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OUTFIT : The NEW Basics

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New seasons call for new basics, and for me, it’s not just the change from summer to fall, it’s the shift from being me to being mom-me … slightly more lazy relaxed with my wardrobe, and just maybe being forced to invest in more practical fashion choices. 

This Cuyana Tote is a new favorite staple - and it’s both functional and beautiful. I’m always finding that I have to carry 3x the amount of stuff with me these days - and everything fits in here while still looking sleek. 

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This sweater from StyleSaint is another new favorite. I want it in every color. And I love that it can be worn as both a crew neck or a v-neck. It drapes so beautifully and is so comfortable. 

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I had really wanted these distressed black skinnies but I was also hesitant to make the purchase since my pant size is still fluctuating a little since having the baby. I happened to find some Levi’s at the local thrift store and all it took was a little distressing with a cheese grater and voilá. My new favorite skinnies. 

And it’s okay if they get a lil spit up on them since they were only $3.

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Love the option to monogram that Cuyana has!

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Recently I had one of those nights where it had been a LONG day with the babe and I just needed to get out. I’m so thankful for a husband who is willing to watch the baby whenever I need him too. And I made my way to Nordstrom to pick out a fresh shade of Red lipstick for Fall.

It was the best investment both for my mental health at that time and for my everyday life too - it feels so good to have a fresh shade throw on when I need a little pick me up. 

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xo, Em

I’ll be the One who brings you coffee…

Photo by:  Kat Harris + Lindsey Shea

I’ll be the one who brings you coffee when you can’t get up 
I’ll be the one who turns the light out when you go to sleep
I’ll be the one who turns your stomach into something else 
and you say shut up, shut up, every time I say

I’ll be the one who takes your coat off, one to take the blame
I’ll be the one you call your lover, every now and then
You’ll be the one who keeps me sober, one to keep me sane 
and you say shut up, shut up, every time I say it

And I’d cut my fingers to the bone,
And I’d split my sides in for you 

Tonight, we throw ourselves away
We make it every time
I thought I was ok
You said I was alright
As the night comes crashing down
We catch ourselves align
Yeah we’re only makin’ out
We’re makin’ out alright

I’ll be the one who stands beside you in the photograph
I’ll be the one who’s in your water when you want me there
I’ll be the one you’re falling over every time you laugh 
and you say shut up, shut up, every time I say

I’ll be the one who keeps you guessing, who swears a lot
I’ll be the one who left your color in the white wash
You’ll be the one who knocks the man out I was beating up 
and you say shut up, shut up, every time I say it

And you cut my face, I told you so
I’d tear my eyes out for you

Tonight, we throw ourselves away
We make it every time
I thought I was ok
You said I was alright
As the night comes crashing down
We catch ourselves align
We’re only makin’ out
We’re makin’ out alright

Cover by Pomplamoose

Making Dreams a Reality | F.E. Castleberry

It’s one thing to talk about your dreams, and another thing altogether to actually make them into a reality.

It takes determination, focus, commitment, patience, and persistence to see a dream so far off in the distance and do whatever it takes to get there and beyond. 

Fred is a longtime friend, and one of the things that stands out to me most about who he is, is his ferocious commitment to creating.  And not just creating for the sake of creating, but everything that has his thumbprint is precise, intentional, and with purpose. 

I’ve said this to Fred a 1,000 times, but he truly is one of the hardest workers I have ever met; it is inspiring.

Last night I had the privilege of attending the Book Launch to his very first coffee table book on Rowing Blazers.  This personal passion project led him all over the United States, and the world to photograph world class athletes alongside their rowing communities prized possession:  the rowing blazer.

In true Rowing Blazer + F.E.Castleberry style the event was held at the flagship Ralph Lauren store on Madison Avenue; it was a wonderful event, but even moreso than the event were those moments when I just looked around this 2 story space that was completely packed at capacity and be reminded that this is what Fred created.  These people were there to see his work.

Fred you inspire me constantly to keep creating with excellence in every area of my life.  I’m so proud of you!  Look at what you created friend!  Your ceiling is your new floor.

XO,

Kat

P.S.  You should definitely get the Rowing Blazer Book to add to your coffee table collection; it’s beautiful!

Photos by me:  Kat Harris

7 Days // 7 Ways : The Versatile Blazer

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One of our main goals at The Refined Woman is to show that it’s better to invest wisely - to choose fewer, more versatile pieces over lots of trendy stuff that you’re going to throw away next season.

 

Polished pieces that go the distance with multiple outfits in your wardrobe are worth finding and investing in.

