Late for Class

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Happy first day of fall, y’all! Call me basic, but this is my absolute favorite time of the year (other than Christmas, duh). The weather, the leaves, the clothes – oh, the clothes. Today I’m kicking off the best season evs with this layered look to celebrate the return of 75 degree days, ordering hot coffee instead of iced, and being basic at heart (and not at all sorry about it).

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I picked up this skirt at Topshop during my NYC month (#takemeback) and have been waiting for the perfect time to wear it. Although it could be seen as a warm-weather piece, I had big fall outfit plans for this baby. Charleston doesn’t really get the autumn memo until about November, so I’m always trying to find skirts and dresses that will be seasonally appropriate until then. Pairing this skirt with some layers did the trick (doesn’t it always?), so I decided to go with my chambray shirt and metallic rose gold sweater on top. To add to the schoolgirl vibe I was getting, I topped off the outfit with sneakers, a plaid scarf, and my Daniel Wellington watch.

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To accessorize this look, I decided to counteract the sweetness of the outfit with some edgy touches: plum lips, black nails, my leopard clutch, and these fab Karen Walker sunnies. I’ve been trying to decide which Karen Walkers I want for months, then finally my prayers were answered with a little thing called Ditto. If Rocksbox is the Netflix of jewelry, then Ditto is the sunglasses version. For $24 a month you get unlimited designer sunnies delivered to your door, and let me just say that it’s kind of the best thing ever. If you’re as indecisive with sunglasses as I am, you gotta try it – and if you’re on the fence, use promo code TOPKNOTS for your first month free!

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Chambray Shirt: J. Crew | Sweater: J. Crew (similar) | Skirt: Topshop | Sneakers: New Balance | Scarf: Gap (similar here) | Clutch: Clare V | Sunnies: Karen Walker c/o Ditto | Watch: Daniel Wellington | Bracelet c/o Moon & Lola | Arrow Ring c/o Lilli & Tori | Midi Rings: H&M | Lips: NYX Simply Vamp Lip Cream (Temptress) | Nails: Essie (Licorice)

Is anyone as pumped for fall as I am? Comment below what part of autumn you’re most excited about so we can celebrate together ❤

Too Cool for School

Back to School

Back to school shopping has brought me an absurd amount of joy ever since I can remember. Despite the fact that I’ve been out of school for a couple years now, “back to school” clothes have and will always be a thing. Just because we’ve graduated college (*tear*) doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about pencil pouches, new backpacks, and a fresh pair of sneakers. I mean if you think about it, we’re kind of getting the best deal here – we get to buy pretty planners and fun keychains, but we don’t have to do homework. Ever again. So in your face, kids.

To celebrate the beginning of another school year, the unofficial beginning of fall, and festive shopping, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite back to school gear that will have you dying to sharpen a pencil. Can’t you just hear the lunch bell ringing?

  • Leopard Print Baseball Cap: Cover up your bed head while still looking effortlessly chic. Does it get any better than that? Oh yeah, the fact that it’s only $11.
  • Frends Headphones: Be the cool kid on the bus with these babies. I think I include these in pretty much every shopping guide I’ve ever posted, but can you blame me?
  • Warby Parker Glasses: Nerdy chic has never looked so good with these spectacles. Don’t have a prescription? Your secret is safe with me (and Warby Parker).
  • Fur Keychain: Fashionistas everywhere are rocking fun keychains on handbags, backpacks – you name it. Hang this merlot-hued fur keychain from your favorite bag for a playful fall twist.
  • Distressed Cognac Backpack: From the tassel zipper to that perfectly distressed (faux) leather, this backpack is everything.
  • White Marble Backpack: Look like every blogger’s insta backgrounds with this white marble backpack! Yes, I’m just bitter that I don’t have marble countertops.
  • Black Quilted Backpack: Chic, classic, and a little edgy, this backpack could even be work-appropriate.
  • Rifle Paper Co. Agenda: Everyone’s favorite floral print, now on a planner. Need I say more?
  • I Am Very Busy Agenda: Pencil in your events and appointments in style, you busy bee. Also comes in pink & rose gold! *insert heart eyes emoji here*
  • Striped Travel Mug: Is anyone else a serious sucker for these ban.do mantras? This travel mug is perfect for back to school and will remind you that you’re awesome. Even if you didn’t really do your best.
  • Polka Dot Travel Mug: For those of you who want a travel mug that doesn’t talk to you. You know I can’t resist those polka dots, Kate Spade!
  • Essie Fall 2015 Mini Four-Pack: Essie’s newest seasonal collection makes my basic little heart happy. Try out the top colors above, or check out the full collection here.
  • New Balance 620 Sneakers: As someone whose feet cry after an hour in heels, I’m a big fan of the sneaker craze right now. Bonus points if they’re in festive fall colors like this pair!
  • Daniel Wellington Watch: What would back to school shopping be without a shiny new timepiece? If you’re ready to graduate from your Michael Kors, pick up one of these – I promise you won’t regret it.
  • Stay Focused Pencil Pouch: More words of encouragement from ban.do, and very fitting when you have crippling ADD.
  • Assorted Pen Set: Because you need cute pens and pencils to put in your cute pencil pouch, duh.
  • Metallic Hair Ties: Ponytails don’t have to be limited to workouts. Channel your 4th grade self (and shave off a few minutes of your morning routine) with a pretty pony.

