Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Style It! MultiColor Top

I love J. Crew. I wish I could own every piece from every season, but I especially loved this silk shirt. Recently (as in within the last week), it went on sale for $49.99 with an additional 50% off of clearance in stores, so I began to look around and see if I could find it in my size. I was in luck -- and scored it for $23 with my teacher discount a few days ago (original price $118)!

At first, I was a little baffled about how to wear it because it's so LOUD on its own! Here's what I have so far:

I think this top passes my "wear it with stripes" test. I paired it with a neutral-color striped skirt and black shoes, but incorporated a little bit of color in the cobalt belt.

Keeping with the stripes theme, I thought I'd show you what the pattern with stripes might look like when the patterns are both on top. I think it looks great with a striped blazer:

If you're feeling bold and interested in wearing the top with some color, I'd stick with one of the colors that appears most in the top. Maybe it's a bit matchy-matchy, but I try to play it safe when one of the pieces I'm wearing is really busy!

I am so excited to wear this top with jeans! I am on the hunt for a less-expensive version of this necklace and I love how the shoes incorporate a little bit of orange/coral, as well!

Grey pants are perfect. Seriously. I think they are the  ideal non-boring neutral! You could wear this top with plain black pants, but the grey texture keeps it chic and interesting. I added a statement necklace to this outfit, though I imagine you may not need much jewelry to make it a statement.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Style It! Grey Sheath Dress

I mentioned a couple posts ago that one of the top desirable pieces on my wish list was a grey sheath dress. I spotted one at Old Navy a while back for 50% off (now on sale for around $12!) and happily took it home.

I am so excited to wear this beauty to work -- it's so versatile and classic! I styled a few ways that I plan to wear it:

This first look incorporates a little layering with a gingham button-down. I can see myself adding a blazer or cardigan on top, as well. If you have a short sleeve dress, try wearing a button down under it! It adds some versatility to your dresses!

I am in love with this sailboat cardigan from Target, and I already have plans to wear it with this dress and my anchor belt! I love this dress with the pineapple print cardigan, as well. Grey is such an easy color to mix without being a basic black or boring khaki.

In cooler months, I plan to mix it around with my blazers -- and I think it's especially adorable with polka dots! I kept it simple with accessories, but it would be easy and fun to add some color to the neutrals with a fun pair of shoes or belt.

One of my outfits already in queue for the first week of school involves a silk scarf I bought at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul and a striped cardigan. I used what I could find to recreate it, but I'm amazed by the way this dress can formalize any combination!

Yet another basic combo with some fun shoes and jewelry -- this dress is so professional on its own, but looks great paired with other cornerstone pieces of your wardrobe! I made this outfit a little less boring with a pair of snake print d'Orsay flats.

In the Fall, I am loving the idea of wearing my tan plaid scarf, boots, and maroon cardigan. 

So, who's with me? Isn't this dress perfect for a professional wardrobe?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Style It! Punk Floral Skirt

I'm loving the Punk Floral skirt I recently purchased, and here are a few ways I've brainstormed to wear it:

I have a basic "will it go with...?" rule when it comes to buying bottoms. Lately, my standards have revolved around testing to see if it works with a grey tee and a chambray button down...I think this skirt passes the test!

(remember when I hated chambray and completely resisted it?)

Okay, so to prove to you that it doesn't work solely because grey tees and chambray go with everything...

I love my yellow gingham button down, and I think that a small gingham will work really well to balance the large flower print on this skirt. I added a cardigan for layering, though you can take it or leave it.

I also wear my striped tops with just about everything, so this outfit was a no-brainer! I love seeing the punk floral top paired with a striped skirt and I think it looks just as good with the top and bottom reversed! I added the ever-popular Kendra Scott necklace in a complementary color for good measure. Add a solid color cardigan to make this outfit a new one -- I'm definitely planning to wear this with my yellow and pink cardigans.

This look is a little more basic, but it shows how the skirt can be toned down instead of mixing it with other patterns. Wear with with virtually any solid color top -- this skirt has cool and warm tones to balance any part of the color wheel!

A little brighter this time...

For a fun casual outfit, try pairing it with a graphic tee and some sneakers.

Any other ideas about how to wear this skirt?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Recent Purchases

I haven't been posting my shopping purchases for a while, so I thought I was overdue to share some things that I've added to my closet this summer. 

