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4 Handsome Valentine's Day Looks

I'm not starting this off like my typical menswear blog. Oh no. Not today. This post is specifically geared towards the gentlemen trying to prepare for the annual “step your game up day,” also called Valentine's Day. It’s a day where the world’s people enjoy the close company of another. A lot of planning and execution occurs on this day. 

So I ask you, what are you wearing? I'm sure you've already given this some thought. In fact, I'm sure you've already put your look together, purchased the items you needed and are just salivating at the chance to put on those new kicks you picked up. Right? Right.

If you're anything like me, you haven't given it a moment of thought. I don't blame you. In this fast-paced world of technology, social media and day-to-day life consuming your every hour, it's tough. But luckily, I enjoy this fashion challenge that seemingly every year asks you to improve. So here's what I'm offering: three solid Valentine's Day fits that are comfortable, fashionable and badass, if you've got the confidence to rock ’em.

 

Scenario #1: Brunch

Let's not act like we can't all see the elephant in the room. This V-Day happens to fall on a Sunday. So, many people might be opting out for the brunch option. Cool. So what to wear? I took the liberty to take a look at what temps look like in general sense for the US for Sunday, and it's pretty simple — east coast cold, west coast warm. 

What does this mean? You decide, based on the options I provide, how you'd like to proceed. Here's what to keep in mind when dressing for this. Bottom line it's a date. Dress like it. However, it's also Sunday brunch, and you need to be comfortable. What spells comfort like … joggers. Yes. That's correct. Joggers. Here's the look:

 

 

 

 

Should it be warmer out, I say ENJOY IT! Why not? It's not a bad time to appreciate the little things. Add accessories as you see fit. A beanie, hat, sunglasses, watch, pocket square, you name it. If it's a bit colder out, you'll swap out the joggers for black denim and the trainers for boots. You may also consider a parka. Like so …

 

 

 

 

Whatever you decide, own it with confidence. Trust in the decision you make and it'll go well (fashion-wise, that is). On to the next..

 

Scenario #2: Night In (Home Cooked Dinner)

Party's at your house! Well, kind of. More like just you and your date. But hey, that could still be a party! Let's consider what's important here. Not really the temperature. Why? Because you're at home. You can keep it as comfy as you want. What else? What do you have planned for the night? Just dinner? A game? A movie? Figure out those details. You want to be comfortable. Don't wear anything that doesn't correspond to what you'll be doing for the night. Oh, and by the way, it's still a date. Set the tone so your date knows you care. Most people will be getting dressed up. So that's the look I've created. Check it out:

 

 

 

 

Simple look for this one. It creates clean lines and subtle colors that grab attention. You can decide based on the conditions if the sweater and shirt together are too much. Also, the jacket is optional. But keep it out where you can see it. You never know when you'll need a stroll to the patio or an impulse move out!

 

Scenario #3: Casual Date Night (Dinner & Movie)

Hmm. How many times do you think that this type of date is overlooked? It's a basic, introductory, simple, feasibly enjoyable option for two people out to enjoy each other’s company. But, as I've stated earlier, it's still a date. First things first — where are you having dinner at? Does it call for a little shoeshine or are sneakers cool? From there, it's all about temperature. In this case, the dinner will be casual and the temps are cooler. What do I suggest? I'm recommending a masculine take with a fashionable twist. Here it is:

 

 

 

It's casual but fashionable. It's all about the specific pieces you add to the look. The suspenders, style of jacket and boot all make a difference. Feel free to add accessories as you see fit. You've got this!

Give these looks a shot and figure out what works or what doesn't. You can customize these any way you want. Be confident and comfortable. Side note: get excited! You have a cool date to go on. Go have a great time! As always, it's all about taste.

 

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New Year, Take 2: Monkey Business

In the spirit of building open and honest relationships through communication (Zappos Core Value no. 6), I’m going to let you in on a secret … January has been absolutely horrible for me on a personal level. A health crisis with my mom, a good friend in a horrible accident and a number of other small things have all added up to the point that I already want to tell 2016 it is fired. 

