Last week, Justin and I loaded into his shiny red ark and sought refuge from one of the many storms at Automatic Slim's for Work It Wednesday.
(Seriously, if we had known it was going to be like this, we would have started a special subset of Style Sessions called "The Umbrella" and just had people with frizzy hair, high-waders, and rain boots hiding under umbrellas in the pictures. But we didn't.)
So, there we were, feeling slightly a la drowned rat, and there was Toni Laurenzi, sitting at the bar, looking as fresh and carefree as a sunny, summer day.
"It wasn't raining when I left," she explained when I asked her about her smocked Charlotte Russe halter and dark wash blue jeans from Express.
She says she was looking for comfort when she got dressed: "I was going to get dressed up, but I had a lot of errands to do."
It takes quite the outfit to work well for both running errands and going out for drinks. And this definitely works.
Chances are, if you've seen Kerry Crawford-Trisler, you've seen a very distinct accessory: the "I Love Memphis" sign she photographs people holding for the Convention and Visitors Bureau's I Love Memphis blog.
For this picture, we convinced her to put the sign away so we could see her Banana Republic jean skirt, Frye boots, and cute blouse from Sachi.
But its her glasses that are her signature accessory. She has three pairs that she rotates wearing.
"I've been wearing cat-eye glasses since I was in high school," she says. "I thought if i have to wear glasses, I should wear big glasses."
How much do you love this White House/Black Market dress? The cut is really flattering, the print is interesting, and the belt and the pockets cleverly use a reverse of the dominant pattern. Presh, right?
For Maggie Haire, it was all about the heels.
"I'm a teacher by day, so I don't wear heels," she says. "At night, it's kind of fun to live it up."
Unfortunately, we hear through our spies that Maggie is sick right now. (Like we said, she's a teacher. Are there any teachers who aren't sick right now?)
Maggie, hope you feel better soon!
For Elizabeth Land, this was an outfit with a deadline.
"You can't wear white jeans after September," she said.
The jeans are Hudson. She got her cute white-and-green top at Wink.
Because of the cut of the jeans and the white rope belt, this has almost a nautical feel for me, but the colors keep it crisp and clean. I love how the belt brings out the white in the spaghetti-strap top and pulls it all together ... in more ways than one, I suppose.
Justin and I are were standing outside of Bardog when we saw Lisa Hume strolling toward us, her wrap sort of billowing behind her as she walked. It was very je ne said quoi.
In addition to the wrap, which was a present from her boss, Hume is wearing an Ann Klein dress.
She had recently returned from Barbados (jealous!) and was wearing the dress in part to show off her tan.
"it was a little cold this morning," she said when asked about the wrap. "But it knew it was going to burn off and be a million degrees."
Here's a funny story: The other week, I'm shopping with my sister at this BCBG store and we're scouring racks upon racks of dresses (they're totally my new obsession). She pulls one off the rack, holds it up, and says, "This is cute."
And it was totally the same dress that Tara Chalos is wearing here.
Chalos called this a "perfect dress for summer," and it's easy to see why: It's light, it's little, it's interesting visually, but it's still conservative enough to wear to work. (And then out to the bar afterward.)
For those interested, this dress also has a sister. After we saw this one at BCBG, we saw a wrap-dress made out of the same material with the same paisley detailing at the bottom and on the tie.
Last night, the Flyer hosted one of its Work It Wednesday happy hours at Bardog. I can't speak for all of the staff -- since most of them haven't stumbled into the office yet -- but I think we had a pretty good time. And part of that was certainly due to the cuteness that is pregnant bartender Brooke Brewer.
Her outfit for the evening consisted of jeans from Crazy Beautiful, a belly band -- because her stomach is getting bigger, but the rest of her isn't -- and a tanktop from Target.
It's sort of hard to tell, but the tank is covered with multi-colored peace signs. Her wardrobe also includes a pair of pink peace sign shorts.
"I like peace signs. I'm trying to bring them back," she says.
