Sunday, July 29, 2012

Daily outfits: July 23-27

Ahem. I was supposed to have this up yesterday, but real life intervened in the form of a baby who did NOT want to adhere to her nap schedule at all.

Monday, July 23

I don't have an outfit photo for this day, because I was working a night shift. So here's a picture of my cat sleeping on some shoes:

Tuesday, July 24: Classics

This was probably my most put-together looking outfit of the week, but somehow it didn't really feel like "me." The skirt is the last of my birthday goodies from my husband - I had to exchange it for a different size.

Blue pinstriped oxford blouse: Gap (clothing swap)
Khaki straight skirt: TJ Maxx (gift)
Caramel round-toe flats with silver buckles: Dr. Scholl's (thrifted)
Brown belt with brass buckle: Thrifted

Wednesday, July 25: More brown and blue

Broke one of my rules here and wore the same palette two days in a row. What do you know, the world didn't end.

As always, I had to bring a sweater so I can survive the freezing office. I think it looks better this way - the cut of the neckline on this dress isn't the most flattering for me. 

Ivory shawl collar cardigan: Old Navy (thrifted)
Brown checked A-line dress: Etsy (not sure which shop, my husband bought it for me)
Navy belt: Thrifted
Navy lace-up flats: Church sale
Gold beaded necklace: Inherited from my grandma

Thursday, July 26: Pink and gold

I like this necklace a lot but the back of the clasp is really scratchy - like, leaves red marks on my sternum scratchy. So I don't wear it a lot. 

I look pissed here, maybe because this top makes me look like I'm still pregnant. 

Maroon corduroy blazer: American Eagle (thrifted)
Fuchsia chiffon top: Clothing swap
Gold statement necklace: Clothing swap
White boot-cut trousers: The Limited (thrifted)
Black square-toe pumps: Hillard & Hanson (thrifted)

Friday, July 27: Preppy casual

I thought adding the blazer to this outfit would help it out, but I see now it was looking better without it. Oh well. 

Navy and white polka dot top: Church sale
Camel corduroy blazer: Some Japanese brand (thrifted)
Brown belt: see above
Slim-fit khakis: Kathy Lee for Kmart (Kmart)
White loafers: Some fancy Spanish brand (thrifted)

Sorry for being lazy, I have a really hard time remembering what brands my clothes are! 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A week of dresses, part 5: Giving up

This is the final installment in my "Week of Dresses" daily outfit series.

Friday, July 20

OK, I had a tough night up with the baby on Thursday, so by Friday morning I was positively wiped out. I had planned to wear another cute dress from my shop, but realized at the last minute that it wasn't nursing-friendly, so I had to scramble.

I have no defense for this look. Seriously.

Green knit tent dress: Thrifted, no label
Black capri leggings: Walmart
Black canvas slip-ons: eBay
Oregon necklace: Gift from my sister
Bird earrings: Etsy (seller no longer active, boo)

A week of dresses, part 4: Pink birds

This is the fourth of five installments in my "Week of Dresses" daily outfit series. 

Thursday, July 19

When I bought this dress, I thought it was just a housedress - something you would slip on to do chores. But the print caught my eye, and I'm a big sucker for a knee-length A-line skirt, so I bought it anyway.

Upon closer inspection, though, I started to think it might have been intended to wear out in public. Besides, I've never been one to let other people's ideas about clothes dictate what I do with them.

I am secretly hoping no one buys this dress so that I can keep it for myself ... I love it!

Pink bird-of-paradise day dress: Vintage, in my shop
Straw belt with gold clasp: Thrifted
Gold beaded necklace: Inherited from my grandmother
Two-tone brown T-strap heels: Bongo

A week of dresses, Part 3: Blue and green

This is the third of five installments in my "Week of Dresses" daily outfit series.

Wednesday, July 18

This dress is a great example of how much details matter. Remove the belt, take away the contrast-color trim, the shoulder details and the above-the-knee hemline, and it could be just another ordinary uniform-type dress.

But I feel like it becomes something special with these little added touches.

I have been hanging on to these navy flats for several years despite the fact that they're too big for me. I keep saying I'm going to upgrade to a pair that actually fit. When I do, I'll list these in my Etsy store - they're too great to keep to myself!