Fortunately, this week marked the start of the Chinese New Year and the year of the Monkey, and I am determined to salvage the rest of the year’s remaining 10 months. I am celebrating with my friends and family, much like the Chinese diaspora around the world. While in the United States New Year’s Eve is a night of revelry, Chinese New Year’s Eve is marked by reunion dinners with family members who have travelled home to honor the family’s ancestors, as well as to prepare for good fortune to come.

 

 

 

 

During these celebrations you will see red everywhere, from clothing to the lai see, which are envelopes that married people give to children and unmarried relatives and friends, as well as their employees. The money must be in an even denomination and cannot contain the digit four for good luck. As come upon the year of the Monkey, we are celebrating those who are intelligent, witty, curious and playful. Those who are born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992 and 2004 will probably agree with that, as they are all monkeys as well! 

So while we push the reset on 2016, take a moment to enjoy a tangerine, pomelo (e.g. an orange) to bring luck, dumplings or egg rolls for prosperity, and some jai to celebrate the new beginnings. Let’s also create an outfit that that will bring together all of these elements to make you feel fabulous, and draw in a little luck!

 

 

 

 

GOLD and yellow are good for bringing in money, and to symbolize the power and royalty of the throne. The first emperor of China was known as the Yellow Emperor. The primary river in China is the Yellow River. And you can always count on yellow and gold to brighten up your outlook!

 

 

 

 

GREEN is the symbol for money in all of its shades. Jade green is especially powerful as it is believed to bless everything it touches, thus why you’ll see many in China and Vietnam wearing jade and gold charms.

 

 

 

 

RED is the Chinese national color, and represents happiness, beauty, success and good fortune. As mentioned above, red is found everywhere, even to double rows of red “xi” symbols on gates and doors to invite happiness. It is considered the happiest color in China, and is the color of wedding gowns! As a double bonus, 2016 is a Fire year, making this year’s monkeys even more ambitious and adventurous.

 

 

 

MONKEYING AROUND One of the most beloved stories in China is the story of the Monkey King. There are still articles written in many publications about “Calming the Monkey Mind.” The monkey is known to love being the center of attention, as well as being witty, intelligent and a little rebellious. What better way to celebrate the year of the Monkey than with a fabulous bag featuring a playful monkey, a playful earring or a sophisticated monkey’s fist — a symbol of friendship — which reminds us that each friendship is different, but built around a solid base.

 

If you’re celebrating in any of the pieces shown here, tag us in your selfies or pics with #zapposWRW — we’d love to see your style!

 

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The Startling Benefits of Compression Clothing

Sunday mornings are my “me time” — a few hours every week where I block off part of the day that I dedicate to myself, doing what I want to do. This means no working, no laundry and no grocery shopping. All of that comes after 11 a.m.

Recently, most of my allotted private time has been spent on bettering my health, where I join the flock of early birds who are feverishly lifting weights, cycling or jogging in an attempt to look like the 2.0 versions of John Krasinksi and Britney Spears. 

As a late blooming New Year’s resolutionist, I’ve only recently begun going to the gym to shed my excess winter weight. A few lat pulls here and a few deadlifts there is more than enough to get my muscles in a panic. Fortunately, thanks to the likes of compression attire, everyone from casual gym-goers to competitive athletes are reaping its benefits for performance and recovery.

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS COMPRESSION CLOTHING?

Compression garments have been around for as long as half a century, unsurprisingly finding its start in the medical field. It’s blend of spandex and nylon helps promote blood flow, particularly preventing edema in diabetics.

In an article written by Greatist, Robert Gotlin, D.O., the director of orthopedic and sports rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Beth Israel, says “Stockings were made so there is more pressure lower [on the leg], and less farther up. […] They can push blood along for those with vascular disease or circulation problems.”

From there, Gotlin says the thinking emerged: if garments increase blood flow, could similar clothing help athletes perform better?

 

 

 

 

Turn on the boob tube and you’ll see virtually every basketball, baseball and football player sporting some sort of compression gear. From arm sleeves and calf sleeves to undershorts, leggings and pants, it’s become the go-to for performance and style.

Companies like Nike, Adidas, Puma and Under Armour have inundated the marketplace with their own lines, claiming their gear supports muscles, improves circulation and speeds up recovery time.

 

 

 

 

SO, DOES IT ACTUALLY WORK?

Remarkably, studies have shown signs of this to be true, and not just marketing hogwash.

During a maximal treadmill test, one study concluded that compression socks helped athletes run longer and hit a higher speed. They also found that compression sock-wearing participants’ running speeds had a higher anaerobic threshold.

An endurance cycling study also showed positive results. Researchers in Australia found an increased concentration of oxygen in cyclists’ muscles when they were wearing compression sleeves. And similar to compression sock wearers, these athletes also took a longer amount of time to reach anaerobic threshold.

Despite these results, many researchers believe this skin-tight gear gives athletes nothing more than a psychological edge. 

“There are studies that show the biggest effect is placebo,” Gotlin says. “People might say they feel and perform better with the garments on, but is it because the garments are doing their supposed function?” In other words, it's possible you're just running on adrenaline.

In summary, whether mind or muscle, there’s something to be said about this new(ish) and improved workout attire. And with moisture wicking capabilities, anti-odor technology and four-way stretch material for improved range of movement, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose … except maybe a few pesky pounds.

 

 

DON'T FORGET THESE... 

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Red Hot: 8 Looks to Love for Valentine’s Day

There are generally two schools of thought when it comes to celebrating the feast of St. Valentine: those who celebrate a holiday established alongside a feast day for a patron saint of love, engaged couples and marriage, and those who remind those people that St. Valentine is also the patron saint of beekeepers and the plague. 

Regardless of which camp you fall into, one of the things that we often forget when the world and DeBeers are focusing on “love” in its commercial forms, complete with chocolate, roses and diamonds, is remembering to take a few moments to practice some self-love.

 

 

 

 

There have been multiple studies recently published that prove that low self-esteem (aka low levels of self-love) can contribute to a reduction of brain size by up to 20 percent, as well as memory skills. The silver lining, however, is that these studies also found that if we take the time to re-train our brains in how we think, we can reverse this atrophy and expand our brain size back to normal.  

Why is this important for a curvy girl? How often have we slipped and told ourselves that our worthiness is tied to our dress size? How many times have we come home from a frustrating day of shopping, where it feels like even socks don’t fit right, and berated ourselves for being useless, ugly and fat? How many of us trick ourselves with the armor of “It’s a holiday created by greeting card companies and florists” to cover up the frustration, pain and depression of feeling unworthy because we are single for yet another holiday?

 

 

 

 

Self-love and affirmation take many different forms, and just like the millions of beautiful women around this world, of all shapes and sizes, each one is unique. While many share the same starting point, there is something magical about the way that we can all take the same words, or the same dress, and create a powerful and unique story, both verbally and non-verbally. The simple phrase, “I approve of myself and feel great about myself” can end in so many powerful and world-changing ways. A little red number meant to remind us that we can be OK if we stand out, and to celebrate our self-love can be worn and styled and used to illustrate our individual stories in so many different ways; the most important ingredient is the love we have for ourselves.

So this year for Valentine’s Day, let’s not worry about whom we have. Rather, let’s celebrate the most important love we have in life — ourselves. 

 

 

#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #Zapposplus, #zapposWRW, Allen Allen, Cosa Bella, hanky panky, Kiyonna, michael michael kors, nine west, plus fashion, Red Hot, self-love, valentine’s day fashion, Well Rounded Wednesday

 

DRESS UP Why not dress up just for you and take yourself to a fabulous lunch or dinner — or order the best takeout you’ve ever had and spend a night in? Red is a color for destiny and power; find yours in these great ones by Kiyonne.  

 

 

#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #Zapposplus, #zapposWRW, Allen Allen, Cosa Bella, hanky panky, Kiyonna, michael michael kors, nine west, plus fashion, Red Hot, self-love, valentine’s day fashion, Well Rounded Wednesday

 

TOP IT OFF Red can be the color of blood, the color of a fire engine, or of a gorgeous Syrah wine that hits sweet and finishes with a strong and dark flavor.  Forget those shades of gray, shades of red are much more fun to experiment with. 

 

 

#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #Zapposplus, #zapposWRW, Allen Allen, Cosa Bella, hanky panky, Kiyonna, michael michael kors, nine west, plus fashion, Red Hot, self-love, valentine’s day fashion, Well Rounded Wednesday

 

FINISHING TOUCH If red and power hues aren’t your thing when it comes to your wardrobe, why not try little pops of color added to your staples, or a little valentine to yourself? Red shoes like these scream for a night of adventure, and these sweet little finishing touch earrings keep it simple, but remind you that love is what matters. 

 

 

#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #Zapposplus, #zapposWRW, Allen Allen, Cosa Bella, hanky panky, Kiyonna, michael michael kors, nine west, plus fashion, Red Hot, self-love, valentine’s day fashion, Well Rounded Wednesday

 

AT DAY’S END At some point, men began to think that women wear sexy lingerie and lace for them; we don’t mean to break their hearts by telling them that we wear it to feel amazing, feminine and girly, even when our daily lives may call for a really boring or seemingly masculine uniform. Underneath it all, and at the end of the day, the most important thing about self-love is about doing it for you, not for anyone else, even if that means lounging in comfortable and soft pajamas. 

 

So there you have it … eight great pieces when you’re feeling red hot and ready for love and adventure with that most important person of all — you! If you’re rocking out in any of the pieces shown here, tag us in your selfies or pics with #zapposWRW. We’d love to see your style! 

 

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10 Gifts for Every Valentine Romance

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that many of us love, but plenty of us dread. It’s a mixed bag of emotions, expectations and fear that we’re gifting too much or too little. Like all things in life, don’t make this more complicated than it needs to be! Here are a few gift ideas to make your gesture of love proper, even if you’re just a girl getting a little something for herself.

 

 

 

jewelry, lingerie, bracelets, earrings, watches, valentines day gifts, gifts for her 

 

Earrings are a sweet idea for new relationships and even platonic ones. They’re a little something that shows you care without seeming overly sentimental. They’re also classic, universally flattering and something almost every girl wears. Kendra Scott makes simple yet beautiful pieces that won’t have you breaking the bank if you decide to get an extra pair for your mom or sister.

 

 

jewelry, lingerie, bracelets, earrings, watches, valentines day gifts, gifts for her 

 

Bracelets are a great choice if you’re ready to get all Carly Rae Jepsen on someone and say, “I really, really, really, really, really, really like you.” They’re a much more visible piece of jewelry that a lot of people will comment on. That means she’ll be telling her friends who it’s from, and you’ll get their much-coveted approval.

Alex and Ani have a tremendous variety of gorgeous styles, each with a sentimental charm attached. From sports teams to inspirational symbols and initials, you can profess your level of “like” through a pretty little charm.

 

 

jewelry, lingerie, bracelets, earrings, watches, valentines day gifts, gifts for her 

 

Lingerie is a fantastic gift choice for an established relationship that’s still in its early years. Yes, it can work for the book ends of newly committed and happily married, but it’s more useful in that middle relationship stage. That’s when it’s not seen as too soon and a little creepy or misinterpreted as, “are you saying there’s something wrong with the boyshorts I wear all the time?!”

The lingerie options by b.tempt’d are not only sexy, they’ve got a delicate femininity to them that women love. This means she’ll want to wear them more than once, and it’ll be a gift that keeps on giving.

 

 

jewelry, lingerie, bracelets, earrings, watches, valentines day gifts, gifts for her 

 

Watches are wonderful for those steady, comfortable relationships because most people wear their watches every day. They’re a constant reminder of the one you love and they won’t ever go out of style.

