Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nothing but Noonday

On the first day of my summer internship several weeks ago, I was given an entire introduction to the Noonday Collection when I was approached by a Noonday Ambassador and familiar face, Nancy Scott. At first, she just explained it as a simple jewelry line that she thought I would like to do a blog post about. She ran out to her car, grabbed a catalog, set it on my desk, and said something along the lines of "Just let me know if you'd be interested!" As soon as I started to flip through the pages, I realized this wasn't just a simple jewelry line. This jewelry had a purpose and a plan. Not only is this jewelry absolutely to die for, but it has a reason. It exists to change lives. 

Upon borrowing several of her pieces and wearing them around, I also began learning more of what the Noonday Collection is all about. She had a trunk show last week that I was excited to be able to attend. It was so great to hear the passion in her voice as we sat on the front porch and talked about the impact that Noonday has on so many lives all around the world. 

Why Noonday?
Noonday is making a difference in many countries and giving jobs to people who otherwise wouldn't have one. From India, to South America, to several places in Africa, Noonday partners with fair trade companies. Everything you can buy was made in good working conditions and never involves slave labor. Many of the businesses that Noonday partners with employ a lot of women, and when women are employed, they're usually using their money to feed their families. The Noonday community helps to give women an opportunity to do what they were created to do: love, care, support, and cherish their children.   

Last February, Nancy and some others did an adoption show. For these types of shows, Noonday gives 10% of all sales straight to the adopting family. Nancy then matched the percentage, so the family received 20% of the sales of the show. The adopting mother says, "I think right after that we had a payment due close to that same amount. I remember it was almost to the penny the amount we had to pay to accept our referral for our passports." Not only does Noonday seek to empower those in vulnerable countries, but Noonday is also reaching out to those near us who are attempting to change the little lives of children by bringing them into their homes and making them part of their family.

"Together we create a flourishing world where children are cherished, women are empowered, people have jobs, and we are connected."

Nancy says, "Noonday has been so beautiful, put feet to my faith, and shown me so I can share with others that everybody has worth and value, and we should expect that they be treated as such."

 The jewelry is all made from materials found in these countries or by the people there. Bullet casings scattered across fields in Ethiopia are used to mix with metals and melted down to form glittery beads. In Guatemala, bead looms are created out of nails and a plank of wood where they string together the colorful beaded cuff bracelets. Women in Peru use the softest wool yarns to created beautiful embroidery that is crafted to make bags. Artisans in India design the hardware for many of the metal necklaces handmade from scratch. The delicate horn jewelry is generated in Vietnam, Tagua seeds from Ecuador, foot pedal sewing in Rwanda, and my personal favorite, the paper beads in Uganda. Just this past month, Noonday launched the Impact Uganda Giveback program where 10% of sales on paper beads will be given to social programs there, and they've already raised over $22,000. A new "end of season" sale will start next month. Stay tuned for the many great deals that will be going on then! 

Noonday develops relationships, offers long term employment, and transforms lives one piece of jewelry at a time.

Check out the Noonday Collection website here to read more incredibly empowering stories from those who have directly benefited from this great community. Shop the jewelry there as well to see all the perfect handmade treasures you can wear as a reminder that God has a plan and a purpose for each and every one of us.

Can't wait to see you rockin' your 
Noonday jewels soon! :-)

Contact Nancy Scott at nancyscottnoonday@gmail.com if you would like to host a trunk show for special rewards or if you'd like you join her team as 
a Noonday Ambassador.

