Monday, April 30, 2012

Can't Help Myself

So I broke down and bought this purple pencil skirt. I held off for awhile, believing I really didn't need it. You can imagine my pride that I could actually say no to a pencil skirt... Well, then 50% off happened, and I caved.

Top - LOFT / Pencil skirt - eloquii / Heels - Max Studio (via DSW)

I caved especially when I was pinspired by the combination of navy and purple in this image. I had practically the same top and knew it would pair beautifully with the skirt. The colors may read a bit autumnal, but I love the simple elegance that these colors create together.

Handbag - DKNY (via TJMaxx)

I was intrigued by the black accents in the outfit image as well, so I wanted to incorporate it similarly into my recreation, even it was just the handbag. I wasn't convinced that black shoes would be great, but the more I look at the image, the more I wish I had taken a chance with a pair. Black and navy might be one of those pairings that seem odd or clash, but, like brown and black or brown and grey, there's something about the combination that feels classic to me.

But, I mean, leapord print shoes seem like a pretty fabulous choice, too, no?

Ring - Banana Republic / Earring - Ruche / Nails - Love & Acceptance (Essie)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Tight End

I'm kind of glad I was never able to get rid of this top. It's been hanging in my closet since January, an international purchase (via Dorothy Perkins) whose return or exchange would have been more trouble than it was worth. I wasn't convinced it was a good item for me (and my large bust), and the few ways I had in mind to wear it didn't look as good as I would have liked. But I really did love it and had hoped I'd shed a few pounds and could eventually wear it - or at least find a way to get away with wearing it.

Top - Dorothy Perkins / Black pencil skirt - Simply Be / Peep-toes - Payless 

Well, I sure haven't shed those pounds, but I really loved how it tucked into this simple, form-fitting black pencil skirt. And even better, I really loved it with this fantastic necklace. (If you're keeping track, this is outfit #3 for the necklace! I'm on a roll!) So tight sleeves and chest be damned! Statement necklace and pencil skirt saves the day!

Clutch - eloquii

(Or so I'd like to think. =P)

Necklace - Modcloth (gifted) / Ring - Ruche / Earrings - Lane Bryant /
Nails - Re-fresh Mint (China Glaze)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rinse and Repeat

This might be my first official, full-on-blog repeat. I remember loving it the first time around and, since I had an important meeting, I wanted to wear something I loved and remember feeling good in. I did change up a few of the accessories, though, and I couldn't resist wearing my beloved coral sandals. However, this was actually one fussy outfit. Neither cardigan, belt, nor camisole wanted to stay in place - so I ended up unbelting and unbuttoning the cardigan, and tucking in the camisole before heading off to work. Only slightly less fussy, but I felt mostly uncomfortable all day anyway. Well, at least my handbag was fabulous. (And shoes, duh.)

Cardigan - LOFT / Camisole - LOFT / Pencil skirt - eloquii / Belt - Talbots
Sandals - Nine West / Handbag - Banana Republic

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ray of Sunshine

This denim pencil skirt has become another one of those clothing items I put on when I'm at a loss for what else to wear. It's the best kind of dressy casual.

Sweater - Banana Republic / Pencil skirt - Dorothy Perkins / Belt - The Limited /
Sandals - Christian Siriano for Payless

I always love it with a belted cardigan (exhibit 1 and 2), so I thought I'd try it belted with this pretty yellow boatneck sweater, itself a recently recovered closet gem (and yes, the same as this one). I don't totally love it with the belt (I think it might be a piece best unadorned), but I liked it less so without. I experimented with a few colors - tonal yellows, animal prints - but in the end I liked how the dark turquoise picked up the colors in my shoes.

Ring - Ruche / Earrings - Ruche / Nailpolish - Sag Harbor (Essie)

Such a pretty sweater, though. The trio of buttons on each shoulder, the open neckline, the every-so-slightly puffed sleeves - one of Banana Republic's nicest, more understated pieces from way back when. I simply must find more ways to wear it.

Handbag - Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Broken Record

Nope, nothing revolutionary here. Stripes, pencil skirt, statement necklace. Never fails.

Striped top - Gap / Pencil skirt - Lane Bryant / Wedges - LOFT

I had been itching to wear this particular statement necklace, however. I bought it the same time I bought its blue-hued sister, but have never really had the right outfit for it. Pink, green and gold all in one necklace make for a difficult pairing, methinks. I thought neutrals would best serve as its backdrop on its first wearing, and even better this particular outfit formula of mine.

Necklace - Anthropologie / Belt - Talbots / Ring - Ruche

Now that I've gotten its first wearing out of the way, perhaps future outfits will come easier?

