Monday, November 11, 2019

10 TIPS FOR STYLING FAMILY PHOTOS




Fall is in full swing and the holidays will be here before we know it!  This time of year, many of us get family photos taken for Christmas cards.  Over the years, I have been asked for styling tips for family photos so I decided to write a blog post about it.  I hope you find these 10 suggestions helpful as you are planning outfits for family photos.

PICK A COLOR SCHEME
Come up with the color scheme you want to showcase in your photos.  I recommend two primary colors and one accent color.  For example, in our photos, I decided I wanted black and red as our main colors with some accents of grey.

USE PATTERNS...BUT NOT TOO MANY
I like to include some clothing with patterns as it gives the photos more dimension.  Photos where everyone is wearing a solid color just aren't as interesting in my opinion.  With that said, you have to be careful not to use too many patterns to prevent the photo from looking too busy.  I think that no more than half of the people in the photo should wear something with a pattern.  In our pictures, my older daughter and I wore patterns, but my husband and youngest did not.

START WITH ONE PIECE OF CLOTHING
I start selecting outfits by deciding on one piece of clothing that I definitely want to include in the photo.  This year, it was my older daughter's striped shirt.  The shirt has several colors in it so I thought it would be a good starting place for planning our outfits.  If you are unsure on a color scheme, selecting an item you want to include in the photos is an easy way to start narrowing down your colors.

VARY CLOTHING TEXTURES
Just like incorporating a few patterns, a variety of clothing textures will add more dimension to your photos.  For example, I do not recommend that everyone wears a cotton shirt and jeans, as there is no variety in the clothing textures.  In our photos, I incorporated denim (older daughter's skirt), fur (younger daughter's vest), wool (hubby's sweater) and even sequins (younger daughter's skirt).

SHOP YOUR CLOSET
This goes along with my tip above about selecting one item of clothing first and planning the rest of the outfits around that.  Often, one of your kids (or even you) already has an item in your closet that you want to include in the photo.  Before going out to buy new clothes, look through everyone's closets to see what you already have that will fit your color scheme.  Every year, I find at least 2 of our outfits by doing this and then just have to buy a few things to complete our looks.

PREVIEW OUTFITS IN ADVANCE 
Before making a final decision on our outfits, I lay out everyone's clothing on the bed or floor together.  This allows me to see how each piece looks with the others and if the overall photo will be cohesive.  This way, you can make any edits prior to picture day so there isn't any last minute scrambling to swap out someone's outfit.

DON'T FORGET SHOES
It is easy to get so focused on everyone's clothing that we forget what we are going to put on our feet!  Be sure that everyone has shoes that will match what they are wearing.  I am talking to myself here too, as I have made more than one last minute Target run in search for shoes for my daughters the night before family photos.  I recommend that everyone wears shoes that look somewhat new, as scuffs and dirt on shoes can definitely be seen in full body photos.

THE TIME OF DAY MATTERS
The time of day that you schedule your photo session definitely has an impact on the finished product.  The obvious reason is lighting and depending on where you plan to have your pictures taken, morning or afternoon light may be better.  The less obvious reason (but more important in my opinion) is that some kids are more rested at various times of the day. And all of us mamas know that happy well-rested kids lead to a better experience for everyone involved.  So, keep in mind your kids' nap times and schedules when planning your pictures.  Our kids are older now, and they don't like getting up really early.  I know that if I schedule an early morning photo session, I will have two grumpy kids and may not get the most genuine smiles in photos.  Therefore, I schedule our photos in the afternoon or evening so my girls don't have to get up early.

PRIORITIZE PHOTO POSES
Usually, there are a few poses you want to be sure to capture during the family photo session. For example, you may want pictures of the entire family in a certain spot.  Or, you may want photos of your kids with their grandparents, kids by themselves, etc...  I suggest that you get those "must have" photos at the beginning of the session.  Generally, everyone is more agreeable and you can get more genuine smiles early in the photo session.

FIND A GOOD FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER
This last tip may be the most important one of all, as without a good family photographer, you aren't going to get pictures that you love.  The key word here is FAMILY. You want to find a photographer who has a nice portfolio of family photos.  Someone could be a great wedding photographer, but it doesn't mean they are also good at taking family photos.  When you are on a photographer's website or social media, look for any family photos.  Do the kids in the pictures have genuine smiles?  Is the family in a flattering pose? These are things to keep in mind as you choose a photographer.  All of the photos in this post are by Deanna Kourtney Photography.  Deanna takes most of my blog photos and I love these pictures she captured of our family as well.  If you are in the Charlotte area and need a photographer, I highly recommend her!


ME:  FLORAL DRESS \\ BLACK SANDALS \\ BRACELET STACK \\ RING
HUBS:  GREY PANTS \\ CHARCOAL SWEATER (SIMILAR)
OLDER DAUGHTER: STRIPED TOP (SIMILAR) \\ BLACK SKIRT \\ BLACK BOOTIES
YOUNGER DAUGHTER: RED TOP \\ FUR VEST \\ SEQUIN SKIRT \\ BLACK BOOTS

I linked our outfits above in case you want to check out any of the items we are wearing in these photos. I hope you found some helpful family photo tips in this post.  If you don't already get my blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, click HERE and enter your email address.   You will only receive an email when I have a new blog post and it is a great way to make sure you don't miss any of my posts!

You can follow me on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK LIKETOKNOW.IT for daily outfit posts.  And I am always here to help and answer your questions, so feel free to DM me on social media or SEND ME AN EMAIL.  Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!



Tuesday, October 22, 2019

GIBSON X HI SUGARPLUM HOLIDAY COLLECTION


I am so excited to be sharing some of my favorite pieces from the new Holiday collection by Gibson & Cassie from Hi Sugarplum!  I have bought so many pieces by Gibson over the years and it is one of my go-to brands that Nordstrom carries.  You all seem to really like all the Gibson pieces that I have shared in the past, and I am sure that you will love this new collection as much as I do.

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know I am a big fan of fun prints, reasonable price points and versatile pieces to wear multiple ways.  The new Holiday collection has all of these qualities and I love every single piece and color option!  You can mix and match so many of the items, the prints and colors are perfect for the holidays and each piece is very flattering.  Almost every piece in the collection is priced under $100.

Cassie's previous collections have sold out quickly, so if you are interested in an item, I would recommend snagging it!  These pieces are only available on line (not in stores) and Nordstrom always offers free shipping and free returns in case something doesn't work out.  You can click the name of the item you are interested in under each photo and you will be directed to the retailer's website to purchase. I have shared sizing information under each photo as well, so be sure to read that to know what size will work best for you.  I emphasized any sizing that is not typical in italics for your reference.




It's no secret that I am a huge fan of animal print, so when I saw this LEOPARD PRINT SKIRT, I knew I had to have it!  It has a cute tie at the waist and I love the shimmer in the fabric.  The skirt runs true to size to slightly large, and runs long.  If you are 5'7" or shorter, I recommend getting a petite if you want it to hit above the knee.  Also, if you are in between sizes, I recommend sizing down.  I love the versatility of this skirt and think it will go with so many different tops!  I paired it with this RED SATIN TOP from the collection.  I love the ruffle at the neck and it also has a tie at the back.  The top runs true to size.  Both of these pieces could easily be worn other times throughout the year, in addition to during the holidays.




You can also pair the LEOPARD PRINT SKIRT with a top in the same print for a dress silhouette.  This LEOPARD PRINT TOP is the same style as the red one above, and runs true to size.  For a different look, I added a BLACK VELVET BLAZER also from the collection.  I love the notch collar and know I will be wearing this blazer a bunch throughout the holiday season.  The blazer also runs true to size.





This PLAID DRESS is such a classic style for the holidays!  The cut is flattering and I love the sash that ties at the waist.  I tied mine in the back, but you could also tie a bow in the front.  I found this dress to run long and slightly small.  If you are 5'7" or shorter, I recommend getting a petite if you want it to hit above the knee. I also recommend sizing up one from your regular size if you are in between sizes, as it runs slightly snug in the bodice.  I layered it with the same BLACK VELVET BLAZER as above and added some BLACK BOOTIES for an edgier look.  You could also wear it with BLACK SANDALS or BLACK HEELS for a more classic look.




I love wearing a little bling every now and then, and this GOLD SEQUIN TOP is a great option when you want to add some sparkle to your outfit.  It has a flattering boat neck and a lower scoop neck in the back. I like the length of the sleeves too!  I paired it with WIDE LEG PANTS that are also from the Holiday collection.  The pants have pockets (woohoo!) and they also have a pretty satin band at the waist.  I added the same BLACK VELVET BLAZER to finish off the look.  Everything I am wearing here runs true to size.




This RED VELVET TOP is the same style as the gold sequin one I shared above.  The color is gorgeous and perfect for all of your holiday festivities.  I paired it with a pretty BLACK FLORAL SKIRT.  This skirt is the same style as the leopard one above.  As with the leopard one, the floral skirt runs true to size to slightly large, and runs long.  If you are 5'7" or shorter, I recommend getting a petite if you want it to hit above the knee. Also, if you are in between sizes, I recommend sizing down.  The top runs true to size.  

Each piece that I shared comes in additional colors and patterns and there are other styles including a PLEATED SKIRTSEQUIN DRESS and V-NECK TANK in the collection too.  You can SHOP THE FULL COLLECTION HERE.  I hope you found a new piece or two to add to your holiday wardrobe.  I know I will be wearing my Gibson x Hi Sugarplum pieces all holiday season long and will be sharing more on my LIKEtoKNOW.itINSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK with different ways to style each piece. Huge congrats to Gibson and Cassie for this amazing collection!

Monday, October 14, 2019

DATE NIGHT OUTFIT IDEAS


Recently, I put a question box on my INSTAGRAM Stories for you to ask me anything - personal questions, links for outfits I have posted and any requests for specific content.  One of the requests I received was to do a blog post about DATE NIGHT OUTFIT IDEAS.  Ask, and you shall receive!  I have rounded up several looks that are perfect for a night out - either with your significant other or your girlfriends.  I have included links to each outfit under the photo as well as sizing information.  I hope you find some outfit inspiration in this post!


This BELL SLEEVE DRESS is easy to throw on and still look put together for a night out.  It is a light weight material, so not something you will want to wear when it is really cold, but it is perfect for this time of year.  The neckline laces at the base of the "v", so I recommend wearing a CAMI or bralette underneath unless you don't mind showing some cleavage!  The dress runs large (I am wearing a small), so I recommend sizing down.


I love bold colored dresses and think a RED DRESS is perfect for fun night out. I paired it with some SNAKESKIN BOOTIES (SIMILAR), and it would also look cute with LEOPARD BOOTIES.  I added my go-to MOTO JACKET & a fun BLACK BAG (SIMILAR) and think this look is perfect for a date night.  The jacket runs true to size.


A double breasted LEOPARD BLAZER?!?  Yes please!  I think this blazer is so fun for a night out.  It is super soft too!  I like rolling up the sleeves to see a bit of the black lining. I paired it with BLACK JEANS but it would also look great with a skirt.  The blazer runs true to size.  


This pretty FLORAL DRESS has already been in heavy rotation for me this fall.  It is nice and loose, so it doesn't show if I have one too many tacos.  Ha!  I have it paired with my TAUPE BOOTIES and will wear with over the knee BOOTS when it is cooler.  I find that the dress runs large, so I recommend sizing down. I am wearing a size small.  I recommend sizing up 1/2 size in the booties. 


This HALTER TOP is great for date night.  Pair it with black jeans for a more casual look or with a BLACK MIDI SKIRT for a dressier look.  If you prefer a shorter skirt, I love this BLACK PENCIL SKIRT.  I paired this outfit with some BLACK SANDALS (similar to mine) & it would also look cute with BLACK BOOTIES.  The top and skirt both run true to size.


I love a good PLAID BLAZER and jeans paired together.  This look can transition easily from the office to a night out.  You could also swap out of the booties for some HEELS for a dressier look.  I recommend sizing down in the jeans and size up 1/2 size in the booties.  

BLACK HALTER TOP \\ JEANS
GOLD BRACELETS \\ OPEN TOE BOOTIES (SIMILAR)

This BLACK HALTER TOP is similar to the animal print one I posted above.  This one ties at the back of the neck and is a thicker jersey material.  I am wearing it with JEANS but it would also look cute with a LEOPARD PRINT SKIRT.  The top runs true to size.  


Here is one last look for some date night outfit inspo.  The PINK HALTER TOP I am wearing here is the same top as the black one above.  I paired it with a FLORAL MIDI SKIRT.  I love that the skirt is a little higher in the front than the back. I added a DENIM JACKET and some over the knee BOOTS to finish off the look.  Each item in this outfit runs true to size.  

I hope you found some date night outfit inspiration in this post.  If you don't already get my blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, click HERE and enter your email address.   You will only receive an email when I have a new blog post and it is a great way to make sure you don't miss any of my posts!

You can follow me on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK LIKETOKNOW.IT for daily outfit posts.  And I am always here to help and answer your questions, so feel free to DM me on social media or SEND ME AN EMAIL.  And keep reading below for a chance to win $650 to HomeGoods to do some fall shopping!  Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!

$650 Homegoods Giveaway
Time to treat yourself to some Fall shopping at Homegoods!
I've teamed up with a group of bloggers to give one lucky winner
a chance to win a $650 Homegoods Gift Card!
To enter: complete the steps in the rafflecopter below. The more steps you complete,
the more entries you receive, and the better your chance at winning!
This giveaway runs until Tuesday, October 22nd at 12am PST
Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!
*this giveaway is in no way sponsored by Homegoods.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Fall Sweaters Under $50

Runs slightly large - Wearing a Medium, but could have worn a Small

Happy Fall! It is FINALLY starting to feel like fall here in Charlotte and I couldn't be happier.  Since sweater weather is here at last, I wanted to share 10 of my favorite fall sweaters that are all priced under $50.  Links to shop as well as sizing information is located under each photo.

Runs large - Wearing a Small

Runs TTS - Wearing a Medium

Runs slightly large - Wearing a Medium but could have worn a Small

Runs TTS - Wearing a Medium

Runs TTS - Wearing a Small

Runs large - Wearing a Small

Runs TTS - Wearing a Small

Runs TTS - Wearing a Medium

Runs TTS - Wearing a Small

I hope you found some affordable fall sweaters that you like in this post.  If you don't already get my blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, click HERE and enter your email address.   You will only receive an email when I have a new blog post and it is a great way to make sure you don't miss any of my posts!

You can follow me on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK LIKETOKNOW.IT for daily outfit posts.  And I am always here to help and answer your questions, so feel free to DM me on social media or SEND ME AN EMAIL.  And keep reading below for a chance to win $650 to HomeGoods to do some fall shopping!  Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!

$650 Homegoods Giveaway
Time to treat yourself to some Fall shopping at Homegoods!
I've teamed up with a group of bloggers to give one lucky winner
a chance to win a $650 Homegoods Gift Card!
To enter: complete the steps in the rafflecopter below. The more steps you complete,
the more entries you receive, and the better your chance at winning!
This giveaway runs until Tuesday, October 22nd at 12am PST
Winner will be announced here. Good Luck!
*this giveaway is in no way sponsored by Homegoods.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Versatile Fall Fashion with The Charlotte Today Show

On the set with Colleen Odegaard, the host of Charlotte Today

Fall weather is starting to arrive here in Charlotte...albeit very slowly!  I hope you are enjoying some nice weather wherever you are.  Speaking of fall, on my most recent segment on the Charlotte Today show, I shared how to style one fall piece multiple ways.  If you are new around here, I am an occasional fashion contributor on the Charlotte Today show which airs every weekday on NBC.  I really enjoy going on the show and am so thankful that they keep asking me back!

I recruited 4 friends to be models for the segment who are all blogger babes here in Charlotte.  Courtney from The Dainty Darling (Instagram & Blog), Molly from Stilettos & Diapers (Instagram & Blog), Anna from Peppered In Style (Instagram & Blog) & Rachel from Queen City Chic (Instagram & Blog).  I have linked their Instagrams and blogs so you can give them a follow!

I partnered with a local boutique, Luxe Angel Boutique, to provide clothes for me and the models.  They have a great selection of affordable clothes, accessories and shoes and I love that they have pieces that you won't find anywhere else.  Luxe Angel is located at The Shops at Morrison near SouthPark Mall and they also have a great online store for those of you who are not local, which you can visit HERE.


On the show, I talked about fall trends and ways to maximize what is already in your closet.  For example, both Anna and Rachel are both wearing the same SNAKESKIN DRESS.  However, each looks is completely different.  Anna is wearing the dress with BLACK SANDALS for a dressier look.  This dress would also look great layered with a black blazer or moto jacket as the weather cools off.  Rachel is styling the same dress as a duster by unbuttoning it and layering over a tank. She paired the duster with some BLACK JEANS & BLACK SNEAKERS for a cute casual look.  As it cools off, swap out the tank for a long sleeve black tee.

The second piece we styled two different ways is this pair of FRAY HEM JEANS.  Courtney has a more casual look with a COLOR BLOCK SWEATER and TAN WEDGE BOOTIES.  She cuffed the jeans which is an easy way to give your jeans a different look.  Molly styled the same pair of jeans, but with a dressier look.  She paired them with a pretty leopard blouse and some OPEN TOE BOOTIES.  You could also wear a black blazer over the blouse as it gets cooler outside.


Pictured from left to right:
ANNA:  SNAKESKIN DRESS \\ BLACK SANDALS
LAURA: OLIVE JACKET \\ GRAPHIC TEE \\ SNAKESKIN BOOTIES
MOLLY: FRAY HEM JEANS \\ OPEN TOE BOOTIES (Leopard top not online but available by contacting Luxe Angel)
RACHEL: SNAKESKIN DRESS \\ BLACK JEANS \\ BLACK SNEAKERS
COURTNEY: COLOR BLOCK SWEATER \\ FRAY HEM JEANS \\ TAN WEDGE BOOTIES


The OLIVE JACKET and GRAPHIC TEE that I wore during the TV segment are both pieces that can be worn multiple ways.  I will layer the jacket with a flannel top as it gets cooler.  And the graphic tee can be worn all year round.  I love wearing graphic tees by themselves and layering under a jacket, cardigan or flannel shirt when it cools off.

TO VIEW THE FULL TV SEGMENT, CLICK ON THE VIDEO BELOW.



I hope this post gave you some ideas on how to style items in your closet multiple ways.  If you don't already get my blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, click HERE and enter your email address.   You will only receive an email when I have a new blog post and it is a great way to make sure you don't miss any of my posts!

You can follow me on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK LIKETOKNOW.IT for daily outfit posts.  And I am always here to help and answer your questions, so feel free to DM me on social media or SEND ME AN EMAIL.  Thanks so much for reading Smart Southern Style!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Amazon Best Buys - September 2019


Happy September Friends!  It still feels like summer here in the South, but I'm hoping we get some fall weather soon.  I am already thinking fall when it comes to fashion and am excited to share my Amazon Best Buys for this month with you all.  I found some great affordable pieces to wear as we head into fall and have linked everything under each photo.


It is no secret I love animal print, so when I saw this OVERSIZED SWEATER I knew I had to have it.  I love the pink for something different, but it also comes in more traditional colors as well.  It runs big (I am wearing a small), so I suggest sizing down.


This BLACK TUNIC is such a great closet staple. It is a really soft material and is so comfy.  This can be worn by itself and I plan to layer it under jackets and cardigans as it gets cooler.  I love that it is long enough to wear with leggings too!  If you are in between sizes, I suggest sizing down.  I am wearing a small.


I shared this LEOPARD CARDIGAN last year, but wanted to share it again since it is still available.  This was one of the top sellers for Smart Southern Style readers last year and I can see why.  The sweater comes in lots of colors, is good quality and is priced under $30.  The cardigan runs true to size and I am wearing a small.


I love anything with color, so when I saw this TURTLENECK SWEATER I couldn't wait to try it.  I love the bright colors and oversized fit.  This sweater is not super soft (although it isn't scratchy), so I will most likely wear a cami underneath.  It runs true to size to slightly big.


This BELL SLEEVE DRESS is great to wear during this transitional time of year, as it has flowy sleeves and is made of a thin cotton material.  You can wear it with sandals when it is warm and boots as it cools off.  The neckline laces at the base of the "v", so I recommend wearing a cami or bralette underneath unless you don't mind showing some cleavage!  The dress runs large (I am wearing a small), so I recommend sizing down.


This  STAR SWEATER looks a lot more expensive than it's $29 price!  It comes in 3 color options and I think the balloon sleeves are a fun touch.  If in between sizes, I suggest sizing down.  I am wearing a medium but could have worn a small.  This sweater is not available on "Prime",, so shipping is free but it will take a week or two to arrive.  


I love a good graphic tee and this JUST PEACHY TEE is so cute and soft!  You can layer this under a denim jacket or a cardigan as it gets cooler.  The tee runs true to size and I am wearing a medium.


The colors in this GREEN MAXI DRESS are perfect for fall!  Wear it with sandals when it is warm and booties as it cools off.  It runs true to size and I am wearing a medium.


Cardigans are my go-to in the fall and this COLOR BLOCKED CARDIGAN will be in heavy rotation.  It is so soft, is really good quality and super affordable at just over $30.  It runs true to size and I am wearing a small.  The BUTTON CAMI I am wearing under the cardigan is also an Amazon find and is only $16!  It comes in a bunch of colors, has adjustable straps and runs true to size.


A bunch of you all snagged this EMBROIDERED TOP when I shared it on my Instagram last month.  It is such a pretty color and I love all the embroidery detail.  It comes in a bunch color options and runs true to size.


I love this pretty KIMONO, as it is great to throw on over a t-shirt and look pulled together.  This one is only $15 and comes in several patterns.  (Mine is the color "coffee".)  It is one size fits most.

I don't have a photo wearing them, but also wanted to let you know about these SHORT SLEEVE T-SHIRTS.  They come in a pack of two for only $16 and are such good quality.  They run true to size (I wear a medium, which is my usual size for t-shirts) and come in tons of color options.

I hope you found some items you like from my latest Amazon round up.  If you did, please tag me in your photos on social media as I would love to see you!  If you want to check out some of my other recent Amazon finds, you can read those blog posts HERE & HERE.  If you don't already get my blog posts delivered directly to your inbox, click HERE and enter your email address.   You will only receive an email when I have a new blog post and it is a great way to make sure you don't miss any of my posts!

You can follow me on INSTAGRAMFACEBOOK LIKETOKNOW.IT for daily outfit posts.  And I am always here to help and answer your questions, so feel free to DM me on social media or SEND ME AN EMAIL.  Thanks as always for reading Smart Southern Style.

 

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