Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The answer to the wardrobe conundrum? Cognac.... Always cognac.


Activity: Volunteer ministry, errands

Jacket: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Tee: H&M (similar)
Skirt: thrifted (similar)
Flats: J. Crew via eBay (similar)
Earrings: (similar)

This skirt was a quirky thrifted find that I've rarely worn in the past. Due to its unusual, slightly-greenish gray color (not easily discerned from this photo), it's hard to find items that work with it, other than black, and the style also limits which tops and blazers combine well (trust me, I tried almost all of them one particularly frustrating morning).  Throwing on this cognac jacket was a last-minute choice that really seemed to work.  

One of my favorite wardrobe discoveries of recent note has been cognac brown, a really useful wardrobe workhorse (check out this outfit, or this one).  I now have a few items in this color, this jacket being my newest addition.  They are all in regular rotation and often satisfy that special something needed in an outfit.  No matter what direction my future style inclination may shift, I can't see myself ever completely giving up this color, it's just too versatile!

Do you have any "wardrobe secret weapons"?  Do tell...

Sunday, December 25, 2016

New kicks...


Activity: Family city day (lots of walking, lunching, ice skating...)

Blazer: Waverly Grey, thrifted (similar)
Top: thrifted (similar)
Jeans: J. Crew (similar)
Shoes: Puma via ebay (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Watch: Citizen - borrowed from Mike (similar)

As a mom of a most crazy and delightful 6 year old boy, I've had to rethink some of my fashion choices.  I'm rarely on a "day out" without him, so my wardrobe choices for those fun days have changed. No more toddling about in cute platform sandals....  (I still wear them, just on other days!)  I need to be ready for action!

Thankfully, sneakers as fashion is appropriate these days, but even if it wasn't I'd be choosing comfortable and cute shoes like these.  I had been scoping red suede Pumas or Adidas Stan Smiths for a while, and I found some good deals online (Pumas in this style are only $65 new anyway, Stan Smiths, not so much....), but when I found these for $17 and free shipping on eBay, I made the plunge.  I'm so glad I did!  This day we walked over 14,000 steps, then brutalized our feet in hard plastic skates for an hour and a half, so I was so grateful for these pillowy soft and comfortable shoes.  

A few tips for finding good deals when you have a specific style/brand in mind:

1. Shop around - check eBay, Amazon, store websites for Footlocker, etc, or the official brand website.  It can take a bit of homework.  

2. Get a good sense of the going price before you click to buy, but be ready to go when you see a great deal.  Sometimes it's the same price at several websites, so see where you could get a coupon code, or where you already have free shipping (like Amazon). You could even check in stores, if you have any near you.  Sometimes prices are lower in stores than online. 

3. Check out alternate sizing, not just women's shoe sizes.  My Pumas are a men's size (just subtract 1.5 sizes from your regular women's size) and were listed under the men's shoes section of eBay.  (Since my feet are wide, men's sizing often fits me better anyway.)  If your feet are smaller, you might even be able to buy children's sizes of the same shoe- almost always cheaper!

Here are some cute options for you:

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Chiffon pleats

Activity: Meeting for worship

Blazer: Theory, via eBay (similar)
Top: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Uniqlo, on clearance in store this week (exact)
Shoes: BCBGeneration "Parade" via eBay (similar on sale, exact style)
Bag: Ann Taylor, thrifted (similar)
Necklaces: shortest- gift (similar), medium length- eBay(similar), longest- eBay (similar)
Earrings: via eBay (similar)

I think one of my favorite things about this outfit is that I've had all these items for a long time, but the addition of just one clearance skirt made these old (and really pretty basic) items seem new.  I often get distracted in my closet by brights or lots of accessories, but when I look at my favorite outfit photos on my Pinterest board, the best - most enduring and classic - outfits are simple.  

In case you're in the market for a similar skirt, here are several options that include more sizing options (since Uniqlo sizing is relatively small - I'm wearing a large):

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Pleated lace

Activity: Meeting for worship

Blazer: Ann Taylor, this season (exact)
Tank: Old Navy (similar)
Skirt: H&M, thrifted (similar, similar)
Belt: Gap (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Shoes: BCBGeneration "Parade" via ebay (similar) (This is quite a comfortable, classic heel with a hidden platform, you can still get versions on eBay, I just bought a NWT black pair.  I size up 1/2 size, FYI.)
Bag: GiGi NYC via ebay (similar)
Lip: ColourPop ultra matte "Creeper" (exact, similar)

I mentioned recently that I've been trying some new silhouettes.  This was an experiment that worked better in real life than it photographed, but was still fun.  I almost never tuck shirts in, nor do I wear pleated, fuller skirts often.  It felt a little fancy, especially with the little glittery touch of the belt, but still appropriate for a non-formal occasion.

