Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Tahira Benjamin's summer Splurge picks

Editor's Note: Stylish Charlotte Latin senior Tahira Benjamin takes over this blog to write about her favorite summer picks from the new boutique Splurge (

If nothing else, the sweltering heat is proof that summer is fast approaching but is your closet ready? Whether you're completely reinventing yourself for the season or adding just a handful of accessories to freshen up your current pieces, it's time to treat yourself to summer goodies! 

Finding a store offering styles to fit various tastes and shapes is often a challenge but one of my favorites is Splurge, a posh boutique nestled in the Myers Park Shopping Center. Even before you have the chance to thumb your way through the racks you'll notice the store's immaculate decorations, from the modern chandelier in the front, to the charming sitting area in the back -- both telltale signs that you're in the right boutique. There's a lot to look at but because clothing is organized by article (dresses with dresses etc.), great looks are easily found. Don't believe me? I pulled and styled five fun, summery looks in about an hour, so half of your work is already done!

One of the lovely store assistants, Mary Katherine Edwards, modeled this white leather laser cut Tracy Reese dress ($348) that puts a hipster spin on the classic white summer dress. The zippers give it a lot of edge but the laser cut leather tames it so much that it could qualify as Sunday best. Also, there's no need to fear overheating because the leather is very light. The dress is styled with a coral and grey necklace ($48) to add a gentle pop of color, dramatic enough to be the focal point of the outfit while not taking away the spotlight from the dress. This outfit is easily dressed up when worn from day to night; opt for a strappy sandal for a casual day look and high-heeled sandal for night-time. 

Splurge matched this Annie Griffin turquoise silk top with ruffle ($196) with Annie Griffin's "Patton" flame stitch short ($176), making day wear feel airy and comfortable but also a notch above casual. To add a pop a color, I pulled a yellow crossbody with edgy gold hard wear ($36). The outfit is great for anything during the day, from running errands to grabbing lunch with friends. Individual pieces themselves are great for deconstruction, as the blouse and shorts offer plenty of versatility. 

I found this darling yellow and grey striped 209 long maxi dress ($109) equipped with a bright yellow braided belt, putting a Grecian twist on a classic stripped maxi. Maxis for summer are a gift from the fashion gods; not only do they keep you cool, they flatter so many body types. This maxi has slits cut to the calf that are provocative but not high enough to be overly sexy (barely PG-13)!  Also, the colors compliment nearly any skin tone given how the brightness of the yellow is tamed by the grey so whether you've had the opportunity or not, you'll look like you've spent time in the sun.

In case you're spending time by the pool or the beach this summer, I pulled this fun Echo orange and white patterned tunic ($78) and styled it with a turquoise beaded necklace ($180) great for looking glamorous while covered up. After a dip in the pool (or ocean), cover up in this eye-catching tunic before throwing on the necklace which shimmers. Even if you won't be donning this outfit seaside, it looks great with skinny jeans--either white or light wash are perfect for summer.

Keeping day-to-day storage in mind, I pulled this mint Botkier crossbody ($325), great for days and nights when space isn't as much a priority as style. The color is bright but not overwhelming and works perfectly for nude solids that need a pop of color.

I fell in love with this see-through travel bag by British designer Jim Thompson from his line "No. 9" ($57), not only because it's one million times more stylish than unsightly Ziploc bags but also because it has A LOT of space and comes with two smaller bags. Thompson's prints are inspired by the far east and hand-painted with watercolor.

My absolute favorite look is this Mark and James striped grey, light grey and light pink dress ($295) that I styled with two tortoise necklaces (long necklace priced at $48). The billowy skirt of the dress and pink stripes make it very fun and girly, but the contrast of the grey stripes give it an edge that I wanted to bring out by mixing patterns with the tortoise necklaces. Tortoise accessories are very useful in that they can be mixed with a number of fabrics but tend to work better with tamer ones. Here, the tortoise adds a focal point that compliments the pink and grey stripes rather than clashing.

Now that you've got the perfect outfits for just about anything you're doing this summer, it's time to make plans and get out there! If you're contemplating what shoes to wear, minimalist footwear is in. So put on your outfit, strap on your white high-heeled sandals and spend your summer in style.