Category Archives: Wwaw

#WWAW: Fur with a Maxi?

Twice a year the style elite kick off the fashion month festivities celebrating the medium of movement art and showcasing for all of us a preview of what we can look forward to wearing in the upcoming season.  New York Fashion Week starts this Thursday and after four consecutive seasons at the tents I will be bowing out this season.  I’m not taking a permanent vacation from the tents but after all of the hustle and bustle it takes to prepare to attend the beautiful chaos that is New York Fashion Week, the demanding back to back schedule of shows and industry events that make up my fashion week agenda, coupled having a full-time career I needed a break.  Last week I made the hard decision to take this season off and cover the New York Fashion Week shows from the comfort of my home and bonus? Automatic front row seating!

What’s the inspiration: Since my decision of whether or not I’d be attending New York Fashion Week wasn’t officially solidified until last week I’d already begun the preparation of attending.  One of my favorite tent ensembles that I’d planned on wearing is inspired by re-purposing my maxi pleated skirt which was one of my favorite pieces from last spring/summer.  I can’t get enough of this amazing piece so I thought, “Fur with a Maxi? Sure why not!”

1Why it’s relevant: Mixing of fabrications and textures is a refreshing way to incorporate interest and newness to a drab winter wardrobe.  I’ve made this ensemble season appropriate by pairing my favorite pleated maxi skirt with a warm & cozy pull over sweatshirt, a faux fur vest layered on top of leather motorcycle jacket and boots of course.


Where to wear it: Not only is this tent appropriate, especially considering the weather but it’s perfect to wear to any event and should be worn everywhere.  Mixing of fabrications and textures add so much interest while at the same time ensure that you are dressed up/down the right amount for any occasion.


What I’m wearing: KENZO pullover sweatshirt/ ASOS Pleated Maxi Skirt/ BB Dakota Faux Fur Vest/ ASOS Moto Leather Jacket (Similar)/ Chloe Susanna Booties/ Givenchy Clutch/ River Island Sunnies








#WWAW: All black (almost) everything!

So it’s 2014 and time to usher in new habits and routines.  One new habit I want to make a consistent practice here on CSM: A Style Maven’s Diary are regular entries to my style diary.   I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback from you all about my straight forward recaps I’ve started to use for my fashion week coverage so I’ll be adopting a similar format for my style diary entries.

What’s the inspiration:  Wearing socks with sandals or heels is nothing new but I’ve been intrigued with this trend and decided to take it for a spin and incorporate it on my terms.  I’ve got quite a few beauties in my footwear closet that are not Chicago winter proof so the idea of wearing socks for warmth immediately became enticing due to warmth and bonus, made it a little bit more practical and less of a fashion forward trend.

1Why it’s relevant:  Miuccia Prada’s Spring/Summer 2014 women’s collection was an ode to celebrating free thinking, empowered women and this look of socks and legwarmers were donned on every model who walked in this fashion presentation.

2Where to wear it: Everywhere and with everything, well minus if it’s a serious polar vortex outside and in that case I would highly recommend a pair of winter boots.  This fashion forward trend is definitely not for the faint of heart so if you are going to wear this, then I would empower you to own it like the strong women that Miuccia drew inspiration from for her collection.

3What I’m wearing:  Criminal Damage Tee/ River Island Over-sized Coat (Similar)/ BDG Jeans/ Carthartt Beanie/ Prada Heels/ Clutch/ House of Harlow  Sunnies






Resolution not just for 2014: Look Good, Feel Good!

As cliche as it sounds one of my biggest resolutions for myself is to continue my quest to become physically, mentally, and spiritually fit.  For the last 3 years of my life I’ve experienced so many new life changing moments that have wreaked havoc on my body.  Now I’m not trying to make excuses but getting married, starting a new job that involves traveling 4 months out of the year, and all while trying to start a fashion/style blog can be a little bit stressful.  Like a lot of people stress causes me to turn immediately to junk food for comfort.  Really wished I’d had been a part of the anomaly that turned to my running shoes, but in hindsight it’s neither here nor there because although it’s been a rough road I would not change anything because of where it has brought me.