Royal blue shirt dress with kelly green trim: Vintage, in my shop
Navy blue belt: Thrifted
Navy blue lace-up flats: Church sale
Copper and mother-of-pearl earrings: Gift from my husband

A week of dresses, part 2: Dotty

This is the second of five installments in my "Week of Dresses" daily outfit series for the week.

Tuesday, July 17

Tuesday was the hottest day of them all, so I tried to find something really lightweight. I love this sheer polka-dot dress - the blousy fit meant I've worn it before, during and after my pregnancy. The flounced skirt is the perfect length for me.

Sheer black-and-white polka dot dress with ruffles: Consignment
Silver bird necklace: Etsy (shop no longer active, sad!)
Black kitten heels with cutouts: Payless

A week of dresses, part 1: Not drunk, just sleepy

I'm doing something a little different with my "week of outfits" this time, since I actually took more than one photo every day. I know, I'll let that astonishing fact sink in here for a minute.

Monday, July 16

I decided to highlight some of my favorite summer dresses this week, since it was wickedly hot out. But my office is usually as cold as the tomb, which is why you see some cardigans here as well.

I passionately love this vintage dress. When I found it, it was one of those rare cases of stumbling upon an original vintage item that represents the inspiration for current trends in retail. I did fumble a little bit when it came to styling my outfit to make it office-appropriate, though.

Purple Indian-print baby-doll dress: Vintage, no label
Pewter studded pointy-toe flats: Old Navy (thrifted)
Pearl and rhinestone hair clip: Vintage, thrifted
Alexandrite necklace: Gift from my husband
Royal blue wrap sweater: Clothing swap

I'll post the rest of my outfits for the week in separate entries - stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rules and limitations

In high school, I used to wish that I went to a private school where you have to wear uniforms, because I thought it would be a great challenge to try to still have some individual style while not violating the dress code. 

I was kind of a weird adolescent that I was thinking about this sort of thing, but there you go. 

In college, my favorite parties were the dress-up ones, where costumes or themed outfits were the norm. I remember raiding my guy friends' closets for Transvestite Night, making trips to the local Salvation Army for the prom (I wish I still had that dress! It was a gorgeous white 70s maxi) or making togas out of bedsheets for the Bacchanal. 

Transvestite Night 1999

Today, I use my 9-to-5 office job as a modified form of playing dress-up. My workplace's dress code is incredibly vague - I could wear anything from a sweater and khakis to a suit and heels, and no one would bat an eye. So I have kind of made up my own dress code - and a number of admittedly silly rules to try to keep things interesting for myself. 

My No. 1 rule, which I probably violate more than any other, is "Don't be boring." Since my workplace is not particularly conservative, I figure I can kind of go nuts and wear paisley minidresses and orange spike heels without having to worry about being censured. (Although I did get sent home when I wore the minidress seen below, because the skirt was too short. So there's that.)

So I make up little rules for myself - like not wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row, or wearing a different color every day, or alternating between pants and skirts. This week it's all about little dresses, because a) it's hotter than the dickens and b) I just got a bunch of stuff back from the cleaner's that I'm dying to wear. 

But I struggle to shed other style rules, like not wearing white after Labor Day, or matching your belt to your shoes. For some reason it's just hard for me to violate these fashion dictums, even though I know there is no good reason to follow them. 

Do you follow any style rules? Do you make up your own? 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Daily outfits: July 9-13*

Monday, July 9

In a rare turn of events, I bought myself something while I was thrift shopping over the weekend (part of my primary-colors mini haul seen here). I was hoping the fit on this yellow top would be a bit looser (the cuffs hug my upper arms a bit, ahem), but overall I'm pleased with it. I also tried a new hairstyle, at my peril. I will only say this once: I REALLY need a haircut.

Yellow knit top with lace insert: H&M (thrifted)
Black knit pencil skirt: thrifted
Black kitten heels with cutouts: Payless
Black fitted cardigan: JC Penney

Tuesday, July 10

I really look like my mom in this picture. Fade the colors a bit, and I could totally see this picture in one of our old family photo albums. (Also maybe substitute clogs for the heels ...)

Red top with moon and stars print: Thrifted
Blue faux-leather belt: Thrifted
Navy wide-leg trousers: The Limited (gift)
Brown T-strap pumps: Bongo

Wednesday, July 11

I'm making the squirrel face here because I realized as the picture was being taken that I had forgotten to put on my shoes. Oops.