 

We’ve done posts on the importance of a good white oxford, the perfect pencil skirt, and the right purse. And it’s no secret that we LOVE blazers - it’s possibly the one clothing item that has been featured on our blog more than any other.

 

The right blazer puts the finishing touch on any outfit. It dresses up a pair of jeans and balances out a little dress.

 

I love this black and white tweed blazer because black and white go with everything, but the pattern is classy and fun. While I love a pop of color (usually it’s a red lip) - I would say most of my wardrobe is black, white, or denim. It just makes getting dressed easy.

 

This is the perfect outfit for a client meeting - it’s always an elusive task - finding the right outfit that says to a potential client “I mean business” but also hints that “I’m fun too.”

 

I love the way that a graphic tee and drawstring pants (fun) and a red lip (super fun!) combined with the tweed blazer + pumps (business) screams girl boss, in the best way.

 

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All photos by Delbarr Moradi

xo,

Em

Compensation for this post was provided by Jones New York via AOL Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Jones New York or AOL.

Weekly Round-up | London + Milan Fashion Week

Happy Friday Y’all!  Somehow between last Friday + now Fall has arrived, and I am one happy camper.  Friends let me tell you this:  Fall is really all it’s cracked up to be here in New York City!

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In other news last week capped of NYFW for Kat.  Check out the Juan Carlos Obando show from her perspective HERE.
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Em’s friend Melanie was this wrote this week’s Beauty Is Confidence post + we just adore her heart + her precious baby!
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Kat showed off her latest wardrobe investment piece:  her Billy Reid Trench Dress (the perfect fall transition piece)!
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Did you see the amazing shot Em sneaked on instagram of the recent shoot she styled?  Homegirl is talented!
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And of course we can’t neglect to chat about London + Milan Fashion Week.  We weren’t there, but if we were…here’s what we would’ve worn!
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OUTFIT | My Very First Billy Reid

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There are many reasons why I love New York City from the uh-mazing fall that has just crept up on us all to the fact the I can order any type of food at all hours of the day and night to summer concerts in Central Park.  I love it all.

But…let’s be honest I totally love being in a city where designer sample sales are a normal occurrence.  A few months ago I was shooting an engagement session in Bowery, when mid-session I saw a sign for the Billy Reid sample sale that was ending later that afternoon.

I kept my calm, finished my shoot + sprinted to the sample sale.  Billy Reid has been one of my favorite designers for a few years now.  I love his southern roots, and eclectic take on timeless pieces.  Up until now though I have never owned anything from his collection.  

This Safari dress was calling my name and I knew it could be a wardrobe staple, but when I tried it on I felt sorta dumpy.  However, growing up my mother always had a wonderful Safari dress so I bit the bullet and walked out of Billy Reid with this dress.  I went home and tried it on with an old belt I had + viola!  It’s feminine, classic, and will last me for years.

I’m so glad I bought it!  It’s great for summer with wedges, but also a good transitional fall and winter piece that I can wear with booties or these riding boots!

It’s all about versatility ladies!

XO,

Kat

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Photos by:  Em

I’ve search high + low for this Billy Reid Safari dress online + can’t find it, but Ann Taylor has a similar one that I adore!  Use the code POWER40 + you can get 40% off!

Beauty is Confidence

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It’s hard to tell when I started to really notice how hard women were on themselves.  It definitely began when I was young, but didn’t become magnified until I was a teenager.  I would sit in the cafeteria listening to my friends talk about how fat their thighs were, or how weird their nose looked.  My family would tell me I was beautiful, but would still continually bash their own selves.  It was such a frequent conversation that I started to think about what I didn’t like about myself.  I would start to think, “Well, my eyebrows are really bushy and I should probably be thinner.  I wish I was better at ballet and I’m terrible in math.”  This is how it starts.  It’s contagious.  I would always look at the girls in school who were considered popular and pretty and try to decipher what made them beautiful.  I was never able to do it.  Until one day, I saw a gorgeous girl walking down the hall.  She was laughing and self assured.  She wasn’t worried about her body or her clothes.  “THIS is what I consider beautiful.” I thought. 

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She was confident.  She felt good about herself and it wasn’t about what other people thought.  That doesn’t mean people didn’t flock to her.  They absolutely did.  Everyone wanted to be around her because she exuded such poise and knew her self worth.  I started to realize that negativity could seep into your brain and destroy (and distort) your reality.  When you love yourself, other people see that, and want to be around it.  That it’s not cocky to think you are pretty.  It’s actually necessary to have acceptance and self-love.   This is not something that is taught in schools.  As much as young women need to hear it, it is so often engrained in us that we need to look, act and FEEL a certain way.  Look “perfect” but don’t “feel” it. I’m so fortunate that I realized this early on.  Over the next several years I watched people close to me berate their bodies, go on diet after diet, have diseases, work out to the point of obsession.  I saw how an innocent comment about someone’s appearance could turn into something much deeper. 

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Once I was in college I began to notice a new kind of insecurity.  I was a costume designer and spent my day in fittings, sketching and sewing away.  After years of working with actresses it became obvious how acutely aware actresses are that they are being judged and put on a display for all to see.   Most of my conversations started with “So I need you to cover my belly.”  Or “What do you think is the most flattering shape for my height?” My goal was to not only make these women feel good about themselves on stage, but to help them have the confidence boost they needed to feel secure and give an even better performance.  It became pretty apparent that when they felt good about what they were wearing, they gave a better performance.  It was the perfect example of inner beauty transforming outer beauty.

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My life’s path has made lots of turns and even led me to a career in bridal.  I absolutely adored working with women at such a happy time in their life.  Here they were, about to get married, most of them young and healthy, trying on gorgeous gowns.  And I was continually shocked at the negative way they spoke about themselves.  Berating is so accepted in our culture that most people don’t even flinch when someone says “This dress would look so much better if I lost 15 pounds.   My ass looks huge!”.  Could you imagine if someone else said that to you?  It would NOT be ok.   It shouldn’t be ok for anyone (including ourselves) to talk like that.  But appointment after appointment I noticed the common trend.  I’m too skinny.  My arms are big.  My boobs are saggy.  My hair looks awful today.  I’m so tall.  All I was seeing were gorgeous women one after another not able to see their beauty.  

That’s when I started my company Head Over Heels with Melanie.  I wanted to help women become confident in their own skin.   What started as a way to help women shed their insecurities has turned into my deepest passion and lifelong mission.  

I should tell you, this is not something that always comes easily to me either.  Especially since I’ve become a mother.  Everything is heightened for me now.  I see this gorgeous, innocent baby and I do not want her to ever doubt her beauty.  I don’t want her to grow up thinking it’s ok to not treat yourself with respect.  I know I can’t change society over night.  But I like to think Head Over Heels is a step in the right direction.  We mamas can start by working on loving ourselves.  I will of course be telling Zoe that she is beautiful all day, every day.  But if I am talking down to myself, that example speaks even louder.  So here I am, working on accepting myself, and teaching other women to do the same.  Not only for us, but for our sweet little babies as well.

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To me confidence comes from knowledge and acceptance.  If you are self-confident in your ability to put an outfit together you exude it in your being.  If you walk out of the house feeling great about your appearance, it can change your whole day.   Personal style can help us learn what we love about ourselves instead of feeling like we must dress like everyone else.   I want women to love themselves enough to show the world who they are without apologies.   To learn to accept their bodies, and the things they wouldn’t change even if they could.  That inner confidence is a gorgeous, gorgeous thing to share with the world.  It also just happens to be an extremely joyful way to live life.

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xo,

Melanie 

N | Y | F | W | Juan Carlos Obando SS//15

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Thursday afternoon’s Juan Carlos Obando show was my last NYFW show of the season.  Juan Carlos is a LA designer + his collection reflected a West Coast elegance by using flowy silk + chiffon fabrics.  It made me miss LA quite a bit.

Not only was the show beautiful, I had the pleasure of photographing backstage, pre-show + the runway, which if you don’t remember that’s how I first got in to the Fashion World 5 years ago.  These days I mostly attend the shows, but the best seat in the house is always front and center in that pit; it will always have a special place in my heart!

Enjoy the show!

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I sorta had a crush on this hairstylist.  I mean that Deep-V with that hat with those tats with that beard?  What a babe.

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Yes…this is what the pit looks like pre-show on the last day of Fashion Week….people are getting a little tired!

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The Public School NYC men have swag.  Major swag.  I just can’t.

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Does anyone know who these two cute ladies are?  There were so darling!

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This blue dress stopped me in my tracks.  Swoon.

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The End.  Bravo Juan Carlos Obando! I would like one of everything.  K thanks bye.

XO,

Kat

Photos by me:  Kat Harris

Fun at Lincoln Center | NYFW

[Outift Details below…Head to Toe JCrew--with my Ona Camera Bag]

You know how when Katniss goes to the Capital in the first Hunger Games, and everyone is dressed so weird + is trying so hard to look cool and be unique and blah blah blah?  

Ok…well that’s sort of how Lincoln Center during New York Fashion Week is.  It can be a lot of what I like to refer to as “pea-cocking”.  People walking around “pretending” to be on their cell phones answering an extremely important “email”, but really they’re secretly hoping that someone would please, please, puh-lllllease take their picture and feature it on Women’s Wear Daily.

