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Outfit Formula: The Novelty Heel

Earlier this week, my friend and I were texting about the breaking news that Jenna Lyons joined the Real Housewives of New York cast.

Of course, that’s a whole other mindless conversation, but we inevitably started reminiscing about the heyday of J.Crew, when Lyons was in charge.

That’s when my friend said that she thinks fashion has been quite dull since the pandemic.

I thought, uh, I guess it has been.

See, I’ve been so happy to finally have something other than joggers to offer readers that I hadn’t noticed; there are not as many interesting pieces.

And don’t get me wrong, no one is happier to see 90s style come back than I am, but it is inherently minimal.

So with the holidays coming up, I’m intentionally threading in a few items bursting with personality or an unexpected twist to help us zhush up some of our basics.

We’re doing that here with today’s Outfit Formula: The Novelty Heel. 

Outfit Formula: The Novelty Heel


Kitten Mule, $159 

These are the Sam Edelman Brit Kitten Heel Mule, and I adore them, especially in the saffron. But you can choose from eight gorgeous prints and colors.

What’s funny is that I could never wear this color up against my face, but in a shoe, it adds a pop of personality and pairs well with a surprising variety of colors.

In our formulas below, I’m sharing two ways to wear them. 

As always, use these ideas as a way to spark inspiration, think about what you have in your closet first, and if you need to bring a new piece in, consider some of our vetted recommendations. 

Outfit Formula: The Novelty Heel


saffron statement mules with either dark slim jeans, gold clutch, white ruffled blouse, and pearl studs or a green sheath dress, emerald cushion earrings, and gold clutch

Slim Straight Jeans, $109 | Blouse, $128 |  Ruched Clutch, $98 |  Pearl Studs, $40 | Midi Dress, $198 |  Cushion Stud Earrings, $75 |  Gold Clutch, $20 

I love an impractical white blouse.

Something with a ruffle, an oversized bow, or ridiculous trim. It’s the epitome of a rich-lady-chic. Her nickname is Bunny; she lives in Palm Beach, doesn’t know what a “kid sports weekend” consists of, and her style is immaculate.

And Tuckernuck makes so many tops for Bunny. Like this divine option with its high ruffled neckline AND giant bow in the back. Available in XXS – 3XL in white, black, navy, and pink. I bought the white for the holidays. 

Pair with skinny bottoms.

Yes, skinny or very slim straight pants.

Honestly, I don’t understand why they are telling us to get rid of our skinny jeans. Nothing else will look right with this top.

Skinny jeans, slim coated or faux leather bottoms, but they have to have that skinny or cigarette leg.

Featured above is J.Crew’s Mid-Rise Slim Straight Leg, in a wide range of sizes. But wear your favorite. 

Otherwise, the look goes sideways.

Let’s talk for a moment about accessories. 

Sometimes, when you go bold, you have to weave that element with different intensity levels throughout the look. 

For example, if your neckline is high and dramatic like it is here, an earring that is too big will fight with the details of the top.

But one that’s too small won’t add any value. 

Here, these Pearl Studs are perfection. I frequently wear these and always receive compliments. 

And this ruched gold bag plays off the gold in the earring and the yellow of the heel. 

In our second formula, we’re using a cocktail dress. 

So if you have a wedding or formal event on the calendar, try to mix things up. 

Above, we’re using a hunter green dress since it’s seasonally appropriate, from the brand Xscape, available at Nordstrom. I like the detailed shoulder, side ruching, and flattering, asymmetrical drape in the front.

Check out the brand if you need a short or long dress for an event. Their styles are gorgeous and they offer a range of sizes including plus at reasonable prices. 

Then I found pretty green earrings and a simple gold bag

The shoe is the star here. 


Because we’re playing with the concept of color pairing. And we know that green and yellow sit next to each other on the color wheel, which means they are complementary pairs. 

And because we’re using the rich tone of each color, saffron (yellow) and hunter (green) the look is elegant and sophisticated. 

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Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

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Outfit Formula: The Novelty Heel

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Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Tracy Gray

Thursday 20th of October 2022

Love both of these outfits!


Thursday 20th of October 2022

Slow clap...(followed by emphatic clapping and jumping up and down)...both of these outfits are perfection! The first one DEFINITELY harkens back to 2014 Jenna Lyons days and I am here for it!!