I've been really good about recognizing what I do and don't wear in my closet, and I've gotten rid of a lot of clothes. I approached the purges with a basic "do I wear this because it's in my closet or is it in my closet because I wear it?" I know that's a bit of a catch-22 question, but I needed to get rid of the excess that I only bought because it was on clearance or that I like, but never wear. I allowed myself to keep one item of each type that I wasn't sure about (like my lace skirt), but I was brutal with the rest! I have been taking my clothes to a local semi-consignment shop. I then take the money from those sales and put it toward buying one or two items that I really need. I've made enough from selling old clothes to just about everything I've purchased! 

The only things I've added to my closet so far this summer have been well-thought out staples that I will and can wear multiple ways. Here are my late-May through early-July purchases:

  • Punk Floral Skirt: I hated missing this pattern after it was gone last year, so I promised myself that I'd try to track it down if it came back. Well, it did, so I found a Factory version on eBay for about $30. I am planning to cut down my skirt collection, and that includes making some hard choices about any redundant items. I don't have any skirts this color or with this large of a pattern, but I know that I'm holding onto quite a few skirts that I need to get rid of. (Bought with money from selling clothes)
  • Grey Sheath Dress: I've been trying to find the right one for over a year now! I haven't had any luck until I serendipitously bumped into this one at Old Navy for $15 while I waited for a friend to arrive for lunch. It's going to be perfect. I'm having a love affair with ponte right now, and this dress definitely looks a little more expensive than Old Navy. (Bought with clothes selling money)
  • Navy Sheath Dress: In the same trip as the grey sheath dress find at Old Navy, I purchased a navy sheath dress similar to the one above for less than $30 at J. Crew. This is another basic, classic item that I've been looking forward to finding for a while -- and the price was right this time! (Bought with money from selling clothes)
  • Scalloped Dress: I bought a similar scalloped dress to the one above at SheInside for $19.50. I actually bought another dress to get free shipping, but they refunded me the cost after discovering it was sold out (bummer). I haven't gotten it yet, but I'm hoping that it will be long enough to wear to work and layer! If not, it's still a great summer dress for weddings and fun occasions.
  • Black Skirt: I've been wanting a nice black non-pencil skirt for a while. I have an old LOFT cotton skirt that officially looks cheap and non-structured, so I never wear it anymore. I want to upgrade my closet to mature as I do. While this skirt is only from Target, it looks great -- and it's long enough for work! (The one I purchased is a little different than the one I posted above, but I couldn't find it in the widget builder). The ponte material looks much more expensive than cotton or polyester. Target had an online promotion to buy three clothing/shoes/accessory items and get the fourth free, but the original price is $22.99.
  • Merona Sleeveless Shells: Yes, they're polyester, but they are the perfect layering tanks. I saw them both in stores earlier this spring, but hesitated to buy them because I had already bought the pineapple print and sailboat cardigans. I have still been thinking about them, so I thought it was time to go for it when I saw the Buy Three promotion online. I love the "piping" on the front -- I'm excited about all the ways I have planned to wear these! They're $19.99 each and in multiple colors!
  • Yellow Gingham Button-Down: I remember looking at this a few times when it was in store, but I played chicken with it too long. By the time I realized that I had to have it (around the time that I discovered how cute it would look under my pineapple cardigan), it was gone. It's $22.99 normally, but I thought it was reasonable with the buy-3 promotion, right? It will look cute layered under my new sheath dresses, or even with the black skirt or punk floral skirt I bought!
  • LOFT sheer 3/4 sleeve top (not pictured): I found a top at LOFT for $12 and left it on the clearance rack because I wasn't sure about it, but then returned for it a couple days later. I am glad it was still there! It is going to be the perfect professional blouse for warm weather and will transition well for layering in the cooler months! (It's this one in the non-maternity version...Basically, it's Fran's pink one in white).
  • Jewelry: I bought a LOT of jewelry when we were in Europe! It's my goal to find at least one fun piece from each place we visit, but I don't count souvenir shopping in my budget. I have purchased a necklace and two pair of earrings from an online Etsy shop for $45 after selling over half of my jewelry collection with my clothes. I have more than I need in the jewelry department, especially considering how my jewelry collection has grown to favor more unique pieces from our travels. I'd rather wear those than bubble necklaces and trendy plastic danglies. Don't get me wrong, I still love me some statement necklaces, but I've narrowed my collection considerably to those that I really love and "go" with multiple outfits.

