Red, White & Blue, Done Right

Happy 4th of July!  This holiday sparks so many memories:  sparklers, barbecues, family time, fireworks and wearing the Red, White and Blue.  But how can you do it without dressing like this:


Now, if you want to do such a literal representation of the flag, so be it, but it doesn’t seem like it’s the most practical outfit to wear to the family barbecue.  So in honor of the holiday, we offer up a few suggestions that might be a bit easier to wear around town.


Love this look:  red slim fit trouser, navy jacket, nautical stripe top.  Individually, all these pieces can be mixed and matched throughout your summer wardrobe.  But pull them together and the look is very polished and super appropriate if you are going to a dressy Independence Day party.  Similar looks can be found at Banana Republic Factory Store and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store.


For a more casual look, how about a great navy stripe short?  These we found at Banana Republic Factory as well:  Just pair them up with a red t-shirt or tank top.  Add in a chambray button down shirt, or a great wristlet like this and you’re set to go to the fireworks!


This is just too sweet:  we love how effortless the patriotic theme carries through the whole family!  Red, white & blue polos or t-shirts are mixed in with white shorts/crop pants.  Want the look?  Head to Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, or find something similar at Gap Factory Outlet or Old Navy Outlet.

There are SO many options for little girls when you’re looking to sport the Red, White & Blue.  We love them all so much, choosing just one was too hard!  Whether you’re looking for a dress or a more casual look, head to Children’s Place, Gymboree Outlet or OshKosh b’Gosh to find these or similar looks.

Now, the 4th of July is just around the corner, so stop in today and pick up a few pieces for the family today!  Or you can wait a couple of days:  Sidewalk sales at Outlets at The Dells are June 30-July 4 and the savings are HUGE.    We’ll see you soon!

Vacation Style For Mom

As a mom, the vacation packing falls squarely on my shoulders (piled on top of the laundry folding, dog walking, lawn mowing and meal making).  As my children  grow and start to be independent, I’ve asked them to start to do more of their own packing; this usually leads to Nerf guns being prioritized over undergarments.  So, I repack their bags, then take care of my own.  And there’s also all the last-minute items needed for the children to replace the old vacation gear they’ve grown out of.  Inherently, this leads to last-minute packing and shopping:  children look great, Mom looks…well, Mom could look better.  Let’s just leave it at that.

So, the Banana Republic Factory Store event I just attended was a HUGE relief.  Three moms came together and, with the help of some savvy fashion assistance from the staff, we all walked out with summer gear for ourselves and savings to boot!

Truthful moment:  I am not a romper-believer.  I may even go so far as to say I’ve been quoted as saying there should be an age limit on them, and that age limit is elementary-school.  But although I’m not a complete convert on the subject, I did fall in love with this adorable thing:750

That is me, in a romper.  The smile is genuine.  The style is fabulous.  I’ve got several places it needs to be seen already scheduled in my mind for the summer.

Another look I’ve never fully embraced was the ruffled top.  This mom isn’t really a mom who needs ruffles on her top, but I’m always game for trying something new (you never know unless you try).  Long story short, once we criss-crossed the shoulder straps, I liked it.  I LOVED the yellow shorts even more.

I may have loved the desserts the thoughtful staff had for us almost as much as the shorts.

One more “you never know until you try” item:  a maxi dress.  I’m only 5’3″, so I never, ever wear these – they just make me feel like I’m a little girl, dressing up in my mother’s clothes.  Overall, this was cute, but I think a bit too adventurous for my taste.  It’s a pretty look, though.


At some point, I’ve got to get back on task here, so we jump into my comfort zone:  shorter dresses.  I love the ease of one-piece dressing, especially for vacations when you don’t want to have to think too much or work too hard at your style.  Clearly, all three of these dresses came home with me.  Note:  there was a sale, and it was my birthday this month….not like I needed any excuses.

My fellow moms didn’t need an excuse either.  A big thanks to the staff, my friend Lisa for shopping with me and Catie of and her sweet daughter.  I would 100% go shopping with any one or all of them again at the drop of a hat.  They, and the a-MAY-zing staff at Banana Republic Factory Store made my vacation shopping more of a vacation than my vacation will be.

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What A Mom Wants


It’s almost May and we are entering the time when family calling trees start humming as we all try to answer the eternal question:  What are we getting Mom for Mother’s Day?  The struggle is real, people.  She never “needs” anything.  Ever.   So what’s a family to do?  Take her to the Outlets, of course!  We have a plan:


1.Invite Mom to the Mother’s Day Wish List Registry; it’s for charity, so it should be an easy sell.

2.We will pour her mimosas, fill her plate with pastries  and provide some great entertainment and door prizes.

3.All you have to do then is take her for a walk and have her write down everything she thinks is “nice.”  Because let’s be honest, people:  “nice” = “I like it.”  These items should be written down and the list kept in a safe place for future gift giving opportunities.

4.Bring the list back to the mimosas and we’ll keep it safe for you and give Mom a door prize ticket – who doesn’t love a good door prize?!

5. We call you with the list, or email it.  However you like.  When you think about it, it’s kind of ingenious….you’re welcome.  🙂

But what if you can’t get to the breakfast?  What’s a family to do?  Here’s a list of tried and true winners:


Bags/Wallets/Purses. These are all terrific ideas and usually Mom has a definite style preference, so if you look at the bag she has, you’ll get a great idea.  These are on sale at COACH and are really, really cute….but there’s lots of options, so you’ll be in good care here.



Perfume….If Mom has a fragrance she loves, this is an excellent idea!  We like to hit Fragrance Outlet and buy two (there’s always a buy one, get one sale going on): one we know Mom loves and one that we like and Mom might like…that way, if she decides she would rather keep her regular one, you can take it back.  🙂


Jewelry:  You can never go wrong with jewelry, people.  But the budget is not as important as the thought behind it.  Bracelets in her favorite color, necklaces with birthstones, earrings…it’s almost always a safe bet.  We love Kay Jewelers Outlet, Apricot Lane Boutique, Bass Factory Outlet and Banana Republic Factory Outlet for jewelry of all types for all occasions.



There is no shame in giving a gift card.  None.  They’re good at all the stores Mom likes, they never expire, they’re the right size/color/fit.  This is just you showing  your Mom how much you learned from her:  it’s super thoughtful and allows her to make her own decision.

Happy Mother’s Day, to all those hard working moms out there.  You are doing great work.  Thanks for all you do and we hope to see you shopping soon!


SO Much Pretty in Small Packages

Spring: as we contemplate spring break vacations, plan ahead for summer activities and pick out those perfect outfits for the kids to wear for the spring holidays, it’s easy to forget to think of ourselves.  But we all deserve a little something new for spring, so today, let’s talk about accessories.  There are so many terrific trends this spring that we can take just a pinch of, mix them in with pieces already in your closet and create something on trend.


It’s hard to walk by the COACH Outlet store right now without smiling…HUGE.  The windows are a riot of color and flowers, as if the bags themselves can will spring to come.  We took a bouquet of bags, wristlets and other treats back to the office.  How can you not smile when you see these?  img_2987-e1490474911866.jpg


So, if you like florals, but don’t want to commit to an all-over floral dress…think on a  bag like one of these:

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Or, a bangle.  Or shoes.  A little floral can go a long way in dressing up an office look, or basic denim.



So, you like flowers….in vases.  But not to wear.  What else can can we add to give your spring look a bit of “wow?”  Let’s talk sneakers:  it’s so nice out now, we’ll all be going for more walks, headed to the farmer’s markets, etc.  Why wear boring shoes when you do?  From Bass Factory Outlet, take a look at these cuties:

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I mean….lobsters?  Who doesn’t want to wear these everywhere, for everything?  These patterns are whimsical, fun, flirty.  Everything spring should be….and speaking of what spring should be.  It’s also time to pull the socks off and let those toes breathe.  Hence, the espadrille.  These gorgeous things were conveniently one aisle down in Bass Factory Outlet, but there are plenty of wedges and espadrilles around The Outlets right now as we all get packing for spring break. Love the colors (there’s even more than in the photo), love how they feel and LOVE how they’re on sale right now. IMG_2974


Not going to feel bad about this announcement:  Ladies, put away your statement necklaces.  At least, for spring.  Trust us, your necks will thank you for it (those things can get heavy!).  Say hello to the choker – yes, it’s back.  The spring 2017 version is delicate, with just a hint of sparkle for interest.  These are from Apricot Lane Boutique, which just became an outlet boutique, so you can expect to see significant savings on items here, like these chokers and the stackable bracelets, which we are also obsessed with right now.


So, there are lots, TONS of ways to make sure that everyone has what they need for spring break/summer camp/vacation and still get something for yourself to put a “spring” in your step for the season.  And these are some pretty fabuLESS ideas to choose from.

Spring Break – The Must Haves

February in Wisconsin:  Various shades of grey, a little ice,  a little snow.  And this year, two brilliant days of 60 degree weather, just to make sure that we really, really want spring to come.

So, what’s the best way to beat the end of winter blues?  A spring break trip to somewhere warm.  Let us help you pack your bags with some Spring Break Essentials.  You’ll be glad you did!

Love, love,  love this simple tulle skirt and tank together!  Either piece can be tileworn individually throughout spring and summer, but together it’s sweet and simple and fun.  Just like a spring break outfit should be:  easy.  Get looks like this at rue21, TORRID and Express Factory Outlet.


Have a new sswimuit yet?  If not, now is the time – yes, in February!  And although we can’t all wear this adorable bikini, there are elements of it that apply to body types:

DO look for a high-waisted bottom.  They’re timeless.

DO mix and match tops and bottoms.  Mixing solids and patterns can bring new life to a suit that you love so much you just can’t part with.

DO have fun with your look. You’re on vacation!

Get a look like this at PacSun, Hollister…heck just about everyone is getting in swimsuits for summer:  one-pieces, tankinis…there are a wealth of options for you!


Remember how we told you that classic jean styles were coming back and to put your skinnies away for a bit?  This is how to wear those distressed boyfriend jeans on vacation:  just pair them up with a great little top or sweater!  Again, the jeanslook is easy and simple.  Not feeling adventurous enough to pull off that cropped top?  That’s ok…you’re in good company.  A fitted t-shirt would work great as well, or a simple button down shirt layered with a
tank and tied off at the waist.  Get a look like this at Levis, maurices or GAP Outlet.