*All photos taken by Michael David Productions*

Monday, June 27, 2016

A Summer of the Saint

When scouring the Internet for fashion tips and trends, it’s always inevitable that my searching will lead me to a designers website, then to a video of the runway show of another designer, then to an article about a different designer’s newest collection and so on. The other day, my hunting led me to a recap video of the Saint Laurent spring 2016 ready-to-wear collection. I remember this collection being one of my favorites during fashion week. Ever since this line was released, I’ve been incredibly inspired by the beige trench coats and leather and denim jackets thrown over the dresses, and the bomber jackets and blazers over the skirts. There’s just something about the camouflage army jacket atop a sparkly gold mini dress complete with a crown on messy, wavy hair that speaks to my feminist soul. It’s as if these outfits themselves confidently proclaim to any woman wearing them, “You got this!”
Here, I started with one of my favorite graphic animal T-shirts. Mine features a gentle elephant, a few daisies and a little Aztec print design, but I would definitely suggest spicing it up with a fierce animal for a more hardcore statement piece of the outfit. I’ve always loved a good gladiator sandal. I purchased these specific ones several years ago, but because they are currently so trendy, there are so many beautiful pairs out there to choose from. If you know me, you know I also love a good cross-body bag, especially if you can rock a brightly colored one to add the perfect pop of color to any neutral based outfit.
Another must-have staple item is a simple plain black skirt and the reason for this being because it can be mixed and matched a million times over. Finding a few pieces that can effortlessly be absorbed into your wardrobe and worn many times without being recognized is a precious piece of clothing in the eyes of any Fashionista. If it’s as hot where you are as it is where I am, you probably can’t even fathom the thoughts of topping your outfit off with a jacket in this summer heat. But I always find myself a little chilly around the office during my work days, so I try to remember to grab some kind of lightweight coat on my way out the door. Saint Laurent proved with this collection that a light jacket still makes for a fabulous accessory even in the warmer weather.
Therefore, Fashionistas, go forth and be inspired by the slip dresses, silk, fur, patchwork denim, sequins, grunge and glitter even in the midst of the warm sunshine. Well done, Saint Laurent. Well done.

Get My Look: 1. A graphic animal T-shirt. 2. A simple black skirt. 3. Light jacket.
Style On®,
Maggie Dillard
Content originally created for and published on CollegeFashionista.com

A Stylish Summer

What’s up, party people?! I’m back with CollegeFashionista for a summer of fun, fashionable things. 
Here is my new Style Guru Bio for the summer semester!
 If you ask anyone who knows me what I like to do, you would most likely get answers ranging from shopping, getting a manicure, laughing with friends, drinking coffee and going on road trips. But, if you asked anyone who knows me what I love to do, there is no doubt in my mind what each person would say, and that is: write. This is typically something people assume as soon as they hear that I’m an English major, and something that furthers their assumption when hearing that my minor focuses on journalism. To which their next question is usually, “What do you like to write about?” This is where the fun part starts. As I have always loved to write, I have also always loved fashion. I currently live vicariously through my favorite fashion bloggers on the daily, but especially in September and March during fashion week when I find myself going shopping the very next day searching for tops, bottoms and shoes similar to what my favorite models strutted down the runways the day before.

 Flipping the pages of Vogue magazine feels like medicine to my soul and tends to inspire me to no end. A huge part of what I do and how I live is directly effected by the fashion that surrounds me, whether I discover it in my Instagram feed, in a magazine or adorning the bodies of my classmates in my literature classes. CollegeFashionista has provided me with a means of combining my two favorite things into one, and it has been the best ever.
My own personal style changes by the day and my mood. Some days I find myself leaning towards an all black, sleek and chic Kardashian-Jenner ensemble, while other days I feel as if I can’t get enough of an eye-catching, colorful print or pattern. I’m all about a good trend, especially a comfortable one, so I was pretty pumped when jogger pants made their way into the fashion world recently. They can easily be dressed up or down and perfect for on-the-go wear.
I’m a firm believer that pain is beautiful when it comes to a steep, stiletto wedge, but I owe my everything to all of the little platform wedges out there that have finally given ‘comfortable’ and ‘wedge’ a way to be said in the same sentence, while also remaining just as fashionable as ever. Pair the joggers and platform wedges with a simple tank, just the right choker necklace and an everyday cross-body bag and you have what I call my “Go-To.”
This is my second semester as a Style Guru for CollegeFashionista and needless to say, I’m so ready to bring all of the most stylish summer trends right to the table! Stay #RAD.

Style On®,
Maggie Dillard

Content originally created for and published on CollegeFashionista.com

Simple to Superstar

Oftentimes when searching to find the perfect accessories combination to put over an outfit, I catch myself thinking, “Wait, is this too much?” But when I found this Fashionista, I was inspired by how naturally she had turned a simple, neutral tank top and jeans mix into a high quality, stylish outfit due solely to her brilliant way of accessorizing.

This Fashionista chose a black tank and white ripped jeans as the base of her outfit. Pairing a top with a bottom on opposite ends of the color spectrum adds a nice element to any outfit. She enhances the look with a bright red flannel for a pop of color, and it works well to also add a sense of liveliness to the outfit as a whole. 
Whoever says flannels can only be worn in the fall around a bonfire didn’t know about all the other ways you can actually wear one. Tying it around the waist is another effortlessly cool way to rock it. She layered a significant amount of necklaces at all different lengths to create a pattern over her plain top. Next, she slipped on several bracelets, rings and a watch because the more the merrier, right? Also, as seen here, any type of chic cross-body purse makes for a practical, yet still fashionable, way to to wear a bag across campus. For shoes, she stuck with a simple black ankle bootie in an effort to not take away from all of the other accessories within the look. She topped it all off with a pair of sleek reading glasses that, not only make reading books for class a little easier, but are truly another perfect accessory to make any outfit complete!
How to: Challenge yourself to use at least one of each kind of accessory to dress up your plain outfits. There’s no need to question the power of good accessories. Throw them all on and watch your look go from simple to superstar in a matter of seconds!

Style On®,
Maggie Dillard

Content originally created for and published on CollegeFashionista.com

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

Rihanna has taken over the fashion industry with full force beginning at New York fashion week in February with the debut of her Fenty x Puma fall 2016 ready-to-wear collection, which fused her bad-gal reputation, sassy sportswear and a shockingly beautiful blend of black and white. As Vogue’s April cover star, it is no surprise that every word she speaks is taken into deep consideration whether it be about fashion, music, fame or life in general. There is no question that she clearly knows the business.
As Rihanna is making her rise to the top of the fashion world, this Fashionista took her old, wise words straight to heart and shined just as brightly as a diamond when stepping out in these silver sequined jeans. These originals are restocked only occasionally, so wait patiently to order your own, or rock a similar pair just as modishly. Either way, there’s no doubt that these shiny pants are flying off every shelf they land on. Pair these jeans with a plain white tank top accompanied by a sleek strappy bralette to ensure that your “cool” vibe is maintained, but not overdone. Slip on adidas’ retro Stan Smith sneakers to achieve the athletic quality that appears ever so stylishly within Fenty x Puma. Top it all off with a bomber jacket in any color to complete the look, and there’s no doubt Rihanna would approve.

Just as Rihanna has proven, fashion is about taking risks, mixing feminine and masculine elements and creating ensembles that are fit for just about anyone. She says, “Women feel empowered when they can do the things that are supposed to be only for men, you know? It breaks boundaries, it’s liberating and it’s empowering when you feel like, Well, I can do that, too.” It’s about time you step out in your glittery jeans, break a few boundaries, change the world and shine brighter than a diamond while doing it.

What is your STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK? “I love the urban, city girl look. However, I sometimes think it comes across as too masculine or tomboy-ish, which is great, but not me. I love these pants because they’re feminine, yet “street.” I was terrified the first time I wore them in public, but style is all about showing off your personality. Never be afraid to wear something that makes people stop and stare!”