I'm feeling rather satisfied with my closet right now and I can't think of any major purchases that I'll need to make. I've got ideas for the entire school year, so any purchases I make in the next few months will probably be upgrades to my current wardrobe or awesome investment statement pieces. As I mentioned earlier in the post, my goal for my closet is to mature it a little more and replace overly-worn or cheap-looking items with higher quality pieces. I want to pare it down to a well-curated closet that gets worn, but can handle the wear!

Monday, July 07, 2014

Style It! Black Lace Skirt

You may have seen on Instagram that I have this black lace skirt that I bought at LOFT for $14.88...five years ago.

It's a gorgeous skirt, right? However, I've worn it a whopping...three times since I bought it. (I know, right?)
I reached out to all of you to give me some styling help, and I've been brainstorming a few ways ever since. Here are a few ways I'm planning to wear it thanks to your help (and if you have any other suggestions, I'm in need of them!)

This was the only embellished collar button down I could find right now, so pardon the price! I love the idea of transitioning it to Autumn with a crisp white button-down!

How fun is this weekend version with a graphic tee and some flats?

I originally searched for a plain chambray shirt, so take the dots or leave them. I think plaid and lace make a fun mix, so I tossed in some booties to keep the look a little eclectic.

And...of course a striped shirt! Someone mentioned adding in a bright scarf for a pop, and I think that this is a great outfit to try it out! I'm not 100% sold on the shoes, but I do like the vintage cut-out look, so I'd probably stick with something like that (or black flats for work...).
The only issue I really have with this skirt is that it is a little too short for everyday wear at work. Just a couple more inches and it would be perfect! I'm honestly wondering if investing in a longer version would be worth it -- I have a lot of ideas about how to wear it, and I think I would wear it more if I could translate it into my work life. Here are a few options I found while shopping around (some are WAY out of my price'll see...).

Do you think buying another black lace skirt at an office-appropriate length would be worth it or should I just keep this one for the weekends?

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Style It! July 4th

I've been loving all the July Fourth-inspired outfits on Instagram -- and it seems like everyone is going Pinterest crazy over them, too! I thought I'd join in the fun by showing you a few ways I'd incorporate red, white, and blue into my outfit without looking like Uncle Sam's extraordinarily patriotic niece.

This first one incorporates a little nautical theme without being too overbearing -- and I love the idea of comfy sneakers with a jersey skirt! The red definitely makes this outfit a little more patriotic. This outfit is casual and comfortable -- perfect for a day grilling out at the lake or a late night viewing fireworks!

There is nothing more Americana than denim. Instead of wearing jeans with this look, though, I opted for a chambray top with a pair of striped shorts.

Lilly Pulitzer Seersucker, Tiffany & Co., and Tory Burch. This outfit is perfect American prep! Just don't drip any barbeque sauce on those adorable shorts...
But, of course, if you must do the Fourth in a way that would make John Phillip Sousa smile, here's a Stars and Stripes themed outfit for you!

How are you dressing for the Fourth?

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Style It! Purple Pants

The sweet lady over at ReadWriteTeachStyle sent me a request for ideas on how to style a pair of bright lilac pants from Old Navy. To be honest, I had a hard time finding a pair online that were the same shade, so I'm a little jealous that she was able to find such a rare color pants!

I'm convinced that there are quite a few ways to style them!

When in doubt, wear it with navy and white. I love the idea of it with cute little oxford flats, a polka dot button down, and a blazer! I think that this top works well with almost any bottom!

I've seen so many bloggers and Instagrammers (new word) rocking a green utility jacket. I say wear the stripes with or without the layers, but a striped top is such an easy way to style any outfit...that's why I have quite a few of them in my closet.

Purple is "across the color wheel" from orange and yellow, so that means the warmer side of the color spectrum really adds character to the gorgeous lilac of the pants. I went with the ever-popular pineapple print shirt from Target to complement the lilac pants -- and I added the black/white cardigan for cooler-weather layering. The necklace is just for fun.
These pants work so well on their own with just a statement tee or plain tees and fun jewelry! I love the idea of it with black and white, navy, or even funky-patterns with multiple colors tossed in! I really think that the possibilities are endless with these pants! Here are some other tops I discovered while searching for items to style with it--I liked them all, so I decided just to compile them in one collage:

How would you style these pants?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Style It! White Pattern Pants

One of my favorite people on the planet, sweet Brynn, suggested an idea for my Style It! posts. She has a pair of white pants with a blue floral print (hers are here) that she needs some help styling. Here are a few looks I put together to give her some ideas!

I love the idea of these pants with a plain grey tee, but you can add a fun striped or seersucker blazer to make it a little less casual.