I've decided to focus more on what clothing and colors interest me, and less on what designers and the fashion industry tell me are in style.  I found this skirt at a thrift store, and loved the pleated style and just-below-knee length (everything pleated out right now is midi-length, which is pretty unflattering on me).  I wouldn't have thought of buying this color (although olive is almost always a great choice), but I've worn a similar combination before (here) of navy, black and olive that I liked, so I restyled it with this skirt and switched the black to brown.  I had fun wearing a "swishy" skirt for the day, anyway....

In case you're in the market...

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Topping it off

Hat: H&M, bought in store in November (exact in available colors, similar in ivory)
Sweater: Banana Republic, thrifted (similar)
Top: J. Crew, thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Boots: Calvin Klein, thrifted (similar)
Bag: GiGi NY via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Robin Undira boutique (similar)

Radio silence around here for a while.  Nothing too earth-shattering, thankfully, I just wasn't really feeling "blogworthy"....  Then the outfits I did like weren't able to get photographed, or I hated the photos.  I'm sure we've all been there!

I haven't really been reading that many blogs lately either.  My new favorite, and probably only regularly read blog any more, includes mostly thrifted items - Blue Collar Red Lipstick.  Check it out if you also like thrifting.  I've been thinking of including some thrifting find posts - let me know if anyone would like to see that.  I get so excited over some of my thrifted finds, and I don't really have too many friends as into thrifting as I am, so I can't gush sufficiently over some of my discovered treasures.  Big problem, right?

Am I the only one who find the current fashions a bit boring?  I like neutrals as much as the next person, perhaps more, but if I see one more slouchy ivory sweater, mom jean and ankle boot outfit, I'm going to scream.  So, you won't see super trendy items here, which you already know if you've visited before.  (Also, I will never wear mom jeans.  I lived through the 80s, and am only  just now overcoming some of the jean-search trauma from those years.)  I've been thrifting more than ever, and experimenting with some new silhouettes - some which, gasp, are not currently in fashion.  I've been having fun, I just haven't felt like sharing it lately.  In any case, I've decided to focus more on what I love wearing, not what corporate fashion tells me I should be wearing.  

I have, however, discovered a new favorite store (sadly for my budget).  I am in love with Ann Taylor, and am near a store once a week now - without a child.  A bit dangerous.  I haven't really purchased too many new items from anywhere recently, since I find such incredible things thrifting, but there have been a few exceptions at Ann Taylor, since the fit seems to work really well on me. I'll share an outfit or two down the road that include my pieces from there, which were all purchased way on sale.  And this is my current obsession - can't decide whether to pull the trigger.  Such a splurge (even on sale) but a lifetime worthy statement piece (it looks prettier in person, and the gathered back is incredible).

Oh, and after all this whining, I forgot to mention this hat!  It's my new secret weapon to make any outfit feel cuter.  H&M has some of the cutest ones you've ever seen - I could hardly choose between ivory, blush or taupe (which is seriously, and yes, oddly, my favorite color of all time).  Since it doesn't get so cold here in San Francisco, sometimes it's fun to add a wintery accessory and pretend it's winter.  (And my apologies go to all those stuck in real winter who may prefer not to be there.)  In any case, it also hides any rainy-season frizz head issues!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bright lip for fall

Activity: Family bike ride along Ocean Beach (and inevitable grocery store run)

Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Top: Old Navy (similar)
Jeans: LOFT, hem cropped and frayed by me (similar)
Shoes: Dolce Vita via ebay (similar)
Bag: Linea Pelle, thrifted (strap was missing, so I ordered a custom one via ebay - well worth it for snagging a bag like this for only $5) (similar)
Earrings: craft fair (similar)
Lipstick: Maybelline fuchsia flame (similar)

I usually save this lip color for summer, but I didn't use it much this year, which was a shame.  So, when I saw this article, I thought I would have a good excuse to wear one of my favorite lip colors a little longer, even though it wouldn't be my usual choice for October.

This outfit may not seem too extraordinary, and it truly isn't, but it does represent my achieving a long-time style goal.  Also a simple one: find outfits that look cute and allow you to carry out whatever activity is needed - in this case, a bike ride with the family (so not too intense with a six-year-old, if you know what I mean, but still activity) - without feeling like I'm stuck in a workout clothing or sports clothing rut.  I often find it frustrating when we have a "day out", which doesn't come along that often, and I'm stuck wearing useful but not very stylish clothing.  I mean, I live for the cute outfits I own but rarely get to wear!

I've resolved this in two ways (well, three really - sometimes I just suck it up and wear the practical thing when needed, imagine that), first by getting cuter workout outfits that I don't mind wearing in regular life (some of the time - I'm not a fan of the workout wear for every day), but those tend to work better for warmer days somehow.  Secondly, I've realized that I can do certain activities in jeans, even though I wouldn't have thought so.  These spandex-infused jeans worked just fine for a leisurely bike ride at a 6 year old's pace.  Sometimes I seem to think I'm doing things at a professional level, at least based on the way I dress for those activities.  Just chill already.

What's your activity day dressing solution?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Breaking out the cape... (including some cape-buying wisdom)

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Cape: vintage via ebay (sort of similar - try vintage shops or eBay)
Top: Uniqlo (exact)
Skirt: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Boots: Dolce Vita, thrifted (similar)
Bag: GiGi New York, via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (similar)
Earrings: pearl studs, gift (similar)

Ah, the cape.  The quintessential fashion item that tends to divide those who get it from those who don't (although it's entirely possible I'm one of the "don't get its").  What's funny to me is that an item that seems to come from a very practical, utilitarian, non-fashion place, now seems like the essence of "fashionista wear", at least judging by various reactions to the cape as a fashion choice.  

I made my first forays into Capeland last year, once I figured out that the climate here in San Francisco seemed quite conducive to wearing a cape more than that one fall or spring day in the Midwest that is warm enough to avoid wearing an actual coat, but cool enough to necessitate a woolen top layer.  I'm not sure why, but it had always been a "back-burner" fashion goal to find and wear a cape.  So last year I first bid on this one on eBay, but in a "silly-me, I forgot I already bid on one cape because there's such a long time before the auction ends" kind of way, I ended up bidding on and winning not just one, but two capes.  That did feel a bit excessive.  I thought the second one would end up much being more versatile because of the solid gray color (see how I wore it here and here), so I planned to re-sell this one on eBay.  However, I soon learned that all capes are NOT created equal.  The really tailored, small slits for arms kind are quite nice looking, but not practical for driving at all, unless you want to feel like a tiny-armed tyrannosaurus trapped inside your outerwear.  For me, this was an issue.  I also have a young child of the male (and crazy) variety, so limited arm mobility can be a problem. (I need all the advantages can get, these days.... ;) )  So while I didn't photograph this cape last year, I actually wore it relatively often, while I ended up gifting the other, seemingly awesome cape to a friend who had admired it  (she hasn't worn it yet that I've seen however, so perhaps she suffers from the same trapped-arm issues).  

So this year, when a cape-weather kind of day came up recently, I was rather excited to pull this guy out again.  This particular cape was made in Wales, from what seems to me to be a classic style from an old pattern type, and it actually proves why capes can be very practical.  For example, this one is very versatile in size, since the belt is adjustable.  So no needing a new outer garment if you put on or lose a few pounds, you just adjust the belt.  This would be especially practical during pregnancy, right?  It's also very flattering, what with said belt and all.  In addition, it's rather flexible for temperature variations, since it accommodates a variety of clothing underneath (as opposed to a very fitted style wool topcoat), so could be layered depending on the weather.  I think I could actually use this when traveling to cooler climates in fall or early winter as a very versatile outer layer, depending on what I used underneath.  (Now let's hope for a fall or winter travel opportunity!)  Lastly, this version gives free arm movement for child wrangling, always a practical option.

Here's a quick purse/cape wearing tip: Put your small cross body bag on after your clothing, but BEFORE you put on and fasten your cape.  This will prevent it from messing with the line of your cape, or from falling off your shoulder.  You could also carry a top handle bag instead of a cross-body.  Skip the shoulder bags with this look.  Note: This can make it interesting buckling your seatbelt while still wearing the cross-body bag, but nothing a determined, well-dressed individual cannot overcome.

I cannot conclude any post about capes without including at least a momentary mention of fashion reactions.  These are actually fun.  People in general, but especially males, appear to be somewhat fascinated - or perhaps mystified - many non-fashion-inclined men seem to take inordinate interest in this particular piece of clothing (not in me, you understand, but in the actual piece of clothing I'm wearing).  It's so funny to see them eyeing it to try to figure out how it fastens, or for the more tailored version I wore last year, to watch as my arms disappear inside the arm slits to reach my purse (which I wore slung cross-body UNDER my cape).  So. freaking. funny.  The day I wore the outfit pictured above, a cafe owner I've known for a while, who has never made a single comment on any item I was wearing, saw this cape and said "I like your.... what do you call it? Poncho?"  It was cute.  So, I guess you could call it an ice-breaker.

Any cape anecdotes?  Do share!