Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bell sleeves for beginners...

Top: LOFT, recent (exact in limited color/size, similar)
Skirt: J. Crew, old (similar color, exact style in current colors)
Shoes: BCBG via eBay, old (similar color, exact style in current colors)
Bag: from Chinatown (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21, last year (similar)

Sometimes I want to try one trend at a time - to dip my toes in, so to speak.  This particular bell sleeve trend can make that difficult, however - many bell sleeve tops out right now include multiple trends at once (off shoulder! tie sleeve! poufy silhouette! etc, etc) and just scare me before I even try them on (so I don't).  When I tried this top on, I doubted it would work, but since it already had my favorite peplum silhouette, I was starting from the comfortable known realm, so I thought I'd give it a try.  I also tried some all cotton bell sleeve shirts on from LOFT that day, but they were just too much for me.  This solid-color, drapey, chiffon fabric felt like a beginner version of the bell sleeve trend, one I could handle.  I noticed the drapey fabric felt much less poufy, and more friendly to my short frame, and the sheer chiffon sleeve seemed to take up less space than some of the voluminous cotton bell-sleeve tops out there.  It also layers better, which I appreciate, since this is still early spring and layers are often needed!

Can we also just give a shout-out to this bag?  It was an impulse buy for myself when taking my mom shopping in Chinatown, but I've worn it a few times, so I think it turned out to be a good purchase.  It was my first purchase with pom poms, which I've been obsessed with for over a year. Coming soon to the blog:  DIY pom pom sandals.  I posted some similar purse options below, in case you fell in love with this look like I did.

In case you're thinking of testing out this bell sleeve trend, here are a few options that don't feature too many other trends at once.  The sheer options could be worn with a camisole to give a similar effect the the shirt I'm wearing:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

REVIEW: Olive ankle pants from LOFT (Sanded sateen chinos in Marisa fit)

Pants: LOFT, purchased in store last week, currently an extra 40% sale price (exact)
Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Tee: Eileen Fisher, thrifted (similar)
Bag: Botkier via ebay (similar)
Shoes: Via Spiga via ebay (similar)
Earrings: via ebay (similar, exact in gold, super similar in silver)
Watch: Applewatch 38mm, gift (exact)

These pants.  When I spend over $30 for any one item (usually the grand total of my purchase of several things at a thrift store - on a splurge day), there's a good reason.  One happy day last week I wandered into the LOFT sale section, and on a whim, tried these on, along with my usual LOFT cute tops.  This time, none of the tops made it home with me (how many cute tops do I need if I don't have cute pants to wear with them, right?), but the pants did.  There happened to be a petite 12 in the store, I tried that and a 10 regular.  I went with the petite, it fit better overall, and I really liked actually having a cropped pair of pants be above my ankles (a rarity when you're 5'2")!

I was talking about go-to color combinations last week (this post), and I neglected to mention this combination of olive, denim and black - partially because I couldn't make this combination until I found these pants (my previous pair got too big and were sold).  But olive and denim with black (here's an older example worn last year), or olive and chambray with navy (seen here) both work (I can think of lots of other possibilities, as well, can't you?), and I especially love how an olive pant looks with a denim jacket.  Since I'm not a huge fan of the denim on denim look (for me at least), having casual pants that are not jeans makes it much easier for me to wear my denim jacket!  Otherwise I can to wear a skirt with my denim jacket, which works fine, but isn't always what I want to wear on my days "off".  I already wear skirts a lot of the time!

Ok, finally I'll stop talking to share my "official" review of these pants.  I didn't take these photos with a review in mind, so they don't show many details as well as I would normally try to, but you can see more details at the website photos here.  I just thought I'd throw a review in here, since it's so rarely I actually buy something still available in stores and online - these are, and 40% off sale price!

Item: LOFT Sanded Sateen Chinos in Marisa Fit

Sizing: Runs pretty true to size, but definitely not on the large side like some LOFT sizing. If you're between sizes, you might want to go with the larger size for these pants.  The calf area is particularly on the fitted side if you have larger calves.  (In that case, you might like this fit better for you, still a very similar pair of pants with a little more ease at the calf).

Length:  The petite version hits an inch or so above my ankle bone.  

Fabric:  A nice substantial cotton-rayon-strech fabric with a soft, sanded finish.  That sanded finish gives it a touch more casual look, which is fine with me, but keep in mind if you're thinking of wearing these for work.  It would definitely depend on the workplace, these are not dressy chinos!

Quality:  Fabric, seams and finishing details all seem well-made.  

Color: A light, fresh olive (I believe it's officially called eucalyptus leaf), it's perfect for spring, but really classic for any season.  If you compare the LOFT website photo to my pictures, you can see that it is more olive green than it appears on their site, so that can be a good or bad thing depending on your preference, but at least you get another view of the color from my photos!

Other details: Zippered pockets in front are more flattering (although less easy to use, I will admit).  There is also a second seam that runs down the side that starts up with the pockets. I like that little detail, others may not.  It's not extremely obvious in the website photos, you can see it if you look for it in my photos.  For those of us who live or die by the details, it's good to know it's there to decide if you like it or not!

Comments:  I'm very happy with my purchase.  These pants are just right for a casual spring look and will be used often in the future, I think.  I'm already foreseeing them with heels and a blazer (probably with a graphic tee) for a night out, and with lace up sandals and a floaty white top for summer.  I'll be wearing this with my new blue and white striped off shoulder top, soon, too - watch for that on the blog!

Here are some other olive cropped pant options:

Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring flowers

Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Top: Who What Wear (similar)
Scarf: thrifted (similar)
Skirt: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Vince Camuto via Nordstrom Rack (similar)
Bag: Fratelli Roselli, thrifted (similar)
Watch: MVMT via ebay (similar, exact - sold out but you can sign up for an email)
Earrings: Groupon (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (similar)

Okay, maybe it's more like a jungle here than actual spring flowers, but it does set off a spring outfit nicely, no?  I'm back to getting reaquainted with my favorite basics for spring: olive utility jacket, flouncy cream cotton peplum top, cute (but comfy) sandals, and a neck scarf (as a nod to the trend, as well as a nod to the classic).  

To be honest, I felt like I didn't even really need the neck scarf added to the outfit, especially since this top has a pretty edging on the neckline, but I wanted to do something to make this outfit feel like spring 2017, not like a repeat of spring/summer 2016.  Because of the scarf, though, I kept the accessories to a minimum.  If I wanted to do a statement earring (seeming to be a hot trend for 2017 after the years of statement necklaces), I'd take off the scarf.

What do you do to update your classic outfits? 

Here are some sandal and peplum top options for you to check out!

Friday, March 10, 2017

4 Color combinations that always work


Jacket: Gap, thrifted (similar)
Dress: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Cole Haan via ebay (similar)
Bag: Frateli Rosetti, thrifted (similar)
Watch: Michael Kors via ebay (similar)
Earrings: Robin Undira boutique (similar)
Lipstick: Maybelline Fuchsia Flash (similar)

I've been thinking more about outfit formulas lately.  Sometimes I get myself all wrapped up in trying new styles, new color combinations, new patterns, new silhouettes.... you name it, that I complicate life for myself.  Specifically, the part of life that involves choosing your outfit for the day. Which is a fairly important part of life.  

Sometimes I have a new item (well, usually thrifted, but new to me) that I'm dying to incorporate into an outfit, so things are easy from that starting point, but that's not a sustainable method.  I don't always want to have to have something new in my closet, as fun as that is.  I'd really like to look at a more classic style formula, perhaps along the lines of a capsule wardrobe, but not that limiting or specific.  

I'm not ready to take the plunge into a full-on capsule wardrobe.  But, as a starting point, I've decided to make a list of color/texture combinations that seem really versatile, so that I can 1) remember these when I'm pressed for time (am I the only one who has issues with that?), and 2) I can give guidance to my shopping to see what would actually be useful in multiple outfits (as opposed to a one-off outfit opportunity, which I've been a little too prone to lately).

Here are some of the color combinations I find easy to grab, and that combine with various items of clothing:

1. Denim, black and cognac.  Just like my outfit today, I love pairing black clothing (especially a super comfy dress like this one), with a denim jacket and cognac accessories.  It just instantly looks polished, thanks to the black and cognac, with a casual twist, thanks to the denim.

Another slight variation with this color combination is adding a pop of red, whether a red lip or a red accessory:

Cognac, gray and black is another similar take on this combination:

You can also do chambray, black and tan (which is pretty close to cognac):

2. Blue (any shade), brown (also most shades) and orange.  This is one of my favorite go-to color combinations.  My only problem is that for travel you have to choose EITHER denim and red and black OR blue and orange and brown, and so I end up with good travel pieces that don't work in a capsule together.  I'm trying to work on that by building up some basic travel pieces that work together. :

(I dug way back in the archives to show how I've been using these colors for years):

 Less brown here, but....

 Ok, this one uses black, not brown but still...

Blue (any shade - navy, cobalt or chambray) with mustard and ivory

Brown is a good neutral with this combo, too

This variation replaces ivory with black, but it's close:

4. Blush, olive and ivory.  This is one of my favorites, although I don't do it as often as I should.  It makes me feel "fashiony" without going over the top.   It's very "real-life" wearable.

Blush, black and ivory also works:


Monday, March 6, 2017

OUTFIT: Soft trench

Trench: Gap, thrifted (similar style, similar style, similar style, similar(ish) color but limited sizes)
Top: Ann Taylor (similar)
Skirt: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Scarf: Echo, thrifted (similar)
Earrings & pendant: from a vacation in the Bahamas (similar earring, similar pendant)
Necklace: via ebay (similar)
Bag: thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Franco Sarto (similar)

I talked about some of my bucket list wardrobe items in a recent post.  Someday I'll actually write it down - and maybe even add it as a page to my blog, but in the meantime, it's been percolating in the gray matter for some time.  A soft, drapey trench coat has been on the list for a while, ever since I saw this post from Kendi, as well as many other photos back in the day on Pinterest.  A trench is such a classic look, and since I already have a (okay, two!) classic structured khaki trench coats (see this post and this one for outfits using each one), I thought a soft one would add some completely different options.  When I stumbled on this purplish-gray coat at a thrift shop, I didn't hesitate.  I would never have ordered this color if I was buying new, but I absolutely love how it goes with my blush items, and I'm curious to see what other color combinations I can make.  That's one of my favorite things about thrifting, the unexpected choices you can make when you're paying so little.

Here's a collage of soft trenches for spring, if this item happens to be on your bucket list, too!: 

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Thrifted style

Sweater: Talbots via ebay (similar on salesimilar more sizes)
Tee: Pendleton via ebay (similar)
Jeans: Kut from the Kloth, thrifted (similar)
Shoes: Cole Haan via ebay (similar)
Bag: Handmade, thrifted (similar)
Earrings: thrifted (similar)
Watch: Citizen (borrowed from hubby) (similar)
Lipstick: Revlon "Certainly Red" (exact)

I've sometimes wondered when my thrifted wardrobe would so overtake my regularly purchased wardrobe that every item I was wearing was thrifted.  Today was the day!  Each item I'm wearing, from head to toe (other than my borrowed watch and my bra and underwear, obviously...) is thrifted, whether via eBay or from a thrift shop (my usual favorite in my current area is Goodwill).

Anyway, the newest item seen here is this blazer-style camel sweater with fringe details.  On my bucket list of clothing wants has always been a fringed edge blazer (although I always kind of wanted a tweedy Chanel-look version, which I may still find sometime in the future), as well as a camel blazer.  But, while I love the look of a classic wool camel blazer, it doesn't fit my lifestyle all that much.  I would really only wear it for my volunteer work or meetings for worship, or perhaps in a dressy casual "going-out" look (which happens very rarely).  So, when I saw this sweater blazer version, that included the fringed edges, it seemed like it checked enough boxes to for me to bid on it.  I'm glad I did!  I think I'll get much more use out of it than a wool blazer.

Another recent wish list item found are these mules.  They seem to be very popular for this spring, and in this color, I think I'll wear them a lot.  I'll include some options for you to buy below, if you're also looking for this item.  It seems like a great transitional option for spring while it's too cool for sandals, but you're done with boots.  I'd love a red pair!

As for these gray jeans, I love the light color for spring - I'm over colored denim, but this just feels neutral to me.  I'm planning to fringe the hem myself, since I'd like them a little shorter anyway.  I'm going to try this tutorial, I'll let you know how it turns out!  

And here are some other things I've got my eye on:

-I never did find an off shoulder blouse I liked last year, but this one is pretty cute-I tried it on in store and will think about it...  It runs a bit large, so size down if you're between sizes.

-This is another distinct possibility in the cold-shoulder blouse category...

-This spring, I'm really feeling the French fashion vibe of using classic wardrobe items with a cool twist added (similar to this outfit), so white tees are definitely on my wish list.  I like this one and this one right now...

Below are some options if you're interested in any of these wardrobe items!