Sunday, February 27, 2011


I'm continually amazed by the new outfits I can put together in my closet. I don't think I've ever thought to wear this color combination before, let alone these particular items! The denim trouser jeans are relatively new (at least, new to this blog), and in fact the minute I bought them (with a 40% coupon, no less), I knew my wardrobe about tripled. Denim trousers are a true basic, methinks. I love the bright springtime colors here, which seem to have been inspired by LOFT's spring transition line of fresh oranges, tans and navy. Makes me want a creamsicle...

Cream cardigan - LOFT / Orange embellished necklace tank - LOFT / Denim trouser jeans - LOFT

I think one of the reasons I've never worn this particular combination before (even with regular jeans) is because I never used to wear cardigans open and loose. I know, crazy. I always preferred them belted in order to accentuate my waist, but thanks to my ever-expanding muffin-top, I started to steer away from cardigans in general because I didn't know how else to wear them. You've recently seen me wearing them this way more often, such as in my outfit inspired by Ariana (the first time I wore a cardigan like that, I think), this brightly-colored mixed pattern ensemble, and last Monday's outfit in shades of blue. I didn't think I looked shapeless at all in these, so I've started to really believe that showing off the waist doesn't always have to be necessity, and that there are other ways to create proportion: use of color, length of clothing, wearing a skirt vs. pant, etc. And that's good, because I have about 20+ cardigans that need to be worn! The layering options truly become endless...

I know what you're thinking: "But, uh, Jessica, you're wearing a belt here!" Haha, yes, yes I am. The only reason I'm wearing a belt is, quite simply, I felt the tank was too long and needed a way to shorten it! So, once belted, I pulled the tank out a bit to fold over the belt, creating something of a tunic effect. Belts are so darn useful!

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine / Carmel open-toed pumps - Banana Repbulic
Ring - Banana Republic (eBayed) / Earrings  - LOFT

Now for that creamsicle...

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Blue's Clues

I'm at a loss for words today, but maybe that's just as well. I didn't get around to posting last night because, in a rare moment of adventure, we decided to go out for drinks and a snack after a late night of work. I managed to snap and edit a few pictures, but I was pretty much asleep before I could even turn of my computer. So I guess I'll let my pictures do (most of) the talking today!

Floral applique sweater - Tabitha (Anthropologie) / Blue camisole - LOFT / Brown pencil skirt - NY&Co. /
Navy faux-suede pumps - Payless

I'm slowly but surely cycling through the birthday gifts Bob bought me from Anthropologie. In fact, I think this post finally completes the collection! Like many of those items, I wore them pretty much as soon as I got them in my hands, but for a variety of reasons I didn't blog about them. So, this pretty and unique sweater really saw its second outing last night.

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

The sweater fits well (though the arms are just a bit too long) and gives me a nice shape, and as most things, I love how it looks with a pencil skirt. Its debut outfit actually included brown pants instead of the skirt, but I like the proportions and balance of color better here. I did get quite few compliments on the outfit last night, too, so I think I made the right choice!

Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - Banana Republic (eBayed) / Earrings - Maurices

I sure do like the color blue, though, don't I?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pretty in Pink

Today didn't start off all that great. It was definitely one of those days that I wouldn't know where my head was if it wasn't attached. Ever have those days? Yeah. After settling into the evening with my staff and a busy night of performances, things finally started to gel a little bit. Slightly alarming that it wasn't until 6 hours into my day, though...

Pink exposed seam cardigan - Banana Republic / Dot-print tank - Urban Outfitters / Grey wide-leg pants - NY&Co.

I'm submitting a petition to extend my expected graduation date tomorrow. (It's supposed to be this May; I'm obviously nowhere near that.) It's a pretty routine thing, so I'm told, but it does mean that I'm going to try to give this (my dissertation) a real go. The class that I'm auditing this semester has final paper topics due next week. Now, because I'm auditing, I don't have any course requirements to fill, but I had suggested to the professor that I just might use the final paper option to help me write a chapter of my dissertation. So, there it is. If I'm gonna do this thing, I just better do it, no?

Silver belt - LOFT / Black pumps - Nine West

As for the outfit, I didn't feel like trying too hard today. Of course, that always means that it takes me twice as long to find something to wear. (Thus one of the reasons my day didn't start out so great.) Ironically, this was the first thing I pulled out of my closet, and I only came back to it after wasting too much time and spewing too many clothes all over the floor. You know what they say - always go with your first choice...

It's the accessories that made the outfit, though. Until I added the belt and jewelry, it was just kind of frumpy cardigan ensemble in (what I thought at the time) boring colors. The belt helps define the waist, of course, but all the muted silver really underlines a certain prettiness about the outfit, the centerpiece of which is the petal pink cardigan.

Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - LOFT / Earrings - NY&Co. (?)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day to Night

I wore this outfit yesterday, a day which tested my ability to transition from being well-dressed with a slightly more daytime/professional vibe to a fancier look for evening. I rarely care about such things, but the day's multiple events seemed to dictate the need: meetings, office for paperwork and emails, interesting conference panels, more paperwork and emails in the office, meet with and brief staff on performance needs, attend lecture, performance and reception, followup with staff. I'm actually kind of impressed that my outfit had such mileage! I was also impressed that I was still standing at the end of the day. (For what it's worth, I'm not standing at all today.)

Grey embellished sheath dress- Dress Barn / Grey cardigan - LOFT / Embossed belt - Banana Republic / Flats - LOFT

I scored this dress on clearance at Dress Barn for $18 and I was actually surprised how easily it does transition from day to night. Throw on a cardigan and some flats and I was good to go! It was so easy it was almost criminal, really... I liked the choice of this grey cardigan in a slightly lighter tone, which gives the outfit a little more dimension without having too much contrast. I did add the belt to the dress, however. The dress is a sheath that was just a smidge big on me. Without the belt, I lacked any sort of definition in the waist. I also liked the addition of the lighter tan color of the belt to break up the grey. (You know I love grey and ivory together!)

And of course the natural (no pun intended) choice: a tan handbag...

Handbag - Steve Madden (via

Once evening had come around, I did need to meet with the staff, but as I was attending the evening's performance, I wanted to get a little fancier. Off with the cardigan and flats, on with embellished open-toed bronze heels! Saucy.

Bronze embellished peep-toes - BCBG (eBayed)

I just love the embellishment on the dress - so simple yet so striking. It's because of the colors in it, too, that I knew tans, bronze and cream would go smashingly.

Ring - Banana Republic / Earrings - The Limited

What a fabulous clearance find, eh?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Afterglow

I had a truly amazing day. It's actually kind of mind-blowing the kinds of things that went down.

Powder blue cardigan - LOFT / Navy blue tank - TJ Maxx / Grey wide leg pants - New York & Co.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I alluded to the importance of the day, leaving many of you held in suspense. My day was so busy, too, that I just haven't been able to communicate with anyone until now. So I thought I'd kill a few birds with one stone and just blog about it. =)

Basically, I met probably the most important scholar in my field (Russian music) today. Not only was he a much more congenial individual than I ever thought possible (he comes with a inimitable reputation), but we had really thoughtful conversation about the field and scholarship in general. I felt comfortable and valued all at the same time, even though for the entire 24 hours previous I was stressing about whether I could even pretend that I knew what I was talking about anymore. (Admittedly, I went back and reread my dissertation proposal! I have been out of the game for about a year and half now.... ) And then? The conversation ended with him offering to be an outside reader for my dissertation... You'll just have to trust me when I say: It was decisive moment for me; it resurfaced my latent desire to actaully write my dissertation; it assured me that I could write the dissertation; it even suggested that it could be a great dissertation. In short, it validated all the things that I've doubted for the better part of my graduate career. And for a great many reasons, I needed a little validation right now. The fact that the validation come from an eminent scholar in my field only intensified the magnitude of the thing.

I've told myself that this would be the year in which I decide if I'm going to move forward with musicology or arts administration. However, I must admit that I still cannot choose one over the other. I love my current job and I love the opportunities it presents; but musicology is something I've been doing for so long that I can't imagine not finishing. I don't know if I want to pursue academia for my career, but I am missing out on a great opportunity if I don't write this thing; if I don't take advantage of the professional relationships offered to me today. And that's saying something.

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

And one more thing: I'm down 7 pounds through Weight Watchers... a big day on all counts...

Floral ring - TJ Maxx / Earrings - The Limited

I close with just a few words about the outfit: I did choose it carefully. I wanted to be well-dressed but feminine, confident but approachable. I originally thought I'd rock a pencil skirt, but I opted for pants for their ease and comfort instead. I also kept accessories minimal, going without a belt (something I would usually do) or a necklace. I love the monochromatic blues, calming and great for my skin tone, right down to my fabulous shoes and pedicure.

Blue suede t-strap peep toes - Nine West (via Amazon) / Mani & Pedi - O.P.I. "Russian Navy" (appropriate, no?)

As I close on a post that has reflected on such a big day, retrospection affirms that dressing well, that feeling good about how you look and present yourself, can go a long way to help you manage otherwise stressful moments.

...among other things. =)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

For the Love of Stripes

I know stripes are all over the place this days, but I gotta say, I'm all over that bandwagon. It's kind of a pattern without being a pattern, knowwhaddaimean? It's so easy to mix patterns with it, or even just a way to liven up otherwise classic pieces, like a pinstripe pencil skirt, for instance. And the layering options with this self-belted wrap will be endless!