I started my fitness journey last year by dropping 4 dress sizes and gaining a renewed view on life.  While I’ve had some great accomplishments I don’t want to stop there.  I still have a ways to go in achieving my place of zen with my body physically, mentally and spiritually.  So to challenge myself this year I’ve set forth the following 3 goals for myself for 2014:

1.  Transition to a full Paleo diet

2.  Live an active lifestyle where working out is not a chore but a necessity

3.  Find my center by dedicating an hour each day to reflection, meditation and prayer.

P.S. I will definitely be crossing off all of the above in these amazingly comfy activewear pieces that have become second skin to me: top/pant.

Getting Fit Board

#CSMStyleTips: Mastering the Art of Lounging

One of 2013’s major trends has undoubtedly been the year of the onesie/footie pajama in large part due to the like of Cara Delevingne and her fashion motley crew of sorts.  While the appeal of looking like an overgrown baby hasn’t quite passed due to the odd appeal that grown adults have in wearing footie pajamas and parading the streets in a drunken stupor (don’t believe me? Visit Chicago during the winter holidays and walk around Wrigleyville on a Saturday afternoon).  To help bring some fashion & style sanity back to the masses I’ve put together an age appropriate and stylish approach to loungewear.

To build a comfortable, yet approachable loungewear ensemble there are 4 key components: Joggers, Classic pajamas, Cashmere and Slippers.  Check out my top picks that will have you lounging into the new year in style, after all isn’t that what the holidays were meant for?



#CSMStyleTips: Jeweled Shoes

With the holidays in full swing the age old question of, “What am I going to wear?” seems to be one of the most frequently asked questions of the season.  Use this opportunity to add in a wardrobe staple into your closet by introducing a pair of twinkle toe shoes to your footwear mix.

Nothing dates faster than the toe of a shoe apart from the heel of one.  The jewelled shoe looks high maintenance and aloof which allows for wardrobe versatility.  These chameleons can be paired literally every single thing in your wardrobe.  Add instant holiday sparkle to an underwhelming outfit or put the finishing touch to any polished look with a pair of jeweled shoes.

Here are my Top 5 picks of jeweled shoes that would be the perfect addition for any investment dresser’s closet:



#CSMStyleTips: Velvet

‘Tis the season for holiday dressing and what better way to ring in the holidays than in a nineties throwback fabric, velvet.  What’s great about velvet’s re-emergence this go around is that it’s had a new makeover and is now packaged in familiar streamlined silhouettes & shapes.

Its matte texture works as a strong styling element in a look, nicely balancing out both high-shine patents and less-luxe textures such as cotton denim or wool.  With the update in shape the key to incorporating velvet is to focus on sharp and tailored pieces and not the skater dresses you wore back in the day. Great updates such as wearing this fabrication in pointed or structured footwear, denim shapes or even a structured bag are the perfect ways to rock this great holiday fabric.

Check out my Top 10 way to wear velvet this holiday:




Food for thought, why not wear food for Thanksgiving?

As I’m prepping for this week’s food-strav-aganza the age old question naturally comes to mind, “What do I wear?”  But after much thought I’ve come to the conclusion that the better question is, “What do I wear that allows me to consume obscene amounts of food and still look amazing?”

I think I’ve found quite possibly the best thing to wear this Thursday for Thanksgiving.  I’m going to wear food!  How perfect is it to wear food in celebration of the only day that is dedicated strictly to food.  Where one practices the glorious verbs of “noshing”, “feasting”, and “snacking”.

Check out my Top 5 food-wear options below and tell me which one is your favorite!



CSM x SOSS Giveaway!

Remember the innovative and trailblazing nail artist Soileti Hoko, the woman behind SOSS Nails?  Well this amazing young talent has expanded her portfolio from providing nail crack for nail head enthusiasts to offering accessory freaks like myself more ways to stay SOSS’d.

