About Melanie

Melanie is a stylist who adores bold prints, local farmers markets, and getting down to 90's music.  Her mission is to make women feel confident through their clothes.  This native New Yorker currently resides in the Bay Area with her fantastic husband, adorable, chubby baby and her impossibly cute puppy.  


How to Try a Trend that Scares You

Photography- Melanie Duerkopp Photography

About four years ago, I was living in New England and would go on daily runs to the beach.  I would pass through the adorable beach town that consisted of my favorite cheese shop and a few adorable boutiques.  Believe it or not, I was actually not always this comfortable wearing my nautical best.  I was nervous to really embrace my inner prep.  While I have always had a love for a classic stripe, my love of nautical fashion was really fostered over those few years of living in Connecticut.  Before I went full force I started with smaller pieces.  An anchor necklace here, a pair of striped heels there.  I am such a sucker for a reason to "dress the part" that living in New England just gave me a constant excuse to dress like I was about to go yachting at any given moment.  I mean, wouldn't you agree that you wouldn't want to be in a situation where you could have been wearing your seaside best and you weren't prepared?!  Exactly.  If you need further proof, you should check out my instagram account or my Pinterest page.  I am constantly inspired by nautical fashion and it is reflected in my daily life.  It's borderline obsession, but I like to think of it as a healthy one.  And it started with stepping out of my comfort zone and really giving something new a chance.

Since I'm fully aware that not everyone likes to dress like a modern day version of The Love Boat, here is an outfit that is more subtle in it's nautical influence.  This is an excellent way to take a trend that you may be nervous to try in full effect.   If there is ever a fad you are unsure of but it intrigues you, try to find subtle ways to try it.  The key way to owning your personal style is to be influenced by your surroundings while still staying true to yourself. Dabble in it before you go full force.  Then you will know if it's really something you want invest in and make a part of your wardrobe.  While I am sure you will see lots of bold blue and white prints and boat shoes on this blog, if that seems too much for you, here are a few ways you can add a little nautical flair.  

scarf, bangle, bag, hat, lipstick, shoes

What is a trend you have been wanting to try but something has been holding you back?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments section on the blog.  Now is the time to go for it!  This weekend I want you to challenge yourself and wear something that might be slightly out of your comfort zone.  You will totally surprise yourself and enjoy it.  Let's say you have been really wanting to rock some neon but are worried it's too young.  By wearing a statement earring and a black dress you can add a little bit of pop without glowing in the dark.  Take this nautical inspiration and run with it.  I'd love to see what you wear!  Use the hash tag #headoverheelswithstyle and share the love.

Pencil Skirt - J Crew, Button Down - Gap, Red Heels - Banana Republic, Bangles -  Stella and Dot, Watch - Michael Kors





Fashion Tips from a Baby - How to Rock Spring Style

Hi there! I'm Zoe, a precious 11 month old baby girl who loves to play with blocks, has very serious conversations with my puppy Lola and crawls really really fast to anything that appears dangerous. I also happen to be excellent at flirting with strangers and eating a LOT. What can I say, some skills you were just born with. Mama said I was too young for my own fashion blog (RUDE!) so I'm taking over hers to discuss a very important topic for babies and adults alike!

How to Rock Your Spring Style

Spring is upon us! Which on the East Coast apparently means snow, but for everywhere else it means beautiful sunny weather. That means it's time to say "Bye Bye" (or as I like to say "Ba Ba") to sweaters and boots and "Hello!" to bright colors and sun dresses. That's right! Sun dresses! Which brings me to my first point.

1) Working what your mama gave you (literally... she gives me all my clothes).

Nothing attracts people more to you than confidence. I for one, have never learned what this self conscious business is, but I want none of it. What's all this talk about people not liking their thighs? Since when is this a trait women don't like? I mean, my thighs are probably one of my best assets. All day long people tell me how gorgeous and amazing my chunky thighs are. So to me, if you got it... FLAUNT it ladies. And if you are a baby like me the more chub the better. That's the way to the hearts of millions. A wrist roll or two won't hurt either. Just saying...

2) White is the new black.

Spring is one of the best seasons out here in California. Followed by Summer, Fall, and Winter. Not only is my birthday in Spring, but people start reintroducing color and bright prints back into their lives. As much as I love color, I'm also quite a fan of white. Both these looks feature white, which really is a great way to get grass stains. And speaking of stains, I know this is a dangerous choice since I've been known to practice blowing raspberries with pureed carrots in my mouth. But, as long as you wear a bib at dinner (it's the classy choice) white is seriously a refreshing change from the winter hues.