We also ran into Majestic Grille owner Deni Reilly last night, looking just as cute as ever. I always comment on her jewelry, but I won't here because, well, have you seen the Orla Kiely bag?
I love how the strap of her bag -- in the company's signature pattern -- echoes the color of her top from Muse.
The white jacket she got out of her sister's closet in D.C. -- "It's vintage," she says.
I had to ask: Does your sister know you took her vintage jacket? B/c I've got sisters. And I know that sometimes you get things from them, and sometimes you just take them. (Or maybe that's just me.)
"She knows," she says. "I brought her a whole bag of shoes. It was a wardrobe swap. You've got to do those things when you have a sister."
It was early evening and nurse Jennifer Koonce was out for drinks with the girls when we spotted her.
It's been my experience that drinks with the girls -- especially right after work -- have a certain dress code. You don't need to be too dressed up -- it's just the girls, after all, and you don't need to impress them -- but you are going out, so you want to look cute.
Which is where Koonce's Old Navy top, Express jeans, and Target earrings come in. She doesn't look fussy or "too done," just casually stylish.
When I asked about her style, she said it was casual and comfortable.
"I'm not going to wear something cute if it's not comfortable," she said. Which is, I have to say, a very good motto.
The day we caught up with 22-year-old Chelsea Day was the first time she had worn this breezy aquamarine ... dress? shirt? thing?
"My best friend gave this to me last year," she says. "She used to wear it as a bathing suit cover-up. She's like 7 feet tall and she said this would be a good dress on you."
Memphis, this is what we're talking about: Unique, personal style, where you can wear a dress as a bathing suit cover-up, or a bathing-suit cover-up as a dress.
We liked the color and the scalloped edges with the floral embroidery. It's just so ... fluttery (is that a word?) and easy. The sides have two small slits that caught the breeze, and the day we met Day, it was — is this not the refrain of this blog or what? — stiflingly hot, so any breeze catching was very welcome.
Mae Aur — and I hope this is the correct spelling of her name. Mae, if it's not, I truly apologize — is one crafty lady.
Aur's outfit is pure thrift store, from her high-waisted brown skirt to her yellow child-sized tee.
"I take old skirts and I alter them to fit me," she says.
This one was a long skirt that she shortened and then added a double-row of cute trim.
She's been sewing since she was small, and plans to have a booth at Cooper-Young fest this year to sell some of her wares.
We ran into Denver resident Natalie Dunn checking out downtown with her mom and thought she looked very sporty and put together — kind of like the Kennedys at Hyannisport.
Turns out there's a good reason:
"I'm here for a tennis tournament, so I just packed some easy stuff," she told us.
Sometimes you just can't go wrong with easy. Both the shorts and the maroon tee are from Abercrombie. The sunglasses are Ray-Ban aviators.
Sometimes you don't have a lot of time between work and whatever you want to do afterward.
Brittany Myers solved this problem with a little ingenuity. We ran into her at the Flyer's Work It Wednesday event at the Silly Goose (which was, coincidentally, Wednesday evening), and she told us that after work she changed into shorts from Banana Republic.
"I wore the top to work," she said of her colorful blouse, also from Banana Republic. "I did not wear the shorts."
She also added the over-sized Jessica Simpson earrings to her ensemble after she got off work, completing her day to night look.
Folami Uimana's denim, empire-waist dress is a great staple for summer. With its classic lines and fitted bodice, this Calvin Klein dress can just about go anywhere, from a picnic to drinks downtown.
In this case, Uimana paired the dress with bangles, shoes, and earrings, all in purple — her favorite color.
"I thought it would be breezy and comfortable," she says of the dress she got at Macy's a few months ago. "And it's flowy, so the humidity won't kill me."
22-year-old Taylor Nelson calls her personal style "relaxed and funky."
And we can totally see it.
She paired Citizens of Humanity denim capris with an American Eagle wife beater and a cute little sparkly tank on top.
It's sort of hard to see here, but the top has a smattering of gold sequins across it and matches her gold flip-flops.