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Things I’m Loving Now

11 Sep

Fall is upon us, people! Let’s get excited!  If you want to showcase your autumnal enthusiasm, might I recommend this polish?

Fall Sparkles

Fall Sparkles

This is OPI “DS Indulgence” which I randomly picked at a pedicure and fell in love with.  It has just the perfect amount of sparkle without being gloppy or over the top with glitter and is a little more orange than the photo shows.  I love it.

As Labor Day is behind us now, I decided it was time to bring out my new beauty, purchased during the most recent Kate Spade surprise sale:

Hello, my pretty.

Hello, my pretty.

I’m currently 21 weeks pregnant, and I’m trying to navigate the exact opposite seasons than I experienced during my first pregnancy.  Last time I was at my largest during the summer, so I wore a ton of skirts and dresses.  This time I needed some serious work pants, and I caught a Gap friends and family sale (that included maternity!) recently and had some success.  I picked up these and these.  I highly recommend both of these pants in terms of quality and fit, especially because they come in both ankle and long.  Last time around I made do with a pair of black full panel pants from Target, and while they did the job, the panel and the length were both too long.  Which probably  means I just needed a tailor, but I never got around to that.  Plus they attracted pet hair like whoa.  Anyway, these pants are super fantastic.

I’m also thinking I’ll have to layer to get the most out of my wardrobe this fall and winter.  Key in this endeavor is comfortable pieces in bright/interesting colors, like this top, which I just picked up on sale at Old Navy:

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I wore this to work today with black pants and a long silver necklace and I think it worked out pretty well.  I’m also in love with this dress, which is easy to throw a cardigan over and I will probably pair with tights and boots this fall/winter if I ever find any black boots FOR THE LOVE. I have a similar one in black, also purchased at the Gap F&F sale.  They are both very “Hi! Here is my belly!” clingy, but, they are in dark colors and I’m trying to embrace the belly this time around as much as possible.  I mean, there’s really no avoiding it, right?

I know I’ve mentioned my problem with gold shoes, but I found these Born gold flats in the clearance rack at Macy’s this summer (I think I got them for 40% off of the sale price of $45) and they were the only pair and they were in my size so be quiet, I had to have them.  They are SO comfy and I will likely wear them a lot this fall.  Maybe even with conservative tunics and leggings if I am brave enough to try that at work.

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Have you scored anything you are loving lately?

Mixing and re-purposing clothing

6 Jun

Well the 31×31 Mission: Put Together challenge is over. There are a few items I wore to death during May and don’t want to see again for a good long while – I’m happy to have my full closet to wear again. Overall, though, it was a fun challenge and I am very happy with some of the new clothing combinations I came up with. I never would have put some of these things together normally! I also tried a bunch of new hairstyles in an effort to get some variety going, which I’ve continued.

My favorite new outfits included:

Day 15

This skirt/dress combo I wrote about two weeks ago

Day 11

This pattern-mixing, belted-cardigan, so-much-going-on outfit! It’s not noticeable in the picture, but this white cardigan has a beige pattern on it. I never would have thought to pair it with my leopard print tank top. It made me feel a little daring while still not being too out there.

Day 3

Blue striped scarf on blue striped dress. When it SNOWED IN MAY, a couple days into the challenge I didn’t have a lot of options as far as warmth went. I never would have worn a patterned scarf with this striped dress, especially one that also had stripes, but I think it really worked.

I’ve just now noticed all of my favorite outfits included that same belt. I only wore it 5 days out of the 31, but man do I love that thing!

I made a new dress!

23 May

Ok, so I sort of made a new dress.

I’m doing the 31×31 challenge associated with May’s Mission: Put Together so I only have 31 items of clothing (including shoes and accessories!) to wear for the month. By last week I was getting sick of my options. One of the things I picked was a long-ish brown skirt:

Day 7

I was brainstorming ways to make it look different – tuck a shirt in? wear the skirt high so it’s shorter? – but didn’t have a lot of options with the other items in my 31×31 closet. I saw my favorite red dress hanging there, though, and had an idea:

Day 15

The brown skirt is full enough it looks fine (great, even!) with the extra fabric of the dress underneath. I love this colorblock look so much I think I prefer it to either item on it’s own!

Have you ever had a style brainstorm and came up with a non-traditional way to wear something?

You can take the girl out of Target…

16 Apr

But you can’t take Target out of the girl, it seems. Remember when I waxed philosophical about “Quality over Quantity” and proclaimed that I was going to step away from Target clothing and try to buy just a few investment pieces instead? Well, after being cooped up with my dear, darling children for a solid week for Spring Break recently, their first day back at school, you better believe that I headed directly to Target to browse, Starbucks in hand, and relish in not being begged and pleaded with for toys or have to break up a single fight. That’s when I stumbled upon this dress:

$27.99

This picture isn’t a good representation of the potential cuteness that this dress possesses. $27.99 (www.target.com)

I was drawn to the bright, pink color and decided that I liked it, after trying it on. For whatever reason, I’m not comfortable belting things. I see other people doing it and it looks so stinkin’ cute, but when I do it, I feel…I don’t know, odd? Like it elongates my torso too much or something. In the past, I’ve been known to cut off the beltloops on dresses like this and wear them un-belted. When I got home, I tried on the dress several ways. Please let me know which way looks best, because my judgement is skeewed and clouded by my weird “belting hangup”.

left: with belt, using beltloops; center: with wider belt, slighter lower than loops; right: sans belt

left: with belt, using beltloops; center: with wider belt, slighter lower than loops; right: sans belt

Okay, what say you, dear readers? How should I wear this dress (or should I even wear it at all?)?

Recommendation: Old Navy dresses

3 Apr

I think everyone has been looking at the Old Navy eyelet dress this spring. It’s cute, for sure. It also is strapless and I have had mixed results with strapless stuff in general and from Old Navy in particular.

cn6096556So, cute as it is, I had to pass. And I’m kind of glad I did. I always hate to be wearing the exact thing everyone else is. Still, I did come home with several of their summer dresses. I don’t expect these to last forever, but they’re cheap, cute and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on these — enough that I’ll recommend them to you.

First, the fit and flare tee dress, which is the perfect little black dress for summer. It really does feel like you’re wearing a Tshirt, and it’s just long enough for the office. I paired it with a tweedy blazer and flats one day and it was the perfect out for going from work to the park with my kids. I might need more colors, though I’ll probably refrain because I expect this to get pilly quickly and only last a season. We’ll see how it does after more than a couple washes.

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Next, the heart crepe dress. I know: HEARTS. But the color combination, red and navy, is classic, as is the shape, and to me that makes the print just fun instead of childish. I’m not sure this will make it into the office, but it’ll be fun for weekends and date nights. cn5762363

 

The next one was my Easter dress: the paisley shift dress in pink. I felt a bit like an Easter egg crossed with Mia Farrow. (It’s that shift style. I always think of her.) They have it in blue, too, which is pretty and the picture I grabbed. cn6140049

Finally, I don’t have this linen-blend tank dress and haven’t tried it on. I suspect it would be disastrous on most people, what with the dropped waist and stripes. But I think on the right person — and maybe that’s you — it would be fantastic: easy and chic. cn6238935

 

 

Success

20 Feb

I put together an outfit last week that reminded me of a few style lessons I’ve learned over the years, but don’t always apply. The result was cute and got an embarrassing amount of compliments. Seriously. It must have been a slow Friday because the women in my office actually were emailing about this outfit and one purposely stopped by my office to check it out.

greenoutfit

Lesson #1: Wear what you love.

Every piece in this outfit is something I wholeheartedly love and feel good in. Confidence and comfort are the best accessories.

 

Lesson #2: Mix high and low.

This little black dress was a bit pricey. I bought it a few years ago for a party, but specifically looked for something classic I could repurpose under a jacket or cardigan for work. It’s a basic black sheath dress from White House/Black Market with some seaming around the waist. I don’t remember the exact price — it was more than $100 but less than $200. But everything else in this outfit was CHEAP. The tights were $3, at most, on sale at Target. The scarf and sweater were from the Loft sale rack — I first bought the scarf as a cover up for nursing Beastie, who is now 3 — and the booties were $15.

 

Lesson #3: Play to your strengths.

Neon green is not a color for everyone and it’s not a color that’s always trendy. But it is a color that looks good on me, a fact I’ve known since I was in middle school. At 12 or 13, I had a neon green turtleneck that yielded compliments every time I wore it.

 

What style successes have you had lately?

 

Should I splurge?

28 Nov

Ages ago, I was at Anthropologie with friends — lovely, enabling friends — and I tried on this dress:

I had just cut my hair off short and felt like Mia Farrow in this dress. I wanted this dress. And my wonderful friends really encouraged me to get it.

But.

It was short, probably too short for work, at least without tights, and I live in Florida where weather rarely necessitates leg coverings. It also was $188. I have bought full price items in Anthro before and felt no guilt. My $100 pants from there bought seven years ago still get worn on a regular basis. But even I couldn’t justify a nearly $200 purchase for a dress that probably would be reserved for mostly special occasions. So, I left it at the store and took home this one instead — cute but much more versatile.

I love that red dress, but I’ve thought often of the blue one. The polka dots are flocked! My hair goes so well with it! It’s so swingy! I’ve checked occasionally on the site, stalking for sales, which is something I never do. It’s now on sale for $100. My birthday is this month. Should I splurge?

Work Holiday Party Wear

21 Nov

Work holiday parties can be tough to dress for.  Unless you are a guy, in which case a suit is pretty much always appropriate, in my experience.  However, for women it’s a harder call.  Maybe you have a favorite little black dress, but it’s a little too sexy for a work event.  Or if you are used to dressing up for work, how do you make it a little fancier or holiday-appropriate?

This year, my husband’s company is having their party on the same night as mine.  Luckily, they are literally across the street from each other in downtown Denver (mine at the Four Seasons; his at a ballroom at the Performing Arts Center.)  So, we are doing cocktails at his, and dinner at mine.  Last year, we just attended mine, which was in a private cellar room at a trendy restaurant, and I wore a Jessica Howard dress from Macy’s, a black A-line with a white circle print and a teal sash around the waist.  I also wore a black shrug.  This year feels a little fancier for both parties, but I think if I hadn’t worn it last year, it would work again.

The scuttlebutt around my office is some ladies are doing black pants with a festive top, and some are doing sparkly dresses. I think the main elements include work-appropriateness, something festive (sequins, shine, jewel-tone colors, sparkly accessories, etc.), and something a notch up from normal work-wear.

Here are some ideas I’m considering.  Obviously I am trending toward the cocktail dress option, but I would love to hear your ideas or what you are wearing this year!

I kind of love this one from Loft.

This is another cute Loft option.

You could probably make this Express top work with a skirt or black pants and heels (and the right accessories).

This Anthropologie dress is full of sparkle and shine!

As is this one from Anthro.

Sweaterdresses

9 Oct

I love fall in Minnesota – the leaves are changing, the sunlight is softer and changes the way everything looks, and it’s time to haul some of my favorite clothes out.

In particular, I have a couple of sweater dresses that I adore. I often wear them over tights or leggings and with my favorite knee-high boots.

There are a couple of different styles out there that I am loving this season.

This one, from Old Navy, is a little bit “Shirt? Or Dress?” to me – a tiny bit too short. But over leggings instead of tights, I think it would be pretty cute, and I love this green.

From Target, I like the neck detail on this one, and the length is more appealing. I love the way dolman sleeves like these look on other people, but I always end up looking like a linebacker.

And, finally, from Ann Taylor, I adore this dramatic cowl neck.

I think all three of these dresses would look great belted, and a coworker recently wore this great double-buckle belt from Target that would be perfect.

Navy- and White-Striped Dress Face-Off

20 Aug

Hello, again. Today is the day you learn this definitely is not a vanity project. Sigh. Let’s get this started.

I am obsessed with navy and white stripes. I own two navy- and white-striped shirts and one navy- and white-striped sweater, and I want to buy more. I am a crazy person.

I saw Elizabeth of Princess Nebraska wearing a striped dress from Banana Republic and went to check it out. I ended up ordering nearly identical dresses from Gap and Banana Republic for a DUN DUN DUN DUN TRUMPET SOUND Navy- and White-Striped Dress Face-Off!

*****

DRESS ONE:
The first dress is the nautical shift from Gap. It is $59.95. The material is a little bit thicker than t-shirt material. It has a cute zipper detail on one side at the neck.

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Also pictured above, Kate Spade necklace I bought at TJ Maxx.
However, you will see in the photo below. This dress is not flattering if you have a lumpy stomach. No, I’m not pregnant.

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So the Gap dress was returned.

*****

DRESS TWO:

Moving on. It’s a nearly identical dress: The stripe ponte knit shift from Banana Republic, $98, which now appears to only be offered in red and navy online.
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Hello, butt!
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Also pictured in all these photos are some red patent Cole Haan pumps from a few years ago that I love.

Anyway, I liked the material on this Banana Republic dress more than the material of the Gap dress. It was really nice and thick, but not uncomfortably so. The exposed zipper looks cool. I liked this dress a lot more and thought it fit nicer than the Gap dress above. I thought it looked nice enough in person, but yeah, it’s not really looking great in the full body photos. Not the best. I think it would work better on someone with a flatter stomach.

*****

DRESS THREE:

When I went to the mall to return dresses, I had to check out all the other nautical dresses they had. The first in-store dress was this shirred mini-stripe dress from Banana Republic for $88. I knew even on the rack that this would look horrible on me but tried it on just for you. Avert your eyes now! It’s going to be bad!

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The dress is super slinky and body-hugging. It has rucheing on one side, which I thought was kind of odd. This might be nice for a going-out dress if you want something tight and slinky, but even then I think it’s overpriced.

*****

DRESS FOUR:

We’re almost done! Two more dresses. Ok. I LOVED the contrast-stripe knit dress from Banana Republic in person (on sale for $79.50 as of Thursday night).

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Problems: it is a light t-shirt material that I don’t think is worth $79.50, and it is really highlighting my stomach pooch in this picture. I may have just needed to try on a different size, but at this point, you get what I pulled off the rack.

*****

DRESS FIVE:

And the winner was the dress that started this whole thing. The bordered t-shirt dress from Banana Republic is comfortable and flattering. As of this writing (Thursday night), it’s on sale for $59.99. The only negative is that it’s a pretty thin t-shirt material that I would probably only be able to wear in late spring, summer, and early fall.

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You guys, there are even more navy- and white-striped dresses at Banana Republic right now, but I cannot bring myself to go back yet.