Friday, January 30, 2015

OUTFIT: Proportions (and neutrals)

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Sweater: Banana Republic - men's sweater borrowed from my husband (similar)
Shirt: Old Navy (similar)
Tee: LOFT (exact - on sale and I highly recommend!)
Skirt: Athleta, old (similar)
Watch: Nixon - also borrowed from Mike (exact)
Boots: Costume International via ebay (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar) 
Sunglasses: Ray Ban (similar)

Sometimes mixing up a proportion is just what's needed to get out of a wardrobe rut.  I don't want to completely overhaul my style, but did need to change the equation slightly.  The new variable?  A boyfriend cardigan.  (Or, in this case, a husband cardigan? Since I literally borrowed Mike's...)  Buying one specifically styled for women may be slightly more flattering, since the arms will be slimmer cut and not quite so long and bulky, but however you choose to do it, it's worth a try.  This outfit would be quite different just changing out the boyfriend cardigan for a fitted blazer or cropped cardigan, so this is a fun new option.  (Do keep in mind, with the bigger sweater, you'll want to define your waist, and keep the cut of your skirt or pant on the more fitted side to keep things looking flattering.)

Happy borrowing!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

OUTFIT: Blazer and jeans

Actvity: Errands

Blazer: Thrifted (similar)
Tee: Lands' End (exact)
Jeans: LOFT (exact)
Boots: Calvin Klein via ebay (similar)
Bag: Coach (similar)
Necklace: ebay (similar)

Because sometimes simple is good.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

OUTFIT: Pretty neutrals

Activity: Meeting for worship

Blazer: LOFT via ebay (similar)
Top: Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Skirt: J. Crew (exact in current colors)
Shoes: Levity via DSW (similar)
Bag: Ann Taylor, thrifted (similar)
Bracelet: family gift (similar)
Necklace/pendant: ebay (similar, similar)

I hadn't posted a dressier look for a while, so I'm sending this one out into the internet-iverse.  Which raises a question.  I seem to have a few readers, based on my page views, yet you're a quiet bunch.  That's fine, but I am wondering if there's anything you'd like to see more (or less) of, or features you've found helpful (or not), or a direction you'd like to see the blog take.  Just curious - shoot me a comment if you have one!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

OUTFIT: Neutrals + texture (and a bit on my fashion formula)

Activity: Grown-up mom's day off: hair appointment, shopping, sightseeing

Blazer: Merona, thrifted (similar)
Tee: J. Crew Factory (exact)
Jeans: LOFT (exact)
Scarf: super old, who even knows? (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar)
Boots: Bussola (exact)
Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (exact)

The feeling when your outfit matches your mood, your plans and the day?  Incredible.  

I struggle with casual outfits much more than dressier ones. I suppose it's because, with a casual outfit, you want to look like you tried, but not too much.  SUCH a hard concept to capture perfectly.  Especially for those of us not living downtown in a large city, we may feel overdressed in some of the killer casual outfits many (way better than me) bloggers post (like this fabulous one or this one) that we pin to our Pinterest fashion boards (or at least I do - somehow I doubt I'm the only one...) . So glamorous, but not very realistic for many of us.  

I've been trying to develop a formula for trying to capture the essence of a casual outfit that looks intentional and fashionable, but not overly dressed up or formulaic.  Not so easy.  However, one thing I think is starting to click is connecting to what I like in fashion outfits, and trying to find a version that works in my real life.  For example, I love blazers.  I think most of my pinned outfit photos in Pinterest involve a blazer - and usually a scarf.  So, that tells me what I like.  Now I just need to translate that to my real life, which involves a relatively casual lifestyle and an insane 4 year old boy.  Enter, the knit blazer (here's what Audrey says about it).  I still have dressier blazers for certain occasions, but I've noticed that I feel overdressed wearing them in my every day life, nor is a dry clean only blazer practical with my current daily lifestyle.  This knit blazer, made in sweatshirt fabric?  Oh yeah, I'll wear that every day.  Add a scarf and a tee that adds a bit of style with the lace overlay, and my mom-iform (mom-uniform - make sense?) becomes something I feel fabulous wearing...  And that's all fashion really should do, in my opinion...

Here's to you finding your formula for personal style - and rocking it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

WARDROBE RECAP: Black and gray striped skirt, 6 ways

Another week, another wardrobe recap.  My favorite look of these incorporates new colors - burgundy and blue along with the gray and black.  It's another reason looking back at your outfits can give you new inspiration.  I can't wait to try that color combination in another look.  

Here's a similar option still available for purchase (or this one, or this one).

Original posts with outfit details are linked to description above each picture.

With another size stripe, leopard flats and a white blazer:

With another stripe peplum top and red heels (not seen on the blog):

With a gray and blue shirttail sweater and burgundy accessories:

Bonus - Super goofy picture never before seen on the blog (Hmm, why would that be?).  But, it does show another option of using light pink with this skirt.  You're welcome for that laugh, too....

Sunday, January 11, 2015

WHAT TO WEAR: Winter airplane trip

Activity: Flight from Wisconsin to Texas - outside temps ranging from 10-30 F)

Sweater: thrifted (similar color and style, similar style)
Shirt: LOFT (exact, mine is petite)
Jeans: LOFT (exact)
Boots: Bussola (exact)
Scarf: army-navy store (similar)
Bag: Ashley Brooke via DSW (similar)
Hat: Stetson (similar)

Obviously this outfit could be worn for many different occasions.  I just wore it this past week, in fact, for a family fun day. But, I titled my post this way because I did find this to be an effective formula for air travel during cold weather, and thought I would share why.  

