Friday, March 24, 2017

10 Stripe Dresses You'll Live In All Season Long

Photos by LA Photography

Dress | Shoes | Purse (vintage, similar here) | Sunglasses | Necklace | Bracelets | Earrings 

Year after year, season after season, stripes never seem to go out of style. If anything, they are constantly gaining popularity. From horizontal, to vertical, crisscrossed, subtle and bold, it's easy to see why everyone falls in love with this simple pattern. 

With Spring already in full swing (how is it almost April?!?!), stripes are getting an update in different hues, styles and materials that are perfect for a warmer season. 

Below I've rounded up my top ten favorite stripe dresses that are perfect for every occasion. With prices ranging from $13 to $238, there's something for every style and budget.

 See something you like? Simply click on the image and you'll be taken directly to the retailers website. 

Happy shopping!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

My Stay at The Langham, Chicago + My Travel Guide for the Windy City

Happy Thursday!! I hope everyone is having a great week, and cheers to the weekend being right around the corner.

I just got back from spending a week in the Midwest with my family and absolutely loved every minute of it - family time always goes by way too fast. We've always been spread out around the U.S., but as I get older, I really wish we all lived a lot closer to one another. It is hard always having to be a plane ride away, and I envy those families that are in the same city, or even the same state as one another. But, it does make you appreciate the time you have that much more! 

The vacation started with two fun filled days in Chicago with my sister, before heading home to Wisconsin. We stayed at The Langham, Chicago, which opened late last summer, and definitely lived up to it's five star rating. From deluxe accommodations with river front views, to their afternoon tea, and amazing spa with a 67 foot swimming pool, the hotel left no stone unturned. 

The location cannot be beat either. Whether you're there for work or pleasure, you're equally as close to the business district, as you are to the acclaimed Magnificent Mile. It's within 30 minutes of both of Chicago's airports, which also makes it easy and convenient. 

With a knowledgeable concierge on hand, he was able to tell my sister and I all we needed to know about the St. Patrick's Day celebrations, new store and exhibit openings, as well as getting us last minutes reservations at our favorite restaurant Hugo's Frog Bar (a must try)!

Having been to Chicago more times then I can count, here are some of my favorite things to do on any trip to the Windy City! 

Stroll through Millennium Park, and snap a pic in front of the Cloud Gate (aka the Bean). 

Bar hop on Rush Street after finishing dinner at  Nico Osteria

Go to The Signature Room at the top of the Hancock Building, and sip on a Gold Coast. 

Visit The Art Institute of Chicago, one of my favorite museums ever. If gazing at works by Seurat, Picasso and Chagall (just to name a few) made you hungry, kick up your heels at the yummy Terzo Piano restaurant. 

Go to the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower, and soar in the clouds when you step out onto Skydeck. Be sure to take in the gorgeous views, too! 

 Go to the Field Museum and get up close and personal with Sue, the most complete T.rex  ever discovered

Visit Oak Street for the best shopping.

Share a delectable meal with friends at The Purple Pig

Take in a comedy show at Second City 

I'd love to know what some of your favorite things are to do in Chicago, so I can put them on my list for next time! 

This post is in partnership with The Langham, Chicago. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Ashley Nicole Style possible. 

Photos 2,4, 5, 6 and 8 courtesy of The Langham, Chicago website

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Perfect Structured Black Bag + Six Questions To Ask Yourself When Buying An Investment Piece

Top (on sale and also in black here) | Jeans | Purse (similar, less expensive style) | Shoes | Sunglasses | Necklace (similar style) | Cuff

I started writing this blog post on Monday and well, I'm finally getting around to posting it! 

One of the questions I get asked a lot and I've talked about before, is what items to splurge on, and what items to save on. 

The first thing I tell people is, invest in something that is timeless and practical. One of my first big splurges was on this Prada Saffiano Lux Medium Double-Zip Leather Satchel. When I first looked at it at Saks after seeing a girlfriend caring it, I had a bit of sticker shock. I knew I thought it was beautiful, but wondered it it was worth it. So, I decided to do some research. I compared it to similar handbags, both designer and off-the-rack, and after much deliberation (and saving), it may be the best purchase I ever made. 

The purse has two zipper compartments - one on the front side, and one on the bag side of the handbag. The purse features an open center, with one inside zip pocket (great for your lipstick), and three inside open pockets. The open pockets are the perfect size for an iPhone, business cards, a small day calendar, or any small necessities. For photos of the interior, click here

The purse also features a detachable strap (yes please!), and snaps on the sides of the bag, which makes it easy to expand. I am able to fit a notebook, normal size wallet, small cosmetic case, iPad, water bottle and so much more in it - it truly fits everything a girl on the go needs!

I purchased it a little over three years ago, right before I moved to Houston, and have had no issues whatsoever with it. The leather has softened a little on the handles - as expected with consistent wear - but it still holds its structured shape (as you can see above). 

In any given week, I probably use it at least four times, even though I have a plethora of other handbags in a rainbow of color, including black. It is perfect to take me from day-to-night, and can be dressed up or down. 

If you're considering in investing in a handbag, or anything really for that matter, here are some great questions to ask yourself:

-Is this just trendy or will I be able to use it forever?

-What is the lifetime of this piece? For example, can I care for it easily, will stains be able to be removed, what will the wear and tear be?
-Does it fit my lifestyle? 

-What is the cost per wear?

-Will it have resale value if I ever intend to get rid of it?

-Can it go with {almost} everything? 

-Most importantly, can I afford it? 

Not ready to take the plunge just yet? Shop my favorite similar black handbags below! With prices ranging from $27 to $295, you're bound to find something you love:) 

Photos by LA Photography 

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