Monday, December 21, 2015

French Braid

This was such a productive weekend. Do you know the saying: "a Sunday well spent brings a week of content"? That is so true for me. I finally unpacked my suitcase, did six loads of laundry, made a trip to Trader Joe's, picked up the last of my Christmas gifts, and took some photos for the blog. While I love to relax on the weekend, I love to cross things off of my to-do list even more. Plus it makes the work-week a little less scary to face.


I bought this dress from Madewell over the summer, and I've worn it countless times. It's actually designed to be a swimsuit coverup, but the color and fabric are luxe enough to dress up. Especially with the greatest slingback pumps ever ($70!), and my all-time favorite leather jacket. The weather has officially turned cold, so this might be my last chance to wear a dress without tights for the next few months.


The best thing about having longer hair is the ability to wear it in different ways! I love following Amber Fillerup's blog for hair inspiration, especially when it comes to braids. This french braid is such a simple style and is perfect for those days when I wake up late and don't want to shower.





Thanks for reading! I hope your week is off to a great start. xx

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Duffy Cashmere Wrap



I am very excited to share this sweater on the blog, because it's from a new [to me] brand called Duffy. Have you heard of Duffy before? If not, please go feast your eyes on their current & previous lookbooks here. I love all of their sweaters, and their styling is incredible beautiful. I picked this wrap up at the same store in Austin, Texas where I found my favorite cashmere sweater last year: Positive Images. Both Duffy and Subtle Luxury are brands that are new to me in the last couple of seasons, but I’m a huge fan of their quality and detail. I have to keep myself from wearing either sweater every weekend and multiple times during the week! I do love the bigger brands like J.Crew and Zara for anything more straightforward, but a special sweater is something I’m always on the lookout for. 



The mild weather we’ve had so far this winter has been lovely, mostly because it's fun to get more wear from some of my favorite fall outfits. This more neutral look is definitely a favorite. The wrap is a great piece because the contrast hem & stripe down the back, paired with the luxe wool/cashmere/alpaca fabric makes it more interesting than your usual sweater. My gray suede booties from J.Crew add even more texture to the combination. I've also talked about it a few times on the blog, but I love investing in a bright colored handbag! It matches and complements any all black or neutral colored outfit, and adds the perfect pop of color. I’m currently on a freezing airplane heading back to Baltimore, and I’m feeling quite comfy because this wrap also doubles as a makeshift blanket ;). Lucky for you, The Outnet has a large selection of Duffy sweaters on sale right now. I especially love this cashmere vest and this pink tunic sweater.




So I really let my hair grow out since I last posted ;) just kidding... I decided it was time to replace my original set of hair extensions, and I went quite a bit longer (!!) and a little lighter than before (caramel instead of chestnut brown). I’m still on the fence about it. I loved the way my previous set blended so easily, and this set can sometimes make it obvious that I’m wearing extensions (especially because I love to wear them straight!). So while I do like the subtle ombre effect that the caramel color gives my hair, I may go back to the other shade once these are ready to be retired. What do you think of the new color?

Monday, December 14, 2015

Monday Musings: A Shoe Story



Let’s talk shoes. 

I’ve always been a huge lover of handbags, but I’ve only recently started to understand the adoration for shoes. Just like a statement bag, shoes can be the accessory that ties your look together, or the exclamation point on the end of an outfit. Alternatively, a worn out or badly matching pair of shoes can take away from an otherwise awesome look. Plus, aesthetics aside, it's important to have shoes that you can comfortably walk in (limping around all day is definitely not what you are going for). Although I have several pairs of shoes that I love, I haven’t invested heavily in this part of my wardrobe, and I wanted to change that with the purchase of a classic designer pair: the black pointed toe pump.

While I was in Dallas last month, I made a stop at Neiman Marcus and tried on all of the brands I’ve heard of but never owned: Manolo Blahnik (the most comfortable), Christian Louboutin (the sexiest style), and Jimmy Choo (a mix of both). I 100% recommend doing this, because I was a different size in all three! I was all set to buy the Manolos, but decided to put them on hold and keep shopping around the mall before committing. I am so glad that I did, because I wandered into J.Crew and was very impressed with what I found! I tried on several pairs of their pumps, and noticed that the leather upper and sole were of the same quality as the others I’d tried on at Neiman’s, and were a fraction of the price. I loved the Colette style out of all of the black pumps, but I decided on a different shape altogether: these gray Adele suede booties. They are comfortable, unique, super well done with the suede covered heel, and I’m sure I’ll be wearing them for several years to come. There are limited sizes left in gray suede here & here and in black suede here, if you love them as much as I do.



Once I got back to Baltimore, I realized that I did still want what I had originally set out to find, so I started the search once again. Lucky for me, Nordstrom put these awesome Sam Edelman sling backs on sale for $70, and I ordered them in my usual size. I was honestly amazed when they came in the mail - they are the perfect pair of black pumps that I have been searching for. Truly beautiful in person and comfortable enough to walk around in all day. At this price, I cannot recommend them more! 


So at the end of the day, while I did save up with the luxury brand name in mind, I ended up with two pair of beautiful shoes of similar quality and even better style for less than half of what I would have spent on one designer pair. I am sure that I’ll splurge on a really special pair of heels someday, or even better, a beautiful pair of flats, but for now, I’m really impressed with the quality and style of what contemporary brands are offering. Sometimes it is very fun to have the name brand, and in those cases, I’ve had great luck with my favorite online retailer: The Real Real, and with my favorite brick & mortar store: UAL. This may seem like a silly or superficial experience, but it reinforced the reason that I started this blog. Buying the best quality you can find doesn’t always mean you have to break the bank, and splurging on something just for the name doesn’t always give you the style that you are looking for. With so many places to shop and so many designers with their hats in the ring, you have many options to use to your advantage! Don't spend where you can save, and put that extra $$$ toward a killer handbag :) xx H

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Boone Hall Plantation


I was looking through all of my pictures from this summer, and I can't believe I haven't posted these yet! I spent a week in August with my boyfriend and his family near Charleston, South Carolina on the Isle of Palms. When we first started planning to go to South Carolina, I knew that I wanted to go to the Boone Hall Plantation, which is where The Notebook was filmed. Do you recognize the tree lined drive? It's a one-mile long drive up to the plantation lined with the most incredible southern live oaks, originally planted in 1743. It was such a photogenic place to visit, and I couldn't stop thinking about all of my favorite scenes from the movie #noahandallieforever


Can you tell I love shirtdresses? I've worn three on this blog, including this cotton one, this linen one, and this silk one. The one I'm wearing here is from Madewell, and has unfortunately sold out (I got it on sale this summer), but this one from Nordstrom is identical with the high/low hem. I also love this white shirtdress that just launched as part of the Damsel X Splendid collaboration, and this black shirtdress has great reviews and a great price. A white cotton shirtdress was perfect for the hot and humid weather we experienced in Charleston, and paired well with my favorite straw hat.


Madewell Courtyard Shirtdress (sold out, very similar here and here) | Cole Haan Sandals (old) | Karen Walker Sunglasses | Eugenia Kim Brigitte Straw Hat | Chanel Boy Bag

I cannot believe that it's already November! Where did January-October go? Looking back at these pictures makes me long for summer. Don't you just want to take a long leisurely walk along those trees? Unfortunately, the cooler temps and shorter days have us curled up indoors, but I still have a few more summer-y looks to post until I switch over to the fall & winter layers. See you again on Thursday!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Striped Sweater Dress


I'm always on the lookout for stylish dresses that are appropriate for work. This merino wool sweater dress from J.Crew fits that bill perfectly. The stripes are classic and pair easily with other patterns like leopard, plaid or polka dots, and the length is perfectly appropriate. I added an equally classic pair of navy pumps and a swipe of pink lipstick, and felt pretty great about the whole thing. The best part? This dress was a sale find, and is still online (with an extra 40% off) at jcrew.com for a grand total of $42! If stripes are your thing, I also picked up this breton striped-tee and it's the best version (material & fit) I have tried. Two great pieces for Fall.




What are y'all up to for Halloween this weekend? I'm looking forward to spending some time in this beautiful fall weather, and working on more blog posts! See you next week.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

51 things in 501 Days, update #3

I thought I would put an end to my blog hiatus with a look at the 51 goals I set at the beginning of this year. This time last year, I had just decided to take the plunge and announce that I had started this blog, and it's been such an incredible year since then. I feel more connected with my friends and family, I've grown increasingly confident in my love for fashion & style, and I am so encouraged by every comment and message that gets sent my way. Thank you thank you for all of the support over the past year. It's wonderful to have an outlet outside of work, especially because this has been such a challenging year (in a good way!) work wise. I am my happiest when I'm pushing "publish" on a new post, so I can't wait to do more of that over the next few months. But here's a little peek of what I've been up to, if you'd like to see...


