Style Chat: A Mother's Take on Fashion and Wardrobe Essentials

Style Chat is a special section about fashion influences, style evolutions and wardrobe staples. In this first Style Chat feature, we highlight Leah Weber, the fashion-loving mom behind the blog, scenesfromcedarstreet.com. If you want to be on our next Style Chat seat, connect with me at thegospelofbeauty@gmail.com.


Stay-at-home mom Leah Weber favors classic comfort over trends when shopping for her style essentials.

Stay-at-home mom Leah Weber favors classic comfort over trends when shopping for her style essentials.

As a mom, Leah Weber wears many hats. She juggles her time between taking care of her 10-month-old baby girl and working alongside her husband who works for a ministry called Campus Outreach at The University of West Georgia. "I help provide counseling and lead Bible studies and Discipleship groups to college students. We live in a small town and our favorite activities are having people over to hang out, playing with our baby, and hanging out on the square in downtown Carrollton," she says.

In this Style Chat, the stay-at-home mom talks about her personal style, her fashion influences and the style essentials she can't live without. 

The Gospel of Beauty: How would you describe your fashion sense?

Leah Weber: Classic, feminine and simple.

TGOB: What's your typical mommy weekend outfit?

Weber: My favorite pair of jeans, a comfy but cute blouse, and a pair of boots, Converses, or sandals—depending on the season.

TGOB: Who would you consider to be your biggest fashion influence?

Weber: Joanna Gaines. She’s obviously known for her amazing interior design skills but I also love her fashion sense. She has impeccable taste and combines function and style well together. This is essential for any mom.

TGOB: What's the one piece of wardrobe staple you can't live without?

Weber: It’s a tie between my my black LuLaRoe leggings and my favorite pair of jeans.

TGOB: What types of apparel fill up your closet?

Weber: I’ve recently downsized my closet to include only the things I love. I have a dress for every season and occasion. Numerous neutral-colored tops and blouses, and a few fun, colorful pieces.

This pair of black LuLaRoe leggings is one of Weber's favorite items in her closet.

This pair of black LuLaRoe leggings is one of Weber's favorite items in her closet.

TGOB: Where are a few of your go-to shops for your fashion essentials?

Weber: We live in a small town so shopping for clothes can be difficult sometimes. I like our local small boutiques as well as jane.com. When I do have the chance to go to a mall, my favorite stores are Anthropologie, Madewell and The Loft.

TGOB: Who are some of the fashion icons who inspire you?

Weber: Audrey Hepburn, Kate Middleton and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 

TGOB: What's the best fashion tip you've ever received?

Weber: Trends come and go. Wear clothes that you love and feel comfortable in.

TGOB: Looking back at how your fashion style has evolved, what's the one fashion item you swore yourself you'll never be caught wearing again?

Weber: I hated skinny jeans when they first came back into style. I thought I would never wear them. Now, I wear them almost every day!

TGOB: How do you share your love of fashion to your little one?

Weber: My baby girl is only 10-months-old so I haven’t been able to share my love for fashion with her yet but when she’s older, I want to teach her not to be defined or consumed by the latest fashion trend or whatever everyone else is wearing. I want her to be confident in who she is and not let fashion define her. I want her to be a trend setter, not a trend follower.

TGOB: What's your advice to other mothers to help them elevate their personal style?

Weber: When you become a mom, it’s easy to neglect yourself in a lot of different areas of your life because you are completely consumed by taking care of your baby. I would encourage you to take time for yourself and your style. Re-evaluate your wardrobe. Go through your closet and get rid of clothes you don’t like and slowly replace your wardrobe with pieces you love. Don’t feel like you have to keep up with the latest trends. Just buy what is comfortable, practical for your lifestyle, and makes you feel beautiful.

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Treasures and Gems: Style Lessons from Mother to Daughter

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER.  Dear Isabella necklaces in safety pin design make for the perfect mother-and-me heirloom that can be passed on from one generation to another.  PHOTOGRAPHY BY Realtor Brian Johnson .

LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER. Dear Isabella necklaces in safety pin design make for the perfect mother-and-me heirloom that can be passed on from one generation to another. PHOTOGRAPHY BY Realtor Brian Johnson.

When it comes to style influences, no one has probably influenced us more, especially during our young and transformative lives, than our very own mothers. After all, didn't we all once sashay in our mother's oversized heels while we pretended to walk down imaginary runways? Was it not that the first lipstick we played with belong to our mothers? Didn't we once dig through their treasure box of accessories so we could wear one precious item to match our own Sunday's best dress?

SAFETY FIRST.  Dear Isabella's safety pin necklace is the perfect symbolism of a mother's love and protective care.

SAFETY FIRST. Dear Isabella's safety pin necklace is the perfect symbolism of a mother's love and protective care.

I have my mother to thank for exposing me to the possibilities of mixing and matching style pieces. A firm believer of self-care, she would never be caught looking anything less than put together. Her trademark bold red lipstick spoke of unmistakable confidence, a trait I continue to emulate now that I've become a mother myself. 

