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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?

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.

Customizing a trend

15 May

Not every trend is meant for everyone. I know this. I know not every style is going to work on me, and I know I don’t want to look like every other person I see.

But I also don’t want to look like I live under a rock or a decade behind the times. And sometimes I just think something is cute, even if it’s not ideal for me, my body or my life.

Chambray is one of those trends.

Chambray shirts are everywhere. Much as I mocked the look at first  — didn’t we do this back in the grungy ’90s? — I have to admit a chambray shirt paired with a colored pair of shorts is awfully cute.

On other people.

On me, maybe because of my coloring or my lack of a rack, these denim-y shirts look like prison garb. So I’ve hemmed and hawed for months, trying on shirt after shirt and discarding them all. This one was too light. That one was too dark. Another was too streaky. Pockets on the chest just looked awful. Tabs on the sleeve were way too safari.

And then I found it: MY chambray shirt. The Merona Dobby Dot button-down from Target.

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The subtle print somehow keeps it from feeling prison-y. (Plus, it reminds me of a pink shirt with dots like this I had years ago, until I wore it into rags.) The shirt is not quite chambray, but it’s close enough to feel like the trend — and more importantly, it feels like ME.

And it looks great with my hot pink shorts.

Are you on the chambray bandwagon? What one worked for you?

Any trend you’ve struggled to fit into?

Recommendation: LL Bean shirts

1 May

My husband ran the Boston Marathon. He’s fast and we all were far from the finish line when the bombs went off, but we scrapped our plans to hang out downtown for the rest of the week and headed north. We ended up in Maine — Portland and Bar Harbor and Acadia Park, all of which were wonderful — and were not prepared for the chilly spring temperatures.

Let’s be honest. It wasn’t THAT cold. In the mid-40s most days. However, we’ve lived in Florida for going on nine years and our boys call jeans “long-sleeve pants,” so that’s cold enough for us to need better gear.

We made a stop at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine. I don’t normally buy from LL Bean, but someone had recommended it as being worth a visit and we all needed hats. Seemed like a good idea. After prowling all three floors of clothing and finding several good deals, I was a convert.

Our wool hats are nice, not least because they were less than $10 from the sale rack. The boys love their new Teva hiking shoes and fleece hats. But the hands-down best things I bought were the French sailor’s shirt and the toggle cardigan. Here they are in action together on the way home.

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Both are 100 percent cotton. The cardigan is thick enough to be a coat in mild weather, but light enough to work as a layer. The shirt has three-quarter length sleeves and is long. It’s not bulky, but it doesn’t cling. Here it is in a work outfit.

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I feel like this is the perfect casual shirt. It’s nice enough that it can be dressed up, but super comfortable and washable. I’m hoping it doesn’t pill — only time will tell — but it seems too thick and sturdy to end up with the tiny little pinholes that usually plague my thinner T-shirts all too soon. I ended up spending enough at the Freeport store to earn a gift card, and I’m pretty sure it’s going toward another one of these shirts in a solid color.

How would you wear this shirt?

11 Apr

Last year I ordered a bunch of stuff from Eddie Bauer and decided to peruse the clearance section before checking out. I liked the look of this Cotton Lawn Tunic, but it wasn’t available in my size. They had the next size up and it was only $3, so I threw it in the cart. Since it’s one size too large and a flowy tunic, I knew I wouldn’t be able to wear it as-is but figured a belt might make it wearable. (My solution to everything is to add a belt.)

For reference, here is the shirt without a belt:

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Not very flattering. I usually wear it with a wide black stretchy belt, like so:

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I’m not sure about the color, though. In person, especially, the black is too much. This shirt seems like it would go better with brown or another color in the “natural” family. It definitely needs a wide belt, though, and I don’t have any wide brown belts.

Do you have any suggestions for how I should wear this shirt? Does the black belt look OK? Should I accept the shirt just isn’t going to work and eat the three dollars?

Let’s Pretend Spring Is Here!

8 Apr

I have actually purchased some new things lately and am wearing them today. Let’s review.

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My office bathroom is gorgeous, I know. I’m wearing a new lace tank from Banana Republic, a new cardigan from Target, and new pants from Loft (based on Lawyernomore’s recommendation).

The BR lace tank is really long. I bought it in the size I normally wear in BR shirts, but I think I should have sized down; it seems to run big. The Target cardigan’s color is what I would describe as neon tomato red. The website calls it orange. Boring. The store only had two other colors- black and gray- but I see the website has a whole bunch of other colors. If it washes well, I will definitely buy other colors, maybe the soft aqua or pink (which is actually a bright purple). The Loft pants are nice. I bought them in petite since I’m 5’2″, and they’re a great length, right down to my ankle. They’re slim fitting, but not too tight.

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I’m also wearing a new (to me) lip product, Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain. The color Honey is the one I have seen recommended most often, but I bought the color Smitten. As you can see, it’s kind of bright pink. I’m not sure that I love the color, but the product is pretty cool.

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Here’s a close up of the “balm stain.” It really reminds me of Burt’s Bees tinted chapstick/lip color, but it has a nice, easy to apply tip. It feels like I’m coloring my lips with a soft crayon. I’ll definitely try Honey if it wears well today.

Weekend Casual

2 Apr

Friday we spent the day out as a family. First stop was the mall which was actually my husbands idea. I was shocked. Often times I struggle with the casual look. I feel like I can pull off two looks; the dressed up for work look (read business casual) and the outdoors look (read fleece, jeans, Merrill’s, fitted tee, yoga pants). The casual looks make me uncomfortable…boots, skinny jeans, cardi, scarf….I don’t know why this is. I have no answers to my madness. I think it looks fantastic on others.

Anyway, I had recently picked up up two cute casual sweatshirts at Target & I decided to give them a go.

For the family outing on Friday I went with this:

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Like I said the shirt is from Target. I love it. Very flattering & comfortable. The jeans are from Gap (this year) & the shoes are from American Eagle circa 2010. I love those flats. I felt good in this out fit. Comfortable but stylish.

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Saturday morning we did an egg hunt with the kiddos & their cousins in our yard. I decided to go a bit more casual but this other sweatshirt I picked up from Target was perfect.

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I definitely sported my Merrill’s (my favorite shoes, to be honest) for this backyard event. And these are by far my favorite jeans from American Eagle (2012). My only wish is they were not so destructed but while I might not wear them out for anything important, I absolutely wear them a lot. I love them for the way they lay over my Merrill’s. Some jeans are just not the jeans to wear with athletic or hiking shoes but these are perfect. I’m very picky about how the bottom of my jeans rest on particular shoes (flats, hiking shoes).

Anyway, I love this sweatshirt. I especially love the length & how it fit.

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Let’s be honest though, I am ready to ditch these sweatshirts for warmer days. We are still quite chilly & frosty for Michigan this time of year. Come on, Spring!!

Super Surprise Super Bargains!

13 Mar

Bargains! We all love them, obviously.  You wait and wait and the shoes you’ve been drooling over to go on clearance, or you raid the sale racks at Anthro and find the perfect top at the perfect price for you (which is probably marked down 80% from the original price.)  But have you ever picked up something on a whim, maybe at a store known for lower-quality products, and it ends up being a lasting, versatile staple of your wardrobe?  I love it when that happens.

See: this top:

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Apologies for my dirty bathroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is one of my most-worn items.  It is a light-weight black v-neck sweater I swear I picked up for $6 at Old Navy about 4 or 5 years ago.  I wear this at least once every two weeks all year long, as it goes with everything, and is really comfortable.  You guys, I machine wash this sweater and dry it on high heat.  It hasn’t pilled, lost any shape, or faded at all.  It’s a miracle top!

Every time I wear this top I think about what an incredible surprise deal it was.  Do you have anything like this in your closet?

Quality Over Quantity

19 Feb

First of all, allow me to introduce myself: My name is Jenny and I live in Houston, Texas.  I’m totally thrilled to be a new contributor for Style All Over. I really like the premise of this blog and am hopeful that I can add a little something interesting to it, from the point of view of a Southern gal, living in a city known for it’s heat, humidity, hurricanes and pollution (don’t go plagiarizing me, City of Houston Department of Tourism, ya hear?). 

I wouldn’t call it a New Year’s Resolution, but it is an idea that I got shortly after the new year–quality over quantity. I know, I know…not a revolutionary,  rabble-rouser-type of idea. But, I began to see a pattern in my shopping and this pattern involved way too many ill-fitting articles of clothing from Old Navy and Target that were just “good enough.”  I realized that, for roughly the same cost as 3 tops from Target that are marginally cute, maybe could fit just a wee bit better; oops, just splatted tomato sauce on this one, oh well…I could buy 1 top at Anthropologie that I truly adore, relish in wearing often and lovingly and vow to take better care of it (as an aside {and, my apologies in advance, but I’m an aside-aholic–you’ll come to learn this about me} I saw this idea on Pinterest and have been using it regularly. Complete laundry game-changer!)

http://www.mommysavers.com/c/t/204934/tip-use-a-dry-erase-marker-on-your-washer-top)

Make notes to yourself on your washing machine, to remind you what’s currently in the washer so that you don’t accidentally fry something delicate to a crisp in the dryer. (Photo and idea courtesy of http://www.mommysavers.com)

So, one of the items in my closet that gets the most play is the almighty tank top. Living in Houston, my tank tops get a lot of wear–by themselves in the Summer or–every other season of the year–under a cardigan for overly-air conditioned places, evenings and chilly weather. For the past few years, I’ve stocked up on this tank from Old Navy:

Perfectly mediocre

Perfectly mediocre

Meh. It’s pretty good, I guess…nothing to write home about, but fine, layered under a cardigan. Sure, I’m in between sizes in this particular style, so one size is a little too loose and the next size down would be too snug, but whatever.  I’ve amassed a collection of probably 10 of these tanks (2 white ones, of course {see tomato sauce reference above}) in all different colors. I’ve worn them for a few years and they’re stained, pilling in places and unraveling in others. Also, they do this very indelicate maneuver wherein a few hours into wearing them, they tend to shift and slide about 45 degrees across my chest, thereby revealing almost one whole cup of my bra. This particular occurence has made for some very interesting grocery store trips and teacher conferences. But, I digress (again)…

So, when I sat down and thought about what an integral part of my wardrobe these tanks had become and, given the fact that they really just don’t fit as well as I’d like, I decided to research alternatives–namely, higher-quality alternatives. This led me to J. Crew where I found this tank:

VIntage Cotton Tank

Vintage Cotton Tank, $19.50-$24.50

Love! Oh, my lands, how I love this tank! Now, I’m no Pollyanna, and I realize that J.Crew has chinks in their armour of quality from time to time. However, the fact that I’m so comfortable in this tank and that it’s spot-on, on so many of my bullet-point criteria, I’m hopeful that I can take good care of it and wear the snot out of it. I bought it in white, navy and neon persimmon and have my sights set on a couple of the other colors. Sure, it costs about 4 times what my Old Navy tanks cost, but I’m willing to accept quality over quantity on this one and keep my collection to a perfectly conservative minimum.

Me, in my J.Crew tank sans cardigan

With a cardigan over it

Lightening Up Your Tops for Spring

7 Feb

Just the other day, @TwoAdults over on Twitter linked to an adorable, fresh tee on the J Crew Factory website.  Not only is it a great piece to pick up as a basic, but the addition of the ruffle makes for a detail that brightens your wardrobe just a little for Spring.

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Since I’m constantly trying to update my style (a difficult task when you work in an really casual environment where anything goes), I headed to my favorite shopping sites to find some more items with fun details to update my basic looks:

Some people say mean things about peplum.  While I understand the concern, I also think it’s a bit misplaced.  Like a lot of trends, peplum works best in certain fabrics and certain lengths (for example, I need a wide piece of fabric below the waist seam.  Anything less than about four inches is a RUFFLE. NOT PEPLUM.)

Nordstrom is carrying this soft version in a stripe by Splendid, one of my very favorite brands due to the AWESOME fabric and great drape.  It’s a bit on the spendy side, but the quality is SO good that I’d consider it a sensible splurge.

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I actually just bought this peplum top (it says Sweater on the site, and while it’s sweater fabric it’s also thin and not overly warm) from LOFT and I want to wear it every day.  I bought two colors because I couldn’t get enough AND it’s only $29.50 on the site right now.  (Or hold out, I got mine a bit cheaper due to a 50% Off sale!)

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Several years ago I bought a great black cotton crochet top that I wore constantly.  I LOVED that top, but somewhere between now and then I lost it.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t just GIVE it away and it’s unlikely that I left it behind on a trip, yet I continue to mourn its loss.  So every spring I look for a similar style and although this one is white and polyester (and, well, ALSO technically peplum), it’s a strong contender.

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For something a little more meeting-with-the-boss, I thought I’d look for some easy all-over prints to layer with a blazer or cardigan.  There are lots of floral options out there right now, but I’m digging this graphic print because of the slim silhouette, strong color and elbow length sleeves.

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As expected, Anthropologie came up with a LONG list of great tops for sale.  But the one I want to buy first is this Basketwrap Top- its faux wrap front would be super flattering (without an accidental boob reveal) and it’s both easy to dress up with black pants and easy to dress down with a pair of white shorts and sandals.

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And one last thing: for everyone not in warm states, stalk these items for great sales in 4-6 weeks.  You’ll have a new wardrobe for spring/summer by the time it rolls around in your neck of the woods!