Clearly, you would normally need a top layer for this outfit in freezing weather (it was a high of 15 degrees F in Wisconsin the day I wore this).  Since I was traveling from my current home in Texas, to my hometown in Wisconsin, where I have stored all my really cold weather gear, I didn't need to bring a coat - I already had one there.  Then, I chose not to wear that really warm coat on the way back to Texas- so it will be in Wisconsin for the next visit, and because a big down coat would be a liability for most of the trip, since airports are well-heated.  You can decide how you would need to do things for your trip.  You could always pack your big coat in your suitcase if you needed to carry it on the trip, but didn't need to wrestle with it during your travels...

Those details out of the way, here's what I liked about this outfit (and plan to recreate when I next travel): 

1. This sweater is really thin, but really warm, so it's a great layer when you get cold in flight.  Try something with angora or wool and you'll stay cozy without a lot of bulk.  

2. The cut of the sweater was ideal - long in front to almost become a blanket when seated, but shorter in back so it didn't interfere with sitting comfortably.  There are quite a few "waterfall" sweaters cut like this out right now (here, here and here), you might want to try one.  

3.  Layers - I could wear or carry the scarf or hat, depending on the temperature at the moment (I get hot schlepping things around the airport, then cold once we're in flight.  4.  The hat made my ridiculously early flight time possible - no worries about whether I was having a good hair day or not!

4. Low boots - much easier than tall boots for getting through security, and more comfortable for sitting for long periods in the car or plane.  Plus, these were so versatile for my winter trip, they were the ONLY shoes I needed - they looked great with jeans, or dressed up with a skirt.  Mine are SO comfortable, and have a rubber sole for safety in icy conditions, so they are stylish and practical.

5.  Subtly patterned top - hides any travel grime or spills.  Or maybe you're neater than me.  Congratulations.  

6. Legging jeans - more stretch = more comfort.  Win-win.

Happy travels!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

OUTFIT: Color mixology - orange and burgundy

And, the best one for last...  My monkey boy and his favorite boots!:

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Scarf: Johnston and Murphy (similar, similar colors)
Sweater: thrifted (similar)
Tee: Lands' End (exact)
Skirt: Athleta (similar)
Tights: Merona (exact type)
Boots: Calvin Klein via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: Ralph Lauren (similar)
Earrings: old (similar)

Thank goodness for my husband's new scarf!  I've had both of the main elements of this outfit, sweater and skirt, for a while, but never would have thought to pair them together until my hubby found this great scarf over the weekend.  Don't you love surprise wardrobe inspirations?

PS Check out this post for other ways I've worn this sweater!  I guess preparing that post gave me fresh ideas for this sweater!

(And if my mom thinks my smile is "too flirty", I apologize.  It's really hard to take pictures of yourself, worse to have to look at and choose which ones to use, and even more horrible to post them for the public.  If my expressions are goofy, so be it...)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

OUTFIT: Make mine a combo - vest, chambray, jogging pants

Activity: Errands

Vest: Lands' End (similar)
Shirt: J. Crew Factory (similar)
Tank: Old Navy (similar)
Pants: American Eagle Outfitters (similar)
Boots: Bussola (exact)
Earrings: ebay (similar)

Sometimes you just want to feel like you're wearing your pajamas all day.  Yet, sadly, you must leave home.  This outfit was my solution.  Gorgeous?  No.  Comfortable?  Yes.  Moderately presentable for public occasions?  Sure.  Win-win.

Friday, January 2, 2015

WARDROBE RECAP: Bright sweater, 4 ways

I have a love-hate relationship with brights.  I'm usually attracted to neutrals, but then every once in a while I look at my bland wardrobe and suddenly hate everything.  Have you ever experienced that?  I also tend to think that neutral = versatile when I'm shopping, so I avoid anything too bright, thinking it won't be as useful.  Yet, every so often I come across a colorful piece I can't deny.  This sweater, in particular, was a thrift shop buy last spring - yes, spring, when I normally refuse to buy any heavy items that will sit in my closet until fall.  I just couldn't resist the super soft knit, and like-new quality of this sweater.  And, thankfully, I have been glad I bought it, over and over again.

The lesson?  If something really does speak to you, especially if the price is right, you might want to give it a try!  For me, I so rarely truly LOVE a piece, that when I'm really attracted to something, without thinking, "I wish it was in this color", or "I wish it had [x] detail", or "I wish it didn't have [x] detail", I am more likely to go for it.

As I mentioned in a recent wardrobe recap post, looking back at how I styled an item helps me think of new ways to wear it.  For example, now I'm wondering why I never tried this sweater with skinny jeans, brown suede tall boots and my brown wool paisley scarf (Hello, outfit for the Fort Worth cattle drive tomorrow!).  Or with distressed light wash jeans and leopard print heels? Or why have I not tried this sweater with a chambray shirt??  (Can't wait to play in my closet soon....)

The description above each photo links to the original post, which includes outfit details.

With jeans and ankle boots:

With a floral pencil skirt and heels:

With a neon yellow pencil skirt, tamed by navy: