Events: Charleston Fashion Week with Belk

The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. The best kind of whirlwind but a blur none the less. I’m still trying to get back in to my routine after getting the chance to take a quick trip to Charleston, thanks to the team at Belk.

When I was first asked by the brand to attend Charleston Fashion Week as part of their Southern Style Summit, I had two thoughts: 1. Sweeet. 2. Wait, do we have a Belk in Louisville and I’m so clueless I didn’t even know?

After a quick google search and a question to the PR team, I was assured that I haven’t been missing out and that, in fact, we don’t have a Belk here in Louisville but there are locations throughout the state including in Elizabethtown. After visiting their store in Charleston, I’m about to start a letter writing campaign to bring one to the 502. But let me back up a little bit.

Last Wednesday I skipped out of town and was surrounded by bright buildings and palm trees by noon. There wasn’t much time to just soak in the surroundings though because Belk had planned out a pretty killer trip for us that kept us moving. The us I’m referring to was a group of nine bloggers from around the south of which I was very lucky to be included.

We were welcomed to our rooms with a bonanza of great dresses and welcome goodies – think beauty products for days and some South Carolina treats. It was definitely the first of a handful of pinch me moments. Before I could spin around though we were off to get the lay of the land from Arlene Goldstein, the VP of Trend Merchandising at Belk. A quick note about Arlene. She is a boss. An enviable mix of knowledge, experience, style and most importantly, warmth and kindness. Arlene made us feel immediately welcome and she spent the next three days introducing us to everyone and sharing her expertise.

CarolineCTan_CHSFW_Thursday_Midday_0041The Belk Southern Style Summit Crew with Arlene Goldstein and Fern Mallis – Founder of NYFW 

Our first night, we went to an amazing dinner at The Grocery with Trina Turk and her team. I was lucky enough to sit next to Arlene and caddy-corner to Trina Turk so I spent half the meal just listening to them tell stories. (She had just returned from a trip to Cuba, is celebrating 20 years in business and is also a boss lady with so many cool stories.) I was also lucky enough to meet members of her team while trying to convince all of them to come to Derby. I could go on and on about this dinner but we’d be here all day so I’ll just cut it short and say it was certainly something I’ll remember as one of the coolest opportunities I’ve had while doing the blog.

Lou What Wear * Stripes * Layers * Spring Outfits_0688
Saturday we kicked off our day with a fun style challenge at the Belk in Charleston. We were given a $250 budget and 30 minutes to throw together a look based on Belk’s spring/summer trends. It was kind of like Mall Madness/Super Market Sweep (can those shows come back?).

Romper: Eight Sixty Ella Romper c/o Belk | Blazer: 1 State Peplum Blazer 

I left the dressing room looking like the Tasmanian Devil ran through it. Tried on about a million things but in the end, I went with this Eight Sixty Printed Romper and a 1 State White Blazer, finished off with a pair of French Connection heels and my belt. It was fun seeing what everyone put together. Arkeedah had her fab look styled up in about a half second and I still can’t believe Chelsei’s complete look was only $220.

From left: Tara Belle {Northern Lights-Southern Belles} | Arkeedah {It’s Arkeedah} | Cris {Styleanthrophy} | Molly {A Piece of Toast} | Me | Bethany {B Soup} | Chelsie {A Killa Life} | Erika {Fashion Chalet} | Megan {Lush to Blush

Saturday night was the Belk show so we all headed over to the tents cocktails and mingling. If you see me and ask me about this trip, the one thing I will go on and on about is the people involved with the company. Everyone was so welcoming, friendly and great to talk to. It was a cool way to learn more about the way they think about branding and partnerships while sharing our side of things.

Lou What Wear * Stripes * Layers * Spring Outfits_0695The show was a wash of color that epitomized Belk’s motto of Modern Southern Style. The models all looked like they were having a great time which was infectious. Beyond just the Belk show, we got to catch some of the Emerging Designer shows which all got a solid two thumbs up. Especially loved the little boy style in the Preparatoire show. No chance D3 would let me dress him up in that but a mom can dream.

Lou What Wear * Stripes * Layers * Spring Outfits_0693The Trina Turk Team: Claudine, Trina Turk, Lauren 
Lou What Wear * Stripes * Layers * Spring Outfits_0690 Lou What Wear * Stripes * Layers * Spring Outfits_0692Lou What Wear * Stripes * Layers * Spring Outfits_0691

We celebrated the night with some bar hopping with our tour guide Chelsei and finished it with a giant pizza. All in all a solid day.

IMG_20150326_233100The quick trip ended with a round table brunch with the Belk executives who picked our brains on their brand perception, ways to improve their social media presence and other randomness.  I wish it had lasted twice as long because, I think, it was something we all learned a lot from.

friday roundtable

I left with a huge respect for the company and a wish for a Louisville location. Seriously, it would be huge here. It’s not your grandmother’s store anymore. Think brands like French Connection, Kate Spade, Lily Pulitzer, Michael Kors, Trina Turk, MAC and more, more, more. I talked up Derby big time so I’m hoping to do some Derby dress features with them in the coming weeks so stay tuned for more from them.

It was also a lot of fun to spend time with Molly {A Piece of Toast} and Bethany {B Soup}. There wasn’t nearly enough time for all the shopping, eating and exploring so maybe a trip back is in the future.

 

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 All photos by Terrence Edwards and Caroline Tan 

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Belk. All opinions and random thoughts are my own. A big thanks to Nunez PR, Belk, Trina Turk, the Charleston Visitors Bureau and more for an amazing trip.

Derby Dress a Day: For the Paddock

You all may have heard the news that Piperlime is closing (I know, such a bummer). But there is a small silver lining in all of this, especially for girls on the hunt for a great Derby dress, the site is offering 30% off everything today. That includes All the Dresses. So see there’s some good news with the bad.

Today’s dress isn’t a dress though (say whaaa!?). Since I was picking something out for a day in the paddock, I decided to mix it up and go with a romper. Bear with me on this one. If you’re going to the paddock you gotta be prepared. Seating is extremely limited, only a couple benches that people claim at like 6 am, and it is crowded, think lots of bumping into people and people bumping into you. You don’t want to be in anything too fussy but since you’re likely to be mingling with those with boxes or seats, you want to look put together. Enter the romper. Flirty, fun, feminine but not fussy. Perfect for the paddock. And with these prints, if someone bumps you and accidentally spills a little something, the print will mask it.

Top it with a big sun hat or a fascinator. Just remember to opt for comfortable shoes. You’ll be on your feet all day so go for wedges or flats.

 

  
Since the Piperlime sale is just for one day (right now at least), I’ve pulled some other options you may want to look over. Hey, all of these are perfect for summer parties, showers, weddings, you know the drill. Get over there quick though, sizes are selling out fast.

Want even more Derby dresses? Head over here.

Derby Dress a Day: For the Oaks

If you’re from Kentucky you’re probably familiar with the recent tradition of wearing pink for the Oaks (the signature race on the Friday before Derby). If you’re heading to the track, be prepared to see lots of Barbie’s signature color. The tradition was started in honor of the Oaks signature flower, the stargazer lily, and as a sign of support of Churchill Downs’ official partnerships with Bright Pink and Horses & Hope.

The Oaks race is made up of all fillies – girl horses – and before the big race, there is a Breast Cancer Survivors parade. It is by far, one of the coolest moments of the day with hundred of survivors waving from the track before horses take the main stage.

While you don’t have to wear pink, it’s definitely encouraged – even for the guys. So whatever shade of pink you love – my preference is a pastel color – plan on breaking it out.

This Ella Moss number is great for those who may be a little reluctant to go with a bright, bold pink. I think strapless numbers look great with big hats and you can dress this down easily with simple flats and a floppy hat or go more glam with a great pair of heels and a bold, structured hair or fascinator. The pale color with white details also make it easy to match with a variety of hat options. Pastel, black and white or a bright pop of bold colors will all pair well.

If this options isn’t for you, I’ve rounded up some more options. Or if you want to avoid a pink dress and opt for pink accessories, I’ve found some items that fit the bill.

derby 4

Ella Moss Debbie Dress
Wear it with:
Joie Lena SandalJoie Opal Sandal Flogg Lola Wedge 

 

More Pink Options: 

A Touch of Pink:

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