holiday shopping guide: west town mall edition

by Molly Swientoniewski

I am so very excited to team up with Simon and share my holiday shopping experience at my own local Simon mall–West Town Mall. Living in Knoxville my entire life, I have seen this mall expand in its selection of fashion-forward stores.  After several years of working in that mall and countless shopping trips with my mom, sister, and friends, I am rest assured I know this mall from heart. Before my shopping trip, I wanted to share a few of my favorite trends and products that can be found at most Simon malls! Click any item in the images below to shop that item!

Velvet is a major trend this season. After going to market in Atlanta to buy for a local boutique, I knew velvet was going to make a big impression in many wardrobes this holiday season. The material brings a sense of warmth and luxury, making it the perfect material to wear for holiday parties and dinners. Plus, deep reds, greens, and blacks effortlessly complement the depth of the material. Above I selected a few of my favorite velvet items from several stores at West Town–Dillard's, Pacsun, Forever21, and Charlotte Russe. I selected a variety of styles and products from different price points to accommodate everyone's budget! My favorite? Definitely those black velvet booties with the gold glitter heel–I need those in my holiday wardrobe!

Next up on this season's biggest trends is anything and everything metallic. From housewares to accessories, I've noticed metallic tones graze dozens of shelves in the past few months. Metallics add a statement to any outfit while simultaneously being a neutral. I myself have been falling head over heels at anything rose gold toned and I have included some rose gold beauties in the image above. Bomber jackets have made a comeback this season and I love the metallic bomber jacket I linked above. I believe metallics are here to stay for awhile since they have such a timeless and effortless look about them.

Statement necklines have been absolutely huge this year. Lace-up, chokers, and off-the-shoulder/cold shoulder styles have been everywhere, and I'm not complaining! It turns any clothing into a conversation piece since the eye immediately becomes drawn to the intricate details around the neck and chest. Additionally, I have noticed tulle and bell/flared sleeves being incorporated into pieces. I own this Free People shirt linked above and have already worn it twice!  Something about the mix of grunge and femininity makes this shirt so easy to pair with. I definitely recommend adding a few statement-making pieces like those above to immediately and effortlessly amp up your wardrobe!

Finding the perfect over-the-knee boots might take a little trial and error, but once you find the right ones you'll be wearing them constantly. It is crucial to make sure the boot hits at a comfortable and suitable place on your leg. Some boots are more suitable for those who are taller while others suit a more petite body. Another thing to think about when purchasing a pair of over-the-knee boots is the heel. I now own two black pairs of over-the-knee boots–one with a flatter, short heel and another with a taller heel that adds quite a bit of height. It is definitely important to consider when you will wear them as I personally find the ones with a heel to be a bit more dressy. I recommend starting out with a black pair, but I am on the search for a gray-toned pair like the ones I linked above

What's a trip to the mall without stopping at Sephora? I can seriously spend hours in this store, especially during the holidays. I decided to link some of my "holy grail" products that I think everyone needs. I use these products pretty much every day and they have never failed me. Here is a little information on why I think these products are so wonderful:

  1. Tangle Teezer: The Original Detangling Hairbrush: As a girl who has a lot of hair and a lot of hair teasing going on–this little thing somehow takes out every knot and tangle. It's the perfect brush to throw into your purse for a quick brush through! Also the limited edition candy cane color is absolutely adorable!
  2. Bobbi Brown Blush in "Tawny": Since I love a very pigmented illuminating highlighter, I like to keep my blush colors matte. Bobbi Brown's blushes have the perfect amount of pigmentation and blend so easily. All the blush colors are beautiful, but this medium pinky brown complements my skin tone perfectly. 
  3. Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer: I "borrowed" my mother's so much that she eventually bought another one so we would both have one! Like I said, I have a lot of hair and blow drying it can be such a pain at times. This blow dryer dries my hair faster than any other blow dryer I have used, it's amazing!
  4. Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Gift Set: I received a sample of this with an online order from Sephora and instantly fell in love. I like my perfumes to not be super sweet and have more of a musky smell. This perfume has notes of my favorite things: coffee and vanilla.
  5. Bobbi Brown Lip Color in "Rum Raisin": This medium plum brown is flattering with any skin tone and has the perfect amount of pigment for holiday parties. Plus the formula is super smooth and not drying.
  6. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Beauty on the Go: This lotion's pistachio caramel scent is out of this world. It is also very potent, in a very good way! Along with its amazing scent, its formula tightens and tones your skin so it's a win-win. 
  7. Clinique Moisture Surge: I have used this moisturizer for years upon years and I do not plan on switching from it any time soon! The formula immediately absorbs into your skin so it doesn't have that sticky feel to it. It is also unscented which is great for those who have sensitive or breakout-prone skin. 
  8. Still Shape & Shade Custom Contour Duo in "Light": Until recently I have avoided using cream contours as I thought it would be difficult to blend, but this kit makes cream contouring so easy! The formula blends well into your foundation and isn't drying. I do suggest using a BeautyBlender to evenly blend this to avoid any streakiness or blotchiness. I also set this with my Anastasia contour kit so it stays put!
  9. Drybar Merry Mini Must-Haves Blowout Extending Essentials To Go: Not only is Drybar's hairdryer the best, their hair products are absolutely astounding as well. This gift set comes with a dry shampoo, dry conditioner, and volume-enhancing spray. I have tried my fair share of dry shampoos and this one has them all beat by far!
  10. Tarte Tartelette in Bloom Clay Eyeshadow Palette: I always stick to neutral brown tones when it comes to my eyeshadow. After having Urban Decay's Naked palettes for years, I wanted to switch things up. After trying this one, I haven't touched my other eyeshadows in months. These shadows are pigmented and incredibly easy to blend. Also, I have never used every single color in a palette until this one!
  11. Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Powder in Indiscretion: I finally caved and purchased this and I am so glad I did. Out of the four color choices I naturally chose the rose golden tone. It is pigmented while also blending with your skin to give you that natural-looking glow that everyone wants!

With that being said, I am so excited to start my shopping trip at West Town Mall to find some of this holiday's biggest trends. Stay tuned for a follow-up post with details of my shopping experience and the items I purchased! Also keep up wth and follow my Instagram page for a little surprise coming to all my followers (hint hint: it involves a giveaway!). Find the closest Simon mall near you so you can start finding your favorite holiday trends! Happy shopping!