Handbag - DKNY (via TJMaxx)

And maybe I'll remember to check all the zippers on my handbags next time, too...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Melrose Place

As you may recall, I've been on the hunt for a coral pencil skirt and, as you can see, I've found it!

Man, it took some doing, though. J.Crew has one, of course, but at 22" the length was not going to work. It's 24" or bust for me - and I prefer 25" or more if I can find it. Fortunately, with the midi trend all a-blaze, it's become much easier to find those longer lengths, especially where the more colorful choices are concerned. (I think I need to get my hands on this bright yellow skirt from eloquii next!) I will say that this is my 4th attempt at a good coral pencil skirt, however. First was a peach one from ASOS (too small), then Talbots (too big, and non-returnable - boo hiss), then Macy's/Charter Club (in this style, but too small in their straight sizes), and finally - once I realized they offered it - this one it its plus sizing. Fourth time's a charm? It's a little darker than I would have liked, but the fit is great and the length is ideal, so no complaints from me!

Melrose Mesh Top - c/o Kiyonna / Pencil Skirt - Charter Club (Macy's) /
Heels - Nine West (via

This outfit is therefore over a month in the making. Kiyonna sent me this polka-dotted delight a few weeks ago, and I had immediately envisioned it with a coral pencil skirt. (Actually, I envisioned it with my coral ankle pants, but I haven't been brave enough to work that look just yet.) Now that I finally have the skirt, I can envision it with lots of things, but I couldn't wait to finally wear this top!

Kiyonna has called it the Melrose Mesh Top, but I think they should rename it the Joan Holloway Top. If this isn't her silhouette, I don't know what is. I mean, everything - right down to the foldover neckline, pussybow tie, elbow-length sleeves... How the top showcases the girls but doesn't reveal them... Sure, I tend to dress in Joan's silhouette more often than not (and one of the ladies at work has nicknamed me "Joan" on account of it), but I felt like this top walked right out of a Mad Men episode.

Ring - Banana Republic / Necklace - The Limited / Earrings - Banana Republic /
Nailpolish - Haute as Hello (Essie)

Of course, if you are at all a fan of Kiyonna, you might also recognize that this top clearly takes its inspiration from the brand's famed Betsey Ruched Dress. As one of my own favorite dresses, I was thrilled that they made a version I could get more mileage out of. Jeans, skirts, ankle pants (just screaming 60s vamp to me) - bring it. It is extremely figure-flattering thanks to all that ruching, but it does run a full size small. I find that very odd since my usual 1x in the Betsey fit perfectly, but there's something about the material in this one that - whoa - makes it TINY. Sizing up was all I needed to do, so be advised! And now I badly want the top in royal blue too...

Handbag - DKNY (via TJMaxx)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Well Worn

Holy smokes, batman, it was a crazy night last night. Busier than all get-out and I think I'm still recovering. But even if it's as stressful as can be and my head is spinning in utter madness, I think I almost prefer it that way. Nothing makes the night go faster - or with more pizzazz.

Don't worry, I did not wear this outfit last night. It was a huge night for us and, as you can very well imagine, I was dressed more than appropriately (in this gorgeous outfit - and since I've worn it before, I will not have a fresh set of pictures for you). But I did wear this outfit the day before - a casual day topped off with a much-needed happy hour with mah girls. I wish I had more Wednesday evenings free so we could make it a weekly ritual. Actually, with only one 2 weeks left in the season, I just may be able to! (Note that, girls?)

Double-zip jacket - LOFT / Top - Lane Bryant / Khaki pencil skirt - Lane Bryant /
Sandals - Nine West

I do love the combination of blue and burgundy though, and this is well-documented. I may love belting this particular jacket even more, since I've done so nearly every wearing (exhibit 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5). It pretty much made for an ensemble that put itself together.

Ring - Banana Republic / Belt -Talbots / Earrings - LOFT

As always, which belt is the question. I think I have about 50 belts of various colors and sizes (and all poorly organized, I should mention), so finding the right complement is always fun. I could have gone with a gold or brown here, or better yet a textured belt in a brown snakeskin (which was a very close runner-up), but I decided on this blue in a much lighter color that nicely complemented both the jacket and top. I fall just a bit out of love with these Nine West sandals (which I have in 4 colors) every time I wear them, though, mainly because I think they've fallen out of love with me...

Handbag - Tano

Thursday, April 19, 2012


I thought I would love this outfit much more than I do. Olive and blue seem to be a no-brainer, at least it was here, here, here... So this combination was one I had always envisioned for this top when I first got it last fall. But alas, something is not quite right. (Aside from my belt askew, anyway.)

