Try this: Camo and lace

Hello friend!

Today I’d like to tell you why you should be mixing a camouflage t shirt with lace. Sounds scary?  It shouldn’t! Trust me, it works!

Fashion is such an individual statement. I love that we can mix up items and create unique looks. One such look I like to do is mixing “tough” and “soft” pieces. This can often be achieved by combining leather and a soft, flowy dress.

A creative dresser can also accomplish this look with camouflage and lace. The print of camouflage is intrinsically tough, while lace is considered soft and feminine. I like to pair the two for an eye-catching outfit.

When I saw this skirt on sale at J. Crew, I knew immediately I could use it for this kind of an ensemble. I had been searching for such an item anyways. So, she made it into my closet and heart!

J Crew COLLECTION PENCIL SKIRT IN AUSTRIAN LACE

I wore it right away with the planned mix. I already had a camouflage t shirt (also from J. Crew). Therefore all of the planets were in alignment. I was so excited to try it.

J Crew COLLECTION PENCIL SKIRT IN AUSTRIAN LACE paired with camouflage tee shirt and polka dot heels

The mix works surprisingly well. It’s a great way of incorporating a camouflage print into work wear. The ladylike lace quickly transforms the camo into a work appropriate print.

J Crew COLLECTION PENCIL SKIRT IN AUSTRIAN LACE paired with camouflage tee shirt pink accessories from baublebar and Rebecca Minkoff

To further contrast tough and soft, I brought in soft pink pieces by way of accessories. I have always loved olive green and blush pink. Well camo in essence is a neutral print of olive shades, so it too should pair well with pink, don’t you think?

J Crew COLLECTION PENCIL SKIRT IN AUSTRIAN LACE paired with camouflage tee shirt with pink Rebecca Minkoff jumbo love bag and Baublebar ring I chose rose gold jewelry to further complement the color scheme.

J Crew COLLECTION PENCIL SKIRT IN AUSTRIAN LACE paired with camouflage tee shirt and rose gold accessories from Baublebar and Kate Spade watch

I hope I have given you inspiration to try this look. Let me know if you do. Also, please use the share buttons below to share on your favorite social media platform.

One Item, Four Ways: Tropical print skirt

Hello friend!

I had such a great response to my first One Item, Four Ways post that I decided to follow it up with another one. This time it’s with this gorgeous tropical print skirt from H&M.
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As soon as I saw this skirt, I knew I had to have it. It has all of the elements I like:

  1. A-line skirt
  2. Beautiful colors with the blue-green and bold rusty-orange
  3. Big bold print
  4. Just below knee length
  5. Flattering box pleats
  6. Bold exposed zipper
  7. Pockets!

I tried it on and the fit was super-flattering. It sat right on the waist and draped beautifully over the hips. The box pleats added some nice feminine curvature. Most noteworthy, I could imagine multiple ways of pairing the skirt with items in my closet. It was meant to be. I had to have it. So I purchased it.

Then came the options of how I was going to wear it. Whenever I get a new item, my go-to initial pairing is often a chambray button-down. That combination never fails me. So of course I had to try it with this skirt too. It worked beautifully, the texture of the chambray echoed that of the skirt.

H&M tropical skirt with j crew chambray shirt

Next I wanted to try some pattern mixing, because well, it’s me and I like to pattern mix! Again, I turned to an old stand-by: stripes. I chose neutral grey tones to blend nicely with the cool blue tones of the skirt. This made the orange print really stand out.

H&M tropical skirt pattern mixing with stripes

For a simple work look, I paired it with a grey sleeveless tee. I echoed the blue-green in the skirt with a similar in tone bag, adding in some more fun. A chunky tortoise-shell necklace and sunglasses polished off the look.

H&M tropical skirt with grey tank

For my last look, I wanted to make it more fun and on-trend so I added a graphic tee. This look is my favorite of the bunch as it is unique and unexpected.
H&M tropical skirt with graphic tee

Which look was your favorite?

Whichever specific outfit you chose, keep in mind that you can always mix your items to create different looks. Don’t get locked into one way of pairing your individual pieces. Branch out and try new things. You’ll be surprised at how good items can look together.

Pattern Primer: Pattern Mixing 101

Hello friend!

It’s no secret that I am a fan of pattern mixing. I have been doing it for a few years to expand my wardrobe and create unique looks for myself. You can read more about it (and see my first ever pattern mixed outfit) in my style evolution post.

Now I did not invent pattern mixing, nor am I an expert at it. But I feel comfortable doing it and my results are good. So I will share my tips. However, this is not the be-all and end-all post about pattern mixing. There are many others on the web. But my tips are quick and easy; honed over the years through my own successes and failures.

  1. Choose a large scale print and a smaller scale print. This can be achieved with different prints or the same. For example, a small stripe paired with a large floral print. Or a small stripe paired with a large stripe. Both work and can be a gorgeous combination.pattern mixing: stripes on stripes, double stripes
  2. Pick prints with a similar color scheme. The color will unify the look even if the patterns are different.pattern mixing: striped skirt with colorful watermelon scarf
  3. Opt for bold well-defined patterns. I find that they look better together than soft and blurry prints.pattern mixing; striped dress with floral scarf
  4. Start small with accessories. It’s so easy to make your statement by adding a pop of pattern with a fun scarf, shoe or bag.pattern mixing: striped bag with gingham top
  5. Make it look intentional. This is my most important tip: In the words of my idol Tim Gunn: “Make it work.” Make sure you look polished and complete: hair styled, accessories on, makeup done, and head held high. This makes you look put together and brings the entire look together. That way no one will wonder if you were running late and just threw on the first two items you found.

I hope you try your hand at pattern mixing. It is truly a fun way to dress and remix your wardrobe. Stick around and check out more of this series as I delve into specific patterns and mixes.

Try This: Graphic tee + patterned skirt

Hello friend!

In this series, I’d like to show new ways of wearing our stand-by pieces. It’s pretty obvious I enjoy a pretty patterned skirt. However, I don’t always want to wear them the same old way. A trendy and unexpected way of wearing them is with a fun graphic tee. Give it a try, I did.

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Sunglasses: Ray Ban; choker: Baublebar; tee: F21 (old); skirt: H&M

In this first outfit, I wore my “Couture” forever 21 tee with another trend of the moment, the choker. The look is trendy and fun, but still 100% work appropriate.IMG_8602 (2)

Another look I’ve worn recently is my Paris tee with an anchor print skirt. Paired with floral pumps, I even have some pattern mixing added to the mix.

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Tee: Old Navy; skirt: Hannah Everly (Etsy shop); shoes: Kate Spade; purse: Target

Going back a few years, I have this look of a tongue-in-cheek Topshop tee paired with a bright floral pencil skirt.

graphic tee
Tee: Topshop; skirt: J Crew; shoes: Nordstrom; purse: Target

And last, a bold polka dot a-line skirt with a pretty pop of yellow.

graphic tee 2
Tee: Target; cardigan: Limited; skirt: WHBM; shoes: Nordstrom

Pairing your classic articles of clothing with fun and youthful graphic tees adds a lot of interest and individuality to your outfit. Are you willing to try it? Let me know how it goes!

Current Obsession: Bandanas

Hello friend,

Like many of you, I like to participate in trends. This may be a challenge because most of the time I am dressing for work. Some trends are easier to make work appropriate than others. But honestly, I always try to challenge myself and try to work in new trends into my existing wardrobe.gingham bandana 3

Case in point is the bandana trend. There are countless outfit inspirations with this trendy item, and I tried a few for my days off. Here I wore it choker style layered with a dainty necklace, an off the shoulder top and white denim cut-offs.

gingham bandana shorts
Top: Maison Jules (available at Macys); shorts: American Eagle; booties: Jeffrey Campbell; necklace: Baubebar

I liked this look so much I wore it for Fourth of July.

bandana seersucker
Dress: Old Navy; shoes: Target

A comparable look was when I paired the red bandana with a pretty seersucker sundress.While I enjoyed these casual looks, I didn’t want to limit the fun. I couldn’t wear it the same exact way to work, but I could play with the trend in my way: use it as my whimsical piece and add some polished staple items to it.

white bandana 2
Shirt: Target; skirt: Anthropologie; booties: Jeffrey Campbell; clutch: Tory Burch

For my first work look, I paired a crisp white bandana with a chambray shirt, fun patterned skirt and white accessories.

white bandana 3
Sunglasses: Banana Republic; watch: Michael Kors; jewelry: Baublebar

Then I paired the bandana with a gingham print shirt and bright skirt. I even added a third pattern in a floral shoe. It was all very work appropriate and fun!IMG_8292 (2)

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Shirt: Banana Republic; skirt: J Crew via Thred Up; shoes: Nordstrom; purse: Rebecca Minkoff

So next time you see a trendy item, think twice before you dismiss it for work. Make your items work for you!

Is there a trend you’ve been wanting to try? Please share in the comments. Also continue this conversation with your friends by sharing on your favorite social media platform!

One Item, Four Ways: Kimono

Hello friend!

In this series I will show items I style a minimum of 4 ways. I got this idea years ago when I was trying to expand my wardrobe. I had read an article to help choose versatile items to purchase. It advised imagining pairing a possible new purchase with four items already in your closet. The theory was that if you could, it was versatile enough and therefore worth the purchase. Before this advice I rarely mixed my pieces. I wore my outfits always as a fixed set (see my previous post about my style evolution here). But this article got me to change my ways. Now I always think about how many ways I can pair an item with existing pieces in my closet before I purchase it.

Today’s item is this lovely kimono from Target. When I first saw the product in the store, I was immediately drawn to it for the colors. I liked the combination of the pink, navy and purple hues. I also liked the fun pom pom details. I applied my rule of fours and realized I could easily wear this item in many different ways. So I purchased it, and have already worn it 5 times in 3 weeks.

kimono flat lay
Swimsuit: Aerie (old)

I initially wore it on vacation over my striped swimsuit as a fun cover up. Bonus: I got some pattern mixing in, you know how much I love that!

kimono dole
Tank: Uniqlo; shorts: Target

That same vacation, I made the item do double duty by wearing it with shorts and a tank to go sightseeing.

IMG_8018 (2)
Top: Gap; skirt: J Crew; pumps: Sam Edelman; bag: Rebecca Minkoff; jewelry: H&M

Back home, I challenged myself to style it for work. Pairing it with a bright pink skirt and navy tee made it very office appropriate, especially when finished with a pair of crisp white pumps.

IMG_8044 (2)
Tee: Target; jeans: Old Navy (I cut the hem myself); bag: Rebecca Minkoff; sandals: Sam Edelman

Lastly, my casual look with jeans and a neon tee. Simple but fun.

By switching around the same color combinations and items, you can easily create multiple outfits from one item. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.

Go-To Look: striped dresses + scarves

Hello friend!

In this series I’d like to share simple go-to looks that will always work for you. This past week I had one really rough day. I truly did not want to go to work. I was not feeling well. But I had to go in as I had a few meetings I could not miss. So I forced myself up and dragged myself to my closet. Needless to say, I was in no mood to dress up (gasp! it happens!). With very little energy available to create a unique look, I turned to one of my old stand-bys: a striped dress with a patterned scarf.

IMG_7944 (2)
Dress: Target; scarf: Old Navy; shoes: Nordstrom; purse: Rebecca Minkoff

The simplicity of a striped outfit paired with a bold floral print just screams happy and pulled together even if you don’t feel that way. I got many compliments that day despite feeling unwell.IMG_7965 (2)

This look works with both swing style dresses shown above as well as more fitted dresses like below.

red stripes
Dress: Kohls; vest: Express; scarf: Norstrom Rack; shoes: Nordstrom

This look is also ideal for travel. The dresses and scarves do not take up too much valuable luggage space. They are comfortable to wear, work for many occasions and will not wrinkle easily. Can you ask for more?

napa stripes
Wine tasting in Napa; Dress: Target; scarf: Nordstrom Rack; sandals: Target
germany stripes
Sightseeing in Germany; Dress: Target; scarf: Nordstrom; sandals: Bloomingdales

What are your go-to outfits? Share in the comments. Also please share in your social media posts by clicking on one of the share buttons!

Skirt Code: Why I prefer to wear skirts, Reason 1

Hello friend!

If you have known me (online or in person) for a while, you know that I prefer to wear mostly skirts. This is intentional. I love skirts! I often get questions about why I choose to wear skirts, especially to work. In this series I’d like to share every reason I have as to why I wear them.

hm palm skirt
Skirt: H&M; tank: J Crew; necklace: baublebar; shoes: J Crew factory; bag: Target

Today’s reason is my oldest one: they are more comfortable. I started mainly wearing skirts when I first returned to work from maternity leave. I found that my slacks just did not fit the same. The waistband dug in, the thigh area was snug, and the crotch was off. Instead of buying multiple new pairs of pants, I turned to my skirts.

ks stripe skirt
Cardigan: J Crew; tank: Uniqlo; skirt: Kate Spade; shoes: Sam Edelman; bag: Target

As time went on and I lost the baby weight, I could once again fit into my pants. But by that point, I did not want to wear slacks to work. I had gotten used to skirts. They allotted a lot more freedom and comfort. I was hooked!

gingham skirt
Top: Skirt society; skirt: Boden; belt: J Crew; Shoes: Sam Edelman

Stay tuned for the next installment of Skirt Code to learn more reasons why I wear mostly skirts.

Do you have a preference for skirts or pants? Share your thoughts in the comments. Or share this post with your friends.

Current Obsession: Cut-out back dresses

Hello friend!

This session of current obsessions is about my new found interest in cut-out back dresses. Believe it or not, until this year I had not owned a backless or cut-out back item. This is in part due to a lingering insecurity from my teen years. As a teen I had pretty severe acne, including the dreaded bacne!

Thankfully after my early adult years, the acne situation resolved. But I was still insecure about wearing open back clothing (don’t get me started on swim wear!) because of residual scars and discoloration. Now that I am well into my thirties, I am letting go of all this self consciousness and embracing myself for who I am. Yes I may have some scars (don’t we all, somewhere?) But I am tired of making myself miss out on cute items to wear or fun activities to do because I am insecure about the way I look. I have done that far too long in my life. It’s time to live. It’s time to wear an open back dress and walk proudly!

topshop striped dress 2 (2)And walk proudly I did. I wore this Topshop dress to a concert just two weekends ago. It was a hot summer night. The side slits and the partially open back were welcome means of ventilation. The dress was perfect for the occasion. However, what was more meaningful to me was not just wearing the dress, but wearing it with confidence. I felt good and it showed!

With the success of the first dress, I did not deter from getting another that I had my eye on. This time it was a Loft dress. This dress had a criss cross back with a small cut-out underneath the criss-cross. The original one I tried on in store was a peach color. Two things were wrong with that item. First peach is NOT my color. Second, the light color made the dress virtually see-through. I’m all for embracing my body and showing some skin, but that colorway would have been verging on vulgar. So off to the internets I went and what do you know? It came in another color. My long time love. My favorite. My go-to … Chambray! I was all set to order. Sadly, my size was sold out online, but my good friend Kristen of Kleighstyle blog, was able to order one for me. The dress arrived in time for an outdoor family gathering. The dress proved to be perfectly suitable and appropriate for the event.IMG_7665IMG_7672 (2)

I chose to wear it with a chunky heeled sandal. I have learned not to wear heels for backyard parties. Why spend all night digging into the grass, not to mention ruining your gorgeous heels? I forewent a necklace for a gorgeous pair of  statement earrings from the fantastic jewelry designer Sheila Fajl. I loved the simplicity of the look with the wow factor of the back of the dress.

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What style or trend are you currently crushing on? Please share in the comments. Also, continue this topic with your friends by sharing this post across your social media feeds.

My Style Evolution

Hi friend,

As you may have noticed, I have a pretty set style now. I know what I like. I know what works for me. I know how I want to look. Most importantly, I know what I have to do to get the look. But I can assure you, that was NOT always the case. Let me take you back to the original days of my look and let’s see how I evolved.

Disclaimer: The photos on this post are old and some are from an iphone. Please forgive their poor quality as these photos were taken before I had the blog. I chose to include them as they are authentic and will showcase my journey honestly.

We will start with my first year of working in my career field (before then, it was just years of standard student wear: jeans and sweatshirts, you’re not missing anything!) I remember my first few paychecks feeling so excited. I finally had money to spend on quality items. I had a fondness for Anthropologie, especially their beautiful skirts. I purchased many cute and unique pieces from them.

2839_179931360413_5188443_nAs the first few years went on, I noticed that even though I had many cute items, I always wore them the same way. I tended to buy my clothes as “outfits” and wore them only with that initial pairing. Case in point this outfit on the left. I adored this skirt, but for some reason, I could not find another way of wearing it. I found a shirt in the same shade as the detailing on the bottom and I wore the two items together as a set each time.

As I contemplated my closet items and fashion style, I was starting to read articles in magazines about mixing and matching items in your closet. I looked around mine and felt I could not do so. I realized that a lot of my pieces were fun and whimsical. They paired great with the specific item I had purchased it for, but would not go with others. My A-ha moment was when my cousin pointed out I didn’t have any staple pieces. My closet was full of fun one-off pieces.

After that realization I started investing in staples. Enter J Crew into my life! I became a big fan of their pencil skirts and cardigans (I have countless Jackies!) Then I was able to mix and match my cute whimsical items with timeless classics to alter the look I wanted.

cardis

 

 

 

 

Still a few years later, while I loved my wardrobe, I often felt I had nothing new or exciting to wear. The solution to this could NOT always be to buy new things. That’s just not practical or reasonable.

This was my first pattern mixing attempt. I was so self conscious about it all day at work.
This was my first pattern mixing attempt. I was so self conscious about it all day at work.

This was also the time that I started reading blogs, specifically those that involved my favorite stores like J Crew and Anthropologie. I was majorly influenced by Lisa of Respect the Shoes. She did amazing pattern mixing. I started to give it a try.

I realized with pattern mixing, I could drastically change up my look and have multiple new options to pair with my items. I no longer had to have a solid cardi of every color to pair with a skirt. I could now pair 2 printed items together!

That brings me to my current state: a girl who loves colors and patterns, especially when put all together! But our styles are always changing. I look forward to see where my style goes next.

How has your style changed over the years? Please share in the comments. And while you’re in the sharing mood, feel free to share this post on your fave social media sites!

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