Thursday, December 10, 2015

OUTFIT: Chambray with cognac


Hat: thrifted (similar)
Top: LOFT (exact on sale with 40% everything and free shipping right now with code SNAILMAIL)
Tank: Old Navy (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Boots: Costume National via ebay (similar)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Robindira boutique, Petaluma CA (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)

There's something about a chambray shirt that pulls together an outfit in such an effortless way.  And blue and orange are always a classic color combination (confession: my husband is a die-hard Chicago Bears fan, so perhaps I've been affected in my color choices...).  Add fancy earrings, a beanie, and stripes to the mix, and you've got a winning combination.  (Which, sadly, cannot be said about my husband's favorite football team.  But don't tell him I said so.)

Saturday, December 5, 2015

OUTFIT: New shoes

Tee: Uniqlo (exact)
Pants: Gap Factory Outlet (similar)
Shoes: Vans (exact)
Scarf: Target (exact in currently available colors - my color seems to be sold out online)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Renegade Craft Fair, Chicago (similar)

These shoes.  We were shopping for replacement school shoes in November for Gavin at the Vans store (how he not only wrecked his brand new pair from August, but also turned out to have almost outgrown, I'll never understand...), and I saw these shoes in pink for little girls.  I was smitten immediately (I'll have to someday dedicate a whole post to my newfound obsession with adorable little girls clothing that I want in my size).  Not having cute, petite feet, I couldn't fit in a little girl's size, but when I looked online, they had these in adult sizes, in cognac, pink or cream (with black just added recently - check out Vans website to see all color options available, you can even check what's available in nearby stores).  Hallelujah.  I debated about color, since the pink is so freaking adorable, but decided that this cognac color is the perfect mix of street(ish) and classic style.  Plus a bit more practical than the quintessential moccasin boot, which I admire on others, but don't think I'll ever get, having short, non-birdlike legs not flattered by above-the-ankle boots, as well as an old-lady craving for arch support....

This post is so not sponsored (I only wish!), I'm just sharing something new I've been enjoying.  Being from the Midwest, I only thought of Vans as a skateboarding teenager brand, but they've actually got some really cute options for those of us who are all grown-up (including a new collaboration with Pendleton), so I've enjoyed actually checking out the more plentiful Vans stores here in California.

Here's two of the color options available, the Vans website has pink and black also, as well as options for kid sizes (and the cutest toddler version you've ever seen):

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

OUTFIT: Winter pale

Sweater: Banana Republic, thrifted (similar)
Tee: Uniqlo (exact)
Pants: LOFT, thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Talbots via ebay (similar)
Bag: resale shop in Los Altos, CA (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage shop in SF (similar)

I know it's not winter yet.  And that those of you who live in areas where that term actually means something have every right to not rush the season.  Trust me, having previously spent 40 years in a Northern clime - I get it!  So, while the calendar, and the temperature actually say fall, these colors made me think of cool winter tones.  

I normally gravitate toward dark colors, especially in the winter, especially in a climate where your clothing gets soiled from brushing against filthy salt and sand stained cars, as well as slushy, dirty streets.  But there's something cool and peaceful about these colors, and there's a (careful) place for them in a cooler weather palette also.

Tip:  Carry. Shout. Wipes.  Just saying.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

OUTFIT: Casual cape


Cape: vintage via ebay (similar)
Top: LOFT (exact)
Jeans: LOFT (similar)
Shoes: Talbots via ebay (similar)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage shop in SF (similar)
Bracelet: old (similar)
Watch: Kenneth Cole (similar)

I know this outfit is similar to my last post highlighting my newest wardrobe acquisition...  However, since that post was essentially a wardrobe planning idea (me playing with my new toy), I wanted to post a slight variation that actually proved wearable in real life.  I wore this running errands with my son - and even took him to practice his new "big-boy" no-training-wheel-bike riding.  Just your regular, run-of-the-mill cape-wearing mom - don't we all deserve a super-hero cape anyway?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

OUTFIT: Caped fun


Cape: vintage via ebay (similar)
Tee: LOFT (exact)
Jeans: LOFT, thrifted (similar)
Heels: Rachel Roy via ebay (similar)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage shop in SF (similar)

Couldn't resist the punny title....  I've always had a cape on my fashion wish-list radar (super-hero complex?), it just wasn't very practical in the Midwest, being 1) a bit over the top for my practical hometown, and 2) just not warm enough for actual winter, and too hot to wear in nice weather.  In San Francisco, however, I suspect I will get plenty of opportunities to wear this.  I've only had it a week and have worn it 3 or 4 times already.  (Granted, I'm looking for those opportunities, but who doesn't look for ways to wear a new wardrobe item?)  While my husband doesn't quite get it (nor do many of the guys who look quizzically at the armholes as if wondering exactly what I'm wearing), it's a fun way to wear an outer layer, and give myself another cool weather option besides wearing the same wool coat over and over again.

I've noticed that many of the current capes being sold (non-vintage), are much more flowy than this one, which may be more what you're looking for. I however, prefer the classic, tailored look of this cape, and find it much more flattering to my shorter frame than adding so much extra fabric.  Check out eBay for lots of interesting vintage options in various styles and patterns, often in excellent condition, and many for less than $50.  

If you're considering a tailored cape like this one, I will note that this particular style of cape does limit arm movement a bit.  I can drive in it, but adjusting the rear view mirror?  A bit of a pain.  Reaching the glove compartment for a napkin when you spill coffee all over newly acquired cape?  Almost impossible.  However, it can be done, and the many hours I'm wearing the cape while NOT driving (walking around in the city, etc.) make up for the slight inconvenience occasionally experienced.

Here are some options currently available if you're not up for searching ebay for vintage capes:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

OUTFIT: Chambray, black, tan, orange


Jacket: Gap (similar)
Top: LOFT (exact - on sale now)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Dolce Vita, thrifted (similar)
Bag: Ann Taylor, thrifted (similar)
Tights: Merona (exact in available colors))
Earrings: via ebay (similar)
Scarf: Target (exact)
Sunglasses: Ray-ban (exact)

I was thinking about how this outfit exemplifies one of my go-to combinations.  You know, the ones that always seem to work and make you feel chic and classic at the same time.  That's always my goal when I get dressed, but sometimes I try too hard and it just doesn't materialize (I don't take blog photos on those days, obviously!).  But this combination, with chambray, black and tan, with a pop of orange (red works, too), seems to always work.  

That's why adding a chambray shirt of some kind to your wardrobe can really add to your outfit options.  I just ordered this one from LOFT, and I'm glad I did!  I previously had a collared button-down (well, snap-down?) shirt in chambray that I had worn a lot, but it got too big when I recently lost some weight.  This collarless option with a high-low hem is going to get a lot of use in my closet, I can already tell!  I'm glad I replaced my chambray top, it's too valuable to go without...  (BTW: This top is now final sale, so it's a great deal, but in case you're wondering about fit, the petite version does run narrow in the shoulders and a bit shorter in the sleeves than I normally expect.)

Here are some options for you to consider:

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

OUTFIT: Fall texture

Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Tee: Uniglo (similar)
Pants: Gap (similar)
Boots: Bussola (virtually exact in current color offerings) - reviewed in this post
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage shop, San Francisco (similar)
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (exact in current color offerings)
Hat: boutique in Los Altos, CA (similar)
Scarf: Target (similar - on sale, found in store last week)

I'm finally starting to realize that the outfits I like on Pinterest are really simple to start with (and often to end with!) - tee, pants.  Then adding that denim jacket and a couple of accessories like a chunky infinity scarf and/or pom pom hat is all that the outfit needs.  Sometimes I try too hard, mixing in a unique top AND fancy accessories, but starting from basics is always good.  And usually simple.  And simple is good.  So good can be simple.  Contented sigh.

Here are some options for hats and scarves, mostly from Target, all affordable:

Friday, November 13, 2015

SHOPPING: Fall & Winter Accessories Sale at Target

This is totally non-sponsored.  I just happened to be in Target today and saw that they have some adorable winter accessories, and they are 20% off right now.  Here are some ideas for you!



OUTFIT: Tuxedo stripes and lace up flats


Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Tee: H&M (similar)
Pants: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Gap (exact) reviewed this post
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Hat: Forever 21 (similar)
Earrings: Robindira boutique in Petaluma CA (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via eBay (similar)

Yes, I'm a little obsessed with these shoes.  I just think they work with almost everything - white cropped jeans, cropped tuxedo stripe pants, pencil skirts...  you name it.  I'll stop wearing them when you pull them off my cold, stiff, dead feet...  Kidding.  But I am enjoying this particular seasonal purchase.  Don't you love it when that happens?

Monday, November 9, 2015

OUTFIT: Neutral textures


Sweater: thrifted (similar)
Blouse: J. Crew, thrifted (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew via eBay  (exact in current colors)
Shoes: BCBG via ebay (similar)
Bag: Marc Jacobs via ebay (similar)
Earrings: vintage shop in San Francisco (similar)

I had an awesome day of thrifting Friday, and found both this blouse and sweater, two items that had been on my wish list for a while - an oversized, drapy silk blouse and a light colored waterfall sweater.  Hooray!  I've been trying to add items with different silhouettes to my closet, to break myself of the 2 button blazer and knee length pencil skirt rut my closet seems to have been stuck in. It's a process, but a fun one!  

I used to think that to have a versatile wardrobe, I just needed to get the same items in different colors so I could mix and match those items.  So I bought the same crewneck tee shirt in a few colors, and very similar two-button blazers in 3 or 4 different colors.  And, if you've read this blog even a few times, I obviously own multiple colors and patterns of knee length pencil skirts.  But then I realized I wasn't able to capture the unique outfit looks I wanted.  All of my outfits had a certain sameness (something I'm still struggling to remedy).  Sure, it's okay to have one or two of basic, classic items that flatter your body type in different colors.  And that's a good start, especially once you figure out your more flattering looks for your shape.  But, once you figure those things out, it's even better to add a few completely different items to the mix, to completely change how those basic items work in an outfit.  In this case, a waterfall sweater is a completely different look than a tailored blazer.  And a drapy shirt like this looks completely different tucked in versus untucked, or even belted.

It's still a process, and I haven't perfected it by any means.  But, lately, when I've actually accomplished a look that's been in my mind for a while, it feels good.

If you're in the market for building a useful closet tips, here are a couple of options I've read - this one by Audrey, this one by Jessica, and this one by Fran.  Hope it helps!

And here are some more shopping options for this blouse and sweater combo:

Thursday, November 5, 2015

OUTFIT: Corduroy (and review of LOFT striped pocket blouse)

Top: LOFT (exact) - currently 40% off!
Pants: Gap (similar)
Flats: Gap (exact)
Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (exact)
Earrings: pearl studs (similar)
Blazer: Gap, thrifted (similar)

LOFT had their 40% off pricing going, and I'd had a few things in my cart for a while.  I finally bit the bullet and actually made an order that included this striped blouse.  Since I usually like the petite sizes in tops for this brand, I mostly have to order online, as very little petite sizing is found in stores (at least for the styles I'm interested in).  In case you're considering it, here's my review:

REVIEW OF Loft striped pocket blouse (currently on sale for 40% off $54.99)

Size: I'm wearing a petite medium here.  It's hard for me to tell "true to size" right now, as I've just lost some weight and am wearing a size down from my previous normal size in LOFT.  However, reviews said this ran bigger, so I decided that medium would be better than large.  I also tend to like petite sizing for blouses at LOFT, for the shorter length, especially on tunic length shirts like this.  This is somewhat tighter in the shoulders than I expected.  I have rather small shoulders, so, if you have broad shoulders, definitely don't size down, and maybe try it on in store. However, it fits fine in the bust and hips, which would normally be the more difficult areas for me.  

Length:  In the petite, on me, this hits at a nice low hip length in front, and a below-butt length in back.

Fabric:  This is my favorite part.  It's a great, drapey polyester that is comfortable to wear (and washable!), but looks nicer than a knit top.  I definitely plan to add more of this type of top to my wardrobe.

Pattern: The stripe is a classic navy and well-executed on the fabric.

Quality:  While I personally think the full-price of $59.99 is a bit over-priced for the quality, it is a nice shirt, and it's definitely worth checking out, especially on sale.

Style:  A classic tee shape with the roll-up sleeve tab detail.  Right on trend with the floaty blouse shape.

Comments:  As I mentioned, I'm really glad I got this.  I'm currently in need of some striped tops (I'm down to this one and one old top that's now too big - a shocking lack), and this fit the bill and more.  I know I'll wear it over and over in many different ways.  I already wore it like this and with a mustard yellow pencil skirt and layered pearl necklaces, and it just came Monday!  I definitely plan to try more colors in this top.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

OUTFIT: Lace dress for fall


Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Dress: via ebay (similar)
Belt: thrifted (similar)
Booties: Bussola (similar color, exact boot in current colors)
Tights: Merona (exact)
Earrings: Robindira boutique in Petaluma CA (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via eBay (similar)
Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (exact)

This outfit was in my mind (with bare legs and cognac flats) for my wine country anniversary trip.  I ordered this dress particularly for that trip.  But, it was much too warm for a layered look, and the dress didn't fit well at that time.  So, I was thrilled to see this post on how to wear your lace dress for fall.  While this outfit didn't photograph all that well on me (not surprising given the silhouette - a tricky one for my body type), it felt really good to finally bring to fruition an outfit I'd been working on creating for several months.  And wearing a dress in a more casual way felt like something different.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

OUTFIT: Plaid and lace up flats

Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Top: thrifted (similar)
Tank: Forever 21 (exact)
Skirt: Athleta (similar)
Shoes: Gap (exact) - reviewed in this post
Earrings: vintage shop (similar)
Necklaces: (similar chains, similar pendant, similar black necklace)
Bag: vintage Coach (similar)

So this outfit didn't get the hubby stamp of approval.  He felt the style of these shoes didn't go with the plaid shirt and denim jacket.  Whereas I just loved everything about this combination.  So....  I told him he just didn't get it and wore it and felt great anyway.  I think it's outfits like this that use contrasting items that are instantly either loved or hated -  in this case a casual plaid shirt with lace-up ballet flats, or the denim jacket and tulle skirt combo I showed in this post, or when you see "fancy" sequined items paired with casual denim (you get the idea - outfits that involve contrasts of style).  That contrast makes fashion interesting, but can cause strong feelings.  So maybe steer clear for occasions where the other person's opinion matters: a job interview, meeting the potential in-laws, etc.  Or not.  Enjoy the process!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

OUTFIT: Review of Gap lace up flats

Blazer: Gap, thrifted (similar) (It's navy, not black, by the way.  Lighting is misleading)
Tee: Old Navy (exact)
Pants, Gap, thrifted and refashioned (similar)
Shoes: Gap (exact)
Earrings: Robindira boutique, Petaluma CA (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)

Lace up flats seem to be the it shoe of the season (not to mention the cutest things ever).  Since I had some credit card reward points to use, I thought I'd try these adorable denim lace up flats from Gap.  Here's my review (not sponsored in any way), in case you're considering the same flats.  Hope it helps!

REVIEW OF Gap lace-up ballet flat: (retail price is currently $49.95, they come in chambray fabric, gold, sage or tan leather)

Size: These run true to size, as far as I'm concerned.  I usually run between 2 sizes, and because I chose the fabric option, which wouldn't stretch like leather, and because they were pointy-toed, I decided to order the larger of my two sizes.  It turned out perfectly.

Width:  I also decided to order the larger of my two sizes to be sure the width would work for me.  While I don't usually have to order wide width shoes, I do have to be choosy about the style in order to have comfortable shoes with my bunions.  These feel great, not tight at all.  If your feet were slightly narrower, you could slightly tighten the width (just a bit, not much) using the laces.

Color:  The chambray denim color is so versatile!  Not dark like a navy blue, but deep enough to be somewhat stain resistant.  Looks great with navy or black, as well as most other colors.

Sole: The bottom is rubber, which I prefer for walking, but it wasn't so sticky that I couldn't dance well in these shoes at the party I attended while wearing them.

Heel: Basically flat.

Arch support: None, but I still found them comfortable enough to literally dance on them for a couple of hours.  I'm not sure I would have enough room for an arch support, but possibly a small one would fit if you sized up a bit.  The lace up straps do allow for some customization of the fit.

Quality:  These look very nice, without obvious defects you sometimes see in fabric shoe styles sold at clothing stores.  While I was happy I only ended up paying around $20 (retail is $49.95) once I used my reward certificates, the quality is adequate, especially if you wait for a sale or use a coupon code.  I don't think the lace up straps are actually leather (at least in the fabric version of the shoe), but they are a decent imitation, and are finished unobtrusively so as not to detract from the look.  The lining of the shoe also feels like faux leather and faux suede to me, but they felt okay when I was wearing them, so I can't complain. 

Style:  A+ for style quotient.  I'm happy to have an adorable pair of shoes that hits the trend dead on, for a decent price.

Comfort:  As mentioned, I danced in these for several hours and was comfortable.  I don't have any pinching around the pointy toes nor the width, but I think that's because I chose to order the larger of my normal 2 sizes.  

Comments:  These are really cute shoes!  And, if you like the chambray look, they are the only ones I came across with that fabric.  All the others are nude or black, so this is a unique, but versatile version.  I almost never buy shoes at Gap, or any other retail store.  I usually view my shoes as more investment pieces, and I stick (mostly) to certain brands, like Cole Haan Air or Dansko.  This was a fun departure for me, and I really debated about ordering them, but I'm glad I did!

Here are some more options for this popular style, starting from lowest price at top left:

Monday, October 26, 2015

OUTFIT: Blush, marsala and mustard

See what a difference the scarf makes?

Scarf: H&M - not online, but purchased only a couple of weeks ago in store, maybe you    could still find it (similar)
Blazer: Theory via ebay (similar)
Top: Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in current colors available)
Shoes: Michael Kors via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Earrings: Robindira boutique in Petaluma CA (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar - on sale)

These colors just don't seem like they should work, do they?  But, with that scarf, amazingly, it all comes together.  I'm always impressed by designers who think to put those kinds of colors together in the first place, allowing copycats like myself to add coordinating clothing items to their original design.  In theory, design would be one of my first job choices - fabric patterns, clothing, shoes, home exterior and interior - you name it, but, in reality, I wonder whether I truly would have that kind of creativity.  I think I'll just enjoy the easier part of riffing off the work of other inspired designers.  

Even if you can't find this scarf in store, you may be able to use this as inspiration to pair the blush and wine (marsala, burgundy, maroon, call it what you'd like) items you may already have from this season and add a dash of mustard.

Bonus: My beautiful family all ready for our special day: