Style Life: There’s No Place (or Shopping) Like Home

I have been a lot of places in my 21 years on Earth. I feel so lucky to have worked jobs that have allowed me to experience all different parts of the country and meet so many people. The other day, after a summers worth of hard work in Minnesota, I made the trip down to Madison to watch the first football game of the season – you can put the girl in Gopher country, but you can’t take the Badger out of her blood. Before heading to the tailgates, I had to make a quick pitstop to pick up a few things.

Shopping first, everything else second, am I right?

I’m not a big fan of malls, they get too busy and crowded for me…I’m sure this comes as a shock to many, but as you know from my previous blogs, online shopping is my addiction. That being said, I have always loved the Hilldale Shopping Center. I remember going to Hilldale when I was younger whenever I came down to Madison to visit my grandparents, it was fun because as a kid I got to shop and play outside at the same time, I truly don’t think it gets better than that! I still feel that way, but am blown away by how much it has grown.

I’m not a label hound but I do have my favs. I am a Lululemon girl.  Kate Spade and Michael Kors never disappoint, and if you can’t find what you are looking for at Macy’s you didn’t look hard enough. All of those place can be found in this little gem of a shopping center. When I was Miss Wisconsin USA it was on the path between my college home and everywhere I had to go. A million stops at Hilldale later and most of my appearance wardrobe and every pair of pantyhose that needed replacing came from this corner of Madison. There is no secret style notes here, other than I buy a whole lot of stuff here. They have a LUSH for goodness sake, LUSH. I miss shopping in Madison.

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Madsion is a part of me and it will always be a part of me. I can’t imagine a visit without a walk down State, a stop at Ian’s, a visit to Hilldale and of course one quick scoop of Babcock Ice Cream.  There is something about the Terrace and Lake Mendota when fall is about to spark and the crisp air blows off the water that you can’t find anywhere else in the world.  I graduate in less than two months and the nostalgia is really kicking in. So if you ever are where I am and the song “Jump Around” starts playing, you best just move out of the way.

Dream Big (Dress Better)-

Skylar

 

 

 

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Style Life: Online Shopping Edition

I am not a fashion or beauty blogger but lately I’ve decided maybe I should be! I have definitive opinions on stuff I love and stuff I hate.  When I was still a pageant queen (recently retired) people would ask me almost every day about my make-up routine or what brand of lipstick I was sporting or  where I got my dress. Now those questions are a little fewer and far between but still occur, if or when I’m wearing lipstick at all. So the following is my Skylar Witte 2017 list of clothing websites I can’t live without and why:

So my favorite sites are two I can rarely afford on my college girl budget but if you can……DO IT! http://www.revolve.com and http://www.shopbop.com, the latter is Madison, Wisconsin based! Whoop whoop. Both are amazing for current, fashion forward designer fare. I love them and both sites are completely splurge worthy. Great customer service, easy returns and high quality almost always guaranteed! I have been obsessing over this Nicholas lace dress for weeks and trying to justify why I would need a $700 dress to wear to my International Law lecture…alas, no excuse, and now it just keeps popping up in my Facebook feed…why you gotta do me like that Facebook marketing algorithm …WHY?

For my pageant peeps reading this right now who are far from retirement…someone wear this in interview, please and thank you!

Azalia dress

Next up in the mid-range category are http://www.shopakira.com and http://www.zara.com both discovered out of necessity when I was searching for appearance wear last year. So quick side-story.  I purchased no less than 4 potential interview outfits for Miss USA. I had one custom-made, purchased a few back-ups and simply couldn’t decide, by the way they all had their fabulous features. Turns out I ended up wearing none of them.  While in NYC I had purchased these cute culottes and matching shirt at Zara (not a jumpsuit, which everyone thought) and wore it to a prep session with my directors who immediately fell in love and ta-da my interview ensemble was born. It was actually very blush but looks a little more baby pink in photos. I loved it and was so happy it was my final look for interview.

Interview USA

Finally my go to site: http://www.us.boohoo.com, Ok here is where the review gets honest, half of my Miss USA wardrobe came from this site and much of it was under $20! But if I’m being forthright, which I always am, the stuff is hit or miss. Sizing is sometimes off and sometimes the material is not super high quality. But all and all it’s super trendy and super inexpensive. They do 60% off sales on a regular basis, stay on top of this site…I always have a wish list going and just purchase when the sale hits. Be cautious sales items are often not included so sometimes it’s less expensive to buy their new arrivals. Win and win. This company based in England ships to the US for a mere $6…so yeah there is that. This is where I go when I know I will only wear it once or it might not make it past one season. For example capes, rompers, chunk heels and bodysuits might not be in for 2018 so this is where I purchase all my fun stuff. Check out the below hits from my boohoo purchases (the white dress that made my dad blush, the super fun harem jumpsuit and the wild bell-sleeved floral romper):

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Then there was this little cranberry number worn to a fraternity formal in Texas last year….it was basically a swimsuit with panels but man let me tell you this dress got more attention than most $15 purchases (that’s right $15) warrant. It stood it’s own among girls in designer couture….it also sparked the love of this halter look which became my signature for Miss USA….note the similarities to another gown you may remember which was a little more on the HIGH END of high end. That of course is the gown that will forever by my favorite piece of clothing to ever exist. Mac Duggal does it up a little better.

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Speaking of which any website that sells Mac Duggal ranks high on my list, although this is one area where I would never suggest you go online to make a purchase. Pageant gowns, cocktail dresses, prom dresses, bridal gowns all should be tried on and purchased from an authorized retailer.  Trust me there are things you can’t buy online. There are items you must try on in real-life. It makes me sad to hear horror stories about knock-off gowns and expensive custom gowns ordered that come in too small or completely unlike the girl thought they would.  Try it on people.

So those are the secrets, I don’t have many. Next week I will tackle a few make-up and skincare items. I am not working for any of these websites (except Mac Duggal of course)  If you want more, let me know by either commenting on this blog or on my FB (by the way have you followed my public page yet on Facebook?!?)  This is a new arena but if you are interested I will write. As always!

Dream Big

Skylar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BTS Videos

So many cool projects this month featuring some of the finest photographers and hair and make-up artists I have had the pleasure to work with. And as a bonus they are Wisconsin based.  I love behind-the-scenes videos that give people a glimpse into a shoot.

Thank you Brandee Anthony Photography and Joey Emerson at Estilo Salon

Fashion Life: One Piece

Over the years I have developed into an unexpected fashionista! I have always enjoyed trends and fashion but working as a model has opened up a whole new level of appreciation. The process that it takes for a designer to go from sketch to concept to creation is amazing. When I look at a dress, a piece of jewelry or accessory my mind now considers all of the work and craftsmanship that went into making that item happen.

My “girl crush” designer is Chelsea Muneca Stotts and her Moda Muneca line, first because she gave me a shot at my first runway and two because her dresses are AMAZING and she is a Wisconsin based designer. If I ever made it really big, Chelsea would just have to live with me and make my entire wardrobe, all day every day, I truly adore her.  We just shot her Fall Look Book and although I’d love to share the photo,s the best I can do is this sketch….from the mind of a great artist. (follow me on insta to see when the full book is released)

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It is easy to build a look around an amazing singular piece like a gown but my favorite challenge comes from building a look around a much smaller piece.  My personal style is to find the most unique and original piece possible. I truly like to find a smaller piece like jewelry which I get every month from Rockbox or a fun clutch…my newest obsession is this piece from Milanblock.

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It is an inlaid acrylic eye or evil eye  with every single detail down to the Hamsa clip accounted for. I recently styled my own shoot where the clutch was the star. I own several pair of shoes that also have been the focal point of many an outfit.

I find that when I have one-piece that becomes my focal point it is easy to build a look around it. Sometimes the inspiration is small and less obvious. I will never probably become a fashion blogger, but today I was inspired by the other part of my life, which I can attest to by the fact I own a closet the size of a studio apartment and it is completely FULL!

 

Dream Big-Skylar