Top - Anthropologie / Tank - Anthropologie / Skirt - Lane Bryant /
Belt - The Limited / Sandals - Nine West

I partially blame the total blousiness of the top. Even when tucking it into a never-fail wide waistband, the top does not do much for my shape - its complete lack of structure coupled with its mandarin collar is doing everything it can to work against my chest and waist. All of this is odd, though, since separately these features to not typically cause problems for me, especially when accessorized correctly. (This recent outfit comes to mind!) Perhaps I would have done better to untuck the top and belt it, like I did the first time I wore it?

Handbag - Gustto

Or maybe it's the neckline of the tank I wore underneath? After looking at those pictures of the first wearing of the top, I note the tank had a v-neck rather than scoopneck shape. Hmmm, I bet that's it! Eureka!

Ring - Ruche / Earrings - Lane Bryant

I've said it before and I'll say it again - blog and learn, people. Blog and learn....

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Blue Collar

I truly believe what I said the other day about ankle pants being a casual chic girl's best friend. I didn't want to just wear jeans and I didn't want to commit to trousers (and none of them like me right now anyway). Ankle pants are the perfect in-between.

Blue sweater - Banana Republic / White button-up - Lane Bryant /
Black ankle pants - Lane Bryant / Wedges - LOFT

Actually, I could have worn black trousers now that I look at these pictures, and I would have loved it. This particular outfit is inspired by one of my favorite Anne Hathaway ensembles from Devil Wears Prada. I can't find a full size screen shot that shows her own long wide-legged bottoms, but a picture of the top half of the outfit might give you enough of an idea of the look I was going for.

I simply adore the buttoned collar under the bateau neckline, layered with chains. Menswear-meets-Audrey-Hepburn chic. I'd worn a version of this with a black sweater long ago, but I thought I'd pull this pretty baby blue sweater out of retirement to revisit it for spring, adding oranges and corals for pops of color. Of course, I have no Chanel in my closet, so a few long chains of lesser birth had to do.

Clutch - eloquii

Incidentally, this is about the only way I'll consent to wearing a white button-up.

Ring - H&M / Necklaces - The Limited (I think?) / Earrings - LOFT /
Nails - Tart Deco (Essie)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mixed Company

Remember that thing I said yesterday about my obsession with coral? It continues...

Zebra print top - Dorothy Perkins / White tank - Anthropologie / Striped pencil skirt - Dorothy Perkins
Belt - Talbots / Handbag - DKNY (via TJMaxx) / Sandals - Nine West (via

I was thumbing through my closet the other day, trying to put together outfits for the week, when I realized that my zebra print top would be a perfect candidate for a little mixed print action with my striped pencil skirt. The shared colors of black and white struck a great balance. The proportions of the prints - medium sized zebras (if that's not a funny sight...) versus thin stripes - were close to ideal. This was happening. Besides, I wanted to wear this skirt again anyway. And coral, duh.

Would I wear the blousy top tucked or untucked, though? When tucked, I liked the waistline the outfit gave me, but, alas, the legend of horizontal stripes worked against me at my hips. I truly did need something to break those lines up. I thought I'd hate the top untucked (and belted, of course), but it really came together better than I imagined - even if I did solicit a sideways glance of Midwestern sartorial alarm or two. Or maybe cuz they thought my zebras were adorable?

Ring - The Limited / Earrings - The Limited

Monday, April 16, 2012

Better Than Average

I continue to be mildly obsessed with coral. Coral shoes, coral pants, coral pencil skirt (on its way), coral nail polish... I know the color of the season has been mint, which I haven't been able to get my hands on in anything but some fabulous nail polishes, so maybe shades of the color of the year have had better luck with me.

Cardigan - LOFT / Polka dot top - H&M / Camisole - Anthropologie /
Coral ankle pants - Talbots / Handbag - DKNY (via  TJMaxx) / Wedges - LOFT

I'm still a little self-conscious in these pants, though. However, the more I wear them, the less potent that is. And I do like having some colored pants in my arsenal. Aside from them being such a huge trend, it's a great way to get some mileage out of my otherwise well-worn tops. And to think that, after my first wearing, I wasn't going to be able to find much use for them!

I also like how these - and any ankle pants, I think (my black pair is really my only other) - helps me hit all the right notes with casual dressing. There's something about ankle pants that says you've put thought into the outfit but don't wish to overdo it. Yes, it's a day at work and you want to be noticed, but there's nothing special going on. It's an average day, but you just wanted to do one better.

Ring - Banana Republic / Belt - eloquii / Necklace - Banana Republic /
Earrings - Banana  Republic

I clearly need to get more!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Under There

I've gotten a few emails and comments about what kind of shapewear I prefer, so I thought I'd dedicate this fine Friday post to the subject! It's all about the Spanx, my dears....

All images courtesy of

Shapewear, specifically the magic of Spanx, is a huge part of my daily wardrobe. There is rarely an outfit I don't wear a pair, and the style I choose is dependent upon the amount and, well, location, of support I need. Spanx are, simply, the best, most comfortable, most dependable shapewear out there. (And they haven't, nor do they need to, provide me with any kind of remuneration for such a statement.) I've been wearing them ever since they first came to the Lane Bryant store I worked in years ago, and I've practically become a Spanx missionary since then.

They fit very snug, so much so that the first wearing will likely take some work getting on, but it's always worth it and they won't move an inch until you take them off. And yet they're completely breathable and flexible! They claim to make you look a size smaller, but I prefer to keep it real and say they make you look better in the size you are.They do NOT make you feel like stuffed sausage. They smooth out all bumps and wobbles, highlighting only the best parts of all your curves. I completely swear by them.

In-Power™ Line Super Higher Power ($38) is probably the style I wear most often. It's perfect for all my pencil skirt needs, taking care of my hips, outer thighs, butt, belly, and waist. I will say that it may roll down if not placed over the rib cage properly, so I make sure to secure it under my bra - just be sure to put the Spanx on before your bra. Works like a charm. This updated, stronger version of the classic Spanx is made of a slicker material that prevents catching on skirts and such like tights do - and the original version did. They're kind of like amped up silky pantyhose in that respect.

The Higher Power® Brief ($36) is my second most-worn pair, best worn with pants and jeans. The longer thigh line of the regular Higher Power will show through any pants I wear, and that just won't do! So I turn to these to give me the control I need in the midsection wihout the telltale lines on the the thigh. However, the line of the brief will show through thinner fabrics, so I'll mainly wear them with denim and similarly thick materials. I need to secure this one under my bra to prevent the rollage as well.

When all else fails, or if I'm feeling particularly lazy, I turn to the Slimplicity® Open-Bust Camisole ($52, but I got mine - new, of course - on eBay for much cheaper). I find it doesn't offer as much shaping strength as the Higher Power styles, but it's a nice top-only option (the most convenient, if you know what I mean) and, as you can see, you can wear your own bra. I always like this feature because many shapewear tops go over the bra and, as a result, smoosh the girls into awkward oblivion. This one does sometimes roll up - the opposite direction of the Higher Power - but I work around that by tucking it into my underwear. A little tuck, and no roll! (And a very little joke. Sorry...) I'll wear this style with dress pants that are too thin for either of the Higher Power styles. When I really need more shaping with dress pants, I'll go all out with the In-Power™ Line Super High Footless Shaper ($28), which prevents any lines on the lower hip or thigh. But, to be honest, they're my least favorite because of how much they catch on the material of the pants and - I think as a result - they make my legs look thicker than they are.

I'll not deny it, I will always wear sheers in the colder months. Thanks to Duchess Catherine, they're less of a fashion crime than they used to be, but I don't see any reason why they should be in the first place. They can offer modest color in the dead of winter and, bottom line, can make your legs look and feel great. For such occasions, I wear the In-Power™ Line Super High Shaping Sheers ($28). I know, that's some pricey pantyhouse, but it's both amazing shapewear (no muffin-tops here!) AND sheers. If that's not a big DUH, I don't know what is.

You might note that I'm really only wearing the Higher Power styles, but there really is nothing better to combat the dreaded muffin top. The basic styles, such as the Power Panties, just don't do that. I don't want to make the rolling problem seem like a deal-breaker, either, because it's really rather minor (and I can't say the same for the Power Panties), and my work-arounds haven't failed me yet. I mostly attribute it to how snugly they fit, which in the end is why they work so well. In all aspects, these products are superior to anything I've ever worn. From bombshell formal wear to skinnies and a blazer, I won't wear anything else when I need some firming up.

Okay, Sara Blakely, I'm ready for my lifetime supply now...*

Helpful hint: Spanx never seem to go on sale and are almost always excluded from coupons and promos at major retailers. You can maybe find a coupon or two for the official website, but your best bet for a deal is Real Women Dollars from Lane Bryant, which is the one coupon that is good on everything, including these babies. For $50 I can get all three of the Higher Power styles in one go!

*But seriously, this write-up is purely out of my own love for and allegiance to these things - and to answer your burning questions! If Ms. Blakely is reading this, though, I shan't refuse.... ; )