Thursday, July 31, 2014

OUTFIT: Cream, white and orange

Activity: Classroom learning for my volunteer ministry

Jacket: via ebay (similar - on sale)
Top: Old Navy (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew, thrifted (similar short, slightly different longer)
Shoes: Nine West, old (similar)
Bag: Cole Haan via ebay (similar)
Earrings: gold filigree - gift (similar); orange drops: ebay (similar)

I couldn't decide which earrings to wear today.  Should I wear the gold chandelier earrings which play off the paisley in the skirt, or the bold carnelian drops?  So, I decided to quickly photograph it and see what I thought.  Give it a try sometime!  

In any case, I went with the gold because the orange lipstick I was using was quite a bit different than the carnelian earrings, to the point of distraction.  In the photos, the lipstick-earring clash doesn't show up as much.  I was already trying to rock a white jacket, off-white eyelet blouse, and soft white in the skirt.  I felt a bit weird about it, like people were going to think I was mis-matched, but in the end, I liked mixing the white tones.  I would love to find a light khaki or sand colored pencil skirt and creamy bag to try with this look.   Then I could achieve my fashion goal (see this post) of a light and bright tone-on-tone outfit.  Someday!

Monday, July 28, 2014

OUTFIT: Casual cool

Activity: Family day - zoo, playground, community art cart activity

Hat: Charlotte Russe, this season (similar)
Top: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Shorts: Old Navy, 2 seasons ago (similar)
Shoes: Steve Madden, old (similar)
Earrings: Ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Cole Haan via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs via Nordstrom Rack (similar)

Last week we finally hit summer heat (for a day or two) here in the Midwest.  Since we had outside plans, and there were lots of other moms to see, something cool, comfortable and at least moderately cute was needed.  While the hat felt like I just posed with it for the pictures, I did really wear it for some sun protection on our warm day.  This shirt is one I might usually keep for "good" occasions, as it is a light woven silk, but since it was thrifted and such a good deal, I've just been wearing it for everyday activities. It's washed up just fine.  Maybe there's a lesson there?  Don't save the "good" stuff only for special occasions (at least the non-dry-clean-only items)...  

Happy summer!

PS This entire week, Monday through Saturday, I'm at a really special class to help me improve my volunteer ministry, so we shall see what gets posted, if anything.  I must say, though, having my blogged outfits to look back on has sure made it easier to pick out 6 different outfits!!  I plan to copycat myself over and over again all week...

Friday, July 25, 2014

OUTFIT: Seersucker and leopard

This is so not my favorite photo (and the others were heinous and I spared you all their horror by deleting them immediately), but I thought the outfit was something I hadn't tried before.  The colors of the leopard scarf and the brown/white seersucker jacket are similar, and stripes and leopard are an easy "no-brainer" pattern mix to try.  I thought I'd play off the black in the leopard scarf with a black pencil skirt, instead of my usual bright pencil skirt and blazer combo.  Not the most creative, but a combo I hadn't ever made before.

I wish you could see the maroon and black cap-toe shoes better in the photo, but that added another hint of depth, adding the maroon to the black/brown/white color combination.  I also carried my neon yellow bag (what else, right?), but didn't get that in these photos.

Scarf: ebay (similar)
Tee: Lands' End (exact)
Jacket: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Gap (similar)
Shoes: J. Crew (similar)
Earrings: Pearl studs (similar)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

WARDROBE RECAP: White linen blazer, 6 ways

I realize many of these probably seem extremely similar - white blazer, top and pencil skirt.  That's true in a sense, but think of these outfits as illustrating principles which could be applied to different types of outfits.  For example, you might not expect a white blazer to look nice over a dark top and multi-colored patterned bottom, but it can work.  Swap out the floral pencil skirt I'm wearing for a pair of floral shorts or pants, and you're in business.  Or apply the pastel idea to capri pants instead of a skirt. Make sense?  I've highlighted some of the principles you can take away from these outfits below.  Links to the original outfits are underneath each photo.  (There are also two bonus outfits included below that didn't make it on to the collage!)