My first instinct was to pair it with a chambray top, of course. Seeing how Brynn already achieved that look on her blog, I thought a little layering was in order! A black sweater is a versatile piece for any wardrobe and works well with these pants! Or, leave the sweater off, roll up the sleeves of the chambray top and add some Converse sneakers. 

A little pop of coral can really take these pants up a notch! I included a fun necklace because...why not? 

This top is perfect for a beach vacation, and these pants keep it interesting! I incorporated the color of the pants in the shoes (which are adorable, right?). I would go for a long dangly necklace at the beach and with this neckline -- I love the simplicity of this one!
Do you guys have any other ideas for Brynn?

Sunday, June 29, 2014


One of my favorite companies that I've worked with is ONecklace. They've sent me a beautiful monogram ring in the past, and they recently sent me some fabulous monogram earrings to celebrate their Etsy shop.

If you're interested in Monogram jewelry, ONecklace is the perfect place to shop. We've purchased items through their store for my mother and mother-in-law, so I can speak from experience when I say they have quality products at great prices!

ONecklace provided me these fabulous earrings, but all opinions in this post are my own.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Back From Vacation!

We returned home Tuesday, and I am still trying to soak in everything that we saw and experienced. We took around 4,000 pictures, so I'm still sorting through them and organizing them. Here's just a small glimpse into our trip:

In this picture, we are in Ephesus, Turkey. We're standing in front of the Library of Celsus. For the sartorial record, I packed this navy top instead of the pink one I posted in my packing post. It was a last minute switch, but I am truly glad I did it! The navy was a perfect neutral and I wore it more than I would have the pink top. Thanks for your packing help and advice!

My suitcase turned out to be perfect for our trip -- I wore everything as planned and didn't feel like I forgot anything. I do wish, however, that I owned and packed another maxi dress -- my black and white striped one was so comfortable and perfect for Rome and Istanbul that I wish I had more to wear everywhere!
I'm starting to feel more confident about my packing skills, which is something I have never been able to master.

I'll be back later this week and next week with some Style It! ideas that I have. As always, if there is anything that you have trouble styling or would like to get some ideas before you purchase something, email me and I'll see what magic we can work!


Friday, June 06, 2014

Style It: Pineapple Print

I have to admit that I've been bitten by the pineapple print bug. I finally found the pineapple print cardigan at my local Target and bought it without even thinking of how I'd style it.

(Found here)

After brainstorming, I think I thought of a few ways to mix it in and wear it.

This outfit is a more literal interpretation with the color scheme and pineapple earrings--but it throws a little pattern mixing in for interest!

I can't help but think of all the ways I can wear it with skirts, so here's my last one (promise) for work-wear skirts:

I love the idea of the cardigan with seersucker, and I opted for shorts this time -- but I imagine it would be easily applicable to seersucker pants or a seersucker skirt:

One of my friends says that her philosophy for shopping boils down to whether you can wear it with jeans or not. What good is a fun piece if you can't transition it to your everyday wardrobe? In concordance with her jeans test, here's a fun look with jeans:

(I actually rather like this outfit even without the cardigan...)
I've got a myriad of other ideas -- but most of them involve wearing the cardigan with striped dresses and my polka dot shirt dress. I certainly hope I'm able to get as much use out of it as I imagine!

Haven't had any luck finding pineapple print Merona items? Here are a few other pineapple print pieces available for your summer picking:

PS: Apologies for the sporadic posting -- the end of the school year was crazy and then I had family staying at my home...and then we lost internet at my house for a week! I'm leaving soon for a much needed vacation, but I'll be back toward the end of June with more Style It or Shop It posts. If you have any ideas for these -- any items you're unsure about or wonder about styling -- email me at and I'll do my best to make it happen when I return!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Shop It! My Europe Suitcase

Here is a more itemized list of what's in my suitcase and what I'm wearing. Some items are exact, but others are similar or inspired by what I'm taking.

Wish me luck! :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Packing for Two Weeks in Europe

My husband and I have a really bad case of wanderlust. It's serious. We leave soon for a two week trip in Southern Europe -- a Mediterranean Cruise, to be exact -- and my first time to venture south of Paris! As much as I have traveled, I still haven't quite mastered the fine art of packing -- I either overpack or completely pack for the wrong weather. This post serves to help me with my previous inadequacies, so please feel free to offer advice or suggestions!

I plan to wear this on our afternoon connection flight to D.C. and then our late evening red-eye to Barcelona. I'm thinking leggings and a loose cardi for comfort, a matching fedora to hide some major travel hair (and my face if the idiot person sitting behind me leaves his reading light on all night like our last trip). I plan to wear these shoes for the remainder of the trip -- I'm not one to really overpack on shoes as much as I am on clothes! I am bringing a pair of TOMS to help in case something happens to these or I just need a change.
I plan to re-wear this basic outfit for a hike up Mt. Vesuvius when we visit Pompeii and Naples.

At the suggestion of our travel agent, we always go a day early to our first port of call so we can enjoy it! On cruises, you don't really get to see much of the first city if you don't go early on your own, so we are going to travel around Barcelona the day before our ship leaves port. This is the only "outfit" I've created with this dress, but I think it will be a nice fall-back later on, especially with a day at sea later on.

I put together this outfit specifically for France. In all honesty, This outfit is probably the basis for which I determined all other items I'm packing -- I plan to wear this shirt with virtually all the other "bottoms" I'm bringing, and this skirt is perfect for any shirt combo.

See? I'm thinking that I will wear this outfit on our last stop in Venice. We will dock there over night, so I have an opportunity to wear this to tour Venice before we have to wear our airport gear the next morning.

We are going to be visiting a lot of churches and mosques, so I knew I needed to pack something that covered my shoulders and knees. I'm planning to wear this outfit in Rome -- sans the sandals. I wore this outfit to "test it out" a while back, so instead of retaking the picture, just imagine this outfit with my crochet flats that I have in the pictures above.

I am going to re-wear this dress with a pink cardigan and scarf in Istanbul. Again, we are visiting a lot of locations with conservative dress codes, and I think this one will provide enough cover to visit the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.

I posted this outfit on Instagram, and a few people said this would be perfect for Florence. I think that packing a plain white shirt with a collar is a safe idea for travelling anywhere -- it goes with everything, packs easily, and lets you blend in.

I was told to dress in neutral colors for Athens. I hope this dress will help me blend in a little without it being too obvious that I'm an American "tourist."

I can add cardigans and accessories to change this dress and make it a little "different" depending on the weather or the port of call. I tried to incorporate a few unique items that can change my clothes, but still match my other outfits.

I did, however, want to pack a little color, so I included this skirt to wear with the other tops. I think this will be a fun secondary outfit for the other islands we are visiting in Greece!

This shirt works well with layers, and if I need it outside of my comfortable travel outfits, it's nice to know that it works well with other things I've packed!

 I'm honestly not sure about this shirt. It's really bright, but it goes well with these three outfits. I am a little worried about standing out as an obvious target for pick-pocketing. What do you guys think? Should I try to find another neutral shirt to mix with these bottoms or will hot pink be okay?

This skirt might serve as a solution to that issue, as both of my other tops work well with it.

I added a pair of jeans as "alternates" just in case. I'm really not one to wear jeans or pants when I'm travelling, but I think bringing a pair is a good idea! Again, all of my tops and cardigans will mix well with these pants, so I think it takes care of any outfits that just don't work or stands in for dirty items.

So, how did I do?

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Save vs. Splurge

A while back, I saw this gorgeous baseball tee at J. Crew -- it was white with grey sleeves and had a "bejeweled" or embellished neckline. I really loved it, but couldn't justify the steep price tag (I think it was somewhere between $70-$90?). I commented to my friend that I thought I could DIY the shirt for much less, and we immediately set out on a mission to find a cheap baseball tee and supplies to copy it.

Luckily, we found some baseball tees (after someone posted their Target find on Instagram) on the clearance rack in the men's section of Target for $10.48. I picked the men's Medium to add a little extra length--and I liked the looser fit. We found some supplies from a local craft store for about $4.
Here's the finished product:

I sewed a jeweled wire ribbon around the neckline, and cut squares from it to add a little fun. I found the little triangles in some dollar bins, but I only used some of them. I thought it would be fun to add a little bling to the pocket, as well, even though my inspiration didn't have one.
I managed to make a J. Crew dupe for less than 1/4th the price!

Aside from with cute sneakers and jeans, I've been able to incorporate it into my work wardrobe:

I found some options, both inexpensive and more of an investment, for those of us who love the easy chicness of a baseball tee:

3.1 Phillip Lim Tees · Democracy Tees · J.Crew Factory Longsleeve Tops
The Soffee and Democracy versions would be great "blank slate" tops to try a DIY yourself!

Joining Credit Card Insider for their "Save vs. Splurge" features.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Shop It! Summer Shoes

I'm so in the mood to just wear my sandals all the time.