MOTHERLY LOVE.  She's always put your wants first. Return the favor this Mother's Day and surprise mom with something she would want: a stunning piece of jewelry.

MOTHERLY LOVE. She's always put your wants first. Return the favor this Mother's Day and surprise mom with something she would want: a stunning piece of jewelry.

As it comes full circle now that I have become my daughter's first style influence, I look back—in a timely manner as Mother's Day is just around the corner—of the gems of style lessons my own mother imparted upon me: 

1. Look for soulful details.

This is especially true in jewelry. There are some pieces that simply speak to you, one that evokes good energy. When I first saw this necklace by Dear Isabella Larimar Jewelry Company in an adorable safety pin design, it called my name.

Perhaps it is because the brand itself is founded by a mother inspired by her own daughter so I felt a kindling connection with the brand's story. Dear Isabella, eponymously named after the owner's daughter, is one mother's way to celebrate her daughter, aside from honoring the treasures of her birth home, the Dominican Republic. The brand's classic collection pays homage to the unmistakable bond between mother and daughter and each fine piece honors this lifetime love and connection.  

MOMMY AND ME.  When twinning with mommy is in order, accessorize with a piece of jewelry that your daughter could treasure for a lifetime.

MOMMY AND ME. When twinning with mommy is in order, accessorize with a piece of jewelry that your daughter could treasure for a lifetime.

2. Find timeless pieces.

Whether it's shopping for clothes or shoes, I tend to favor classic items that can last through multiple fashion seasons. This is also true in my choice of accessories. My mom, always the practical woman, taught me to invest in pieces that never go out of style, such as black dresses, white tops and precious gemstones.

CARIBBEAN GEM.  Larimar, the Caribbean gemstone, ranges from subtle green to deep blue in color.

CARIBBEAN GEM. Larimar, the Caribbean gemstone, ranges from subtle green to deep blue in color.

The part that has drawn me most to Dear Isabella's collections is that it is made with a unique gemstone called Larimar. A rare blue variety of the silicate mineral pectolite, Larimar is only found in one place: in a little paradise island in the Caribbean called the Dominican Republic.

According to historians, when the gemstone was discovered in 1974 by Miguel Mendez and Norman Rilling on a beach at the foot of the Baroruco Mountain Range, Mendez named it Larimar after his daughter's name (Larissa) and the Spanish word for the sea (mar). Rightfully so, it is also known as the "Caribbean gemstone" for its color evokes the aqua blue Caribbean waters, although it could generally range from subtle green to deep blue in color.

Like many gemstones believed to exude positive energy, Larimar is thought to provide peace and clarity, radiating healing and love energy.

LESS IS MORE.  Let an intricate jewelry shine by pairing it with a simple top.

LESS IS MORE. Let an intricate jewelry shine by pairing it with a simple top.

3. Embrace the anomalies in design.

In design, there's always that one beautiful imperfection that makes an item perfect. This is something my mom had shown me through her style choices, whether she was buying a local pottery or a piece of jewelry. 

You often get a little of that design anomaly in handmade creations, as no two items can exactly be alike when crafted by hand. When I look carefully to inspect Dear Isabella's necklaces, I can see how each piece is carefully handcrafted, giving every piece a unique craftsmanship that's fitting to become a treasured family heirloom a few years down the road. It is easy to tell there's much effort made in selecting the best possible gemstone. When it comes to Larimar, the general rule of thumb is this: The more blue the color, the higher the quality. 

SMALL BOXES, BIG SURPRISES.  The best things in life truly comes in small boxes. Delight mom with a thoughtful gift enclosed in a lovely blue box.

SMALL BOXES, BIG SURPRISES. The best things in life truly comes in small boxes. Delight mom with a thoughtful gift enclosed in a lovely blue box.

4. Live in style, but make it look easy.

In a nutshell, this was my mom's style mantra: Live in style, but make it look easy. She always made it looked effortless to dress up appropriately, put on makeup and fix her hair like it's nobody's business. I try to live in her example by taking the time for genuine self-care and putting comfort as high as looking chic. 

To do this, I try to dress up with the mindset that less is more. If the print design is screaming, tone it down by wearing a simple jewelry. Unless you are the iconic fashionista Iris Apfel, it is difficult to get away with wearing layers and layers of chunky necklaces against a psychedelic print. 

BIG HEARTS.  Nothing says "I love you, mom" more than a fine jewelry with a rare gemstone. 

BIG HEARTS. Nothing says "I love you, mom" more than a fine jewelry with a rare gemstone. 

As for this style shoot, the spotlight was on the stunning Dear Isabella jewelry, so I opted to showcase it with a bare neck and a simple black corset top. It can't get any more effortless than that.

Mother's Day or not, how do you plan to surprise the most important woman in your life? What style lessons have you learned from her? Let's share thoughtful ideas in the comment box below.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Dear Isabella Larimar Jewelry Co. All opinions are my own. To learn more about their latest launches, including on their upcoming bridal collection in June, follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Dear Isabella ships free within the U.S. and internationally for orders more than $75. Browse their collections today to find the perfect Mother's Day gift!