Striped belted wrap - Maurices / Pinstripe pencil skirt - Lane Bryant / Embellished tank - LOFT / Black nylons - Lane Bryant /
Metallic burgundy pumps - Charles by Charles David(via Zappos)

I'm also getting better at being more flexible when it comes to color combinations. For example, before this blog, I would have worn a basic black or white cami underneath the striped wrap, or at best some kind of red top. So this embellished dark pink tank, while perhaps nothing earth shattering, is definitely proof that I've loosened up a bit!

Handbag - Tano "Homemade Cake" in Bordeaux

Oh yeah, and I got a hair cut! I was long overdue, to be sure. It might seem pretty short, but it's actually the usual length I go to when I get a fresh cut! (See??) It's really been just that long since my last visit. My stylist did some pretty exciting things with color too, especially on the right side of my head, which you really can't see in these pictures. I'll try to capture them in future posts, eh?

Black enamel flower ring - The Limited / Earrings - Lane Bryant (?)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Color Story

This outfit is another look inspired by Tania, who, as luck would have it, popped by for a lovely little break in the sun today! Surprise visits from friends are the best, are they not?

Orange strapless dress - Ann Taylor / Grey cardigan - LOFT / Boots - Ciao Bella (via DSW) / Burgundy tights - Simply Vera (Kohl's) / Maroon skinny belt - New York & Co. / Necklace - Urban Outfitters / Earrings - Maurices

I've worn the outfit before, but never had good enough pictures to post. In fact, the last time I wore it (December 21), Tania had in fact worn an almost identical version on the same day! How's that for an "inspired by" post, eh??

All of this color blocking of orange and maroon and grey is totally new to me - truly a color pairing way outside my comfort zone. But color is good like the sun is warm, so I went with it. Besides, Tania rocks these kinds of combinations so well that I was convinced it was okay!  And it was Friday, so all bets were off, anyway... =)

As it turns out, I'm not too thrilled with my pictures today, either (primarily my facial expressions and poses), but I was determined to post this outfit! We tried to take a few shots during the day before I left for work. With a little finagling and time, I think there's hope for my indoor shots after all! But since I barely leave myself enough time to eat breakfast, let alone take my outfit pictures in the morning, I had to cut the session short with only a few decent pictures to show for it. And by the time we got home tonight, I didn't feel like taking any more either, so this was it!

Well, except for this glam goofy self-portrait I took in the car on the way to work... (Don't worry, Bob was driving!)

Sunglasses - LOFT / Trench - Banana Republic

Thursday, February 17, 2011


Today I celebrate the return of open-toed sandals! The snow is melting rapidly, the temperature hit above 60 today, and it is light out well after 5pm. Hoorah! But I'm no fool - a Midwestern February is one rotten trickster. So, I will just celebrate these past few days as what they are - a sweet respite from the ache of this frigid winter. And I do so in light summery colors, thin fabrics, and open-toed sandals, of course. With or without a pedicure (however needed...) =P

Cropped jacket - Dress Barn / Ruffled top - New York & Co. / Flare leg denim - Lane Bryant / Open-toed wedges - LOFT

I'm also enjoying this week's respite from busy evenings at work. It's been so nice working a regular day (even though they've been pretty busy themselves), with evenings to myself and Bob, spending happy hour with friends, watching TV's guilty pleasures, running to the mall for fab clearance finds (to be worn next week!), giving myself manicures, and getting to wear jeans that make me feel simply fabulous.

But on the other hand, and call me crazy, I look forward to those busy nights again, not only because I love the energy and sense of occasion, but to get to dressed up! And, of course, they will return sooner than later. =)

Handbag - Steve Madden (via
Turquoise Ring - Banana Republic / Turquoise earrings - Dress Barn

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cropped Rotation

Ever heard of Casual Tuesday? No? Oh well. Today was Casual Tuesday for me. Tomorrow will be Casual Wednesday, etc. and so on. I can't believe what a light week I have ahead of me! I could get used to this... (Probably shouldn't though!)

Olive cropped jacket - Maurices / Burgundy sequin bib top - LOFT / Flare leg denim - Lane Bryant /
Boots - Laundry by Chinese Laundry (Famous Footwear)

I've worn a variation of this outfit before, and it was the need to change into a more casual outfit later that night that beget the version I've (re-)worn today. I didn't blog about the change that night, but I was certainly excited to wear/blog about it again! No better time than Casual Tuesday, eh? I would have NEVER thought to wear the top and jacket together, but I'm pretty much in love with the combinations of olive and burgundy, sequins and military.

This cropped military jacket has definitely become a wardrobe workhorse for me, though. Whenever I need a casual topper, this is probably my most grabbed item.