  • Apparently Birkenstocks are "back"? I remember when these bad boy clogs were the height of style in middle school...and I really don't want to relive those days. I chose a few options of Birkenstocks that don't have that same 90s and early 00s flavor -- they've got some surprisingly cute sandals with leopard print and varied straps...and they're cheaper than the >$100 price tag of the 90s, as well.
  • I HATE flip flops. Seriously. If you're not on the beach, at a pool, or in a communal shower, I don't understand why anyone thinks they're stylish. Sorry. However, I love the bow options above and Jack Rogers, which are basically just glorified, over-priced flip flops. #unpopularopinionalert
  • Metallics seem to be everywhere right now, so why not just continue the gladiator trend by incorporating a little metal into your footwear? I recently purchased a pair of gold flats and I've been wearing them with everything! They've replaced my go-to camel flats for my basic neutral.
  • See the Xhilaration pink and tan flats (pink toe, tan straps?) above? I bought them on back-order from Target and I'm just waiting for them to arrive. I'm hoping they're as comfortable as they are cute!
  • I love my TOMS because they're such a simple on-the-go shoe to grab on my way out of my garage. I really only wear them for quick errands and after gym activities, but if they were those cute Tory Burch gingham shoes, I'm pretty sure I'd wear them much more often.
  • It seems like shoes with "two pieces" are all the rage -- I really like the pair with the leopard print by the toes and a solid color on the ankle straps! It's fun without being too Jersey Shore.
Anyone wanna buy each pair for me? I'd totally be okay with that...

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Just stopping by to say that...I'm having a little giveaway through Instagram to celebrate reaching 1,000 followers. I never expected to reach a quadruple digit number, and I'm so amazed by the community, in general. Thanks to all of you for making blogging and Instagramming my outfits so much more than just a silly little pastime! 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Shop It: Graduation Dresses

We're nearing the end of the school year where I work and I just finished my semester with grad school. While I still have quite a few semesters (of taking one class at a time) before I graduate with my own M.A., I am still required to attend graduation at the K-12 school where I teach. Typically, graduation falls on the weekend of my birthday, so I use the weekend as an opportunity to splurge on a new dress or outfit for graduation and/or Baccalaureate the night before.

So, I'm currently searching for a teacher-appropriate dress to wear either in a formal evening awards ceremony setting or a teacher-appropriate dress to wear in the early morning 80-90 degree Southern May sun. Not an easy task either way, but I thought I'd bring you along in my shopping journey so I could share a few fun finds -- not just for the teacher at graduation, but also for the graduate or audience member: Evening Dresses · Linea Day Dresses · Mara Hoffman Day Dresses

I'm really loving the short-sleeved seersucker dress for my situation -- sleeveless, loose, and lightweight calls my name for the four hour event in the sun.

I imagine that what you choose to wear to graduation completely depends on the venue and your relationship with the graduate (if you aren't the graduate). If it's an evening graduation with a more formal tone, I'd go for the lace dress with sleeves, but if it's in an arena/gymnasium, dress for the crowd with some short sleeves and a cardigan just in case. Outdoor graduations can be tricky--but my tip for you is to wear a hat (especially if you're the graduate!).

Congratulations Class(es) of 2014!

Monday, May 05, 2014

Shop It - Nautical

It's an understatement to say that I'm obsessed with all things nautical. I love navy and white stripes, but add in an anchor and I'm in love. It's easy, though, to go over board* and wear all the things nautical to make it look too close to, well, a uniform.

*I'm the biggest corny punster there ever was.

Here are some easy and subtle ways to incorporate a little nautical into your spring and summer with some current in-store items:

  • Non-Anchor prints: An easy way to add a little beach to your wardrobe without dressing like a lighthouse Christmas tree with anchor ornaments is to pull a little inspiration from other elements. Target has a cardigan and button down with adorable whale print and a white cardigan with sailboats in multiple colors. I love anything with seahorses on it and a simple starfish piece like this necklace goes a long way without being too overt.
  • Anything navy and white stripes: Wear it with neutrals and navy/white stripes will still remind people of sailing. Done. (How precious is that bathing suit?)
  • Anchor Accessories: I have an anchor belt like this and I love it! I wear it with virtually any and all outfits, even if I'm not "nautically themed." Anchor jewelry is probably the simplest way to pay homage to this trend.