My personal goal when I’m walking up to Lincoln Center to go to a show: DEAR JESUS, PLEASE DON’T FALL ON YOUR FACE IN YOUR 5-INCH HEELS THAT YOU CAN’T WALK IN”.

At the JCrew presentation a few days ago, a few of my friends and I just decided to have some fun with the whole Lincoln Center experience.  Life’s too short to take yourself seriously…even at New York Fashion Week…especially at NYFW.

XO,

Kat

Frederick a.k.a. such a HAM.

Then I found a super cute girl so I had to snap a “real” street style shot:)

Then this tall woman passed me, and I was like “Hey that looks like Karlie Kloss”.

My friends response:  No…that’s not Karlie Kloss.

Me:  YES IT IS….and the win for me…(because it was).  

Honestly though how darling is she?  Can’t you just see us being friends? (totally right?)  Her + Filmmaker Casey Neistat were making some sort of iPhone video…can’t wait to check that out.

Lot’s of selfie takin’ at Lincoln Center.  Amy Stone you’re probably the cutest.

More pictures… he’s jumpin’ for joy.

And one of the hardest working women at NYFW:  Sara Kerens ladies + gentlemen.  The cutest Southern Fashion Photographer taking NYC + the world by storm.  Get. To.  Know.  Her.

Unfortunately my JCrew Collection Skirt is sold out, but they have some other amazing options now.  This is my fave.  See more below!

The JCrew Presentation | A.K.A. My Fave Day at NYFW

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Do you remember Em + I’s first Fashion Week together a few years ago + how we met Jenna Lyons and it was sorta the best day of our lives?  (#kiddingnotkidding)

If you know anything about Em + me you know we love us some Jenna Lyons.  She is one of our style icons.  In the last decade she has completely turned JCrew into one of the most across the board wearable All American classic brands.  Jenna Lyons is JCrew.

As a photographer we also look up to Bill Cunningham.  He is the Father of Street Style.  You know you’re a photographer at Fashion Week when everyone is gawking over the celebrities + you’re gawking over the person taking the photo.  That was me at JCrew yesterday.  Everyone wants to be shot by Bill, and he’s this old little man just doing his thing, pushing people out of the way, doing his job.

So you can imagine the level of my excitement when Jenna pushes past the crowds and says “Bill let’s take a selfie”!  She pulls out her phone + they start taking some iPhone pics. 

Basically two of my biggest fashion + photography icons are in front of me taking pictures.  I grabbed the above picture, and it’s now one of my favorite pictures from any show I’ve attended/shot.

Anyways, the show was incredible; it made me so excited for Spring Summer 2015.  I want one of everything!

XO,

Kat

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These two boys were just darling.  They kept leaning over and telling secrets + when I asked them what they were talking about they just smiled at me.  (I can only assume they were talking about how much loved me right?)

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This lovely gem stole the show in my opinion.  She embodies the All-American girl + also my favorite type of clothing a.k.a. clothes comfy enough to be sweats, yet also extremely fashionable! 

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This was one of my favorite looks + something that I can see myself wearing Fall + Spring to be honest.

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But this gal’s outfit was my favorite.  I love a good army green + loved the mixture of different textures:  the pleated skirt with the army jacket.  I am so down for that.

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I’m just going to go ahead + put this out in the universe:  I think this guy has  a crush on me.  I mean look at those eyes (don’t try + tell me it’s his job to eye-flirt with me…I like to think he only gave those eyes to moí).

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Another favorite outfit.  I love how JCrew takes classic silhouettes and makes them so modern; it makes it easy to purchase a few pieces each season + build upon them.  (Like this classic pleated skirt)

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This lovely lady wins the award for Best EyeBrows #ammiright?

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And there is Miss Lyons just being her fierce, powerful self.

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At first I thought Bill was taking my photo, but he was really taking the photo of the lovely European model next to me:)

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You know I love a good white-on-white look.

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I found it interesting that for the most part the women’s looks were much more put together than the men’s looks.  I mean I love the above, but it seems like women are dressing more up + men are dressing more down these days…thoughts?

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Style influencer Nick Wooster above.

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For the men it was all about the bandana look around the neck; it reminded me of the 90s when my mom put scarves around our necks in elementary school.  I sorta loved it.

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And again…Miss Jenna Lyons for the win folks.  Bravo Jenna for another fabulous collection.

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All Photos by:  Kat Harris

Check out some of my favorite current JCrew Looks for the Fall below…