6.    Post updates on the blog as I cross things off this list (update here & here)

I'm so excited to be back! I have a few things in the works that I can't wait to share.

7.    Take a GMAT Study Class
8.    Take the GMAT

Wow y'all - I took the GMAT exam not once, not twice, but three times. Standardized tests have usually come easy to me, so this experience showed me how to will myself to keep pushing, even when I wanted to give up. I am beyond happy that this is done. Plus a big shoutout to my great friend, Alisha, for sending me so much encouragement along the way.

9.    Apply to Business School

I completely underestimated the time and effort it would take to do well on the GMAT and put my best foot forward for business school applications. Between work & these goals, I had to make some tough decisions about other priorities, but fingers crossed that I will hear some great news soon! 

11.  Re-read all of the Harry Potter books

This was my favorite goal to cross off so far. Re-reading a book or set of books that you loved from your younger years is really fun! I highly recommend it.

15.  Change my hair in a major way

New Year, New Hair - This is one of my most popular posts, and after 10 months of wearing extensions, I am still SUCH a fan. I just picked up another (longer!) set this past weekend, so I'll be posting even more details in the coming weeks. Please comment below or send me a note at hannah@necessaryluxury.co if you have any specific questions you'd like me to cover off on.

16.  Master the art of beautiful waves (just like my BFF Britta) 


See herehere, and here for proof. I'm not sure that I've quite "mastered" the look, but I'm lightyears ahead of where I started.

17.  Incorporate braids in my hair rotation (loooove this and this



More to come on this one, but see here for a start.

22.  Take another set of ski lessons

I posted a fun hyperlapse during a day of ski lessons in February. I'm definitely getting better, but I've now had two knee injuries skiing. Any tips on how to avoid this?

26.  Eat more chocolate.

I have chocolate with me at all times, so if you are ever in need of a fix.. come find me.

33.  Go to 3+ estate sales

Our gallery wall is still in progress, and estate sales are some of the best places for finding interesting & unique frames. We still have more to do with filling those frames with art, but luckily there are some great sources for original art and prints. 

41.  Finally watch The Godfather series

Done! I have a long list of classic movies that I still need to watch, but I really enjoyed these movies. Any other recommendations?

49.  Go on a trip with my girlfriends

Nashville with some of my best babes this summer. See more on my Instagram here.


13 goals are complete, which means I'm about 25% of the way through! I'm going to have to pick up my pace to get the rest of them done in time, but I do love a good challenge! Have you crossed any goals off of your list so far this year? If yes, I'd love to know. Sharing your goals makes it easier to stay accountable, so I'm happy to help. Thanks for helping me stay accountable, too! xx

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Shirt Dress


I am a huge fan of the classic shirtdress (I wore this one countless times in the fall/winter), and this black linen maxi version is such a fun update for the summer. My favorite thing about a shirt dress is that while it is perfectly wearable for work, you can easily sass it up by unbuttoning a few buttons. Such an easy, breezy look that I have on repeat, lately. This one is great for my workplace (buttoned all of the way down, of course), and it has a great price, too! It's currently on sale at Madewell, and you can take an extra 20% off all sale items with code META20 (but hurry - the extra 20% off ends today).


This was such a fun, relaxing, summer weekend - I am putting off going to sleep right now because I don't want it to end! We celebrated my boyfriend's birthday on Friday, and then spent all day on the Fourth lounging around, before meeting up with friends to watch the fireworks show in our neighborhood. I always struggle on the weekends because I have a long to-do list that I want to get done - laundry, errands, blog pictures, writing, studying, etc. - but at the same time, all I really want to do is rest and decompress from working all week. Having the extra day this weekend was so lovely & much needed. Now I just need to find a job where I can work 4 days a week instead of 5, and then I can actually do it all.



I bought these sandals on sale at J.Crew at the end of last summer, and wore them constantly in early fall (seen here, here, and here). There are some similar versions these season that I've been eyeing too, from J.Crew (love these too), Nordstrom, and Shopbop


Madewell Linen Maxi Dress (on sale & extra 20% off today with code META20) | J.Crew Sandals (similar here, here, here, & here, last seen here) | Chanel Boy Bag

I hope your week is off to an excellent start. Thanks for stopping by!