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Making Outfits Summer-y

16 Aug

I tend to wear a lot of saturated tones, including black, so I have a hard time looking all breezy for summer. I just do not have a lot of light neutrals or pastels in my wardrobe. Here’s how I get around it:

Sheer cardigan from LOFT

A sheer cardigan: I have a white cardigan similar to this one, and it lightens up the darkest of clothing items. It’s also nice when I’m going to experience a large swing of temperatures. Then I can wear something sleeveless and still have the cardigan for when I’m chilly.

Floral scarf from Forever 21

Lightweight scarf: Throw one over jeans and a black t-shirt, and you’re done! This scarf adds interest without heat and aligns with all of my rules for buying scarves.

Pink bubble necklace from Amazon

Statement necklace: It’s the same concept of the scarf, but with even less heat! I have a big cobalt necklace like this, and even though it is legitimately ginorm, it’s really all you need with a basic outfit. But again, see how I gravitate toward saturated colors? I could really use a mini white one.

White watch from Fossil

White watch: I wear my white watch all year round, but it helps especially during the summer by giving the illusion of a white bangle.

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Dressing for a Denver Business Meeting

2 Aug

I’m in Denver for a business meeting, and I managed to pack lightly so as to make room for the beer that my husband wants me to smuggle back home in my checked luggage. This is love, people.

Anyway! Here’s what I wore/am wearing, and sorry for the awful picture quality. I blame my not-awesome hotel room lighting.

Denver outfits

Flight: black jersey dress, tan floral cardigan, white scarf, black flat sandals
Once again, I wore Ye Olde Faithful Target Jersey Dress for the flight because I wanted to be comfortable and look somewhat put-together in case I ran into anyone of note in the hotel lobby when I checked in. As it it turned out, I was delayed almost 2 hours, and almost everyone from my meeting was indeed in the lobby when I finally showed up, bedraggled and haggard. Good decision, self! I will likely wear this same exact outfit to fly home.

Welcome reception: black and white faux wrap dress, sensible black heels, turquoise beads, black cardigan (not pictured)
I had 30 minutes to turn myself around and make myself presentable for a cocktail reception with a bunch of physicians. I’ve worn this exact outfit (different heels in different years) to this type of event over time, and it never fails. The dress doesn’t wrinkle, I can wear it for any season with or without tights or a blazer, and someone always comments on the turquoise necklace. Total brainless businesswear.

Meeting: black dress pants, cardigan, and heels; hot pink top, acrylic beaded bracelet
This is what I’m wearing for today’s meeting. It’s a kind of unwritten rule that women wear dresses to the welcome reception and suits for the meeting. I don’t know why, but we all do it. I’m faking the suit with this cardigan because I can not be bothered with a jacket if I don’t absolutely need one.

Dinner out: jeans, pink top, floral cardigan, black sandals
Okay, you got me, I took this picture ahead of time. But tonight, I’m meeting up with Audrey for dinner, and that’s exciting! I’m just switching up my daytime outfit a little bit to be more appropriate for the Cherry Cricket, a totally kitschy burger joint. This outfit is also a possibility for my flight home. We’ll see how I feel about squeezing into jeans at 5:30am in order to catch my 7am flight, OMG.

Go-To Summer Sandals

19 Jul

For my 30th birthday in March, my parents (read: my mom) gave me 3 gift cards in $30 denominations. How cute is that? One of those gift cards was for Target, and I used some of it to get these flat sandals:

Target Merona Erin Braided Upper SandalsI left them in a closet for 2 months until the weather warmed, but now that summer is asserting its hotness — seriously, temperatures this whole week have been in the 90s — I am loving these sandals. I wear flats almost all the time, and these are great. I wear them with jeans, shorts, and dresses, and it all works. I wasn’t always a fan of brown shoes, but these sandals are making me change my tune.

My New Ginorm Beach Hat

5 Jul

So, hey, I’m at the beach right now!

In preparation for this trip, I was on the hunt for a hat. Specifically, a giant one. However, because I have no spending money to speak of, I was limited to shopping at Amazon and LOFT so I could use reward points or a gift card, respectively. I ended up buying the San Diego Women’s Ultrabraid X Large Brim Hat in the Toast color from Amazon:

Also available at Zappos

So, going into this, I knew this hat would be big. I read the description, I measured out the dimensions, and I thought I was prepared for a hat of this bigness. And then this box arrived.

Ginorm hat box!

Holy crap. And then I tried on the hat.

Ginormous hat

Hmm. I wasn’t sure. Was I just too small for this hat? Did it smack of rice paddies? My husband took one look at me and said, “That’s … kind of ridiculous.” But I kind of liked it! And it was exactly what I was going for, that is, GINORM HAT.

I took the only logical course of action and posted the picture on Facebook and Twitter. The responses (including the joke-y ones) were unanimously in favor of KEEPING IT. So I did!

In the wild!

I love how light and floppy and foldable it is. There were plenty of jokes from the rest of the family, but WHATEVER, I am perfectly happy not getting sunburned, thank you very much.