Ann Klein’s watch and bracelet sets mix classic watch designs with on-trend layering bracelets. Although meant to be worn together, each piece can be worn on it’s own so you’ll be expanding her accessory options without even trying. 

Whether you’ve just met someone, have been dating for a little while, or have reached long-term relationship status, there’s a gift for every level of commitment. Don’t overthink your gift choice; just let it be sweet and thoughtful. Trust me, she’ll appreciate what you’ve picked out. Though it wouldn’t hurt to have some chocolate or dessert on hand … just in case.

 

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Zappos Behind the Scenes: The Life of a Shoe

Undergraduates enrolled at Marquette University’s Advertising, Public Relations and the Internet course (ADPR 4300) are at it again!

As part of the curriculum’s midterm project, students were tasked with creating an infographic depicting the lifecycle of every shoe sold on Zappos. For months, these young scholars learned the ins and outs of our business, including the processes in place for delivering lightning fast shipping straight to your front door. 

WARNING: Below you will see a slew of facts and figures that are so astonishing that even a company as quirky as ours couldn’t possibly make up! 

 

 

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8 White Haute Looks in the Winter Cold

Once upon a time there used to be a rule about wearing white after Labor Day, and if you wore white after it ... the hounds of heck would be unleashed upon the wearer with the wrath of the old biddies who enforced the rules of fashion, and wielded them against the “nouveau riche” during Reconstruction to keep them in their place. Thankfully, we now live in a time when we don’t have to worry about coal soot in the air staining our clothes as the temperatures drop, and we are no longer held to a limit of “winter white."

White can be fresh and clean or crisp and ready to go. Indoors or outdoors, there are a million different ways to wear white, and a myriad of ways to feel fabulous while doing it. Now, I know many people on the East Coast have had it with too much white stuff, but why not dismiss Old Man Winter with a nod to summer and the heat to come?

 

 

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SWEET DREAMS Nothing brings on sweet dreams like a little fresh and clean cotton to wrap ourselves in at bed time as we head to the land of Nod.

 

 

#curvygirls, #WellRoundedWednesday, #Zapposplus, #zapposWRW, columbia, JAG, lauren ralph lauren, michael michael kors, NYDJ, plus fashion, Well Rounded Wednesday

 

 

TOP IT OFF Comfortable clothes, great tops and little pops of color to break up the monochrome look?  Yes, please — and thank you!

 

 

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BOTTOMS UP There is nothing like a well-cut white pant to take a look to the next level. These great pieces highlight your assets while hiding your flaws, making them a perfect accompaniment.

 

 

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SNOWBUNNY DOES IT BETTER When it’s cold outside, and you want to stay warm while enjoying the great outdoors, nothing does it better than these great pieces by Columbia.

 

For sweet dreams or days on the slopes, you’re covered and feeling white haute. If you’re rocking out in any of the pieces shown here, tag us in your selfies or pics with #zapposWRW- we’d love to see your style!

 

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Drones Take Over Zappos HQ

Each January the Las Vegas Strip is host to CES, a closed-door tradeshow that allows major companies and industry professionals worldwide, including software developers, advertisers and the Hollywood elite, to converge, preview and talk about the latest tech products not yet available to the public.

This year, once again, the topic of conversation revolved around drones. Drones offer spectacular visuals for filmmakers and hobbyists alike, creating a unique perspective for viewers who are glued to the ground.

With this thought in mind, Zappos recently invited Xtreme Drone Circuit (XDC), a league dedicated to the adrenaline-fueled sport of First-Person View drone racing, to take over its company headquarters in an obstacle course event. 

Spectators were able to watch drone pilots from all over the country compete for the winning title and over $10,000 in cash prizes. The three-day event featured a tough, three-dimensional obstacle course that tested each pilot’s skill level and their drone’s ability to maneuver through challenges at high speed.

Instead of just reading about it, see how the event unfolded below.

 

 

First-person view drone racing

In first-person view drone racing, the racers see what their drones see.

Posted by The Verge on Saturday, January 16, 2016

 

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