*** Upon later viewing Mama noticed I actually DO have bananas on my top. This is not recommended and she will try and be more aware of random stains next time. She can't make any promises though. So if a little food stain bothers you, you probably shouldn't have kids.

3) "Who wears short shorts!?"

Now is the time to take risks. Walk on the wild side. Live a little. YOLO. If not now, when? I say work those shorts and work them right. Wearing a fun print like this nautical stripe can add just the right amount of fun to your outfit. By picking one statement item you aren't going to end up with an overwhelming look. I chose a polka dot bow headband to coordinate with my shorts. I didn't want to have too much going on so I chose to go barefoot. I'm not walking anyway, so it seemed like the more sophisticated approach. I learned that tip from my mama. She has taught me several fashion tips that I write down on my IPad before bed. I find I sleep better if I make a list first. Anyway, back to shorts. These happen to show off all my favorite assets. Not only are they on trend but I can wear them all spring and summer long. I am sure these will bring me lots of compliments. And who doesn't love a good confidence booster? Examples of compliments that always know how to make a lady smile include:

"I love your jumper! Look at those adorable thighs!"

"Stripes AND polka dots! You are quite the fashionable baby!" Yes lady at the Gap. I am. Thank you for noticing.

"Wow! You are 11 months? You don't look a day over 9 months! Are you using eye cream?"

Well.. the last one has never been said to me, but a baby can dream! In the comments on the blog Mom and I would love to hear about something you are looking forward to wearing this spring. Once I'm a little taller I have the CUTEST striped dress from Zara just calling my name! Mom has a maxi dress that she plans on wearing wine tasting all spring and summer and she won't stop talking about it. I mean, I get it. It's easy and fashionable. Who doesn't love that?

Thanks for letting me share my deepest fashion thoughts with you. Hope to do it again soon! Hint Hint Mama! If you let me continue to write blog posts for you it's kinda like you are getting the day off!

Credits: Photography: Melanie Kluger (thanks for hooking a baby up Mama!) White Jumper - Baby Gap, Peach and Cream Headband - Little Hip Squeaks, White Lace T shirt - Target, Striped Shorts - Osh Kosh B'Gosh, Polka Dot Headband- Baby Gap , Sunglasses - Target

Hugs and sloppy baby kisses,




The Day I Fell In Love With Fashion

I was 9 years old with a deep love for DJ Tanner (WWDJTD) and all things lanyard related.  I liked to have my mom braid my hair in tiny braids at night so the next morning I could wake up to "crimped" hair.  Also, I did a really fantastic Steve Urkel impression.  My days were filled with "ice skating" in my socks to Mariah Carey classics and creating New Kids on the Block dance routines.  Up until this point I didn't have much of an interest in fashion past how beautiful Belle looked in Beauty and The Beast.  Then one day, I was asked to be a part of a Gap fashion show in our local mall.  

*** Disclaimer.  This entire story is only based off of how I remember it.  Neither of my parents or sister remember details.  So some things may be hazy.  Just buy into it and don't ask questions like "Why was the Gap having a fashion show in a mall?" or "How did they find you to ask you to be a part of it?" or even "Why is there no documentation of said fashion show."  The answers to all those questions would be "Stop trying to pop my 9 year old bubble.  It happened and it was glorious."  

For some reason, there is also no documentation of this jacket.  But, since I'm in the sharing spirit I thought I'd share this absolute gem of a photo.  Here's me, rocking a puffy paint swatch watch sweatshirt.  My bangs are too short, I'm missing a lot of teeth and my glasses are half the size of my face (and not in that cool Warby Parker way).  But I am thrilled to be in school and I'm adorable.  So the pros outweigh the cons.

So on the day of the fashion show (which I naturally was VERY excited about being a part of I showed up for my fitting.  There it was.  Gleaming next to a few pairs of white jeans and pink tops.  The most incredible jean jacket I had ever seen.  It was a fashionable light wash with a gorgeous rose colored lining.  This wasn't just any lining.  It was a really fancy floral print.  Gosh was it fantastic.  From the moment I put it on I felt like a rockstar.  I strutted down that runway like I was Nikki Taylor in her prime.  When I reached the end I was told to pose.  I stopped, popped my hip and put my hand in my pocket.  You know, to be casual and cool.  That was the day I learned about self confidence.  About how clothes really do impact not only your mood, but how people perceive you.  I'm so grateful to have had this lesson at such a young age.  When we are that impressionable those kind of moments stick with us.  

This story also happens to have an even happier ending!  They let me keep the jacket!  Now, this is another moment in the story where things seem fuzzy.  I swear that they gave me the jacket because I did such a great job modeling.  Unfortunately, my family seems to think that my dad just bought it for me.  I'm going to go with my story that I was a brilliant prodigy of a model and they were compelled to let me keep it.  

I wore this jacket for years and years.  It was my "self confidence" jacket.  I knew I could throw it on and instantly feel great and be reminded of the amazing memories I had in it.  The reason I'm telling you this story is to remind you that your clothes should make you feel the way I did in that denim jacket.  You should feel like a 9 year old doing her best Kelly Kapowski impression.  Just kidding.  You should however, feel like you could take on the world.  That if you ran into someone important on the street, you would be happy for them to see you.  Your clothes should empower you and make you feel like the best version of yourself.  

In the comments on the blog I'd love to hear about your favorite item of clothing.  Whether it's something you just got, or a piece from your past.  I want to hear about it all!  The next time you go into your closet I challenge you to say "Would I rock this walking down the runway feeling like a million dollars?"  I guarantee it will make your whole day better.  Promise.




Client File - Melissa Cassera

All Images from the lovely Em the Gem Photography

Melissa Cassera of Cassera Communications and I are cut from the same (Kate Spade) cloth. From the moment we first met we instantly were on the same page.  This photo shoot will be sprinkled throughout her website and blog posts.  Each was a different guilty pleasure of Melissa's.  I mean, how adorable is that?  Once I heard that and "I love Kate Spade and J Crew."  I knew it was going to be a fun one.   Then I found out that my dear friends Em the Gem and Melissa Hoffmann were on board and I was ecstatic!  Total dream team.

 I created an inspiration board (pictured above) to show her exactly what kind of pieces I would be bringing to the shoot.  This also helps set the tone of the shoot and gets everyone on the same page.

Links R to L : Top Row- One, Two / Bottom Row - Three, Four, Five, Six


My partner in crime Melissa Hoffmann used the first image of Lauren Conrad as inspiration for hair and makeup as well.  Let me tell you something... in my next life I would like to come back as anyone who has hair like Melissa Cassera or Lauren Conrad.  Clearly, my priorities are straight.  What can I say?  J'adore effortlessly styled curls.  Always have and always will.  My favorite makeup artist rocked it out with a bold lip and black liner.  Between Melissa's hair and makeup skills, Em's rockstar photography and my creative styling we made one hell of a team.


Because of the nature of Melissa's business I wanted her to come off relatable and stylish.  So I pulled pieces from stores that everyone can shop at like Banana Republic, H & M, and J. Crew.  By combining bold patterns such as black and white polka dots and colorful solids I was able to create a signature look that was quirky and one of a kind.  I then added some vintage jewelry from Sweet and Spark to complete each ensemble and add some blingy charm.  I love layering necklaces and bracelets.  It's what takes a simple sweater and jeans and turns it into a stylish outfit.  

Can you handle how gorgeous she is?  That last look including a Banana Republic dress, J Crew belt and Sweet and Spark earrings killllls me.  It's just too good.  I also love the juxtaposition of the black and white polka dot sweater against Whitney English's Day Designer.  It's a dreamy combination.  If you like what you see, comment below and share the love!  Also, don't be shy, pin away!  Melissa Cassera's new website just went up and has lots of new goodies for you.  So make sure to head on over and check it out!





5 Photo Shoot Tips from a Stylist

All photos by the lovely Melanie Duerkopp Photography

I have a confession.  I am a huge ham.  I absolutely love to have my photo taken and if I hear a camera click I instantly pose and smile just in case I'm in the frame.  But I am fully aware that that is not the case for everyone.  Or even more importantly, whether you like to have your photo taken or not, feeling more confident when a photo is taken of you is always a plus.  

I recently was asked to style another photography workshop for Styled:The Workshop.  The shoot had a palate of persimmon, cream, and brown with pops of navy and burgundy.  From the incredible fall foliage, to the elaborate invitation suite, everything was thought out and executed to perfection.  For the "bride and groom" we went for a cozy, textured and elegant style.   After several photo shoots and lots of trial and error, I have developed many tricks of the trade when it comes to creating a look that is ready to be photographed.  Using the images by Melanie Duerkopp, I'm going to share with you my top 5 ways to make your photo shoot stand out.  These aren't your typical tips such as "Get rest the night before." (we'll save that for another post).  These are tips that will take your photos and make them extra special, extra interesting and extra you.  These tips apply to anyone who wants to amp up their next photographic endeavor.

1) Personal Details - This first tip may seem a little silly.  Some of you may be thinking "Of course I'll be wearing some of my personal items."  You would be surprised to know how many people remove all their old clothing items from their outfits in photo shoots.  When you look back at your photos, the more personal details the better.  Most people find out they are going to be photographed and instantly want to buy all new clothes.  While I understand the need to want to spruce things up.  I happen to believe that newer isn't always better.  This is especially true when talking about shoes.  A new pair of shoes could be quite uncomfortable.  By sticking with you favorite pair of boots not only will you look back fondly on the pictures including your "signature boots" but you are going to look more comfortable.  No one likes a picture of themselves grimacing from uncomfortable shoes!  Trust me, you'll thank me later!

2) Texture - When choosing what to wear for your photo shoot keep the texture of each item in mind.  Instead of choosing a bold color t shirt, choose a blouse or sweater that has some visual interest.  It may read as a solid shirt from far away, but it adds a layer of depth to the photo. For this specific styled shoot, I chose several elements with extra texture.  Notice how her dress from Shop Lovely has a raised applique on the top.  Also, his sweater has several different colors weaved in.  This added a cozy, warm feeling to their looks.  Small intricate details like a distressed boot and a printed tie make a look start to pop on film.  This is a costume design trick that I've been using for years.  You're welcome.

3) Props - This tip is for you ladies and gents who don't always feel at ease when having your picture taken.  Sometimes bringing something to interact with can make you more comfortable.  The best photos are the ones that are natural and relaxed.  This is extremely helpful for couples that don't want posed photographs.  The photos above of our lovely models Kennedy and Landon playing with the hat is a perfect example of what I'm talking about.  It was a real moment captured.  My absolute favorite.

4) Coordination - If your photos are with a group of people (such as family or a couple) you want to make sure (as I like to say) you are all going to the same party.  There are three easy rules to keep in mind when coordinating your outfits. Yes, I know this is a list with in a list.  I'm a list making machine!

1) Coordination does NOT mean you need to match.  Your dress can go with his tie, but it doesn't need to be a blue suit and a blue dress.  Visual interest is the goal.

2) Pick three colors.  By choosing three different colors for your palette you are almost forcing your brain to coordinate.  Make one of them the main color, one a neutral and the third an accent.  

For example: "I wore a coral dress, with gray heels and a yellow necklace.  My husband wore a gray suit with a matching gray tie.  His pocket square had coral in the pattern."

3) Keep it all the same tone.  If you are doing a shoot with lots of pastels, don't throw in a bright orange sweater.  It will seem out of place.  Instead, pick soft tones for everything.  Neutrals can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  Even something as simple as a pair of black pumps can stand out as an eye sore in a sea of soft colors.  

Now, back to our original list...

5) Pamper yourself : This one is the best. Feeling and looking great is crucial for having an optimal photo shoot.  Whether you decide to go and get your hair and makeup done, or you do it at home by yourself, make sure to take the time and do it right.  You will feel so much more confident.  That means, eyebrows, nails, or even a bubble bath the night before.  Whatever it is that makes you feel the most beautiful.  Do that.  It'll work wonders.  

Not only is this workshop being featured on Head Over Heels today, but on one of my favorite blogs Green Wedding Shoes.  Definitely head on over and check out even more of the prettiness by Melanie Duerkopp.  

In the comments section on the blog I'd love to hear about all of your photo shoot woes.  Let's start the conversation!

Have a photo shoot coming up?  Want to chat more about what to wear, or better yet have me as your shopping companion?  Let's chat!  I'm looking forward to it!

Oh!  Before we bid adieu I'd like to share with you a few of the GORGEOUS details from the other incredible vendors involved in this Styled: The Workshop.  These talented folks blew my mind with their attention to every fall inspired detail.  

Lead Photographer: Melanie Duerkopp Photography | Venue: Olympia's Valley Estate | Creative Direction, Design and Styling: Amanda O'Shannessy Creative | Fashion Styling: Melanie of Head Over Heels with Melanie | Hair and Makeup: Elizabeth Chang of Skyla Arts | Rentals: One True Love Vintage Rentals | Models: Landon and Kennedy of JE Model | Paper Goods: Mae Mae Paperie | Vintage Jewelry: Sweet and Spark | Short Dress: Shop Lovely | Wedding Gown: Lovely Bride|



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