Here they are:

I adore this dress - you can't really see it here, but it has very sweet puff sleeves. Back before baby, I used to be daring and wear this dress without a camisole underneath.

Black-and-white leaf-print jersey dress: London Times (thrifted)
Blue sleeveless cardigan: Sweet & Sinful (thrifted)
Black-and-white polka dot belt: Borrowed from a thrifted dress
Black strappy pumps: Hillard & Hanson

Thursday, July 12

Boy, do I look crabby. I have had this skirt for a couple of years and worn it maybe twice. It's one of those pieces that I like in theory, but have a hard time putting into practice. The flats, on the other hand, I have worn almost into rags. Love them.

Gray knit top with gathered detail: Soprano (thrifted)
White drop-waist skirt with circle print: Fossil (clothing swap)
Pewter studded pointy-toe flats: Old Navy (thrifted)
Gold bangle: Found
Gold beaded necklace: From my grandmother's jewelry collection

*Friday, July 13

Ahem. I didn't actually manage to get a shot of my outfit, because my day got totally derailed. So here's a picture of my dog in a baby carriage instead.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Not that kind of girl

Other people's blogs are such a great source of fashion inspiration to me, not to mention just being wonderful eye candy. I am so envious of the way Jessica, Steffy, Kaylah and others capture their outfits in such vivid color and clarity. The vintage styles of Solanah, Ally and Ulrika make me look at some of the vintage pieces in my wardrobe in a new way. And since I live in a fairly small town, I love seeing what people in other places are wearing on blogs like Urban Weeds, Style Scout and of course the Sartorialist (which I will admit, I always thought was a guy? I don't know why I thought that ...)

But I kind of have a problem, which is that when I admire or enjoy looking at other people's styles, I start to mimic them - or, worse yet, berate myself for not being as cool as them.
Sometimes that's a good thing. A particularly glamorous and well-dressed co-worker inspired me to wear more belts - something that sounds pretty mundane but had the effect of transforming my wardrobe. I was always interested to see what she was wearing, and enjoyed talking to her about fashion and style. I felt like having her in the office kept me on my best game - I always considered it a win if I got a compliment from her on what I was wearing.

And sometimes it's not so great. Sometimes I ape the style of an outfit I've seen on someone else, online or in real life, just to see if I can. And while I may feel short-term satisfaction in being able to successfully mirror that style, it's a hollow victory if the resulting look doesn't really feel like "me."

I loooove looking at vintage-inspired hairstyles and makeup, and even reading nail tutorials. But I have to be honest with myself that I am never going to do any of these things. It's just not who I am. My idea of "doing my hair" involves one of two things: 1) Taking my dry hair down from the ponytail/bun/twists I put it up in the day before; or 2) putting my wet hair up in a ponytail/bun/twists. That's it. A far as makeup goes, if I'm feeling really frisky, I'll put on some eyeliner to go with my tinted lip gloss. And nails - well, the less said about my nails, the better.

So while it's great to admire the looks I see on other blogs, I have to take care to not get caught up in comparing other people's styles to my own.

Do you find fashion blogs inspiring, or depressing? Or a little bit of both? Where do you get your fashion inspiration?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Complete the look

I will admit to being a total noob when it comes to accessories. Accessorizing was a major hole in my fashion game for many years, and is still something I'm working on. To be perfectly honest, I credit the show What Not To Wear (warning: this link contains autoplaying video) with really getting me to think about accessories.  I feel like they always make a point on that show of talking about how the right jacket, necklace, belt, shoes or bag can set an outfit apart and make it special. They also gave me the courage to not be "matchy-matchy" with my accessories - something I still struggle with.

Since I'm being candid here, I will also admit that I LOVE fashion makeover shows like "What Not To Wear." Besides being fun to watch, they really affirm the idea I hold dear - that fashion isn't just a shallow pursuit for vain, rich people, nor are clothes just something to keep us warm and modest. Fashion can transform us, can communicate volumes about who we are, can bring beauty and joy into everyday life, and can help people let go of negative ideas about their physical appearance.

But I digress.

Like I said before, I never used to give accessories much thought. I had a minimal selection of jewelry - mostly stuff I had gotten as gifts - and even fewer pairs of earrings. Somewhere along the line, I acquired a belt or two, and a handful of silk scarves, and that was about it. But I rarely wore any of it, unless it was with specific outfits that I had decided "matched" those accessories.