I know when I did this post on making wardrobe goals to wear my white blazer more (something I had bought last year for a special event), I had no idea how versatile it would prove to be.  Give it a try~

With black and white:

With pastels:

Over a bright sheath dress:

Over a contrasting shirt:

Over a graphic tee with jeans:

With pattern mixing (leopard and two types of stripes):


With brights and a coordinating scarf:

Over white with statement necklace and a patterned bottom:
(never before published)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

OUTFIT: Black and white

Activity: Meeting for worship

Dress: thrifted (similar)
Shrug: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Ralph Lauren via ebay (similar)
Bag: Cole Haan via ebay (similar)
Necklace: ebay (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)

Sometimes you just like a clean, simple palate.  Can't get any simpler than black and white. Then add a pop of color in an accessory.  Some silhouettes never change, either: an a-line shift, mary jane pumps, and a simple rectangle handbag.  Add a touch of trend with a statement necklace.  Done and done.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

OUTFIT: Orange lips/Peplum top

Activity: Errands

Top: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Shorts: Old Navy, refashioned to remove cuff (exact)
Shoes: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Bag: Marc by Marc Jacobs (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Cole Haan via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Watch: Tommy Bahama via Nordstrom Rack (similar)

There's only two things I want to say about this outfit: 1. This dressier knit top and linen shorts was JUST as comfortable as a sloppy tee and lounge shorts, but looked way better. 2. Bright lipstick is the best way to look like you tried when you didn't.  I spent the afternoon in the pool, so most of my foundation, mascara and eyeliner were gone.  Rather than mess with fixing all that when the day was almost through, I just threw some bright orange lipstick on.  Did I look perfect?  Nah.  Did most people notice anything but the bright lipstick?  Nope!  Give it a try!

Monday, July 21, 2014

OUTFIT: Floral skirt remixed

Activity: Meeting for worship

Blazer: Tahari, thrifted (similar)
Shirt: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Skirt: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Shoes: Michael Kors via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Bag: Brooks Brothers, thrifted (similar)
Watch: vintage Citizen (similar)

 So, this outfit might seem familiar, since I wore this skirt before in this post.   This proves the value of separates, however. While the skirt is rather distinctive, switching to the striped peplum top for a touch of pattern mixing with a short black eyelet blazer adds some textural elements and changes up the look quite a bit.  I thought I loved that previous look, but now I think I like this one even better.  Makes me wonder what the next look will be!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Packing for a summer road trip and/or camping trip

So, I promised more thoughts on road trip and camping travel and packing.  So, if you're into that, read on.  If not, we won't judge, just wait for the next post, when we'll get back to more normal outfit photos. 

Doesn't it seem like you always realize what it would have been nice to bring or use during your trip (when you don't have it), but then you promptly forget the next time you're packing for a trip?  Maybe I'm the only one, but I know I'm planning to reference this post next time I go camping or road tripping.  Maybe I won't remember every single thing I could possibly want, but this should give me a fighting chance!

Here's a complete photo packing list from my last camping trip (add on your undies, bras, socks and shoes - see this post for more details)

Now here's how you'll use these items for the road trip:


What to wear:
-Comfy bottoms in natural fabric like cotton or linen
-Tee or tank in cotton
-Light layers: denim jacket, cotton button-up shirt, large cotton scarf (that can double as a blanket during car naps)
-Comfortable slip on shoes or sandals (you could just use your shower flip flops)

What to bring (see photo below):
-Larger bag packed with trip entertainment basics (books, magazines, tablet, charging cords/plugs, headphones)
-Smaller cross-body bag with essentials (wallet, phone, lip balm, sunglasses) that fits into larger bag.  You can just grab this smaller bag for quick gas, potty or food breaks.
-Small pillow (to use with your scarf "blanket" for naps)
-You may want to bring some hair bands to put your hair up.  I always need those close at hand.


What to bring (see photo below):
-Small toiletry bag with skin care basics and travel shower items (shampoo, conditioner, body wash - this might be a good time to try face cleansing wipes so you could avoid having to re-use a washcloth each day)
-Travel towel
-OPTIONAL: Basic makeup: mascara, tinted moisturizer or foundation, tinted lip balm
-Larger bag that holds toiletry bag, towel and change of clothes as you walk to the bathroom/showers (I recommend a non-leather and non-valuable bag for this - nothing that can't get wet or sit on a damp shower room floor if needed.)

What to wear:
For active days:
Wear your performance fabric gear - quick dry shorts and tank.  You'll be glad not to be damp 1 hour into your hike, plus if you need to wash them out before the next wearing, they'll dry faster than cotton fabrics.

For showering: 
Don't forget your rubber flip flops!  You will not want your bare feet touching those shower floors.  I forgot to bring those to the shower once during our last trip.  Ew.

For sleeping, lounging or traveling:
I like to stick to natural fibers when I'll be wearing them for a long period, and wearing them multiple times before washing them.  They seem more comfortable to me, and get less stinky.  So I bring a pair of knit cotton shorts and a pair pants for lounging and sleeping (I use whichever one the weather dictates at the moment).  This time I also wore a pair of linen/cotton blend shorts for the traveling one way, then a pair of light cotton/poly blend capris for the way home.  The capris seemed more comfortable to sit/sleep on the leather seats for the 24 hours straight we drove home.  Better than skin sticking to the seats!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

OUTFIT: Maxi and detailed tank

 Showing off my shoes?  I don't know.....

Activity: Meeting for worship

Sweater: J. Crew, thrifted (similar)
Top: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Cynthia Vincent via ebay (similar)
Bag: Cole Haan via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Watch: vintage Citizen via ebay (similar)
Earrings: ebay (similar)

Isn't it great when items you've had in your closet unexpectedly work well together?  I never tried this top and sweater together, but it turned out to be a natural mix.  Now I'm thinking: what else could I combine?  More combinations means more outfits without more clothes.  That's a formula I'm excited about!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

OUTFIT: Pink with patterned shorts (plus a review of J. Crew Factory 4" printed stretch chino shorts)

Activity: Hair appointment, dentist appointment, errands

Top: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Shorts: J. Crew Factory (exact - on sale and extra 30% with code SHOPSHOP)
Shoes: Michael Kors via ebay (similar - on sale)
Watch: vintage Citizen via ebay (similar)
Necklace: chain via ebay (similar)
Pendant: gift (so glad I realized I could also use a longer chain with this pendant!) (similar)
Earrings: gift (similar)

Only one picture, I'm afraid, but out of the many I took, only one turned out even remotely well (and that's still pretty remote).  Which is a shame, because I really like this outfit.  I plan to recycle it for a party this weekend.  It's my new go-to outfit: bright, fun and pretty comfortable.  Am I the only one who shamelessly recycles cute outfits (when I stumble on to them)?

REVIEW: J. Crew Factory 4" printed stretch chino shorts

I had forgotten about these adorable J. Crew Factory shorts I bought last month (too busy enjoying my comfy linen shorts from Old Navy, I guess).  I won't make that mistake again!  Now that I've worn them, I see many future outfits coming.  My favorite white blazer will definitely make an appearance with said shorts...

Fit: True to size.  I ordered my usual J. Crew bottom size, and it fit fine.  
Cut: It's a more fitted cut, so keep that in mind if you are bottom heavy.  
Style: Always a plus, there are pockets - both in front and back.
Fabric: Nice sturdy stretch twill.  Feels good quality, even though the pattern is printed-on, not my usual favorite type.

Monday, July 14, 2014

OUTFIT: Stripes squared, with leopard

Add caption

Activity: Volunteer work

Jacket: via ebay (similar)
Top: J. Crew Factory (exact - ON SALE!)
Skirt: Old Navy (exact in current colors)
Shoes: Sperry via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Bag: vintage Versace (similar)
Necklace: Lia Sophia (similar)
Watch: vintage Citizen via ebay (similar)
Earrings: gift (similar)

Am I wearing this mixed stripe thing too much?  I feel like this outfit is similar to this post, but, in reality, the hair, lip color, necklace, bag, skirt and shoes were all changed to give a different feel.  So, I'm thinking these items might work for a capsule travel wardrobe idea sometime?  Future post promise, peoples... Hold your breath.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Camping packing tips (mid-summer edition)

Layering options
1 jacket (denim)
1 cotton button-up top (red/black/blue plaid)
1 cotton scarf (black/white pattern)

3 cotton tees (black, navy, black marled print)
2 tanks (black cotton, gray performance fabric)
1 tank with built-in bra (for modest sleeping, since we were sharing a camper with others)

1 capri (blue cotton blend)
3 shorts (blue linen for travel, gray cotton for lounging, maroon microfiber for activity)
1 skort (gray microfiber for activity)
1 pair sweat pants (red cotton for sleeping/lounging)
1 skirt (I didn't end up wearing this, but packed it just in case we found a meeting for worship or could go out for dinner one night.  I would still bring it again.)

2 hats (gray cap, olive sunhat)
1 swim suit (black)
4 pair undies (quick dry microfiber)
2 bras (black, nude)
2 pairs hiking socks
1 pair earrings (blue studs)
1 sports watch

Hiking boots
Pleather sandals (for a touch of style, but nothing fancy, we were camping, after all.  Might choose to skip these next time)
Flip flops (for showering/lounging)
Should have added:  Keen sandals (for hiking across the stream with a super fast current)

* I knew I would be doing laundry half-way through the trip, so I could pack lighter than I normally would

This packing plan worked really well for me, and I will use it again.  For once I wasn't way overpacked, and everything fit into one pretty small workout-type bag.  For simplicity in outfits, I tried to keep (within reason) everything in one color palette of red, black, gray, and blue, with simple, graphic patterns that could work together.  The only thing I might add for next time is another performance tank and another performance short, only because of the heat and our activity level limited re-wearing options once I had already done laundry, especially since I would have had room in my bag for those two small items.   

Do you have any packing tips to share?  I'd love to hear them.  Happy camping!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

OUTFIT: Road trip

What to wear on a road trip where the morning temperature will be in the 60s, then you'll fry or freeze on the long car drive depending on the sun and air conditioning, only to arrive in an shadeless desert in the late evening?  This was my choice, and I was happy with it (don't you love it when that happens?).  Natural fibers (I find they're more comfortable to wear for a long period) and comfortable silhouettes - comfy linen shorts, cotton tank top and stretch cotton denim jacket.  The layering options worked well, as I sat in various spots of the car during the day and had different environments for each.  Flip flops (or some other kind of slip on sandal) would have been a bit more practical for easy on and off, but I decided to add at least small one element of style, plus these sandals are more comfortable than flip flops for me.

I also found the small cross-body bag (which I had inside of a larger car-trip bag that contained my entertainment options - books, Kindle, iPod, headphones, charging accessories) to be useful to corral my really needed items (sunglasses, wallet, lip balm) during the trip, but especially for when we quickly exited for bathroom/meal breaks.  I plan to organize similarly for our next trip, since it seemed to work so well.  Yay, organization!  Once in a while I achieve it...

Activity: 11 hour road trip

Jacket: Gap (similar)
Tank: not sure (similar)
Shorts: Old Navy, refashioned to remove cuffs (easier to wash and not need to iron cuffs) (exact)
Shoes: Ciao Bella via Piperlime (similar)
Bag: Coach (similar)

Friday, July 11, 2014

Hello, again, Internet!

In case you hadn't noticed (and please don't tell me you hadn't), I haven't posted for over a week.  I've been on vacation!  A great trip from the Midwest, through the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, across Wyoming, up Montana until you reach...  Glacier National Park.  Awesome trip, I totally recommend it (even if you are traveling with 3 other adults and 3 children under 9 years old in one SUV pulling a medium size pop-up camper.)

We had such a wonderful time.  Having no cell phone signal (or at least only 1G speed - thanks, Sprint) for most of the trip was actually a blessing (and no wifi for the entire trip for my laptop).  The views around were so spectacular, I'm glad I got to focus on them.  

And, the outfit photos I was planning to take?  Well, they mostly didn't materialize (any of you who have camped will understand why...).  But, I have lots of new ideas about packing, camping, Glacier National Park, the Badlands and some about fashion, too.  Just give me a chance to get some awesome packing list and camping help collages built, okay?

Here's a quick preview of the trip...  (Photo credits also go to Janelle and Don Kohlhagen.  We merged our pictures and shared cameras, so it's hard to say who took what photo exactly.  Just know the really good ones are probably Janelle's.)

OUTFIT (the lone one - more info on that another day):


Glacier National Park