Tights Season: Style Tips on How to Rock Them!

I've been in your shoesdesperately looking for the right opaque tights or fishnets to keep me warm as the season transitions, but still fashionable enough beyond wearing those good ol' boring black stockings. While there's no denying that black tights make the most versatile choice (especially if your closet is full of colors and patterns), choosing one with a little design may go a long way in creating a style statement. 

So how exactly should you wear tights this season? Two words: Own them!  

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1. If you must wear black, pick a designed fishnet.

Wearing fishnets is a proven-and-tested way to keep your look stylish and edgy. However, because there is a fine line between sexy and sleazy when it comes to wearing fishnets, tread lightly. To stay in the chic zone, avoid tight skirts with short hemlines or body-hugging dresses. Instead, opt for silhouettes like A-line or pleated skirts as well as slightly loose dresses. I prefer to wear fishnets with a leather A-line skirt that comfortably grazes above my knee and pair this with a crisp white shirt. The final look is often polished or preppy, but with a slight style edge. 

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2. Choose colors that are bound to stop traffic.

That's right, when it comes to your choice of the season's staple, take risks! While this is likely not a fashion tip for the weak of heart, selecting tights with fun colors make a great way to jazz up one's look, especially if you tend to pick neutral and basic colors for most of your clothes. Pair complementary colorsand as you may have already guessed by the look I've put together above, my favorite combo is purple and yellow! Because these winter essentials are both versatile and functional, it's certainly a great way to breathe new life to non-seasonal choices. For instance, because the Sunshine State's winter is far more forgiving compared to other places, wearing a pair of summer shorts is no longer a crazy idea as long as it's worn with trusty tights to keep the bare legs warm. 

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3. Have fun with prints and patterns.

While they undeniably serve a utilitarian purpose, wearing tights is also about having fun! If you must choose a solid color, choose one with a little pattern. I adore tights with polka dot printsthey're classic and easy to match with tweed skirts, but also look like an invitation to have fun with one's ensemble. 

There is no doubt that, when it comes to wearing tights, the right pair of shoes, sneakers or boots can make or break the overall lookso pay attention to every little detail and never feel stuck in a winter wardrobe rut ever again! 

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Style Trend Alert: Pink Will Reign Supreme

Spring may be months away, but the style trend is evident: Pink will reign supreme. In fact, at the Paris Fashion Week which previewed spring 2017, collections on the runway were apparently heavy with femininity and shades of sweetness. PHOTOGRAPHY BY BRIAN JOHNSON | LOCATION: HYDE PARK, TAMPA

Ariana's style:  Ballerina pink and gold dress by  Jenna & Jessie  and pink  Hello Kitty  ballet flats by  H&M .

Ariana's style: Ballerina pink and gold dress by Jenna & Jessie and pink Hello Kitty ballet flats by H&M.

Fashion powerhouse Balenciaga, for instance, featured a watermelon-pink turtleneck dress while the style house of Valentino showcased a knee-length cape hybrid dress in stunning Schiaparelli pink. Givenchy, on the one hand, featured a long-sleeved dress with coordinating fringes in muted blush. 

Mommy's Style:  White heart-shaped top with pleat sleeves and fringe skirt in blushing pink by  Express . Nude pumps by  Nine West .

Mommy's Style: White heart-shaped top with pleat sleeves and fringe skirt in blushing pink by Express. Nude pumps by Nine West.

So what's all this fascination with pink? Haven't critics of the bubblegum color said enough about its "too saccharine" quality? The recent obsession with pink, it appears, can be partly blamed by the fact that one of Pantone's colors of the year is Rose Quartz. Ah, that explains it. Move aside vegan Greenery.

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The other part of it may simply be that the fashion gods want to rethink pink to slightly strip it of its "Barbie color" reputation. Thus, the runway was painted with shades that were deemed less sweet to the fashion taste. For a modern take, stylists have paired pink with edgier colors like sulphuric yellow and minty lime to slightly tone down its feminine appeal. 

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It appears the love of pink has spilled beyond the runway and into the red carpet as celebrities were spotted wearing various shades of pink in recent award shows. At the 2017 Golden Globes Award, Carrie Underwood wore a pink and ruffled Iris Serban gown, so did Felicity Jones and Zoe Saldana who both wore the feminine color to the award show.

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But what if pink is not in your list of favorite colors? Can you still look stylishly on-trend with spring's shade of choice? Our advice: Do it in small doses. Add a pink scarf, a fashionable criss-cross bag or a pair of pink pumps.

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If baby pink is too girly for you, consider a different shade of pink. A good rule of thumb is to find a shade that fits your hair color and skin tone. A blushing pink may wash you out if you have a fair complexion. Instead, opt for a hot pink dress to amp up your overall look. 

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Wear pink in combo. To give pink an edgier appeal, don't be afraid to shake it up. Limes and bright yellows have a jarring but pleasant appeal to pink. 

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Ultimately, whatever shade of pink speaks to you, remember the number one fashion tip: Keep it fun! For Ariana and I, when it comes to being playful with color choices, we say: "Yes, pretty, pretty pink please!"

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