Source: via Amy on Pinterest

What really pushed me to start using more accessories was the Fashion Diet I went on a few years ago. For about 3 months, my entire wardrobe fit into a suitcase (excluding shoes) fit into a suitcase. I realize that, for some people, that would not be a big deal. But for me, it was a Really Big Deal.

I wrote about the Fashion Diet at the time, so all I will say about it here was that having only a few pairs of pants and a handful of tops taught me to use scarves, belts and jewelry to bring some variety into my wardrobe. I know, right? The rest of the world already knew this. But I didn't.

Now I feel like accessorizing is a fun game. Which necklace should I wear with this top? Picking the right one is like finding a missing puzzle piece - everything just lines up and works.

Do you like to accessorize? What are your go-to pieces?

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Just dropping by to acknowledge that I totally failed at blogging this week. Between the holiday, and working some night shifts, my schedule was thrown way off balance, and the little windows of time I usually am able to carve out for blogging just seemed to disappear. Naturally, now that it's the weekend, I'm sick and just feel like crawling into bed with unlimited beverages and terrible movies.

I did manage exactly two Daily Outfit photos, though, before my week totally collapsed on me, so here you go:

Monday, July 2

Not my finest work, but I really tried. However, working a night shift on Sunday really diminished my capacity for putting together a really smashing outfit, so this is what I ended up with. That top could have benefited from an ironing, huh?

Fuchsia woven puff-sleeve pullover blouse: Thrifted
Black skinny trousers: H&M (thrifted)
Black pointy kitten heels with cutouts: Payless Shoe Source
Black cluster necklace: Clothing swap

Tuesday, July 4

I am kind of in love with this blouse from my shop, if it wasn't obvious from my description of it. It honestly does feel more like silk than like polyester, it's so lightweight. However, I'm feeling like it's time to say goodbye to this khaki skirt - in my mind's eye, it's a cute mini, but in this picture, it's looking pretty unflattering to me.

Navy short-sleeved blouse: Vintage, from my Etsy shop

Khaki A-line skirt: Gap (thrifted)
Red loafers: J. Crew

I promise to do better next week ...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


After posting about my grandmother Janet's style, I realized I owe a post to my other late grandma, Barbara.

Barbara was my father's mother, and lived just across the road from us growing up. She was a prolific seamstress and sewed much of her own wardrobe, as well as garments for her daughter and grandkids (i.e., me and my sister). She always looked very put-together - I can't picture her in anything but a polyester pantsuit, which sounds kind of hideous, but she always made it look very chic.

This picture, in fact, is the pantsuit I always remember - tan and white checks.  With her ash-blond hair, it made for a rather monochromatic look, but one that suited her and never looked out of place or out of season. I was fascinated by the fact that she went to the beauty salon regularly to have her hair done - I had no idea what that actually meant, but it sounded fancy.

Barbara died in the mid-1980s, so the styles I remember her wearing were very much still rooted in the 1960s and 70s. But she was a very stylish woman, so it's intriguing for me to imagine how her fashion sense might have evolved over the next decade or two.

I wonder what styles my generation will carry with us into old age?

Sunday, July 1, 2012


I've been thinking about my grandmother Janet's style a lot lately. When I posted my summer must-haves in June, my sister totally called me out, noting that a lot of the stuff I had chosen was totally grandma style. Then some piece of Mexican pottery on Etsy prompted me to put together a treasury of pieces that remind me of her house.

My mother's mother, Janet, was not someone you would necessarily think of as a fashion icon. Her style was very simple - plain, even. When I picture her, I imagine her sitting at my parents' dining room table, wearing a short-sleeved checked blouse, cotton slacks and slip-on shoes. And that was it. She didn't wear much jewelry or makeup - red lipstick, and maybe some powder. She wore black, white, red and navy in abundance, or so it seems in my memory, and they suited her dark hair and fair skin.

Grandma stylee

I certainly did not identify with it growing up - I preferred more bold fashion statements (like 5-inch platform heels, tights with one leg purple and one leg chartreuse, or turquoise hair). But these days, I do find myself emulating her simple, classic style. My latest thrift-store haul featured a bunch of items, including red cotton trousers and navy espadrilles, that I could picture Janet wearing.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I'm not ashamed to say I have granny style. In fact, I would take it as a compliment. A lot of the items in my Etsy shop come direct from the closets and dresser drawers of grannies, and I think they're awesome.