SOSS has launched their online store where they offer everything from custom nail sets to custom neckwear accessories.  Yes, if you want to be dripping in SOSS gear you could make it happen–well accessories wise at least but I wouldn’t put apparel expansion out of this young up and comer’s reach because something tells me that we might be seeing a sportswear line being introduced sometime in the near future.

So to help others become just as obsessed as I am with SOSS I’m giving away a pair of SOSS Triangle Ngatu Knockers.  Statement earrings are a definite Fall trend and were sprinkled all over the runways at the Spring/Summer ’14 collections during New York Fashion Week.


So how do you win a pair of these beauties?  Easy, make sure you follow all the rules listed below.  Ready-set-go!

1. You must ‘LIKE’ CSM: A Style Maven’s Diary Facebook Page

2. You must follow @CSMStyleDiary on Twitter.

3.  Leave me a comment on how you would style these SOSS Triangle Ngatu Knockers.

And you can get an additional entry if you follow CSM’s Instagram page (@CSMStyleDiary).  This sweepstakes giveaway officially starts today, September 9th and ends on September 30th at 5pm CST.  The winner will be announced  via Facebook.*



*Must live in the United States.  Winner will be randomly selected using and MUST follow all of the rules listed above in order to qualify to win.



The Dynamic Duo: T-shirt & Skirt

Recently I attended an event at Arlington Racetrack that was centered around the obvious: horse racing.  When I heard the words “horse racing” I immediately thought of church hats, southern belles and pearls.  While none of these words have been used as adjectives to describe my personal style I initially tried to cater my ensemble to fit the theme.

After a few rounds of racking my closet to find what would fit into that Kentucky Derby-esque theme I remembered my style mantra and realized that my Edgy, Comfy, Chic aesthetic should never be compromised to fit a theme.  This is something that I preach on the daily and especially here on CSM and to have that moment reminded me of 2 things: 1. It doesn’t matter how well you know your style you will always have an off day so embrace it because it’s all in the bounce back.  2. Use fashion as armour to define and walk YOUR runway.

So what did I end up wearing? My go-to dynamic duo: a t-shirt & statement skirt.  This pairing will always exude an effortless style but the secret is definitely in the pairing.  I would highly recommend pairing a fun graphic t-shirt with a dressier skirt such a pleated floor length maxi or a sequined pencil skirt.  Check out my look below and have fun experimenting with this dynamic duo!

L to R: T-shirt ( Clutch ( Heels (Similar)/ Earrings ( Bracelet ( Pleated Maxi Skirt (

L to R: Criminal Damage T-shirt ( Givenchy Clutch ( Rebecca Minkoff Heels (Similar)/ Baublebar Earrings ( Baublebar Bracelet ( ASOS Pleated Maxi Skirt (



Mid-heeled Sandals: Your go-to warm weather shoe!

Coming off of an amazing week in warm weather Orlando, FL it was such a shock to come back to yet another Chicago winter.  Legit feels as if Chicago only has one long winter with an occasional break in the sky with a little sun for good measure.

So while the weather is still iffy, I can’t help but still go through the motions with transitioning into a summer wardrobe.  For summer, my go-to shoe is the mid-heeled sandal.  Why? Simple, they are not flat and aren’t too high.  The flat sandal only equals dirty feet and to mix dirt with sweat is not a great combo and is not exactly the added benefit I look forward too in a show.  Now, I know a lot of you are wondering well why are high heels out?  Two words: swollen & hurt.  High heels are amazing but to be on your feet all day or to wear a pair of sandals for a full work day, they are out of the question.

And don’t try to talk to me about wedges. They’re marketed as the safer alternative to high heels but the only times I’ve taken a Amy Poehler style stumble is while I was wearing wedge shoes.

Enter in the blocky, mid-heeled sandal.  Marni, Prada and Peter Pilotto have always been keen on them in their fashion.  So I’m taking a cue from these ultra chic designers and making the mid-heeled sandal my summer shoe staple.  You joining the mid-heeled crew?

P.S. here are 4 of the best mid-heeled sandals: