate in a way that really works to showcase your personal style, vision, and personality.

The PHPB Met Gala Best Dressed List

PHPB Met Gala AwardsOn a night celebrating fashion, Play Hard Playbook has pulled out some of the best looks of the night that ensured fashion was front page news.  Here is our list of those who dared to Dress to Impress and won.

Zendaya Met GalaBest Risk Taker: Using the Met Gala as a way to step out on a limb is a great way to express individuality and encourage both fans and designers to do the same.  Solange definite came prepared to take a risk with her fan dress, whose galaxy them I thought was perfection on a day celebrating Star Wars but another young starlet ultimately got my vote.  Zendaya has been pushing boundaries of fashion recently and I thought her high low dress this year was both fun and made her stand out in a crowd of beautiful faces. Honorable mention goes out to FKA Twigs who took an artsy twist on a gown that seemed to honor the beautiful museum hosting the affair. solange-met-gala-2015 FKA Twigs Met Gala

Beyonce Met GalaBest of the Trends: Sheer was clearly a topic pic at this year’s Met Gala.  I honestly believe a night celebrating fashion should have guest trying to push the envelope on trying something new and different instead of trends that will predictably be duplicated.  That being said if you are going to be dressed like 10 other people in the room you better make sure you are dressed to kill.  Beyoncé did just that as her gold tones of her dress, strategically placed gems, back cut out and fun styling made her look leave worthy competitors like Kim K. and J. Lo in the dust.

"China: Through The Looking Glass" Costume Institute Benefit Gala - ArrivalsBest Peek a Boo: Be it through cut outs or sheer, the peek a boo looks gives an unmatched mix of sexy and demure that not only leaves something to the imagination, it gives the imagination a path to go on.  This year one of my fashion icons, Helen Mirren takes the prize.  Proving age is not a number, but a state of mind Lady Mirren combines a regal red with festive attention to her curves.

sarah-jessica-parker-met-gala-2015Best Accessory:  Pairing a great look with a great accessory shows that you are there to shut things down.  The attention to detail allows you to be a little more daring and make a statement others are sure to not forget.  Sarah Jessica Parker has made a name for herself with her choices in accessories and her headpiece this year was no acceptation.  The homage to a traditional Chinese headpiece both honored the theme and set ablaze to the competition.

karolina-kurkova-met-gala-2015Best Dressed for Theme: There is a limitless amount of beautiful fashions that can be traced back to this year’s Chinese theme.  Done at its best a look can pull form the influence while still coming out modern.  Karolina Kurkova took classic colors and components and blended them gracefully with new shapes for a great play on the Chinese theme.

Kate Hudson Met Gala Kendall Jenner Met Gala

Best Sparkle and Shine: What is a fancy party without a little sparkle and shine? Those who do it best are able to pull out major bling without being overpowered by the dress.  This year both Kate Hudson and Kendall Jenner choose traditional gown shapes but made sure their shape and silhouette was what is remembered most.


janelle-monae-met-gala-2015 dwyane-wade-gabrielle-union-met-gala-2015Best Twist on a classic look: Although pushing the boundary of fashion is always a goal, sometimes its nice to see a reminder of fashion foundations.   Both Janelle Monae and Gabrielle Union took either classic shapes or colors and made them their own by really find a perfect fit for their personality and then letting their internal shine do the rest.  Honorable mention goes to Katy Perry who again showed her fearlessness to take a classic shape and add her on funky vibe to it.

Zoe Kravitz Met GalaBest S&M: All of the Met Galas I have seen have had someone venturing more on the hard rock edge of things.  At such an elegant gala it is easy for the look to go too far too fast, however, this year Zoe Kravitz pulled from the artsy rocker look of her parents and pulled off a sheer look that somehow managed to still look elegant.

What were you favorite looks form the night?

Pop of Color with Yves St. Laurent new glossy stain

Yves St Laurent Pop of Color Lip Stain (1)If I had to list the things I don’t leave home without, lip gloss would be at the top of the list.  For a makeup minimalist gloss is a great fix to give my face some color plus hydrate my lips through the mystery that we call Houston weather.  My love of gloss has given me a mini obsession with different brands over the years but one of my tried and true favorites is Yves St. Laurent.

Yves St Laurent Pop of Color Lip Stain (2)My love for Yves St. Laurent glosses began with a pop.  Well a pop of color that is.  With a palette that ranges from nudes to deep reds and everything in between I can always find a fit from casual to dress to impress.  What sealed the deal on my obsession, however, was their focus on glitter and shine.  Their glosses are great alone or over a more permanent lipstick to add some shimmer that makes your lips stare worthy.  Now they have stepped up their game once again with a combination of long wear and shine that gives you the best of both worlds on lip color.

The Vernis A Levres Pop Water Glossy Stain gives long wear color along with a great shine.  What I love best is that you can choose to turn up or down the color while still getting the great shine that is good for all occasions.  Because it is a stain while the first coat goes on light, with a few seconds of drying time you can continue to apply and get more color and still all of the shine.  I wore it all day and although I did reapply a couple of times throughout the day to make sure the shine made an impact the color was always there whenever I went back for a peek.  With a color range so fun I was even able to pull my matte loving friend over to the dark side!  With more and more fun in the sun just around the corner, the Pop Water Stain is a great addition to your summer makeup arsenal!

Summer fashions for all white affairs

With summer fast approaching, the weight, coverage and colors of winter fashions are melting away making room for the brightness and vibrancy of summer colors.  As a perfect combination of all the colors white is busting back on the scene with the clean lines and fresh approach that can be worked into almost any wardrobe selection.  Although everyone dabbles with white, the idea of all white is equally loved and feared and can easily take a wrong turn with its attraction to stains and sheer challenges it presents.  With the Hamptons in Houston All White Party on deck for the weekend as the ultimate party for a purpose I decided to take a look at what fashion has in store for the color white this season. Ethereal: ABS Pleated Cami White naturally provides a play on common pictures of the heavens and with the flowy fabrics popular this season it is a great chance to play a heavenly creature.  Not only is the airiness great to beat the heat, it goes a long way to showcase your shape without clinging to your imperfections.  I adore the ABS Pleated Cami as it provides some fun movement and flair with hints of black to that define lines and give some structure to the ethereal look. Short and Sassy: Elizabeth and James Arizona Dress With your legs hiding all winter, it’s time for them to once again step into the spotlight.  I like short best when it’s paired with a more traditional profile to really give the legs center stage.  The Elizabeth and James Arizona Dress uses folds and an embroidered trim to add some visual intrigue.  With a focus on your cinching waist and glams galore the dress is a great way to welcome in the summer! Play on fabrics: Alexander McQueen Broderie Dress 1   Dressing in all white does not have to be monotone.  An easy way to change the look of an all-white outfit is through plays on fabrics and patterns.   As always Alexander McQueen does not fail on his edginess with this Paneled Broderie Anglaise Dress.  The solid pieces and wide belt provide structure and accentuate important lines along the waist and neck area to give an elongated look.  The fun plays of patterned panels provide the edge and make the look memorable. Peek a boo: Giamba Lace Smock Dress The heat and skin walk hand in hand, but there are ways you can have the best of both worlds with some additional coverage combined with a playful peep show of what lies beneath.  To meet such a need a love options to reveal as much or as little as you like.  The Giamba Lace Smock Dress is a great play as it screams summer with its floral lace with an empire waist, A-line cut that offers a range of appeal to flatter peoples shape.  It is topped with beaded appliqué to highlight the neck line and gives you the power to make it more conservative with a full slip or more daring without. Photos courtesy of

Using menswear to mash up sexy and confident

IMG_0754How do you define sexy? To satisfy some you have to show more and more skin to get a sexy look.  Change is in the wind, however, and the trend towards women in menswear challenge the question if the skin or the attitude really define what is sexy.  I took on the challenge menswear challenge at the recent ICON Women’s Organization Bowtie Brunch.

The great thing about men’s wear for woman is that you get an opportunity to take on a structured look and add in elements of femininity.  For a bit more moderate look there are an assortment of ways to polish the look for a blend of both worlds.  For me the best way to achieve this look is to work for balance.  My outfit, for instance, started off with a masculine look on the top half.  Once you add a bowtie, the top of your look is going to be pretty conservative.  I paired this moderate look with a fun take on a tuxedo jacket.   For my feminine balance, however, I stopped at the means suit shirt.  Yep this means I skipped the bottoms.  The length of the shirt paired with the front crop of the jacket gave a great balance of black and white to the look.  When I added on a flirty pair of tuxedo hills my job was done.  You can even double down on the challenge and let your own femininity speak for itself and give the ultimate level of contrast for the look.

IMG_0755This same balance can be achieved with suits and slacks and almost any men’s wear by finding the fun feminine component that complements, not overwhelms the look.   The more masculine the foundation is the more feminine you can make your other choices to provide the right balance.  For instance a structured suit looks great with a soft, flowing blouse, or even a fitted tee.   The power of the look is that even as masculine elements take over you can begin to bring out the strong woman.  The look always makes me feel like “I am woman, hear me roar”.  It is a great way to spice up an outfit and in a powerful look that is also contagious to the way you feel.