Sunday, October 31, 2010

(No Costume for Me)

Saturdays are wonderful, aren't they? I love being in a place in my life where, even if I'm working on a weekend, it's still a good weekend. I'm sure that has more to do with the job itself, but that's all the more remarkable. 

This outfit* was the result of a late night "shopping in my closet" adventure inspired by my first forays into the fashion blogosphere (and before I started this blog). It's also one I've been jonsing to wear for a while. The dress is a great printed sheath in dark colors (good for Halloween, too!), but its cap sleeves really limit how often I can wear it, especially since the color palate mainly reads fall/winter. Because it's a sheath, too, I need to be sure to define my waist - if I layer anything over it, my waist is lost. I've also tried layering a long sleeved shirt underneath the dress, but that never looks quite right on me either.

So, after giving myself lots of time (really, that's all you need), I put together this early fall-appropriate look.  I utilized this great drapey cardigan and, you guessed it, a belt - underneath the cardigan, though. I love this particular cardigan because it sweeps back, allowing my shape to still shine through. Regular cardigans, be they v-necks, crew necks or the like, aren't built for that at all, and when I wear them I almost always need to wear a belt on top of them. But here, I could wear the belt underneath the cardigan without fear of a boxy look.

Printed sheath dress - Banana Republic / Black cardigan  - Maurice's / Black leggings - Lane Bryant / Wide belt - Banana Republic / Taupe boots - Impo (via DSW) / Tan pleated bag - Steve Madden (via

Brown and blacks abound in this outfit, so it was fun layering on neutral accessories. My one regret is that I didn't have a lighter colored tight. I like how the black tights looked with the dress, but not necessarily with the boots - it's just too stark of a contrast to keep the look cohesive. But, the boots work well with the dress itself, and since the dress is just a wee short on me, there was no way I wasn't going to wear a tight. I needed to work with what I had, though, so I went with it. I do think that the handbag helps mitigate all of that in this particular picture, but it's not like I can wear the handbag the whole time! =7 I did also try this look with black booties and tights, which I also really liked - it's a definitely more streamlined look (and perhaps one more appropriate for a conservative event night). But in the end, I really like what the boots did for my silhouette (and my BF insisted on them as well), so they won out. When I wear this again, I'll be sure to have a better color of tight in my arsenal.

When even cooler days come, I have a nice steely-grey blazer to wear over it, but I'll definitely need a belt to keep it from looking too boxy on me, and to keep proportions in check. I'll have to experiment with other shoe options, as well.

Necklace - LOFT / Earings - Banana Republic

This last picture is my attempt at playing with post-processing inspired by Sydney at The Daybook. It's kinda fun turning pictures into something artsy! Now if I can just work on those poses...

*P.S. I know it's Halloween weekend, but I don't really do Halloween. It's just not something I've ever been into. I think the last time I dressed up for Halloween was in 4th grade - I was a gymnast, complete with legwarmers. Aside from that, costumes aren't typically appropriate when a well-known orchestra comes into town and we have over 2000 patrons in the building... So, yes, I've opted out. I did allow my staff to come in costume today, though. I went in to work just to see them, and deliver candy, of course. Totally worth it - their creativity and commitment never cease to amaze me. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Boots!

Okay, so I thought I'd post this - even though the pics aren't great - just because I love these freakin' boots so darn much and I MUST share my joy (and a little review). I found these babies, the Ciao Bella Thebatta, at the DSW in Indy during my shopping trip last weekend, but I had to order them online to get an extended calf.They came yesterday...

First of all, I was thrilled to have been able to check out a few styles all at once. I seriously had 8 pairs of boots next to me at DSW, and though I'm a huge fan of online shopping (and I have no problems returning things that don't work), sometimes it's so much more efficient to be able to see and compare and try on all at once - especially when it comes to something as tricky as the perfect boots. 

I will of course state that, as a curvy girl, I have trouble finding boots that fit my calves. I've certainly had a surprising amount of good luck, too, but after searching for months (like, since last fall), I still hadn't found the boot that fit five criteria: flat heel, some but minimal detail, a rich but neutral color (like a taupe or cognac), riding boot style, and hit just below my knees. I think that's everyone's criteria this season, really. (And the OTK thing is just not for me.) So I cannot TELL you how giddy I am about these boots. Perfect rich brown, nice comfortable flat, almond toe, and they hit right at my sweet spot below my knee. I even like the asymmetry at the top of the shaft, as I think it does nice things to flatter my wider calves. 

The only thing I don't love about them is the back zip. I think in general a back zip is harder to maneuver than a side zip, especially for us girls with larger calves. I've been able to finagle loads of boots with a normal calf width up my legs when they had a side zip, even with jeans on. So even these, which do claim to have an "extended calf width" were troublesome. But, I did get them on - first just over bare legs - and I kept them on for a few hours to help stretch them out. Then later that evening, when the BF and I decided to go out for a casual bite to eat, and I knew I had to debut these babies over skinnies, they actually zipped up fine and off we went.

Tan corduroy blazer - LOFT / Face tee - LOFT / Pink hoodie - Banana Republic / Dark skinnies - Gap / Earrings - Dress Barn (??) / Ring - Banana Republic

Of course, I'm also pretty stoked about the rest of my ensemble - the corduroy jacket is new, as is the fun face tee. I put these two together, but thought I'd add this bright pink hoodie, which I wear all the freaking time while lounging at home, to add a pop of color and to bring out the purty lips on the tee. Not gonna lie - I felt pretty fantastic. I'm totally working this causal layering thing...


Risky Business

First off, new template!! I'm having so much fun playing with backgrounds, colors, and headers that I might be changing these more often than not. At least until I settle on one that is totally "me," anyway. Tell me what you think!

Friday was a gorgeous day in these parts. Chillier than I would like - as in, time for a winter coat and gloves - but still gorgeous. We had a wonderful noontime event planned at work, which meant lots of hustle and bustle first thing in the morning, but I totally loved all of that. It certainly made the day go by in a blink of an eye, and it was a great success, too! What a great way to end a work week.

Where my outfit was concerned, I'd been wanting to wear this for a few weeks. The skirt is one I'd had for ages, but only wore it once. I even tried to consign it, but no one else wanted it either - it's just such a bold print that it's hard to work with, I guess. I mean, sure, wear some kind of white or cream top and you're done, but how boring is that?  It's also a tricky shape for me - an a-line. I have such a short torso that A-lines don't work well for me unless I do something to emphasize my waist. A belt is a go-to accessory in this case, and often is all an outfit needs to help spruce it up, but that just wasn't enough with this skirt.

It wasn't until after I had delved into the fashion blogosphere that I started to learn how (and that was it totally okay) to mix prints. I was bashful about doing so, however - it's not something that I see often where I live, so I knew I'd be taking some risks. With that in mind, I wanted to choose the day I debuted this outfit carefully. It was a dressier ensemble, so I didn't want to just wear it on any old weekday, but I didn't think it would have been a good fit for a conservative event night, either. When Friday rolled around, however, I knew it was the perfect day for it.

Printed cardigan - The Limited / Printed A-line skirt - Anne Klien /  Wide black belt - LOFT / Black herringbone tights - Banana Republic / Black "Caiiro" flats - Madden Girl (via DSW) / Earrings - Lane Bryant

Now, I'm still a novice when it comes to this, but a good rule of thumb is to keep the prints in the same color palette, and you really can't go wrong. The wide black belt helped break up the prints, too, while still working with them. I even went with a printed tight in black herringbone, but it's subtle enough that it doesn't compete with the rest of the outfit. I'm pretty darn pleased with the results here, especially the retro vibe of the whole silhouette.

Honestly, I still felt a little self-conscious yesterday, but I knew I was taking a risk, and I'm glad I did. Will I wear it again? Who knows....but I do think I'll try mixing prints again.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Instead of a Hoodie

So I'm trying to improve my poses. I try not smiling, gazing off camera, doing different things with my limbs - but often, I just look weird - and those pictures never make the cut. I tried a few poses tonight sans smile, but I look mean, or worse, constipated! =P I guess I'm just not as comfortable in front of the camera as I could be. I do want to continue improving my photos, though, especially since it seems like something of a requirement for a good blog. Practice makes perfect, I guess!

Today's outfit was yet again one in which I felt pretty blah for most of the day. I had considered just copping out entirely and wearing an Illini hoodie and tennies, but I thought I could try a little harder with a cozy cowl-neck sweater and flats instead.

Striped cowl-neck sweater - Gap / Brown long sleeve tee - LOFT  / Wide-leg jeans - Gap / Brown  mary-jane flats 

I have to admit that I was not confident that this look was terribly flattering, and I was thisclose to not even taking pictures, from taking a day off from posting. But the BF convinced me otherwise. And, yet again, my pictures (and finding ways to hold my posture that ARE flattering) convince me that not all is not lost when I opt for flats, jeans and a big sweater. =)

I'm starting to think this blog is all about affirmations... Hmm, maybe I should rename it...=7

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Green Zebra

I've had this outfit on hold for a few days, though I kept hesitating to go with it because I was afraid it wasn't interesting enough. As if a green zebra print isn't enough! (Oh, and Green Zebra is also a fantastic vegetarian restaurant in Chicago. I highly recommend it!) But I wasn't feeling up to the challenge to put together something more adventurous today, so this was it. But seriously, can we get more adventurous than a sartorial safari?

Green zebra print cardigan - Banana Republic / White camisole - Banana Republic / Black wide-leg pants - NY&Co. / Black patent open-toed sling-backs - Banana Republic

Tan pleated bag - Steve Madden (via
Silver tiered chain necklace (that gold is just a fluke of the light) - Lane Bryant /
Earrings - Lane Bryant

I actually got a few compliments on the ensam today, thanks largely in part to the vibrant shade of green this print is. I love it, too, against the stark black pants which makes it all the more noticeable. (And, yes, the pants are a bit too long - or my heels are too short...) Perhaps I shouldn't ever underestimate the power of a statement print!

I thought about this a lot today - the fact that one of my biggest obstacles when getting dressed each day has become the challenge to put together something "blog-worthy." True, this is one of the reasons I started the blog in the first place -  to get me thinking outside my wardrobe box - but I don't want it making me doubt my usual style, either. What I've really wanted is this blog to give me greater confidence in my already existing style and, more importantly, my body image in general. And I do think it has. I've noticed that I might feel one way during the day, and even during the photo shoot...but then once I see the pictures, once I see the finished blog post, my perception changes. This whole project of mine has become more eye-opening with each post I do, and I find that quite unexpectedly special...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'll Have a Black and Tan

I was so excited about this outfit when I put it together last night. I picked up this fun sequined animal print tee at Ann Taylor over the weekend, and I was immediately inspired to pair black and brown together with it. My leopard print skirt was on the list, as well as a nice black cardi of some sort, and brown/gold accessories to round it all out. There are many good things about this ensemble, primarily my foray into pairing brown and black together, but I also think I could have done better.

Sequined animal print tee - Ann Taylor / Black cardi - LOFT / Leopard print ponte knit skirt - Lane Bryant /  Brown boots - Guess (via DSW) / Long necklace - The Limited

I also toyed with wearing brown pants instead, and for various reasons, I wish I had. I also think I should have experimented with other cardigan options, and maybe different shoe options. The brown boot was the main brown color in the look, but the boots seem to hit me at a bad place, making my legs look thinker than I would like. But I didn't have to too much time to refine the look this morning, so I had to work with what I had. To be honest, though, I couldn't wait to take the whole thing off when I got home... (Sorry for the negativity - I've had a day....)

In other news, and if you hadn't noticed, I'm experimenting with new blog backgrounds! I really like the metal grommets mixed with the lace and flowers in the one currently featured, as well as the color scheme. I'm also pretty pleased with the header, which I did myself! However, I'm not sure it all best reflects me and my style. What do you guys think? I'll probably play with a few other options over the next week or so, so stay tuned!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Finally Friday

Yet another gorgeous Sunday - a gorgeous weekend, really. Whatever mother nature is thinking, she can just keep on thinking it! The BF is in Chicago for the next two days, so I have the apartment to myself, watching football and catching up on last week's TV shows, and - the most time consuming thing so far - re-designing my blog. Well, by "re-designing" I mean "looking for a new template." I'm no web designer, though I do know just enough HTML to be dangerous. So, you might see a few changes over the next few days!

