4 Days in the Life of a STLFW Blogger

Move over New York City. St. Louis is positioning itself to be a major player in the fashion game. And, the recent Saint Louis Fashion Week (STLFW), four days of high caliber fashion experiences, took four big steps in that direction.

Thanks to the Midwest Influencer Network and a few generous sponsors, I got to experience STLFW the best way possible, as a member of a VIP blogger squad.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

Get a glimpse of the experience by following along below.

Day One

5:00 p.m.: I head to the Tiny Bar for happy hour. There, I meet up with some familiar faces and help welcome the out of town bloggers to St. Louis. Signature cocktails. Bloggers dressed to the nines. This happy hour was the perfect start to an amazing night. By the way, you must try the Tiny Bar’s Manhattan.

6:35 p.m.: I drive to the St. Louis Union Station for the Caleres Emerging Designer Competition. Wow! I’ve never seen so many stylish people in one place in St. Louis. I have just enough time to be whisked to my seat. You can see my favorite designs and find out who won the competition in my Saint Louis Fashion Week Recap

Photo Credit: Ashley Lear

9:00 p.m.: The runway event is over. I catch up with some blogger friends I haven’t seen in a while. We hang out for a bit, and then I head to Three Sixty to enjoy dinner and the best view of downtown St. Louis from the roof of the Hilton. The night’s dinner was brought to us by Socially Jen, a social media and marketing boutique.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

Day Two

10:00 a.m.: A subset of the blogger crew gets an advanced tour of Naturalizer’s latest collection at the St. Louis Galleria store. Wait until you see the super chic Naturalizer “Harbor” boots, which I’ll be featuring in a post next week.

11:30 a.m.: Did you watch Resale Royalty? If so, you’re familiar with Sue McCarthy and her daughters, owners of Women’s Closet Exchange and The Vault, designer resale shops in St. Louis. As a fan of the show and the stores, I was especially excited about our next stop—The Vault. Here I am chatting with fellow bloggers while we take a quick shopping break.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

5:00 p.m.: After a break for a meeting, I reconnect with the crew for happy hour and dinner at Element, a restaurant and lounge that encourages family style dining by offering shareable small and large plates. The dinner was supported by a new jewelry line, Collections by Joya, that I was excited to learn about. Here I am listening to a brief presentation by the owner of Collections by Joya, who explained how proceeds from the company benefit women’s charities around the world.

8:15 p.m.: Several courses later, the blogger dinner is a wrap. We head to The Luminary to catch the end of the STLFW Wear It: Fashion Challenge. We get there just in time to see St. Louis designer, Nasheli Ortiz, announced as the winner of the $5000 prize. Here I am with Julia completing quick edits on a few snaps from the event that I’m about to tweet.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

Day Three

11:00 a.m.: Day three starts at Lu Lu Seafood for Dim Sum. I used to eat at Lu Lu all the time when I first lived in St. Louis while attending graduate school. The food was as delicious as I remembered.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

5:00 p.m.: I left the blogger crew after Dim Sum and joined them later for happy hour at Fauxgerty, a vegan leather outerwear brand. What can I say? I felt at home in this store. Heidi and I instantly fell in love with these herbivore sweatshirts that we picked up. Vegans unite!

6:45 p.m.: While we were at Fauxgerty, the Fantich and Young exhibit at Projects+Gallery kicked off. So we headed straight there. The exhibit was creepy and cool. Do yourself a favor and click through to the Apex Predator | Darwinian Voodoo exhibit to see what Carmen and I couldn’t stop photographing.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

7:30 p.m.: After making the rounds at the exhibit, I headed to dinner and a discussion at Central Table sponsored by the Missouri Eating Disorders Council. I was so moved by the firsthand accounts of people whose lives were directly affected by eating disorders, an illness prevalent in the fashion industry. Here’s our group actively listening and receiving a wealth of information from the discussion that night.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

Day Four

5:30 p.m.: On day four, I’m unable to make the popup shop events in the morning because I teach my fitness classes at the same time. I’m excited, though, to reconnect with the girls for dinner at Budweiser Brew House. I was surprised to learn about the delectable menu, prepared by a chef with particular beer pairings in mind. The chef whipped up a tasty vegan entree just for me. I ate every single bite.

Photo credit: Ashley Kuenstler

After dinner, our crew got an exclusive tour of Ballpark Village, and then toasted to a fantastic Saint Louis Fashion Week at Howl at the Moon.

What a week! Thanks again to the Midwest Influencer Network and all the brands that made this experience so enjoyable.

Party Style Print Mixing

Clash landing! In a recent article for Mode, I explored one of my favorite fall trends—mixing prints. The piece highlighted some of fall’s most unusual print combinations and discussed why they worked.

Dress—DVF | option

Blazer—Gap | J.Crew version

Shoes—J.Crew (on sale)

Clutch—Kate Spade | similar

Earrings—℅ Kendra Scott

Watch—Movado | Skagen option

Lip—Mac “Own the Look” lipstick, Mac “Vino” lip pencil

Nails—Nicole by OPI “Razzle Dazzler

In today’s look, I’m taking several tips from my Mode article on a test run. I’m mixing more than three prints. To make the combination work, I ensured that there was a common color tying the items together.

