5 Fashion Trends to Embrace This Fall

Grab your infinity scarf, your saddle boots, and your pumpkin spice latte, because fall has officially arrived. In addition to the beautiful weather and the cozy, fireside nights, there are a few fall styles you can look forward to this season.

A Stylish Turtleneck

Turtlenecks have a bad rep over the last few years, but don’t dismiss this style just yet. E! Online cites Fergie’s turtleneck as the “it” piece that’s missing from most of our wardrobes.

“Up until recently, turtlenecks had a false reputation for being overly conservative, frumpy, and unflattering,” wrote E! contributor, Raleigh Burgan. “But when styled correctly, this cold-weather classic can transform your entire ensemble and—dare we say—make you look incredibly cool.”

Follow Fergie’s fitted, tucked-in style, and you can’t go wrong.


Pleats are another style brought to the forefront of fall fashion, thanks in part to the attachment of a notable name—fashion icon and British royalty Kate Middleton. Middleton’s fashionable pleated skirt featured in Mirror perfectly exemplifies a fall-appropriate style that is sophisticated and fun.

A classic pleated skirt like hers, in a floral pattern or dark, fall colors (think shades of maroon, navy, and reds) can be the perfect way to take advantage of those wistful days and still look flirty and feminine.


Plaid is always a good go-to for fall styles. From button-ups to trench coats to scarves—if you slap a plaid pattern on it, it’s fall-ready. If you’re really feeling bold, a Daily Mail article suggests that you can combine two pieces to really hit the nail on the head.

Binky Felstead wore a ’90s-inspired, plaid shirtdress for her appearance on the weekly British cooking show, Sunday Brunch, and fans were left itching for much more information on her style than her cooking techniques. It might be hard to find a plaid shirtdress similar to hers, but if you can, grab it and hang on tight. A cute ’90s choker necklace and a pair of black booties will complete the cozy, retro look.

Shearling Jacket

If temperatures are already dipping into the 50s in Chicago, NYU Local recommends a shearling jacket. Although they’re traditionally made with sheepskin/lambskin and wool, there are great faux options out there that can help you achieve a similar look.

A suede exterior or fall-appropriate shade of brown, red, or orange can help you easily satisfy the trend. They usually look best over a fitted shirt and classic pair of denim jeans. You can also try the coat over a pencil skirt and boots to change things up a bit.


Black leather to be exact. Jackets are the hottest commodity, but Saint Laurent’s latest line available on Lyst shows that it’s easy to achieve the trend with other pieces. You could try something like the featured leather bustier top, or put a classic twist on the trend with pair of black leather booties.

No matter how you decide to sport the style (and faux leather is always accepted). As long as it’s sleek and black, you can still achieve the chic and sexy look.

Enjoy the weather, and the fashion it brings while you can because winter will be here before you know it!

This article was written by:  Stacy Jameson

Stacy Jameson is a freelance writer and blogger based on the East Coast. She is thrilled to finally be dusting off her fall jackets. When she’s not writing, you can find her shopping or enjoying a cup of warm cider with her two cats, Milo and Chester. She’s been working on knitting her own infinity scarf all summer long.




Belle & Whistle Swimwear Adds a Little Silk, a Patent, and a Cocktail Bikini to Chicago Boat Parties

Summer is a beautiful time in Chicago for sandy beaches, kayaking the Chicago river and of course boating.

A native Chicagoan recalls spending her summer’s on Lake Michigan and enjoying the boat parties. From her experiences, she got a business idea – a fashionable business idea.

She’s a real life Elle Woods, as she stands before me, a petite blonde in head to toe pink, except she started out as a lawyer and had to learn the fashion industry.

Meet Carla Ham, founder and president of Belle & Whistle, a one of a kind bikini line that draws from the burlesque scene and the Chicago boat scene, to bring the modern day belle a combination of glam, sophistication, and practicality.

In her recent launch, Ham has transformed the industry with a special attention to detail and a solution to woman’s biggest beach problem – a place to put her valuables.

Coming up with her design, Ham not only created several different looks with various fabrics in rich jewel tones like fuchsia pink, royal blue and emerald green with embellishments from sequins to rope to metallic jewels. She also created a solution for women to place their valuables on them while also adding to the look instead of detracting from it.