I'm really here to post Friday's outfit, which I haven't yet had time to do. Yesterday a friend of mine and I went to Indianapolis for some serious shopping. We really don't have much in the way of good retailers here, and though Chicago is always an option, the downtown area isn't the most driver-friendly and the tax rate is kinda ridiculous. Indy was perfect though - a great selection of stores, easy access, and amazing deals! I might put together another "recent acquisitions" post later!

Anyway, Friday. Nothing too special here, though the top is a fun one-shoulder curve-hugger that I haven't yet worn. Since most of the color palate is a neutral combination of blue and beige, I put aside the brilliant blue Furla for my fantastically fuchsia Gustto. I can always rely on my handbags for needed pops of color!

Dressy denim blazer - The Limited / Swirl top - The Limited / Beige wide-leg pants - NY&Co. / Tan peep-toes - Banana Republic / Ring - Banana Republic / Fuchsia handbag - Gustto (via BBOS)
Gold polygon necklace - Banana Republic / Gold loop earrings - The Limited

Hope you all have had wonderful weekends, too!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Black and Blue All Over

Last night was the first time in a long time that I went to a performance and was able to enjoy it. As part of a four-part concert cycle, the School of Music's quartet in-residence performed four of the Shostakovich quartets; the rest (there are 15) will be performed at 3 other concerts throughout the season. Now, I realize this might not mean anything to many of you, and that's totally okay, but I can't tell you the last time I was able to take full advantage of my comp tickets at one of the many exhilarating performances that we hold. If I'm in the building, I always feel like I'm working, or at least should be. But I've finally come to a point that I can let things go a little bit, and knowing that, even though it was going to be an important performance, it wasn't going to be full house or even a terribly busy night, so I knew I could confidently hand over the reigns to my more than competent staff. More importantly, however, this concert made me start thinking about music again, about the importance of making and talking about music, about the fact that maybe I do want to write my dissertation. It won't be on this composer, of course, but I feel like I have things to say, and that they will be worth saying. I still love this new career path I'm on, and I do want to continue to explore it, but I think I do want to write the damn thing after all - for me.

As for my outfit, I wish I could say I wore it all day, but I didn't. I more or less slummed it in the earlier part of the day, knowing I would find something better to wear to the evening's concert. I won't lie - this outfit was something of an accident (or a stroke of genius), but I'm thrilled with how it all came together. I can't tell you how much I love the tweed pencil skirt juxtaposed with the edginess of the tee and jacket. My BF said it was a little too incongruous, but that's exactly I why I think it's so fabulous! What an unexpectedly delightful way to wear tweed!

Black cropped jacket - Maurice's / Blue screen tee - Lane Bryant / Tweed Pencil skirt - Lane Bryant / Boots - Nine West (via Zappos) / FURLA!!! / White belt - LOFT?

The tee has actually hung in my closet since the summer. I didn't want to return it, but I was having serious trouble finding the right outfit for it. I wanted to be able to wear it with something other than jeans, and it is now long past white pant season. Even so, all those options just seemed too boring. I wanted to try to mix patterns, but I didn't know how or with what. So, it wasn't until I brushed past this top while digging through my closet, and then eyed the skirt hanging there too (one I hadn't worn yet, either) that the lightning bolt struck. Right away I knew my black boots would be involved, that I'd wear one of the zillion black jackets I owned - preferably one with lots of details - and that I'd throw on a belt to break up the pattern and define my waist under the jacket. Done and done.

Gunmetal earrings - The Limited / Hammered metal disc ring - The Limited / Sterling silver loop necklace - Kohl's

I think Shostakovich would have been totally all over this look. An edgy look for a bunch of edgy quartets.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

An Ode to the Colon: Titles Are Hard

I like how coming up with witty post titles is something of a mind-bending challenge. But it's hard, man - especially if you're doing this day after day. It makes me think about papers from college and grad school, where writing the perfect title seemed to be more difficult than writing the paper itself. (Or maybe that was just another form of procrastination.) And, of course, there was the ubiquitous colon somewhere in the title. I think all us academics out there might agree that there seems to be some kind of unwritten rule that requires paper titles to incorporate a colon, especially in grad school - and even more so with master's theses or dissertations. Don't you worry - BOTH of mine did, do...did.*

But it is justifiably hard. The goal is to reduce your entire tome to a pithy but all-encompassing phrase, leaving your potential reader's curiousity piqued. It's no wonder that nearly every blog I read gives up entirely once in awhile, and they say so! Here's to universal problems....  Ooh, but now I have a title!

It was upwards of 70 today, friends. It's nearing the end of October. It's gorgeous and I'm thankful - don't get me wrong - but I was nearly overheating in my funnel-neck sweater and boots today. On the flip side, I worry about what the deep of Illinois winter is going to look and feel like come February. It will either be warmer all around or the coldest effing winter we've ever had. I'll not complain!

I do love this sweater, though. It was time to break it out, anyway. What's great about it is that it can be a handy transition piece with its elbow-length sleeves and all - wear it with or without a long sleeve tee underneath! It's got great structure, a good length, and it's made out of beautiful marino wool. Works fabulously with a pencil skirt, as well (surprise surprise). Would you be shocked to learn I have it brown, too? Probably not. This color is a great rustic orange that I think in general made me reconsider orange as a viable color option for my wardrobe. (Although my BF informed me while taking pictures that he calls this sweater my Paddington Bear sweater. =P)  I remember lusting after this sweater a few Falls ago on the Banana Republic website - I was also working there at the time. Our store didn't carry it of course, but it was seemingly such a hot item that, when I wore it to work, a least 3 people asked me where it was in the store. I broke hearts that day. I don't know what I do without online shopping. 

Sweater - Banana Republic / Beige cami - Banana Republic / Flare-leg jeans - Lane Braynt / Boots - CL by Chinese Laundry / Big wooden loop earrings - Dress Barn / Furla, you will be mine...

The online pictures of this sweater accessorized it with a big chunky necklace. The necklace was already sold out before I could get my hands on it, and every similar style of necklace I've tried since then never seems to work quite right. So I tend to go uber chunky with the earrings and go without a necklace. Any suggestions, though?

I'm playing volleyball tonight! First time in quite a few weeks, actually. Our team got t-shirts. I hate t-shirts. I don't even wear t-shirts to bed. From the unflattering collar and sleeves to its overall shapelessness, not to mention the inevitable uni-boob from my sports bra, it's not doing me any favors. But, I'll grin and bear it. All in the name of TEAM! Or something.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

* For the inquiring minds out there, my master's thesis was entitled " 'Pagan-Religious Merry-Making': The Program of Rimsky-Korsakov's Svetlyi Prazdnik." The current working title of my dissertation is " 'I Have No Country": The Music of Sergei Rakhmaninov and the Burden of National Identity." Hmm, I just realized that I seem to like quotations to form that first part of my title....

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Pursuit of Harmony

What a flurry of activity at work today. Big party in the loading dock (yep, you read that right) makes for an interesting day of preparation. But seriously, it was kind of interesting - and actually looked pretty damn cool. I take no credit for any of it, and I'm totally fine with that. In fact, I ducked out of my cave of an office for a bit today to work on next month's staff schedule at none other than Starbucks. Thank you for being you, Starbucks. And I got the schedule done!

Today's outfit was inspired by a little edginess that I wanted to impart, more than anything to blend in (or not, as the case may be) a bit with the clientele. And I really wanted to wear pants. My top is a beautifully cut graphic tee that is made out of recycled materials. Yay for "green" clothes! I found this particular designer, The Pursuit of Harmony, at a local boutique, and not only are their pieces reasonably priced, they're cool as hell. I haven't found anything new from them recently, however...which is a bummer to say the least.

Graphic tee - The Pursuit of Harmony (via local boutique) / brown wide-leg pants - NY&Co. / Burgundy double-wrap belt - LOFT / Caramel peep-toes - Banana Republic /
Lovely blue Furla that I want to keep

Because it's also a wee oversized, I of course belted it. The neutral colors in the tee - tans with a small splash of mustard on the side (pun intended - tee hee) - gave me carte blanche with belt colors, but I settled on this burgundy double wrap belt to keep it on this side of autumn. I also like wearing it with a yellow and purple belt (yes, the two together), but I wanted to do a little something different today. I got oodles of compliments at work, too, so I must have done something right! I actually think it's because the double belt hits me perfectly at the narrowest part of my waist, and it did all sorts of wonderful things for my curves. And, of course, you can't go wrong with a nice-fitting pair of wide-leg pants.

Mixed metal loop necklace & earrings - The Limited

Oh, and the party rocked! Too bad I was there in an official capacity - i.e., no adult beverages for me!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Just Another Monday

My Monday wasn't all bad. Oh sure, the whole place was practically turned upside down and inside out in order to make tomorrow's big event happen, but I wasn't really involved with much of it (thankfully), and I think everything with work out just fine. I actually think it gave a little needed excitement to kick off the week, rather than pulling out of some kind of mythological Monday sludge. Truth be told, too, I haven't worked on a Monday in while, so everything was just a little fresh for me anyway. And I got a crapload of work done. I do wonder if my productivity today will be any indicator of how productive I'll be for the rest of the week... Maybe? I'm hoping for a good, solid week to justify all the fun things I have planned this weekend.

I knew what I was wearing today the minute I checked the weather. Mid-60s? Hell, yes! Perfect weather for long sleeves and my new scarf! I'd worn this outfit on a weekend not too long ago, and I loved it so much that I decided that I'd wear the outfit again on the first cool, casual day of the work week - today!

Olive green cropped jacket - Maurice's / Long sleeve blue tee - LOFT / Boot-cut jeans - Lane Bryant / boots - CL by Chinese Laundry (via Famous Footwear) / Printed loop scarf - / pretty blue baby on my arm - Furla (via Avelle)

This jacket has gotten a lot of play, but the scarf is a newer addition to my closet - and I really don't wear scarves that often. As I've said before, they tend to sit on my chest unattractively, and I can never figure out how to best tie them. (Probably the source of my problem, really.) But when I happened upon circle scarves, I figured I couldn't go wrong. Idiot proof scarves! I love the mixed/reversible print of this one - you can't see it in these pictures, but the underside is a tan and blue leopard print. I think printed scarves are a the perfect accessory. I tend to wear a lot of solids (if you haven't noticed), so if I can successfully work a printed scarf into an outfit, I get just enough pattern and visual interest - or even just a pop of color - to complete the look. I seriously think the loop scarf idea solves all my scarf problems, so I'm pretty sure I'll be investing in more.

Yep, I dig this look. Weather appropriate, casual, a little rugged (something unusual for me), but still put together. All good things in my style book.

Maybe that's why my Monday wasn't all that bad - when your look is right, everything else falls into place. If that's not the fashionista's manifesto, I don't know what is.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chained Down (Rewind: Wednesday)

Well would you look at that. I completely forgot about Wednesday! I didn't even remember Wednesday until I looked at my list of posts and saw a draft of pictures. What does that tell you about the state of my mind...? So I'll just throw it out there, though I hardly remember anything about the day itself...

The goal was, again, to wear my beautiful blue Furla, which I ironically forgot to take pictures with... (DOH.) I pulled out this fun cardigan of mine, the chain print of which I pretty much love. It's hard to wear though - I've only worn it with a blue pencil skirt since I bought it. No skirts on this long day of the hump, though. The jeans are working hard here...

Chain cardigan - Banana Republic / Off-white cami - LOFT / Boot leg jeans - Lane Bryant / Caramel ruched pumps - Nine west (via Endless) / Necklace - LOFT / Bracelet - Banana Republic

I got home so late this day that I didn't even get to take pictures outside. The BF and I experimented with a few settings on the camera, and our pictures didn't turn out half bad (lots of lamp light, no flash). I still prefer outdoors, of course, but I might have to go light-bulb shopping soon...the days are getting increasingly shorter!

Whew! NOW I'm caught up!


I went to a wedding out of town yesterday, which itself was a feat because I really didn't know if I could justify getting away from work to go. But, I could - and truth be told, I needed to (for my own sanity) - and I was glad I did. It was, however, the WORST planned trip my BF and I have ever went on. In fact, there was NO planning, which meant that fighting, screaming in the car, grumpy faces, unwilling favors, and even potential break-ups were at an all-time high. We did get home safely, though - but not until 3am after a 4 hour drive with not nearly enough caffeine. Ugh!

But the wedding was lovely, and I got to spend time with old grad school friends whom I miss terribly. I don't say it enough, or probably at all, but I do. I miss having girl friends in general, actually - and the lack of them in my life is more my fault and the walls I build around me. It's something I'm trying to remedy, but old habits (and even older wounds) die hard...and heal even slower... I think I really just need a few girl friends who I can bitch about the BF to, especially when he and I seem close to breaking up over his horrible driving. =7

As for the outfit, I pulled out a dress I hadn't worn in awhile (I was VERY proud of myself for not thinking I needed to buy something new) and I was SO happy to find that it still fit like a glove. (My weight has fluctuated a LOT this year....)

Double-knit origami dress - Banana Republic
I thought burgundy was a perfect color for a fall wedding, and it was still warm enough outside to warrant the cap sleeves. I LOVE the architectural detail of this dress, though I have to admit that the folds at my waist tend to make me look just a smidge preggers from the side. But I did not care. The dress is just so "me." (I have it black, too...) The fact that it's a double knit made it GREAT for the 4 hour car ride, too - not a single worry about it wrinkling!

I actually changed my shoes into a navy blue faux-suede platform pump nce I got to the wedding. (Yes, I brought two pairs because I just couldn't decide!) I initially thought the dark blue color made the look just a little less matchy-matchy (though they did match my manicure), but after I saw our initial pictures, they just made my legs look unbearably pale (well, they are, but I don't want to emphasize that), and they also seemed a little too dark for the overall color scheme. And more importantly, the were too big and kept slipping off my heel. Annoying! Glad I still brought along these beautiful shoes!

Metallic burgundy pumps - Charles by Charles David (via Zappos) / Dot clutch - Lodis

I normally wear silver with this dress, but I'm loving gold accessories lately, so I went that route instead. I love these colors together! They make for a very warm, luxe look. (The necklace is a single strand doubled.)

Gold angle/flower earrings - Banana Republic / Gold ring - Banana republic / Gold/burgundy stone necklace - The Limited

This picture was taken later in the night, so my eye make-up is all smudged and (oops) my black bra is peeking through... We'll blame the picture angle. Note to self - wear a full plunge bra next time.

Congratulations Ann and Kamran! Thanks for inviting us! I only wish we could have stayed longer. Next time, perhaps BF and I will actually plan such a trip....

Rewind: Friday

Most Fridays fail to excite me, as Fridays tend to do in the regular business world.  Though I went into work late that morning, I still had to gear up for a long night. But work is feeling pretty good, so my stress level is slowly coming down, even if I do have to give up a Friday more often than not. Perhaps in the back of my head, too, I was so chill because my subconscious was eagerly awaiting the ultimate foodie high we'd be enjoying later that evening: white truffles....(swoon)....

But first the outfit... I needed to stop at home before the staff call time to pass the car to the BF, so I thought I'd wear a double-duty outfit - one for day, one for night. Ironically, this is probably flipped for most people - I wore jeans during the day, and dress pants at night...

Peach applique cardigan - The Limited / Patterned top - Anthropologie (via eBay) / Dark skinnies - Gap / Boots - Guess (via DSW) / Cobalt Blue bag - Furla (via Avelle)

I've worn the sweater + top combination before (though before I started this blog), itself a remix resulting from a late night "shopping-in-my closet" adventure I had at the end of the summer. The empire top - which is a low-cut tank - was a hard one to find outfits with, especially as the cooler months began to set in. Its beautiful pattern of vibrant blues, purples and even oranges - not to mention its loose and long shape - made for a layering challenge, but I was determined to give it more wear. When I chose this peach sweater, I knew I struck gold. The peach plays with the same color family as the orange in the print without it being too matchy-matchy, and its floral applique adds textural interest at the top to help balance out the flowy bottom. I chose skinny jeans to help keep it slim on the bottom, too. Incidentally, I wanted to try my new Nine West knee-high pull-on flat boots with this outfit, but I actually didn't like it all together, so I opted for my rich cognac brown zipper boots. I still have to decide whether or not I wanted to keep the Nine West boots, though.

And, of course, the cobalt blue Furla makes a beautiful companion piece. =)

For work that the evening, I swapped out the jeans for my ever-faithful wide-leg pants (I own a pair of these in every neutral color - and I advocate everyone to do the same!). I actually think this pairing was more successful for my shape than the skinnies.

Brown wide-leg pants - NY&Co /
[Hard-to-see] purple suede open-toe sandals - Nine West (via Endless)
Necklace - The Limited / Earrings - NY&Co.
And the truffles. Oh thank-you-god (and Bacaro).

Now this is my idea of comfort food... Happy Friday, indeed!

Rewind: Thursday

Ah! I'm so behind! Things were pretty darn busy for me last week as I headed into the weekend, for which I can probably thank a unorthodox theater production. Nothing like throwing front-of-house procedures into a tail spin to keep me busy (read: frantic)! But, I think my staff all got the message, and we closed the first week with most things running pretty smoothly. Nevertheless, it took all my time and energy to get to that point!

Even though I haven't been able to post for the past few days, I did at least take outfit pictures each day. Now that I have a little time (thank you Sunday!) I can finally update!

So I guess I last left off on Thursday... Thursday evening's headliner performance promised to be a pretty big deal, kicking off a busy weekend with the usual pizazz. I went back and forth between outfits for Thursday and Friday (which night would be was bigger? which merited my best outfit?), with my beautiful cobalt Furla continuing to dictate what I would wear. I settled on a pencil skirt number, but I wanted to do something different than the cardigan and belt combo that I tend to gravitate toward. A recent Stylish Curves post recommended pairing a billowy top with a pencil skirt in order to add whimsy to what can sometimes be a stuffy look. (Though, I don't think I'd call anything I do with pencil skirts stuffy. You'll see no white button-ups and jackets from me!) I had this colorful, blousey Banana Republic top since the summer, but I hadn't worn it much because it was so billowy, and I really didn't know how to style it. After reading Savonne's post, I immediately thought of this top. Though its color palate reads spring, I thought I'd nevertheless try to autumnify it...

I first tucked the top as suggested, and though I liked how it made my upper half look, it completely threw off my proportions, even making me look overly hippy. I then untucked it, knowing that option would require a belt, and certainly a wide one at that. I wasn't crazy about this iteration, but then I added my new taupe boots (the fall-factor!) and it all of sudden came together perfectly. (I don't think pumps would have worked as well here.)  I gotta say that I love this look - from the boots to the blousey sleeves and, most of all, that bag! It's both fresh and ultra-feminine. All things I love...

Blouse - Banana Republic / Pencil  skirt -NY&Co / Wide belt - Banana Republic / Taupe stretch  boots - Impo (via DSW) / Silver flat-hammered ring - The Limited / Cobalt Blue bag - Furla (via Avelle)

The BF, who is now taking my pictures with our little digital point-and-shoot when he comes home from work (it goes SO much faster than using the tripod, and the pictures tend to look much better), commented that he loves the windy-hair look, and thinks I need more of them...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Leg Up

It was so nice to have a full day off all to myself yesterday. I was happy to spend Sunday with my BF, of course, but sometimes a girl just needs some solitude, especially when it involves a mani/pedi and a little shopping. I also successfully avoided work email! The best part, though, was that I got to see the start of the fall foliage while driving about. Total and complete bliss. =)

I managed to stick to my guns and do more returns than shopping, at least. I just don't NEED anything right now, and I certainly don't have the money for it. I did, however, finally cave in to leggings. I recently purchased a cute grey shirt dress from Ruche, but I was horrified how short it was when I received it. I don't do short, and short = anything above my knees. I just think a longer silhouette looks better on me. But, before I would decide to send the dress back, I thought I'd give leggings another try. (Ironically, I bought a pair of leggings super cheap a few months ago, but returned them because I was sure I'd never wear them.)  Well, they were of course just what the dress needed, and I'm now (somewhat reluctantly) on board. I feel a little like I'm posing as a twenty-something college student, but in the interest of stepping out of my comfort zone (or totally into it, whichever way you want to look at it), I'm going to hang on to these. 

The leggings in question are from Lane Bryant, and much to my surprise, they also come in purple and teal in store! Weeeeee! I bought the purple and black (both of which I knew I'd wear with this dress) - one for fun, one for basics. They are terribly comfortable - nice wide waistband to prevent the dreaded muffin top (they provided a nice amount of all-over control, actually), soft material to prevent scratching, and they can also stretch to full ankle length, or kept loose somewhere at the calves without excessive bunching anywhere. I'm pretty pleased! (And I'm wearing them now with a tunic tee as I write this.) I also pretty much LOVE wearing flats all of sudden. Might have bought a few (or more) pairs at the Payless BOGO sale...

Grey shirt dress - Ruche / Black leggings - Lane Bryant / Fucshia camisole - NY&Co / Grey wide animal print buckle belt - Banana Republic / Necklace - local boutique / Black  mini wedges - Payless

The dress has its own tie-belt, but once again I swapped it out in favor of my own. This look just needed something a little more substantial at the waist, but I didn't want to add any more another color (especially one that might compete with an accessory I'll reveal in a moment), so I kept the belt in the same color family as the dress.

Please also forgive the wrinkly-ness of the dress - I took this picture at the end of the day (of sitting at my desk), and I really wasn't up to the task of ironing it again...  You'd think it was linen by the way this thing wrinkled!

Necklace - local boutique / Pink intertwined bangles - NY&Co /
Silver hammered metal ring - The Limited 

Oooh, mixing gold and silver together!! Bad girl alert! Whatevs... =7

I'm actually quite excited to wear this outfit with the purple leggings and some fabulous animal print sandals. Probably going to save that for weekend wear, though. Just a little too feisty for daytime work wear...maybe?

The OTHER main factor in this outfit was the fact that I desperately wanted to showcase my new handbag today!

Blue Handbag,"Carmen Zipper" - Furla
Incidentally, I didn't initially love the color combinations when I first put the outfit together, but now that I've had a chance to digest these pictures, I really do. The pink cami and accessories complement the vibrant blue of the bag, and the total package is a nice treatment of neutrals with striking pops of color.

GAH! I love this bag. I'm actually renting it - does anyone else out there do Avelle? I don't rent that often, and I haven't yet rented any super high-end bags (danger), but I've been pretty happy with the bags I've borrowed, often even purchasing them! I don't know if I can justify an eventual purchase with this one, even if it's everything I've been wanting in a blue handbag and more. DROOL.

The pictures I took with my outfit make the bag come out lighter than it is. It's actually a much richer blue - like a royal blue, so I thought I'd include the Avelle stock picture (which is more accurate) here...

You can expect a number of outfits to incorporate this bag over the next month! =)))))))

Sunday, October 10, 2010

An Accessory to Style

Today was a glorious day! Beautiful weather - sunny, warm, mild breeze. (It's October, for crying out loud, but I'm not complaining!) We slept in, watched football on the couch, cleaned the apartment, started laundry...wonderful. Now that I think about it, we probably should have gotten off our butts and taken a walk, but we didn't...oh well.

Yesterday was the end of a 7-day work week - also a 13-hour day itself. It wasn't a bad day - just a long one, so I really feel like a earned a day of sweet lounging. I'm off tomorrow, too, and I am promising myself that I will NOT think about work, so no email - NONE! To help me do that, I'm going to 1) sleep in again and 2) go shopping! Well, I'm actually going to return a number of things, but it'll be nice to get out of the house and meander about the town in a totally leisurely way.

I prepared for the length of the day yesterday by building my outfit around low-heeled shoes and a comfortable knit dress. This is also a bit of remix, where I tried to autumnify (a word I think I borrowed from another blogger, though I can't remember who - but what a great word!) a great-fitting tank dress with an embellished neckline that I bought in the summer. It's a really versatile shade of navy blue, though, so I'm hoping to work it into an all-seasons dress.

Olive green canvas jacket - LOFT / Navy blue knit dress - LOFT /  Pink skinny belt - The Limited / Blue bowed kitten heels - Payless

The jacket, which I wore in an earlier casual ensemble, has its own tie and has very little structure. But in the interest of dressing the jacket up a bit, I removed the tie and experimented with other belts. My initial version of this outfit incorporated a teal belt and a turquoise gradated bead necklace. I thought this was fun, but the necklace broke mid-day, so I went home during a dinner break to change. The teal belt didn't work as well with other necklaces I was considering, so I basically cycled through a number of combinations. I love this version, however.The pink belt plays well with the olive green, and it picks up pinkish tones in the necklace. I also thought it was the dressiest version, which I still had to maintain for the evening performances.

I also tried orange and yellow belts, both of which I liked, too. The orange was very autumnal - and I'll definitely revisit that combination - I'm thinking boots and a chunky necklace! The yellow was equally wonderful, adding a punch of color that really brightens up the ensemble. I think such a combination will be great in the spring.

Pearly shell earrings and necklace - LOFT

I definitely feel this outfit does have a more causal feel than one I'd usually wear to work a performance, but I had to compromise a bit to dress for the WHOLE day (the first part of which involved a youth literature festival that took over the entire everywhere!) The accessories take credit for dressing the outfit up just enough, however.

Interestingly enough, this outfit has given me some ideas of how I can expand my casual style vocabulary, too... 

Friday, October 8, 2010


In the interest of my previous post, I'd still like to post pictures from the past two days. Let's call it accountability. And, more than anything, I welcome suggestions from my readers!

Watercolor print top - Anthropologie / Blue open cardigan sweater - Willi Smith (TJ Maxx) / Dark skinnies - Gap / Black buckle wedges - LOFT

This was Thursday's outfit. Skinny jeans, wedges, fun printed top, cardigan sweater. Pretty basic, really (and the top is doing all the work). I actually felt super self-conscious in the skinny jeans all day, but the more I think about it, the sweater - which does nothing for my shape - was probably the downfall of the outfit. I wanted to adhere to the skinny jean maxim of keeping the top voluminous, but something doesn't seem right. Ironically, I bought this cardigan specifically to wear with this top; I rarely wear either item with anything else. Time for a remix! What recommendations might you have to spruce this up a bit? Make it not only more flattering, but a little more multi-dimensional?

I was bored and uncomfortable in this outfit yesterday; neither good things - especially for my self-esteem. I wanted to try a little harder today, so I opted for a denim pencil skirt with more casual combination that I've worn before.

Military green cropped jacket - Maurice's / Pink camouflage tee - Maurice's / Denim pencil skirt - Rafaella (via TJ Maxx) / Wite strappy sandals - Payless

I felt a little more fun in this outfit - a little more "me." Great fall colors, a little pattern, comfy cropped jacket, military vibe, pencil skirt. But if I'm being honest with myself (and that's the whole point), I don't think this combination is doing me any favors, either - something about the proportions seem off. What I like about the look is the layering, a certain youthfulness it has, and its wee bit of edginess (thanks to the jacket) combined with femininity (pink camoflage! pencil skirt!), but I need to bring that all into focus for my shape. Grr, if I'm being REALLY honest, I probably just need a better fitting (and slightly longer) denim pencil skirt. (That hunt has been going on for a while, though.) How I can bring a little more edge into an otherwise feminine look, while still being figure flattering?

Thanks for reading!

On Casual Style (or the Lack Thereof)

I didn't post yesterday. I'm barely mustering up enough motivation to post today. I know no one is breathing down my neck to post daily - I'm keeping this blog for me after all - but I think that's the most important reason to post, anyway.

What is comes down to is the fact that I haven't loved my ensembles these past couple of days, let alone have I wanted to broadcast them. But making myself write this post (and looking critically at my outfit pictures) has made me realize where I need the most room for improvement in my personal style: my casual wardrobe. I do dressy really well. Sexy secretary? You bet. Elegant cocktail dress? Bring it. Stylish work/event-wear? Easy. Friday night out at high-end bar? I can do that, too. But give me a regular old day that I want to look put-together but still dressed-down? Muddy waters. These are the days when my closet throws up on my floor and I come out of my room depressed and frustrated with my body. I just don't seem to have a middle-ground in my style vocabulary. I can't seem to dress casually AND stylishly.

I guess that's why I've always preferred to overdress for jobs/events/outings in my adult life - I just don't know how to do anything else! Last week's "Dressed-up Denim" challenge started opening my eyes up to that fact, and these past few days have solidified it. The whole wide world of casual dressing is a big black hole in my personal style.

Maybe it's my body type; maybe it's my preference for femininity and elegance; maybe it's my handicap when it comes to layering; maybe (and probably) it's some strange restriction I've seemed to impose on matching colors (something I've just recently realized). I MUST BRANCH OUT! Thanks to this blog, I know I'm trying - and I'm proud of a number of outfits featured here where I felt like I did it successfully - but I want to do better. In the end, it is the one area of my style that I truly want to change. It's important that I do it, however, in a way that doesn't involve spending (more) money at the mall. When I say I want to shop in my closet, that's exactly what I want (need) to shop in my closet for.

It's becoming painfully obvious that this is something I cannot do the morning before I go to work. I think it's time to spend a weekend in my closet, and really looking through my favorite blogs for inspiration that still speaks to my personal style and existing wardrobe. I know this is what all the successful bloggers say to do. I just need to find some time, the frame of mind, a good drink, and maybe even a good friend, to do it with.

Do any of you experience similar woes, or have similar desires to change something about your personal style? Do you even have or want a "personal style"? Where do you go or what do you do for inspiration?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On Neutral Ground

So that boring pants and sweater combo I had warned you about turned into something quite different! It's amazing what accessories can do for an outfit...

Brown open cardigan - Maurice's / Ivory camisole - Banana Republic / Grey wide-leg pants - NY&Co / Tan open-toe shoes - Banana Republic / Wide lizard-print belt - Banana Republic

I still kept the grey-brown combination I had planned, however. I adore these two neutrals together, and I advocate the combination whenever I can! But, I really did want to put little more effort into my outfit (and the 80-degree weather definitely called for shorter sleeves and thinner materials). I'm very happy with the result, especially that subtle touch of pretty light-turquoise color in the accessories I chose.

God and turquoise stone necklace - LOFT
Earrings - Maurice's / Turquoise enamel bracelet - Ten Thousand Villages / Ring - Banana Republic

I felt good today; I felt like I looked good today - even my unwashed hair! =S (I was slightly uncomfortable with my cleavage, however. I should probably reign that in.) We had two successive full houses of children's performances this morning, which always makes the day go by in a blink of an eye. Don't really get much actual work done on days like these though. But what work? What is it that I do, again? My predecessor in this job called herself a glorified house manager, and it's probably an accurate description. It's the behind-the-scenes work, however - the little bits and pieces here and there that make front-of-house-things go, that help a performance night fall into place, that try to predict or prevent any problems that may arise at any moment - I guess that's what I do, too. And maybe a lot of online shopping...?

BUT I'm very happy to report that, for the next two evenings, I will not be at work. Yes! Normal days! Normal nights! I'm looking forward to enjoying the fall night air, must-see-TV (speaking of which - I need to watch Glee!), and an actual dinner at the table with my BF. Maybe even a fire in the fireplace, too.

Nevermind that I'll have a 14 hour day on Saturday, though. =P  Well, at least I have a fun outfit planned...

Happy Birthday (again), dear brother. We miss and love you. 

Happy Birthday, Paul!

Today is my brother Paul's 27th birthday. He is currently serving in Afghanistan. Please keep him (and all armed services men and women) in your thoughts and prayers. I love you, Paul!


I think I'm getting a little burnt out at work, and my body is starting to revolt. I didn't go in until the mid-afternoon because I wasn't feeling great, also knowing that I had a late night of performances ahead of me. The extra sleep helped, but there must be something else going on. Ever since the season began last month, I feel like the job is taking more effort than usual and I can't seem to keep up. I'm waiting for the moment where everything (body, mind, job, relationships, finances, schedule, weight, etc., etc.) magically clicks back into place. Magic is real, right? =7

Today, therefore, was going to be a pants day. I might even go so far as to declare the rest of the week pants week. Skirts just felt too high maintenance for me today, so maybe I'm copping out? (Meh.) I had originally planed to don a simple pant and sweater combo, but I moved that outfit to tomorrow since it's going to be a early day and I'll want to be able to rely on easy pieces. Ironically enough, today's outfit has proved possibly even more high maintenance than a skirt might have been. Thank you, fussy top and large bosoms.

Grosgrain trim cardigan - LOFT / Spotted tiered shell - LOFT / brown wide-leg pants - NY&Co / Mauve double-wrap belt - LOFT / Nude "Booboo" heels - Nine West (via / Silver necklace - LOFT
I'd also been dying to wear this outfit (which I featured in my "recent acquisitions" post). I love its mixture of patterns and textures and colors - spots, ruffles, grosgrain; grey, brown, pink. It's definitely a thinking-outside-of-the-box combination for me, but I've come to love the depth and visual interest mixed patterns lend an outfit, and it's something I want to try to do more of. I paired it with a favorite bag of mine in a rich wine color, adding even more depth of color.

Tano "Homemade Cake" in Bordeaux

But, it was a fussy little sucker. The double-wrap belt was actually not much of a problem - it was pretty secure and sat at the right place for the most of the day. It was the top that played the foil. As a trick, since I wasn't going to button the sweater, I secured the cardigan with clothing tape so it would sit on my chest properly - that is, without falling off to the side and making them look huge(r). (This is definitely a problem for the large-chested when wearing cardigans this way. I used this trick the last time I belted an open cardigan, too.) The cardigan stayed put, actually, but the slinky, tiered shell - now taped to the cardigan - kept shifting around and making me look all lop-sided. The shirt's layers also got stuck between the belt and/or the cardigan, causing them to stick out here and there. Thankfully, there's a full-length mirror outside my office, so I was able to adjust whenever needed (which seemed to be rather often). Next time I wear the outfit, though (and I do think I'll wear it again), I'll be sure to secure the top as well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Another wrap, with a totally different feel...

Orange print wrap dress - Yellowfield 8 (via local boutique) / Military green cropped jacket - Maurice's / Seafoam lace tank - Banana Republic / Beige long-sleeve cropped tee - LOFT /
Boots - Guess (via DSW)
This outfit went through a few iterations today, even after I got to work. On its own, it's a great little wrap (even with all the fussing they come with) in a playful pattern that works well in the summer or fall, with boots or with sandals.

Sporting bangs in the wrap dress as-is (with cami) on a beach in Santa Monica, CA two summers ago
For today's wearing, I had first just planned to wear it on its own, layered with a long-sleeved tee underneath (the time for short sleeves is over), a long necklace, and boots. This seemed normal for me, and I loved how slim my waist looked (!), but all in all it was kind of uninspired. Then I remembered this cropped jacket I had in military green, which picked up the olive tones in the dress. That was fun! For added dimension, I tried this lacy seafoam-colored tank underneath, picking up the blues in the dress, too. Lace and military! And it's a trend this season! Double fun!

Long orange beaded necklace (doubled) - local boutique
I went back and forth with the under-layers, though. The jacket was a definite, but should I wear the long-sleeve tee AND the tank? Just the tank? Just the long sleeve tee? Which necklace to wear in either case? Oh the decisions!  The BF recommended I wear the long-sleeve tee since it was definitely weather-appropriate, and he liked the lacy tank with it, as well. So, I went with both, and we snapped these shots before we left for work.

After seeing the pictures, though (I brought the camera to work with me), I began to think this outfit was kind of weird. It's definitely NOT my usual style, especially since I would just normally wear the dress as-is. But this was kind of the point. (The BF said it was "funky." I asked, "Funky good or funky bad?" He shrugged. He's not one for "funk" in either form, but he seemed to support the attempt.) Later at work I decided to de-layer the tee, rationalized by the fact that there would be 500+ people in the lobby for the evening's casual wine-tasting event, and it would get pretty warm pretty quick. I also thought it might lessen the suspected weirdness of the outfit...

(I can't believe I managed to snap a few more pictures! I kind of love the brick background - maybe I should try to take more outfit pictures at work? Now, THAT'S weird.*)

Looking at this last picture makes me wish I would have worn either a more obvious/colorful tight or none at all - my legs just look pasty here! I do think the overall look is the most successful, however. The long-sleeved tee seemed to add unnecessary bulk to my upper half, and lord-knows I don't need additional bulk there! It all just looks more...purposeful? I'm still not quite sure about the ensemble, but I worked it nevertheless.

You know, if it wasn't for this blog, and the fact that I'm consciously trying to take a few more fashion risks, I wouldn't have considered any of this, and I would have walked out of the house (mostly) content in the wrap layered with the tee. I find this all...interesting...

*Every time I wrote/thought/said "weird" in post, I thought of this comic. Thank you, Oatmeal, for making me as conscious of my grammar as I am of my outfits.