Let’s not forget the sundress:  talk about easy!  Throw it over your head and you’re done!  It’s a swim cover up, it’s a brunch dress and, with a strappy high heeled sandal, it’s ready for a romantic supper on the beach.  We love the ruffled detail of this dress and the high-low hemline.  You can find sundresses right now at LOFT Outlet, maurices, Apricot Lane Boutique and Banana Republic

So, in the end, simplicity and ease is key for spring break.  After all, you don’t want to be inside, thinking of what to wear in the sun, you want to be out in the sun!  Happy Spring Break shopping!


2017 – FabuLESS Fashion Trends

January: a clean slate.  Resolutions are created, plans set in motion, and lists are written down.  Whew!  It’s A LOT of work!  AND….one of those resolutions is sure to be “save more money,” because who doesn’t want to save money?

Trust us, we get it.  100%.  But….there’s also the fact that we’ve had nothing but grey weather for what seems like weeks, so retail therapy must be done.  Must.  Be.  Done.  And getting a great deal on something you can wear all year?  That’s just as good as sunshine to elevate a mood.  So let’s get down and dirty here and go over some must-have, gotta-have fashion trends for 2017.


Sneakers:  Time to put away your shiny white Converse and branch out!  Get yourself some shiny, animal print or sparkly sneakers for this year.  They bring a touch of whimsy to jeans, shorts, even skirts!  Get your sparkle shoes today at Journeys and SAVE big, so you can splurge a little.

Mules:  For the second year in a row and even bigger than ever, if you didn’t get some mules last year, do it.  Kitten heel, stacked heel, open toe or closed, these are great for work or play and look a-maz-ing.  Get them at Bass Factory Outlet, Famous Footwear, rue21….they’re everywhere right now.  mule


We can’t even believe we are saying it, but 2017 marks the end of the stretch skinny jean, ladies.  Denim is still in, but look to more classic styles (like these from Levis) to come back to the forefront for this year.



So many great things here, though:

Stripes:  It’s entirely possible that the striped shirt has now taken over the white shirt’s place in fashion.  And not just shirts, but stripes in dresses, pants, blouses….the list goes on and on.  They add interest without taking over, they can be mixed with other patterns…again, if you don’t have stripes, this is your year.  Look to Van Heusen, EXPRESS Factory, Banana Republic Factory Store, GAP and Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store.  You’re sure to find something on sale!

Business/Athletic?:  Yes, you read that correctly.  We linked business attire and athletic attire together.  Dressy joggers started becoming popular last year and are still strong this year.  Pair them with a button down and some heels and you’re ready for work!  Look for these at stores like Maurices, EXPRESS Factory Outlet and Old Navy Outlet.


So many possibilities for fashion this year.  Make sure you fulfill your “self-care” resolution and get yourself something on-trend.  You’ll fulfill that “saving money” resolution at the same time!




All The Glitters is FabuLESS

True or False:  There is a finite amount of occasions that call for sequined pants.  FALSE.

This is a hard opinion to shake, especially in the Midwest, where we tend to be a more pragmatic on our fashion choices.  Sturdy winter boots?   – “A Must!”  Sparkly sequined pants? – “Now, how on Earth are you going to get your money out of those? (voice supplied by our mothers)”

Well, we submit to you that we should wear our “fancy pants” as much as we like.  Sequined pants are not just for New Years Eve; they can be dressed up and down to suit the occasion/location.

apricot-lane-pants  So, these pants are legendary  at The Outlets.  This  particular pair are at Apricot Lane Boutique, but EXPRESS Factory Outlet has a pair similar to them, in black.  They’re leggings, so they’re stretchy (PLUS) and forgiving if you are going out (or in) for a big holiday dinner.  So, let’s dress them up for NYE:


sparkle-whiteThe jacket and the blouse lend a very dressy vibe to this look, but if you paired the same pant with a white blouse and denim jacket, it could go either dressy or casual.  Here’s another variation, this time in black:

black-sequinLove, love, LOVE the faux fur jacket with this.  But other than that, it’s just a pair of leggings and a white blouse….how easy is that?  And who doesn’t have a white blouse in their closet?

Not every day can be New Year’s Eve, though…so let’s illustrate the “casual fancy pant”:

sweater-pantsThis.  A comfy, oversize cable knit sweater with these leggings is:  brunch, movie night, bowling…..I mean really, just about anywhere.  And again, who doesn’t have a sweater like this?  And why would we save it just for our jeans?

2b394d24485a702e78fb7cf0a33f9b59-1 A graphic tee.  Is there anything it can’t go with?  With Converse and denim, it’s for every day.  With a leather jacket and pumps, it’s for work, or cocktails, or….the possibilities are endless, people.

So, you’ve bought the sequined pants because….because.  BUT, you bought them at Outlets at The Dells, so you saved a TON. And then, you wore them for more than just NYE.  How very fashion forward and budget minded of you!  Even your mother will be proud.