Earrings - Dress Barn

You'll notice some new lighting! I pulled a floor lamp out of the office in the living room to balance the already existing light. My face is definitely more in focus, but hello whitewash! Back to the light source drawing board, at least until outside pictures become an option again!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

I just wanted to take a moment to tell all of you, my dear readers, how much I love you! Thank you for reading, commenting, and just being you!

We're not going out tonight (if all goes well, though, we'll be celebrating at home with a spread of Einstein Bagels), but if I were, I'm pretty sure I'd be wearing this!

Valentine's Outift

Blurred Shapes Dress - Anthropologie, $90 (Recently purchased!)
Guess Footwear Hondo Pumps - Piperlime, $90 (Just got in the mail today!)
Braided Necklace with Pink Stones - LOFT, $74 (don't have this yet, but now I want it!)
Teardrop Earrings - LOFT, $39 (ditto...)

Hope your days are filled with all good things, whether you celebrate or not!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Blues

I'm not sure what to write about tonight. It's been one of those days when I have a lot in my head, but nothing seems to want to come out of it, at least coherently. Maybe I'll resort to making lists...

1. My current Pandora station is based on Ray Lamontagne. It's perfect everyday.

Printed silk wrap dress - Banana Republic (via eBay)

2. Is it spring yet?

3. I always forget about my tea while it's seeping. By the time I remember it, I need to reheat it in the microwave.

Handbag - Tano "Minilisa" in Blue Marine

4. I need to clean my apartment, but I'm not sure when I'm going to get around to doing it.

Purple tights - Simply Vera by Vera Wang (Kohl's) / Navy blue pumps - Payless

5. I love what colorful tights can do for an outfit, especially purple ones.

Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - The Limited

6. Anything purple is good, really.

Friday, February 11, 2011


A night of Baby Swiss Cheez-Its, Lindeman's Framboise, mindless TV, and online shopping means only one thing! It's wish list time...

Cultural Heritage Skirt - Yoana Baraschi (Anthropologie)

You know I'm a sucker for a pencil skirt. Just think of the possibilities with that neutral but delightful print! Swoon...

Legacy Wrap Dress in Dandelion Print - Kiyonna

A printed wrap dress is the (fashion) world's most perfect camouflage, don't you think? I've been eying these Kiyonna wrap dresses for awhile now, and this print must have recently been added. It's just perfect for spring! Now only if they'd get my size back in stock...

Blooming Goldenrod Dress - Edme & Esyllte (Anthropologie)

A pretty dress with pretty details is just, well, pretty! I love everything about this little dress - the color palette, the scoop neck, the big bow. Hmm, this might be a good reward when I hit my 10% goal on Weight Watchers, methinks!

Furla "Yoko" Large Shoulder Handbag - BBOS

A big metallic handbag? Yes, please!

Hondo 3 - Guess (via Piperlime)

Nude pumps on are on everyone's must-have lists this season, and once I found these fabulous platform patent open-toed lovelies, I knew I found just the pair for me! Thanks to a coupon and free shipping, these babies are on their way to me now!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tickle the Ivories

Is it bad (silly? ridiculous? neurotic? cute?) that I knew the title for this post the minute I decided on the outfit? I guess this lovely combination of ivory/gold (the true star), black and grey (subconsciously?) stirred up images of piano keys, which I did play for the better part of my life...

Herringbone sweater jacket - Sleeping on Snow (Anthropologie) / Lace tank - Banana Republic / Pinstripe pencil skirt - Lane Bryant / Ivory tights - We Love Colors / Grey faux suede shoes - Kohl's / Ivory skinny belt - Banana Republic

The sweater/jacket/vest is a new item I just picked up on sale from Anthropologie. It's an odd little piece, but it's warm and cozy as hell, and it does give me a nice shape. I'm looking forward to dressing up a few denim ensembles with it. As seems to be customary with me lately, I did some subtle pattern mixing by pairing its herringbone weave with a pinstripe skirt. You can't really tell in these pics (and I failed to take a close-up), but I like the added dimension it gave the outfit. A plain black skirt rarely interests me... I chose these new ivory tights to really make the color a more purposeful part of the outfit (thereby justifying my title =P), even though I was hesitant that people might confuse my legs as just that damn pasty! Thanks to the grey pumps that helped balance all that out, a friend of mine assured me that wasn't the case. Friends sure are good to have around when fashion-related (or any, really) doubts creep in... =)

I'm getting a hang of all the cool settings on my new camera! These outfit pictures were shot with the smile setting, which necessarily focuses on a smiling face before it takes pictures. The beauty of the setting, too, is that I can still take 10 pictures in a row! So it has all the benefits of a customizable automatic timer, plus facial recognition features. Cool, huh? Yay for better pictures! The real test will be how these pics turn out back at home without this lovely lighting and background. Stay tuned!

Necklace - Banana Republic / Ring - Banana Republic / Earrings - The Limited