Designer Spotlight: Alice+Olivia

Blogging has been great for many reasons…but a stand out FUN bonus? The social component! Becoming a part of the Chicago fashion scene has seriously amped up my social life. However, I had filed hosting my very own event in the “scary” folder.  But when an opportunity with one of my all time favorite designers Alice+Olivia presented itself…I simply had to say YES! The brand embodies everything I love about fashion….whimsical and feminine, fearless and fun, sexy and sophisticated…in short…EVERYTHING!  Stacey Bendet, the creative director and mastermind behind the label, perfectly embodies the glamorous brand.  She also happens to be an amazing yoga practitioner. You can find her on Instagram nailing crazy yoga postures in 5 inch heels. Talk about my fashion icon match made in heaven!

My event had the good fortune of landing on a beautiful Chicago evening. I was sooo excited…yet also sooo nervous. The evening turned out to be a smash success.  The store was packed, and the crowd was vibrantly fun, stylish, and all over the fashion.  I had a great energy with the A+O team going into the event, which made the experience even more special.

Let’s take a look at my favorite outfits! First up, we have this bright neon pantsuit.  Fun fact: the brand was actually born from Stacey’s personal quest to create the perfect pair of pants. And girlfriend sure did succeed. These wide legged Paulette trousers are the best fitting pants I have ever owned. Comfy and cool, flattering and polished…and the bright neon shade is sheer dynamite. A simple fitted white tee tucked in looks great with theses statement styled stems…but I couldn’t resist the matching neon crop top. I love a monochromatic moment…and a chance to look like a human highlighter. This outfit to me is the perfect combination of sophistication and FUN.

When I was doing my pre event “research” at the store…I knew it was not at all realistic to think I was capable of not purchasing anything. But 2 pieces I did NOT plan for…a little black dress, and a denim jacket. Two pieces I need like two holes in my head.  But every fashion girl knows a black dress is not just a black dress, nor is a jean jacket just a jean jacket.  The second I put on this V neck ruffled dress (also available in red), it was a no brainer. Had to have it. The A line fit and cinched waist is dance party perfection. I am a longtime lover of jean jackets…and this high low distressed edition is like no other. Rock n roll glam at its best!

70’s style glam has always had a special place in my heart…and these Iyanna flares nail the vibe.  Crazy versatile…these beauties could be styled with a cropped blazer and high heels for a polished lady like look, or a rocker tee for a casual cool girl look. The style options are endless, but I rolled with the matching Laura Cropped Halter Top, for the full floral jam. This look was my beloved Aunt Dianne’s (who has understood and supported my love of fashion since roughly age 6),  favorite of the bunch, so that makes me love it all the more.

Note…all the following photos were snapped inside (or right outside) of the Alice+Olivia boutique on Michigan Avenue. The decor is just as fabulous as the fashion!

I am slightly addicted to bodysuits…again another item I needed like a hole in my head. However, unlike most “leotard” tight fitting bodysuits, this Harmon bodysuit has the fit of a drapey camisole, minus the stress of tucking in. Genius. Pair it with the Genevive Distressed jeans to embrace your inner rockstar. I typically don’t care for straight legged jeans, but A+O did serious vintage research when designing their denim, and got the fit just right. These Danielle heels are perfect for Spring and Summer, and are super comfy. Out of my many (basically whole store) favorites, this Cam leather biker jacket was at the top of the list. The structure is crazy cool, the fit is fabulous, and the fact that it is white puts me over the edge! An investment piece no doubt, but a piece that can be worn year round, and will last forever. My Hubs is quite particular with my fashion (especially when he’s buying:), but when I tried on this baby…he straight away said YES.

Next up, we have the Katz Neon pleated skirt. A romantic and rad piece, that is sure to add a pop of pizzazz to your closet. Pair it with a simple black camisole, or roll rocker chick style with this super soft Shira tie dye tee. When it comes to A+O heels, no heel is high enough. However, they are made so magically marvelous, they are shockingly comfortable. These Tenley wedges (also available in neutral), are no exception.

The 60’s called…and they managed to bring tie-dye back to the fashion scene. Trust A+O to vibrantly bring the trend back in the best way possible. There is nothing granola about this fabulous Shannon tie dye maxi skirt, and I loved pairing it with this beautiful Arletta cropped sweater. The brunette babe, Dani, by my side is rocking the Emmie tie dye mini dress. If you are going to pull the trigger on this hot trend, I recommend rolling it the A+O way.

Wrapping up (sorry this is more of a short story than a post)…with a few shots from THE night! Here I am sandwiched between the incredibly sweet and crazy hard working store manager Rachel on the left, and the cutest stylist in the world Mia on the right. LOVE these babes! We are all wearing all things you guessed it…Alice+Olivia!

A peak at my many fabulous guests! Hot to trot influencers, longtime best friends, fitness friends, family…even my hubby’s bestie (obviously the rocker dude throwing up bunny ears) showed. I seriously felt the love…and I loved it!

Saving the best for last…my Hubs was essentially my cohost! He knew the night was crazy important to me, and that translated to the night being crazy important to him. When I suggested we arrive a good 45 minutes before the event started…dude responded, “no boo…lets get there at least an hour before.” Swoon. This next hilarious story sums up just how rad my dude was. The Saturday after, I attended an influencer beauty panel. A lovely gal approached me and sweetly asked…”so how long has your husband been a stylist at Alice+Olivia? He does such a great job!” I died. When I told my dude, I thought that might put him over the Instagram husband edge. But he thought it was hilarious and asked…”should I get a gig at A+O?” DREAMBOAT!

All photos taken by Dani Sommerfeld (the darling brunette rocking the tie dye dress above), of the duo blogging sensation Once Upon a Dollhouse.

PS…If you are still reading…I love you! So sorry so long!

All the X’s and O’s, 

Julz Chez

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