Style On®,
Maggie Dillard

Content originally created for and published on CollegeFashionista.com

March Into Spring

Spring is currently in full swing and I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the weather getting warmer, or finally being able to order an iced latte without it causing my hands to go numb. Obviously, another perk of the warmer season is being able to pack away the heavy coats and tights, and bring out the lighter jackets to pair with our booties and dresses. Being someone who particularly loves this look, I got lucky when Versace reinvented it during fashion week in September through the reveal of her spring 2016 ready-to-wear collection.
Donatella Versace paired colors of neutral black, brown, green and burgundy with feisty animal printed patterns, lace, fur, suede and leather in order to create the ultimate ensemble that is the epitome of girl power. She has already revealed that the goal she had in mind when creating these looks was to “do something strong.” So, I decided to try it out for myself.
I started with a statement piece that every girl who adores dresses should own: a little black dress (LBD). It can be worn just about as many times as one heart could desire because of the many ways it can be sported. I added a lace black bralette under mine to add texture and maintain the girly vibe. Next, I wore a lighter suede jacket for color and warmth when that spring sun goes down. I paired this with metallic ankle boots to bring in the combat feel that Versace was aiming for. Then, I added a cheetah print and fringe cross-body bag to resemble the colorful animal patterns that embodied the feisty zest that her collection radiates. To top it off, I added a touch of my own personal style with the chunky stone necklace and beaded choker.
Not only does Versace represent a brand of phenomenal fashion, but she is truly an inspiration to all women. “I know fashion is not something that can change the world, but it can change the woman. It can empower the woman. It can make her strong, in herself, and to believe in herself more,” Versace said.
Although my look was only a mimic of the Versace couture, I still felt the empowering feminist spirit as I pranced around in my little black dress and metallic boots while proudly holding my iced vanilla latte.
Get My Look: 1. Any casual LBD. 2. A pair of ankle boots. 3. Suede jacket. 4. A printed cross-body bag.

Style On®,
Maggie Dillard
Content originally created for and published on CollegeFashionista.com

Simply Classic

Welcome to the ‘50s. This is the radical era of Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn enlightening the fashion industry in ways that the world had yet to see. Women’s fashion boomed with individuality and profound declarations of what it meant to be a true trendsetter. Bring on the pleats, petticoats and statement collars produced solely of the boldest patterns and colors of nylon, rayon, wool and leather. A real sense of style became vital to everyday life during the days of this time period. Advertising individual identity within the clothing choices that were made was incredibly important to the ‘50s fashion industry.
Throughout the 1950s, men’s fashion was also revolutionized and altered ever so remarkably that even our generation of trendy men still inquire into the ‘50s for their go-to style inspiration. A leap was taken that converted menswear from prim and proper to effortlessly casual. The glamour of Hollywood and American film swayed much of the incline of the fashion industry. Humphrey Bogart brought with him the recognition of the fedora and trench coat, while James Dean created the genuine essence of rebellion with his leather jacket and white T-shirt accompanied with an irresistible smirk and a lit cigarette. He transformed the meaning of the simple pair of denim jeans, and assisted in evolving men’s fashion as we know it.

This Fashionisto was highly inspired by this generation of fashion icons, specifically James Dean and the popular greaser culture. Swapping out the leather jacket for a red Members Only bomber immediately gives off the vibe of trendy fashion of the past. He paired the jacket with none other than the famous plain white T-shirt. His ripped jeans add the perfect touch of edge, while still maintaining ultimate trendiness. He completed the outfit with the incorporation of leather in his stylish black sneakers, and the black flat-billed hat works to top it all off.

When it comes to finding your own personal style, reach back in the past and incorporate those historical fashion trends into your daily style. Like those chic icons of the 1950s, embrace your individuality, let it inspire others and never shy away from being a trendsetter.

What is your STYLE ADVICE OF THE WEEK? “My style is directly influenced by what impacts me the most. I love classic films and the classic style that you get from them. This is more of a James Dean look but with a modern day touch to it. The thing I love about fashion and individual style is that I can go from a darker American Horror Story: Hotel feel to a classic Rebel Without a Cause style in just a day. Everybody has their influence. Create your own and dress accordingly.”
Style On®,
Maggie Dillard

Content originally created for and published on CollegeFashionista.com