I paid special attention to scale when choosing the prints I added to the look. The DVF dress anchors the outfit with its bold print. By the way, I found that dress on mega clearance in TJ Maxx. The additional items, like the J.Crew Elsie pumps, were added because of their much smaller scale prints.

Accessories, like my Kate Spade stripe clutch, can make achieving the mixed print trend easy. Adding a third print was a breeze with an accessory.

I wore this outfit last Friday during Saint Louis Fashion Week. I attended a happy hour, dinner, and the Fantich and Young exhibit at Projects+Gallery.

Get the look:

Fun in Faux Leather Leggings

I can’t believe I was ever wary of leather leggings. Since getting this pair of faux leather leggings ($44), I’ve wanted to wear them with everything and everywhere. This particular pair features a side zip, which makes it easy to get them on and off.


Leggings—℅ Venus

Clutch—℅ Chameleon Bags

Shoes—J.Crew (on sale)

Earrings—℅ Happiness Boutique


Rings—Kendra ScottKendra Scott

Watch—Movado | Skagen option

Lip—Mac “Rebel”Mac “Currant” lip pencil
Nails—Nicole by OPI “Razzle Dazzler

Today’s featured look is what I wore on night two of Saint Louis Fashion Week. My blogger squad and I went to happy hour, dinner, and then to the Wear It: Fashion Challenge at The Luminary.

Sizing? Tunic (size XS) | Faux leather leggings (size 6)

For the night’s events, I paired my faux leather leggings with a black asymmetrical tunic sweater. The tunic has a bold open angel sleeve that makes you want to hold your hand like this all night. It’s so dramatic.

I added a couple of my boldest pieces of jewelry to complete the look—a pair of vintage chic tassel earrings and my fireburst bracelet.

My newest pair of J.Crew Elsie pumps arrived just in time for the events that evening. These glitter pumps, now on sale, added just the right amount of sparkle to the all black ensemble.

Fringe for Fashion Week

It’s fashion week here in St. Louis, y’all. And, what an amazing week it’s been so far! Be sure to check out my recap of the Caleres Emerging Designer Competition. You must see the standout styles that hit that runway.

I’ve been navigating Saint Louis Fashion Week this fall with a blogger tribe. We break bread together, we shop, we enjoy experiences made possible by supportive St. Louis brands, all organized by the Midwest Influencer Network. I’ll definitely be back to chronicle these experiences. In the meantime, if you’re on twitter or Instagram, follow these hashtags for live updates: #ExploreStLouis and #Mwinetwork.

Turtleneck—℅ Venus

Skirt—Banana Republic

Clutch—℅ Chameleon Bags

Shoes—J.Crew (on sale)

Earrings—Kendra Scott

Rings—Kendra ScottKendra Scott

Watch—Movado | Skagen option

Lip—Mac “Carmine Rouge” | similar “Ruby Woo”Mac “Brick” lip pencil

Nails—Nicole by OPI “Razzle Dazzler


I’ve been sporting all my favorite fall trends, from fringe to sequins to leather. Today’s post features what I wore to night one of fashion week. I swished into that event with a fringe knit mini. The skirt is a flirty tiered mini with very fine threads that appear fluffy. By the way, my store associate was kind enough to let me apply the current friends and family discount (50% off) at Banana Republic to this item even though it is excluded from the sale. It pays to be nice to the helpful people who work in retail.

I opted for a flat-twist style for fashion week, so I wouldn’t have to worry about styling my hair around these busy days and nights. I went with a sleek low bun instead of my usual updo.

Statement earrings

Here’s a closer look at the skirt. The fringe is so fine and fluffy. I got a lot of requests to touch it. Ha!

Sizing? I’m wearing the fringe skirt in a size small.


Stay tuned for more updates about Saint Louis Fashion Week. Have a wonderful weekend!

Get the look:

Saint Louis Fashion Week Recap

Lights, cameras, fashion! Saint Louis Fashion Week (STLFW) kicked off last night and so much happened in that first night. Five talented designers, all competing for the prestigious $25,000 Caleres Emerging Designer Award, presented collections. 

St. Louis’ most stylish came out to mix and mingle with fashion icons like Iris Apfel. Several VIP bloggers were in the house live covering the night on their social media channels. And, it all went down at St. Louis Union Station Midway, a venue that can now brag it hosted one of the longest runways ever at STLFW.

Meet the five competing designers, see highlights from their collections, and find out who took home the $25,000 Caleres Emerging Designer cash prize.

1. Jordana Warmflash of NOVIS

2. Azede Jean-Pierre

3. Julie Haus and Jason Alkire of Haus Alkire

4. Katharine Polk of Houghton

5. Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta of Eckhaus Latta

After a brief deliberation, the competition judges—James LaForce, Lisa Perry, Tomoko Ogura, Gary Wessner, Fern Mallis, and Debra Bass—announced Houghton the 2015-2016 Caleres Emerging Designer Award winner.

Watch a video of the Houghton collection on the runway. Follow #STLFW for more highlights.

Photography by Psyche Southwell