If you're into head-to-toe nautical (and/or you've got some kind of USO party coming up), here are some super obvious nautical items in stores now:


Monday, April 14, 2014

Basic Wardrobe: Pants

Heidi gave me a great idea for this post when she mentioned that she's wearing more pants now than in the past, which is something I've noticed since I've stopped posting my daily outfits here! Here are my suggestions for pants for work, though this can be a very subjective topic depending on your work requirements, dress code, and your body type.

1. Black Straight Leg Pants - These are my #1 suggestion, especially if you're a teacher. I found an amazing pair at JC Penney a few years ago, and I still wear them quite often. They can also double for non-work outfits, so it maximizes my wardrobe.

2. Khaki Straight Leg Pants or Slim Leg Chinos- When I first started my blog, I had a pair of wide-leg pants from New York and Company that I wore all the time -- mostly because I bought them right out of college out of desperation. I had no idea what to wear as a teacher, and I wasn't very savvy about fit. That's a big reason why I started this blog, of course, and I'd like to think I've come a long way in terms of understanding fit and styling...but we all know there are areas we can work on! I bought a pair of straight leg khakis from Old Navy for about $7 around the time I started teaching, and they've been a casual staple in my wardrobe ever since. Biggest lesson: If you're going to have a pair of khaki pants, make sure the fit is amazing and you are comfortable in them. It's so easy for khaki pants to look frumpy and dated (yeah, that means no more cargo khaki pants. You know who you are). My mindset now is focused on finding quality pieces that will last long-term, so I'm actively seeking to invest in a pair of black and tan khaki pants. So, if you find a great pair, don't over-hesitate to purchase them.

3. Grey Pants - Fantastic for fall/winter, and they still look dressy enough for parent night or conferences (or whatever your work-meeting equivalent is). I really love Merona's ankle pants, but Mossimo had a really pretty pair of grey pants that resembled a tweed, so I invested in those a while back. If you purchase them in the future, size down -- they stretch out!

4. Navy Pants - I looked for a long time to find the perfect navy pants because they're kind of a non-denim alternative to jeans at work. Tricky, right? The pair that I have now are the Merona ankle pants I've linked above, and they're an easy go-to when I'd rather be wearing jeans. Because these are ankle, I'm a little more limited in terms of time of year I can wear them, so I'm on the lookout for a well-fitting pair of full-length pants.

5. White Pants - This one is pretty subjective, especially since I rarely wear the pair I have. My white pants were a hand-me-down from my mom, so I kind of see them as a "bonus" inclusion in my closet and I hold them to a different standard than the things I buy. I can definitely see how white pants would be a great option for (non-preschool or non-elementary) teachers, though I don't know how well they'd translate to the office environment.

6. Slacks - I think it's common knowledge that every woman should have a pair of nice dress slacks in her closet at all times, right? Well, forget that, because I haven't worn slacks in a long time...and wide leg slacks just make me look frumpy. I got rid of my last set of slacks after I posted a blog post of me in them and realized that I looked like the widest part of my thighs extended to the ground. It wasn't a good look for me. It has been four years since I've been through an interview for a job, so I'm a little rusty about interview formal wear. I will probably stick with skirts if I ever interview for any jobs in the future.

7. Patterned Pants - I love my black and white patterned pants and I highly suggest finding a pair of fun, quirky pants for work or office wear. Wear them with solid colors or even experiment with pattern mixing. I think these black and white pants would look great with a white oxford and black blazer!

8. Color Khakis - In more formal work environments, this might not be kosher, but I found a pair of J. Crew Andie Chinos in a neon coral and fell in love. I linked to a pair of light pink pants above, and I think a muted color is a good gateway pair to test the waters for potential expansion into the realm of obnoxiously colored pants. Do what makes you feel comfortable and good about your appearance, but don't get yourself fired over pants. That would be stupid. Just sayin'.

Do you have a favorite pair of pants for work? Any suggestions?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Accessories 101 : Scarves

I love scarves. I just hate that they compete with necklaces, or I'd wear them every day. Here are my tips for a perfectly balanced scarf collection:

1. Square Silk Scarf: Every girl needs one. I don't wear mine incredibly often, but it's a picture of sophistication when I do. If you're a professional, or will be someday, find a really nice silk scarf to invest in -- you won't regret it!

2. Solid Color Pashminas: Like my experience with belts, I went through a phase where I thought having a scarf in every color was the most important thing. Please don't do that. It's overwhelming and crowds your closet with scarves you'll never wear. Choose a coordinating color in your wardrobe to bring out colors in your closet, or choose your favorite color to add some color to neutral outfits. My most-worn solid color scarves are my mint and yellow pashminas from Target. The yellow is perfect for fall -- and I think that's the time of year where I get the most wear from it! I think a good, red scarf is a perfect place to start!