So can we all just agree to never stop back to school shopping? Even though I’m kind of always back to school shopping? I’m not going to apologize, because buying cute pens will never not be fun. Happy first day of school/work/unofficial fall, y’all!

A Very Dandy Friendsgiving

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A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of getting together with some of my favorite blogger babes for the sweetest little Thanksgiving shoot you’ve ever seen. The lookbook shoot by Rutledge Social was for one of my favorite local shops, Dandy Boutique, showcasing their adorable clothes and accessories. Dandy Boutique is kind of like a cuter ModCloth, but local — aka better! My blogger BFF Brittany (y’all probably know her as Southern Meets Chic) described the boutique so perfectly that I just had to steal — “Allie Hamilton from The Notebook meets Audrey Hepburn.” She even (very accurately) compared it to shopping in Taylor Swift’s closet. Hello, every girl’s dream! As if it could get better than that, the owner, Holly, is super fun and hilarious which makes shopping at Dandy that much more…dandy. Holly also makes flower crowns available to purchase on her site — and you all know how much I love a good flower crown. How much fun are the autumn-inspired ones we rocked in this shoot?!

We all got to style our own looks (SO much fun!) and Catherine Ann Photography captured the ensembles beautifully. As for that amazing table setup you see, the fabulous 428 Main provided the vintage rentals and we all brought a dish to share — although I had just flown in from New York and only had time to grab a cheese plate. Sorry guys. Anyways, take a peek at the look I styled below! What do you think?

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Love our looks? Check out Dandy Boutique to browse Holly’s sweet shop! Stay tuned for our second looks coming later this week… (Hint: S’mores are involved!)

I hope everyone had a very merry Friendsgiving — we know we did!

Clothing c/o Dandy Boutique | Photography: Catherine Ann Photography | Vintage Rentals: 428 Main | Styling & Design: Rutledge Social | Makeup: Pink Dot Beauty Bar

Notcho Poncho

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It took a while for me to get on board with ponchos, but now I don’t know how I ever questioned it. Despite the fact that I sort of feel like a Colombian man riding his burro, this is one of my favorite fall wardrobe additions. It was an excellent *MaXxiNisTa* find that’s acceptable enough to leave the house in, but comfy enough to live in — and that’s all I’ve ever wanted. It also doesn’t hurt that it was originally $120 and I got it for a sweet sweet $25. #bargainhunter4lyfe

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When it came to styling this pretty poncho, I kept things fairly simple. Skinny jeans, Frye boots, and a pop of blue with my mirrored sunnies. I accessorized with a fun little tassel necklace (give me all the tassels this fall), some B&B bangles, a blingy bracelet, and simple gold rings. Last but not least, it just wouldn’t be right without a messy topknot. Hello, head honcho poncho.

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If it weren’t for the Peruvian princess pattern, this shoot would kind of scream Coldwater Creek — but I just can’t help how much I love fall (WE KNOW, CHLOE). I was lucky enough to run home to Virginia for a few days during the the peak of autumn, and it was kind of the best thing ever.

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Poncho: BB Dakota from TJ Maxx | Skinnies: J. Brand | Boots: Frye | Sunnies: Ray Ban | Necklace: J. Crew Factory | Bangles: Bourbon & Boweties | Bracelet: J. Crew Factory | Rings: Lilli & Tori and H&M

Who else is on the poncho bandwagon this fall?

Pumpkin Pickin’

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Oh, fall. Is there anything better? Going to the pumpkin patch is always one of my favorite autumn activities — being able to pluck one right off the vine will always beat reaching into a box (sorry Trader Joe’s). When I heard there was a cold front coming into town, I knew it was time. No offense Charleston, but going to the pumpkin patch in 85 degree weather just feels wrong — not to mention the lack of boots, scarves, and sweaters. So on this slightly chilly, DIVINE fall day, we ventured over to Boone Hall Plantation for pumpkin pickin’.
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For our day at the pumpkin patch, I went with the quintessential fall outfit. Some might call it the basic bitch’s fall uniform, I call it situational dressing. I started out the look with a navy + white striped top, distressed skinny jeans, and my Fryes. To accessorize, I threw on a plaid scarf for a little print mixing, my favorite fur vest, classic aviators, and my go-to gold jewelry (let’s ignore my super trendy neon orange entry band). To top it off, I rocked cranberry lips + OPI’s ‘Big Apple Red’ on my nails — my fall favorites!
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Striped Tee: J. Crew (similar) | Distressed Skinnies: Old Navy | Fur Vest: Asos (similar here) | Boots: Frye | Scarf: Target | Sunnies: Ray Ban | Earrings: Tory Burch (similar) | Watch: Forever 21 | Bracelet: J. Crew (similar) | Rings: H&M & Forever 21 | Lips: Revlon (Unapologetic) | Nails: OPI (Big Apple Red)

If you live in Charleston, you need to go to the Boone Hall Pumpkin Patch immediately. They had a petting zoo (PIGLET ALERT), sno cones, a JUMPING PILLOW, a corn maze, hayrides, slides, and lots more. It’s great if you have kids or if you are a kid (like me and my sister who did every single thing imaginable). Take a look at some of my favorite photos from the day below!
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{ family portrait, including our new smiling llama friend. }

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{ w ❤ }

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{ i told you there was a jumping pillow. we decided there should be a sign with a disclaimer that says it’s even more fun than it looks. and it already looks pretty fun, so that’s really saying something. }

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{ i plucked the prettiest pumpkin right out of the patch. lucky me. }

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{ i told y’all we did every single thing there. this was soy important. }

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{ our perfectly imperfect pumpkin. thanks for the best day evzzzz, boone hall! }

Fashion 101: Transitioning to Fall

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We’re almost halfway through October (wait, really?) and fall weather is officially here. If you’ve been keeping up with my blog, you know how much I love this season and the fashion that comes with it. We’re all familiar with the obvious autumn staples: chunky sweaters, leather boots, infinity scarves — the list goes on and on. But have you ever considered pulling a few of your summer favorites out of hibernation and incorporating them into your fall looks?

Modifying spring and summer pieces into autumn-appropriate ensembles is one of the easiest and most fun ways to freshen up your wardrobe — not to mention create tons of new outfits. For this little fashion 101 lesson, I chose three spring/summer essentials and made simple modifications to effortlessly transition them into the cooler months. The three staples I chose were: the maxi dress/skirt, a gingham button down (or any warm weather blouse, really), and the summer sundress.

To create these ensembles, focus primarily on your new favorite fall fashion vocabulary word: layering. By adding a cable knit sweater, a scarf, a denim jacket, a blazer, a fur vest, leather boots — the list goes on — you can easily transition your summer staple into a cozy fall look. Check out my ideas below!

Maxi Dress/Skirt
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With your summer maxi dresses and skirts, the first thing you want to do is throw on a chunky sweater or substantial long sleeve shirt. You can either leave it at this, or add a scarf for optimal coziness — I’d opt for one in a warm autumn hue if you need a pop of color, or perhaps a leopard scarf if you want to get into print mixing. Then top off the look with some ankle boots or oxford flats and you’re good to go!
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striped maxi   |   cable knit sweater   |   utility boots   |   crossbody bag

Gingham Shirt
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Take your go-to spring & summer shirt, whether it’s gingham, plaid, chambray or floral, and get to layering. You could go for a breezy look and leave your blouse unbuttoned with a tee underneath, or opt for a more put together outfit and layer a shirt or sweater on top of your blouse and let the collar peek out. My favorite look, however, is to slip on your cuddly fur vest to instantly autumn it up (I guess I just turned my favorite season into a verb — someone stop me). To finish off this look, grab a knit infinity scarf, dark jeans and boots, and you have an instant chilly day outfit.
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gingham shirt   |   fur vest   |   jean leggings   |   harness boots   |   tube scarf   |   mustard clutch

Summer Sundress
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One of the trickier pieces to transition to fall is your favorite summer sundress. It’s only tricky because a lot of people can’t fathom wearing their floral tank dress in October — but worry no more, because this year floral has transitioned into one of the biggest fall prints. To easily execute this outfit, opt for a cardigan or blazer to start out. If it’s extra chilly, you can layer a denim jacket on top of your cardigan and wrap on a scarf. As for the bottom half, slip into some tights and ankle boots or oxfords, or even layer on some fall socks (pictured above). As for me, I love how the ensemble looks with over the knee boots and black thigh high socks peeking over (not pictured). y-4
floral dress   |   mustard cardigan   |   denim jacket   |   over the knee boot   |   gem necklace

Would you try out these looks? If you do try a tip from this fashion 101 lesson, email me pictures at topknotspolkadots@gmail.com and you could be featured on my blog!

(image source: tovogueorbust.com, stylishyear.com, visionarydreamss.blogspot.com, listal.com, lolobu.com, pinterest)