Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Back Splash

The great jewelry re-organization has begun! The mess that has been my dresser for, oh months, is slowly disappearing. I thought it best to break the task up into parts, and so far that has proven much more manageable. Tomorrow: rehang my cork boards (where I hang my long necklaces) and pair up earrings. I may well have this complete before we head to WI! Of course, other things on my list still need attention: wrap windows, hang lights, start regular gym trips (just joined a new one tonight!), and clean! Good thing a ladies' night at the new tequila bar in town is happening tomorrow too.

Wrap dress - Simple Be / Half-cami - Coobie (via Her Room) / Shoes - SM (via DSW)

This wrap dress is the one I debated wearing for my guest lecturer stint. Even now I'm glad I didn't go with it, as fabulous as a wrap dress can be. Just too much for a first impression. The day I did wear it (only a few days later, as it was), I got oodles of compliments from folks who aren't known for compliments, so that's saying something! A notice-me print, to be sure.

The shoes were a tricky part of the outfit, though. These recently acquired burgundy suede beauties are KILLER. Literally. They are poorly balanced, or something, because I couldn't spend more than 15 minutes on my feet in them. Not good in my line of work. I so loved the depth of color they offered the outfit, but I just didn't have anything as special to switch them with. A black platform was all I had - serviceable (in both form and function), but definitely less interesting. Ya'll have any recommendations for the next wearing?

Handbag - DKNY (via TJ Maxx)

I will take a moment to sing the praised of these half camisoles I found. I've long lamented the bunching that regular camisoles create under perfectly nice wrap dresses, ruining the shape and effect. A commenter recommended I try out those cami secret "as seen on TV" things, but I didn't care for the limited color options, the straight neckline or the lace trim. There's a time and place for a lace camisole, but it shouldn't be the only option. After much online searching, I came across this half camisole from Coobie. You can get them at probably many intimate apparel shops, but I found these at Her Room. I ended up ordering one in every color! Unfortunately, their "one size" doesn't seem to go much larger than a large, and even with a good amount of stretch, these are at their limits covering my DD bust. But they get the job done, and I definitely appreciated the color options and the scoop neckline, so I'd say that's a win! Give 'em a try, and share other options you've found in the comments!

Ring - gifted / Necklace - Lane Bryant / Earrings - Ruche

P.S. Essie's Head Mistress over Essie's Recessionista makes the perfect oxblood nail color!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Top Marks

It's so lovely to finally be on vacation! One whole glorious week to get a few things done around the apartment and travel to WI to spend the Thanksgiving holiday with family. Of course, when I think about the fact that I won't actually be home for the whole week, I start to panic about all the things I want to get done. I guess just a little less mindless lounging should be my goal. =)

Ring - LOFT / Belt - LOFT / Earrings - Lane Bryant Outlet /
Nails - Essie "Recessionista" (via Ulta)

I first wore this outfit a few weeks ago for a low-key Saturday work day, only Instagramming the outfit to earmark it for a second wearing. I simply loved the combination of the leopard print top and the burgundy belt with, shocking as it was, pants!

I'm always an advocate for belting blousy tops, of course, but the proportions of the longer top made the accessory practically a necessity. And a burgundy one was just the thing. It was actually this first combination of burgundy and leopard that planted the obsession for my favorite fall outfit ideas!

Blouse - Lane Bryant / Pants - NY&Co. / Sandals - Nine West

You don't seem many pants on this blog, though, do ya? Once in a while I'm able to style a pair in a way in which they actually look good on me, but usually they just don't work. (And they never photograph well. Cue strategic cropping.) Basically it's just because I've yet to find a pair that actually fits well; it's probably time to dedicate some time to the hunt, eh? Well, until then, a fabulous leopard-print blouse that hits past the hips/crotch area will conceal all the usual misdeeds of an ill-fitting trouser.

Handbag - Tano

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Classic Mustard

Navy and mustard. Striped tee and pencil skirt. Boots and jacket. Classic combinations that always work.

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

I've been through three yellow pencil skirts now, and this Lane Bryant one is by far the best. It's their classic ponte pencil skirt that I wish they would stock year round in all manner of seasonal colors. (Still looking for a pumpkin orange one!) This one came in yellow, red, teal and black and - wouldn't you know it - I bought it in all of the three colors. (I most certainly don't need another black one.) Length, color and fit is perfect on all three!

Striped top - Banana Republic / Denim jacket - Theory (eBayed) / Pencil skirt - Lane Bryant /
Boots - Ciao Bella (via DSW)

I think this was my first boot wearing for the season, too. It felt wonderful to finally break them about again - as if they were the true herald of autumn. (Aside from that whole leaves thing, anyway.) I had to polish 'em up, but they're still in pretty good shape. I was afraid I'd need to replace them after wearing them out during last fall's Boston trip, but I think I can get at least another year out of them!

I can't believe that Boston trip was almost a year ago already. We won't be able to make the trip again this year, which saddens me a bit, but I am looking forward to spending more time at home for the fall break. That's right, a week of vacation time, staring NEXT WEEK! Time to organize the chaos that is my jewelry collection, hang Christmas decor, make lots of crock pot recipes (the goal for most of the winter, as it happens), and - oh yeah - gorge ourselves on turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffing... Bring on the holidays!

Handbag - Steve Madden

Monday, November 12, 2012

Print Cue

I'm desperately trying to clear out my backlog of all the obviously pre-fall pictures. The green grass and lush trees are sad reminders of a season that no longer is. Well, actually, I really don't mind that autumn is in full force and that the holiday season is well on its way. I just gotta get caught up, is all!

I'd like to think that the color palette of this outfit is inspired by a pimento olive somewhat autumnal, anyway. After falling head-over-heels with this SWAK top (first worn here), I knew I'd need to find layering options for it to be worn in cooler weather. A new infinity scarf in a cheerful print helped pave the way.

Cropped jacket - Maurices / Mia top - SWAK / Jeans - Lane Bryant /
Handbag - Tano / Sandals - Nine West
Ring - Ruche / Scarf - Anthropologie / Earrings - Ruche

That's right, all color cues were taken right from the scarf itself. As it was a new item in my closet, I desperately wanted to wear it, like, immediately, so I set about building an outfit around it. The SWAK top was basically meant to be worn with it, and my oft-worn cropped olive jacket was an equally destined topper. When in doubt, follow the print!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Soft and Fair!

So I tried to write a post last night but 1) I was exhausted from election madness (and work) and 2) it felt odd to simply write about clothes after such a night. (I most certainly didn't want to get into any politics...) Maybe I could have just led with the adorable dresses that the Obama girls were wearing...?

Cuz I felt pretty adorable in this dress...

Whrligig Dress - Velvet (Anthropologie) / Cropped jacket - Maurices /
Sandals - Christian Siriano for Payless

I've actually been dying to wear this dress again for the blog. You can probably tell that it's a rather summery frock, and it was certainly best donned then. Gold sandals and belt always set the dress off nicely, and it happens to be one of those holy grails of summer dresses that are as comfortable as they are flattering. Oh, and it was a thrilling Anthropologie sale score to top all that off. But alas, two summers had passed (and probably at least four wearings) and nary a photograph was taken. So I challenged myself to find a few layering options for slightly cooler (though warm for early October) weather and finally photograph this lovely.

Handbag - Ruche

Dusty purple and olive make such a soft, pretty pairing (it reminds me of a favorite eyeshadow palette, actually), and a cropped jacket was just the thing to add a bit more coverage and casual flair to the look. Add a long necklace, a happy mint handbag and super nude strappy sandals, and I felt like I wouldn't ever have to goodbye to summer.

Ring - Ruche / Necklace - LOFT / Earrings -  Maurices

(Illinois Octobers are tricky that way.)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Little Lace

I'm making decisions, ya'll; making decisions and movin' onward and upward. The past few days have given me opportunities to reflect on the things I want most out of life, what I'm good at, what keeps me the most engaged and fulfilled. I won't go into too many particulars at this point, not least because nothing has really been put into action yet, so please forgive my (necessary) ambiguity. (Although, if you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you may have some idea.) It's all definitely in its early stages, but even the baby steps feel pretty darn good.

I'm getting oh-so-closer to being caught up with my outfits, too! I can't believe how long it's taken me to get back into the groove post-summer, but I thank you for sticking with me and encouraging me along with the way! It's so nice to know you're out there, ya know?

Lace shoulder tee - Lane Bryant / Ponte pencil skirt - Dorothy Perkins /
Handbag - Furla (via TJMaxx) / Shoes - Nine West

This outfit was ensemble #3 that owes its inspiration to product styling rather than stock photos. (See also #1 and #2.) I mean, I completely passed over this mostly uninspiring lace shoulder tee a few times both online and in store. On its own, it's kind of an unflattering snooze, even if it does reference current trends. But add a belt (rule of thumb, methinks) and some long necklaces ala the seasonal mailer, and you have yourself a surprisingly classy yet terribly comfortable outfit. Lane Bryant, whoever styled your August mailer knocked it outta the park. YA HEAR ME! More of this, please.

Belt - Lane Bryant / Necklace - Lane Bryant / Ring & Earrings - The Limited /
Nailpolish - Essie "Bobbing for Baubles" (via Ulta)

Seriously - tee shirt and ponte knit pencil skirt? It's a well-worn silhouette in these here parts, but never has it felt so much more like lounge wear than work wear.

Also.... BE SURE TO VOTE! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD! I'll be a nervous wreck for most of the day, without or without a major performance to supervise, but at least I'll have work to keep me somewhat distracted until the votes are all in!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hat in Hand

Major coup at work: negotiated having every Monday off! Brilliant! I don't know why it took me so long to think to ask for this schedule. I mean, more often than not I'm working the weekends anyway (and 50+ hrs/wk), and I would typically take the following Monday off so that I could have some kind of weekend. So now it's just part of my standard schedule, and I couldn't be happier! And as I get ready to dive into the busiest week of the semester, I couldn't be more grateful...

Mia Top - SWAK / Jeans - Lane Bryant / Hat - Urban Outfitters / Handbag - Ruche /
Sandals - Nine West

Thanks for everyone's thoughtful comments on my journey back into teaching last week, too. It went really, really well! I thought there were a few issues - pace, probably should have just used the classroom microphone rather than insisting I could speak loud enough over the music - but all in all I thought I covered the material well and kept the students engaged. It was a wonderful if scary feeling to be in front of a classroom again, especially with material that I didn't feel as comfortable with anymore, but it many ways it was just like getting back on a bicycle. I didn't end up wearing a wrap dress, by the way, but a great little pencil skirt and printed top ensemble that I hope to share with you next week. (I'm getting so much closer to being caught up!)

Ring - Banana Republic (eBayed) / Necklace - c/o Kiyonna / Earrings - Ruche

This outfit, worn quite a few weeks ago now (when the leaves hadn't yet fallen and I was still semi-obsessed with this hat) feels like a great way to start of the week, though. My perfect, favorite jeans paired with my now favorite top from SWAK. In fact, I warned (myself?) when I wore the coral version a few weeks prior that I would have to get the black and don the hat. Between those two tops, my best jeans and that hat, this was probably one of my most-worn outfits to close out the summer.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

True Blue

Holy crap! It's November!!

You guys... I'm giving my first lecture in three years tomorrow (or today, depending on when you're reading this). I've been asked to give a guest lecture for an intro course for music majors while pretty much the entire department is at a conference, and I agreed - mostly to challenge myself. I've been out of the whole academic circle (I've been a Ph.D. candidate in Musicology since 2009...) while working in my current position, necessitated of course by the job's hours, stress level, duties... I confess I've felt uber rusty with both the teaching material and the act of teaching itself, but after a few days review and preparation, I think I'm ready to go - I know I can do this just as well as I used to! Oh I'm still terrified, but it's also a wonderfully rejuvenating feeling to get back in the saddle again.

Wrap dress - Gap / Half-camisole - Coobie (via Her Room) /
Handbag - Banana Republic / Shoes - RSVP (via Zappos)

This makes me wonder...if I ever get back into academia, how would my sartorial choices change? Even as I put together my "teaching" outfit tonight, which incidentally also has to be an evening "boss lady" outfit (I get to wear both hats all in one day), I became painfully aware how they're not the same thing, that they don't really serve the same function. I think they could, but the line just becomes a little finer between them.

Case in point: I contemplated wearing a notice-me printed wrap dress in splashes of pinks for my lecture, but I convinced myself that it was a bit much to be in front of a classroom, at least this time around. I think that was more about the print (neither seasonal nor subtle) than the silhouette, however, because I generally think a wrap dress can do no wrong. This dress? I love it so much that I have it in a dark pink and a blue-green dot pattern as well. And I think I'd wear any of them in a (college) classroom.

How 'bout you guys? Do think it's necessary to keep a role (perceived or real) in mind when dressing ourselves? If so, how do you go about it? If not, what guides you instead?