3. Leopard Print Scarf: I think we've all arrived at the conclusion that leopard is a neutral. Just go with it.

4. Striped and Polka Dot Scarf: I think that these are in the same category, so I put them together. If you have more dots than stripes in your wardrobe, get a striped scarf...and vice versa. They do well for a little bit of pattern mixing, and helps you branch out a bit.

5. Black and White Scarf: A black and white striped top is a basic for your closet, so it's natural to include a black and white scarf in my list. The one I included above is perfect for pattern mixing or wearing with an LBD. I have a fantastic black and white wool scarf from J. Crew that works wonderfully in cooler months.

6. Square Pattern Scarf: This one adds a fun twist to tanks or tees and hangs well on dresses. Pick a palette of colors that plays to your favor or fits into a multi-outfit palette from your closet.

7. Pattern Scarf (in the long, rectangular sense, of course): This one has the same properties as the square scarf, but has a different silhouette and is probably a little bit more versatile in its ability to be tied in different ways. If you go for a cool palette in the square, I'd go for warmer colors in this one (or vice versa) just to keep a balance and prevent redundancy in your closet.

While most of my scarves pictured seem to fit within a similar color palette, my own collection is a little more eclectic. I try not to buy scarves similar to those that I already own--and my scarf hanger is pretty complete, so I don't buy them very often anyway! I know a girl who has dozens of scarves and wears them every day, but if you're like me and only wear them occasionally, I think this list will keep your scarf needs pretty satisfied!

Did I miss any categories of scarves?

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Accessories 101: Necklaces

A few years ago, you'd only find me in pearls. Seriously. I have a beautiful strand of pearls that I bought in Japan, and I was so proud of them that I wore them with everything. Then, my husband (then boyfriend) bought me a beautiful necklace of several strands of pearls and I wore those with everything I didn't wear my Japanese pearls with. I think that second necklace was my introduction into the world of statement necklaces, as it was a little bigger and made more of a statement than my simple strand of pearls.

It really wasn't until I started reading blogs and saw the Stormy Sea necklace that almost every blogger wore (remember that necklace?) that I realized how versatile big, chunky jewelry could be. I know that there are different levels of costume and statement necklaces, so I thought I'd show you my collection and explain how I wear them:

1. Pearl Cluster Necklace: Some things haven't changed! I still love pearls, and my necklace (this exact one) is perfect for work and special occasions. It's neutral enough to "go" with everything, but special enough that it stands out on its own.

2. Crystal Necklaces: I included two options above, though my go-to in this category is from Target and looks like this one. It's a great basic piece, and I love to layer it with my monogram necklace or other small chain necklaces. If you're looking to start your foray into statement jewelry, I'd start here.

3. Multi-color Necklaces: The two I have above are two that I own (though not from Charlotte Russe for the blue and pink one). I think they're both perfect for fall or spring, and have several colors in them to maximize their mixing capabilities. This is probably your next step after you've found a clear-color statement necklace. Stick with colors you have in your closet -- the Zizi Petalwork Necklace above, for example, has yellows, blues, and greens represented -- and works well with any varying shade of those colors alongside neutrals.

4. Flower Necklace: This one just arrived in my closet, and I can't help but think that it's a classier looking version of the J. Crew flower necklaces that were popular last summer. I feel a little more limited on what I can wear this one with, but it's a really pretty and interesting piece!

5. Tortoise Shell Necklaces: I have a couple that I love, though not this exact one. I really love the tortoise shell look, and I think it's perfect for the cooler months when brightly colored necklaces just don't feel right...and it classes up a plain black tee like nobody's business!

6. Long Necklace: I have one tassel necklace that fits this bill -- I think everyone should have at least one long necklace to mix things up!

I've made a lot of mistakes when it comes to jewelry, and I think most of them have been buying the "it" necklace for that season instead of buying what I really love. If you want to get the most out of your investment, buy what you like instead of what's "in." My two favorite necklaces are the Zizi Petalwork Necklace from Anthropologie and the Pearls and More necklace from PinkPineappleShop -- they were both gifts, but I believe they would have been worth it to purchase on my own. If my entire statement jewelry collection disappeared but for those two necklaces, I don't know if I'd even miss the rest! That should be your goal -- find one or two that become your collection instead of creating a wall full of jewelry that you only wear once (I should listen to my own advice, I know!).

What are your favorite necklaces?