The only down side to this hat is that it can easily get blown away in a gale, so I safety-pinned a strip of fabric (a canvas belt from an old pair of shorts, actually) inside the brim to act as a neck strap. As if I needed any more reinforcement of my senior citizen status, right? But no, I refused to lose this hat in the wind. So far, so good.

View from under The Hat

Wedding Wears

21 Jun

My husband and I have attended 3 weddings in the past 6 weeks, so we are a little … tired right now. But it’s always fun to get dressed up and go dancing on somebody’s dad’s dime, am I right? Here’s what I wore to those weddings:

May 11: Baltimore, Maryland — This wedding fell during my 31 for 31 challenge, and I needlessly included everything here in my items.

May 11

  • Dress: BCBG Max Azria (gift from my sister)
  • Shoes: Target cork wedges
  • Jewelry: LOFT acrylic necklace
  • Hair: sides twisted and pinned into a bun with LOFT flower pin on the side

May 31: Wilmington, Delaware — I didn’t get a full-length shot of this outfit on the day of the wedding, so this outfit picture is a re-enactment.

May 31

  • Dress: Banana Republic outlet
  • Shoes: Nina satin peeptoes with ruffle
  • Jewelry: Pearl earrings from LOFT or Ann Taylor, bought a million years ago
  • Hair: twisted most of it into a bun at the nape of my neck, then twisted the side sections to criss-cross over top

June 14 and 15: Hamburg, New Jersey — This was my husband’s brother’s wedding, so I had a rehearsal dinner outfit, too.

June 14 and 15

Rehearsal:

  • Dress: Oh, hey, Forever 21 dress, AGAIN. (I also threw on a purple J. Crew Factory jersey cardigan when it got chilly)
  • Shoes: Target flat sandals (bought 2 years ago)
  • Jewelry: giant leaf earrings from Eastern Market in DC

Wedding:

  • Dress: J. Crew (this was my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding a couple of years ago)
  • Shoes: Nina gunmetal mesh peeptoes (those black heels were basically worn through, so I got these on super clearance)
  • Jewelry: cocktail ring and earrings borrowed from my sister (sorry, no close-ups — bad blogger!)
  • Hair: similar to the Wilmington wedding, but I used 2 sections for each twist, and the effect was more rope-like than one smooth twist, if that makes sense

I’m pretty proud of myself for becoming competent in putting my hair up on my own, and it actually stays. Watching tutorials from The Small Things Blog over and over pays off, people. One more wedding to go this year!

Do you have any weddings to attend this year? What are you wearing?

Chambray 5 Ways

7 Jun

I know, I know, I said that I didn’t want a chambray shirt.

But after a while the tunic I bought just wasn’t cutting it. I relegated it to the swimsuit cover-up section of my dresser and kept half an eye out for a chambray shirt that didn’t make me feel like The Hulk.

Randomly, at Old Navy, I found a chambray shirt in my size for … $6? What! I tried it on, and it was okay. A bit boxy for my taste, but the shoulders fit, and I could roll up the sleeves comfortably. Also, um, SIX DOLLARS. So I bought it, and I’m so glad I did.

In May, I included this shirt in my 31 items to wear for the month in order to figure out how to wear it better, and it turned out to be one of my most frequently worn items with 5 occurrences. Here are all the ways I wore it:

Chambray 5 ways

  • May 6: layered under a dress
  • May 13: cuffed under a cardigan
  • May 20: untucked with a statement necklace
  • May 27: unbuttoned over a tank
  • May 30: knotted over a dress

Of these 5 outfits, 3 of them included things I’d never done before (untucked, unbuttoned, and knotted), and I ended up really liking all of them, especially the knot. I’m definitely doing that again this summer with more dresses. Also, I just noticed that, 4 out of 5 times, I wore this shirt on a Monday. Huh. Monday is chambray day, I guess?

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I got my money’s worth out of this shirt. Again, it doesn’t fit perfectly, and I could probably find a much better one if I wanted to tear my hair out searching and spend a lot of money, but I don’t want to do either of those things, and this is Good Enough. As much as I railed against the button-down, this shirt has been a great addition to my closet.

Disguising Casual Dresses as Office Wear

24 May

When I chose 31 items to wear during May for Mission: Put Together, I picked a handful of dresses, including 3 sleeveless, jersey dresses. By themselves, they are more suitable for a backyard barbecue than sitting in an office, but I’ve managed to make them work at work. Granted, a couple of caveats are in my favor:

  1. My office is incredibly casual. “Business casual” is a stretch for most people, and my outfits probably wouldn’t fly at a typical pharmaceutical company.
  2. I almost always wear closed-toed shoes at work. It’s not a rule, but I feel more professional in them.

Here are 3 ways I disguised my casual dresses for the office:

Sun dresses at the office

Layer
I layered a chambray shirt from Old Navy under this striped dress from Forever 21. This dress has some structure from the box pleats at the waist, but it reads pretty junior on its own. Add ruffle flats from Target and a statement necklace from Charming Charlie, and I think it looks like a modern Girl Friday, even though I’m almost sure that term is offensive now. I’ve also done this layering trick with my black v-neck dress from the middle picture.

Belt
This is my favorite jersey dress from Target (I can’t find the one I have, but it’s kiiind of like this one, without the tie; it’s a basic v-neck, faux wrap-style dress with an elastic waist), and I love wearing it to work because it’s so comfortable. To add some structure and cinch in the waist, especially with this loosey-goosey jersey cardigan from J. Crew Factory, I added a skinny patent leather belt (J. Crew). I couldn’t resist wearing my purple Target flats, but I don’t think it’s too matchy because the shades of the cardigan and shoes are different. This is the same trick I used when I was traveling for work last year.

Jacket
This striped, strappy dress comes off very young (it’s legitimately from the juniors section) and is not appropriate for work alone, so I added a navy cotton jacket from Gap and kept it buttoned all day. The jacket is casual — unlined, eyelet trim, 3/4-sleeve — but it gives the idea of a businesswear silhouette effectively. I paired those pieces with mustard flats (Target)  and a flower brooch (LOFT) keep the outfit light and feminine.

Purple and Green Theme

10 May

I narrowed down my wardrobe to 31 items this month for Mission: Put Together, and I found that this exercise sort of distilled it into its essential elements. When I’m forced to limit myself, I will choose skinny jeans, cardigans, skirts/dresses, and flats. In the same way, 2 weeks into this experiment, I see that I subconsciously chose a lot of purple and green. Out of 10 outfits so far, 6 of them have included 1 or both of these colors:

Green and purple

And this doesn’t even include when I wore my colorblock skirt that has a strip of green at the hem.

Now, the green thing doesn’t surprise me, but the purple kind of does. I didn’t intend to focus on these colors when I chose my 31 items, but it happened anyway. Given such restrictive parameters, it’s interesting to see emerging themes.

What’s a theme in your wardrobe?

P.S. It’s not too late to jump in to Mission: Put Together and earn a chance to win free jeans!

Wearing What I’m NOT Wearing

26 Apr

Recently, I culled my wardrobe down to the 31 items that I’ll wear for the whole month of May for Mission: Put Together.* But guess what! It’s not May yet! So I have been trying to wear the pieces that didn’t make the cut before they are off-limits in — yikes — 4 days. Here’s what I wore this week and what I’ll miss wearing the most in May:

Sunday-Tuesday

Sunday:

  • Shade striped blazer
  • Old Navy knot scarf
  • Target cobalt captoe flats

Monday:

Tuesday:

  • LOFT Modern Skinny (Petite) purple jeans (sob) and striped tunic

Wednesday-Friday

Wednesday

  • Forever 21 dress: ah, there you are again! This is like the spring version of this dress styling, ha.
  • LOFT white cardigan: I bought this with a gift card and a 40% off coupon recently, and I love it. I wonder if I should have included it in my 31 items…

Thursday

Friday

  • LOFT green cardigan: I have SO MUCH green in my 31 items already that I thought this cardigan would be over the top. But … I will miss it!
  • LOFT paisley flats: big sigh for these.

I still have a few days left to squeeze in some other things I really like to wear but won’t be able to soon, like my red jeans, orange skirt, and a few dresses. And funny t-shirts! And my other scarves! Gah. This experiment in May should be interesting, huh?

* Want to try the 31 for 31 challenge? Enter by April 30! And if you’d rather not restrict your wardrobe, just participate in the Mission: Put Together challenges — both options earn you the chance to win free jeans!

Who’s Up for a Style Challenge?

19 Apr

I’m hosting the 2013 edition of Mission: Put Together, and it kicks off on May 1! I would LOVE it if you would jump in. M:PT is a challenge to be put-together every day in May, with weekly themes and weekend prompts.

Mission: Put Together 2013

We have a friendly photo pool of M:PT veterans and rookies who post pictures, comment, and encourage each other to be PT for the whole month. Every PT photo posted earns an entry into a prize drawing for a voucher for free Gap jeans, up to a value of $90!

This year, I’m adding a twist: a bonus challenge to create 31 outfits that fit the M:PT challenges using only 31 items. It’s in the spirit of Kendi’s 30 for 30 Challenge, except that there are 31 days in May, so we’re doing a 31 for 31. Everyone who successfully completes this level of M:PT gets entered into a separate — and probably smaller — prize drawing for an additional jeans voucher.

M:PT is near and dear to my heart because forcing myself to think about what I was wearing for a whole month straight helped me figure out what my style is about. Last year, I felt so proud of the outfits I assembled. They were trendy, but they were still me.

My favorite looks from M:PT 2012

I also love the camaraderie in the photo pool. Witness part of this Twitter thread I had with Audrey and Meredith:

Twitter Conversation

Plus, it’s so fun to see everyone’s great looks and forays into unknown territory. This year, the 31 for 31 challenge will be my new frontier; I’ve never done a challenge like this before. Stay tuned to my SAO posts in May to see how I do!

I’ve just given an overview of M:PT is about this year, so for all the details, check out:

I hope you join us in being put-together!