A Swimsuit with a built in Waterproof Clutch:

So, she created a waterproof silk back tie for each suit called the Peek-A-Boo Pockets that have a a zipper at the end to hold a cellphone, keys, an I.D. and cash. The design seamlessly flows into the suit and is pictured below in the blue bikini.

“My goal is to grow a memorable brand with show stopping bikinis, while cultivating Chicago’s unique, fashion industry by headquartering here in my hometown, ” says Ham. “We have a lot of talent here with an interesting mix of backgrounds and styles.”

Ham worked with a designer to launch the line. And she explained that it took several steps, including fitting the suits for each body type. For each size she sells on her website, she had a different model to make sure the fit was created with each woman’s unique frame and body in mind.

Then came the details of the suit. With sequins and other delicate additions, Ham tested each design for quality – one of the most extensive parts of the fashion creator’s journey to this cocktail swimwear launch.

Ham’s collection is sold exclusively online, but she also has started to debut her line this summer at various festivals including one of the most creative markets, Chicago Reader’s Made in Chicago 2016 Market.

It’s so exciting to meet another fashion designer part of Chicago’s startup scene who started as one who admired fashion, but had to learn the industry and the details of making clothes for women’s bodies. But the true value is that she saw a need – cocktail inspired swimwear, and she made it not only for show but also for use. One of the hardest parts of fashion is that it’s not practical. It’s not practical to walk in the city in heels all day or to bring a purse with you to a boat party.

Ham created a line that is beautiful, practical, and adds sophistication where no other swimsuit has gone before. It’s truly inspiring to see what one woman could create in a year simply by seeing a need and looking to fill it.

Ham continues to practice law and grow her new cocktail swimsuit line.

In her first year, Ham created seven designs: the showstopper, the goddess, the vixen, the diva, the starlet, the seductress, and the princess.  One of the distinguished cocktail swimsuit looks is featured in the 2017 Dallas Cowboy cheerleader calendar.

I asked Ham if she has seen her design worn at Chicago boat parties this summer. She looked at me and said, no but she was excited to see an Instagram photo of a client in her designs.





Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.


Simply Stylist Annual Fashion and Beauty Blogger Conference

For every Girl Boss in Chicago and actually the midwest for that matter, there is one conference that you want to attend – the Simply Stylist annual conference.

We checked into the Dana Hotel and Spa in Chicago on Saturday, July 16, 2016 for the day long conference.Beauty bloggers and stylists were treated to a day of doing what we love – hearing from the successful business woman and bloggers, drinking cucumber water, getting our hair and makeup (my favorite makeup) done, and oh, of course jumping into a ball pit for charity.

The Chicago event was hosted by my second favorite voice from E!, Catt Sadler.

And the line-up of speakers included everyone from YouTube blogger, Belinda Selene, (one of my favorite videos) to stylist, Lindsay Albanese, to the founder of one of the most iconic blogs, The Everygirl, and even the costume designer and stylist from the hit show, Empire, Paolo Nieddu.

While there were main speakers in the morning and breakout sessions in the afternoon, the real beauty of the day was that it was a gorgeous day in Chicago and we were on a rooftop.

When I got off the elevator, I wanted to look down. The shoe game was strong. Everyone was dressed in summer prints and  florals that even Kentucky Derby style only won because we weren’t wearing hats.

In between sessions about being self-confident, how to balance your life, and tips on public relations, the bloggers and business woman enjoyed champagne gummy bears and sips of cucumber water in between pampering sessions from the latest beauty app.

The Glam App

The Glam App, described by People magazine as being Oscar’s glam on demand, is available in 27 international cities including Chicago. It’s known for bringing a glam squad right to your business or home at an affordable price. The founder, Cara Santana, was there to talk about her success. The Glam App is about a year and a half old, and Santana told Windy City Cosmo that apps are a lot like businesses, it usually takes 2-3 years to break even. The app is currently funded by venture capitalists.

Midwest bloggers had their hair styled, got a touch up on their lids or lips, and had a quick nail touch-up from the Glam App. Honestly, I was most impressed with the stylists and nail technicians. The glam squad had over 5 years of experience and everyone was really excited to be doing what they love (P.S. that is Simply Stylist’s motto).

Across the room, there were balloons spelled out “Girl Boss” for you to pose with your new look. Which, by the way, was sketched by a talented artist. In one hour she would have a sketch of you based on a single photo.

H2O Beauty:

And despite the stilettos or your attire, we all had to jump into the ball pit from H2O + beauty to benefit  charities to help women. One of Chicago’s fashionista’s from the Frock Shop was there volunteering, Jennifer Burrell.

Midwest Bloggers:

Overall, when I met some inspiring Chicago bloggers like Anneke Knot of Knot Couture Blog and Lan Ho of the blog, Scholar in Stilettos. Even midwest bloggers like Katrina of Inspoandco traveled from Wisconsin and stayed in Rosemont for the weekend.



Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.


Is There an App for Finding a Basic Bitch BFF?

Wanted: someone to eat sushi with on Thursday night.

I am an independent woman, but you know,  I would like to eat a civil dinner with a fellow basic bitch or atleast someone other than  Netflix.

Will You Be My Friend and Other Ads That Shouldn’t Exist:

I remember reading an article about a women who posted an ad on Craigslist for someone to eat sushi with because her friends didn’t like sushi.

I thought that was so crazy. Sadly a decade later,  I understand.

We need people to do life with, to have dinner with, to talk to, and most importantly to help us in the here and now stages of life.

Growing up we had our classmates who were going through 7th grade together, but now as a twenty something, we may or may not have coworkers our age or at all. It’s harder to naturally make new friends in your twenties. Even in a city.

It’s weird to search for friends in your twenties. It gets a worse stigma than creating a Tinder or Match.com account. In fact we update our Tinder profile stating that we are on Tinder to find friends.

Making friends should come natural. Why can’t basic bitches find other basic bitches?

But friends move away. We take the job and we move away from our friends. Someone gets a boyfriend or someone finds a new best friend.

I think having friends and community around the world is awesome and it makes me want to travel, but I also think that you need to build community in your actual community. This means you have to make an effort to make new friends.

That soup does get cold from 1500 miles away.

Making New Friends in Your Twenties:

I need people. We need people. 

I realized this three years ago when I moved to Chicago and met Wednesday, well, we’ll call him “Wednesday” because I met him on a Wednesday.

I was coming home from work and waiting for the train. It was still winter so I rushed under the heat lamp and that’s where I met him.

We met up that night and even though he forgot his I.D. at home, he said “We don’t have to drink, I just want to get to know you.”

He became one of my best friends for the few months he was in Chicago. We both started our jobs a month prior and would meet up talking about how to do better at work and if decorating your desk makes you seem more personable.

It was so nice to have someone who was through the same thing I was—learning a new job and company culture.

We would literally meet at the train station and talk about our day and watch YouTube videos. He was French, so he introduced me to French rap, and we would listen to it as he helped me decorate my new apartment.

Like most people I have made friends with in my twenties, he’s living in another city now. But it was so nice to have him in my life.

And the same goes true for the friends I have made at organizations where I volunteer, and the group of bloggers who are now some of my best friends.

Chicago blogger, Matt Hensler and Amanda Elliott at a media brunch at Osteria La Media. Photo: Amanda Elliott


Asking Friends for Help is Weirder Than Ordering Take Out:

A fellow blogger just wrote a great article about community and the importance of community care, rather than self-care. Below is an excerpt from the article,”Why I don’t believe in “self care” (and how to make it obsolete).”

“But what if we can’t take care of ourselves?

The real problem is that self care is an enormous task. Nobody can take care of themselves 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It’s just not possible. We know that’s true of children and the elderly, but for adults who think of themselves as competent, it can be a difficult thing to recognize.

Capitalism, and the individualism that supports it, have made us believe that as adults we have to take care of ourselves (and maybe our romantic partners). And so in order to get through it, we cope. We buy things we don’t really need, we eat out, and we shop for shiny new things. Because that way, it feels like we’re doing it all by ourselves. We believe that by paying for stuff, it means we’re taking care of ourselves, like capitalism tells us we are supposed to.

Do we really need that though…Why do I, an “independent,” mostly healthy woman with a good job and a house, need friends to come cook for me on a regular basis? Isn’t that something usually reserved for sick people or family?

Why does it seem weirder than ordering takeout?

Because instead of relying on my wages/capitalism to make dinner when I can’t, I’m relying on my community.

Community care means that we do things for the people around us. My friends come over and make dinner for me, but it’s not a one-way street. I handmade some cosmetics for the same friends, and let them have lots from my garden harvest last summer.  We don’t keep score – we just take care of each other when we can and when it’s needed.”

How to Make Friends in Your Twenties:

Making friends in your twenties and building community is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your time. Not only will you be building your network and helping yourself and others succeed, but your social life will be a lot more social and fulfilling.

Suggestions for Making New Friends Besides Via Dating Apps:

Let’s face it, having a girlfriend to do Wine Wednesday with is necessary.

Cheers to new friendships and moving to new cities.



Bonjour Paris Fashion Week: Windy City Cosmo Goes to Paris

It was like flipping a coin.

Last night at 1 am, after ending an evening that started with good intentions, my friend’s Lyft Driver told me two important things.

The first was that I seem fun and I should go out with guys like my friend. (PS I already dated him).

The second was that I should go to Paris.

Paris Fashion Week:

And so here I am, less than 24 hours after booking a flight to Paris, that I am sitting in seat D29- a middle seat-on my way to arguably the most fashionable city in the world.

This week is Paris Fashion Week. And when special invitations are sent to you, you order a few cosmos and debate its authenticity.

It’s that coin toss thing.

I am taking a bet on myself and fashion and am going to Paris Fashion Week as one of the select Chicago bloggers who was presented the opportunity.

Emerging Chicago Fashion:

Chicago is starting its own initiative to become a fashion icon. Prominent Chicago female entrepreneurs like Andrea Ulrich, CEO of Techweek and Chicago Fashion bloggers, like my past coworker at Ann Taylor Water Tower, Sarah Pridgen from What Sarah Wears, have  recently been featured on The Limited’s new empowering campaign.

Chicago also has incorporated fashion events and runway shows of it’s own. Look for more Chicago fashion events throughout March to be apart of the Chicago fashion scene.

But while Chicago fashion develops into the status of New York or LA, I’m going to learn from the best in the fashion industry, party with all of the models and take a selfie with Kim K. (or her sister).

Preparing for Paris Fashion Week:

Windy City Cosmo is so honored to be selected for this once in a lifetime opportunity.

To prepare, I went to Water Tower Place and tried on every black garment that I could in an hour. I can’t wait to show you the look tomorrow when I am at my very first Paris Fashion Show for Bernard Chandran’s Ready to Wear Fall 2016 collection.

Packing wasn’t complete without shoes. I chose three pairs of non-black shoes to pack.

In total, my Jessica Simpson, bright pink luggage weighed less than 30 lbs. The stewardist advised me to go shopping in Paris because people always compliment her on bags and clothes she bought in Europe and Asia, but never America.

I smiled because I only packed clothes and shoes that people have complimented me on, and they were all bought in America.

Behind the Scenes at Paris Fashion Week:

Follow Windy City Cosmo on Instagram (username: WindyCityCosmo) and Snapchat (username: Rationalization) for behind the scenes adventures of your favorite Chicago city girl’s adventures at my first Paris Fashion Week.

Miricales really do happen! My first business trip was in Januray to tour Rosemont and my second business trip is in Paris, France.

I booked my flight with Kiss & Fly and for once I really did kiss someone goodbye and fly. Pro tip: it is always better to do things when you can tell your parents (which I almost didn’t do) and when you have people supporting you.

Keep dreaming and working on your goals. I’m rooting for you and so is this group of Chicago creatives and these Chicago women in tech. I owe a lot of my success with Windy City Cosmo to SheSays Chicago. They offer free career events, mentorship programs, and the opportunity to lead an accountability groups.

Get it girl.

Bonjour Paris!