Monday, October 28, 2013

All Wrapped Up

I will forever be grateful for the wrap silhouette, whether top or dress. As I wage war with my midlife midsection, and find that so many of the pieces and styles of clothing in my closet do not currently fit me, I know I can always rely on the wrap. It's like the best friend of clothing, or something.

Laila Wrap top - c/o Kiyonna / Suede pencil skirt - Queen Grace /
Half-cami - Coobie (via / Shoes - Calvin Klein Kendall (via

I have many wrap dresses in my arsenal already, but not many wrap tops. I'm always in the market for flattering, feminine separates, so I've been lusting after the Laila Wrap Top from Kiyonna for a while now. I tried the block and white polka dot from Gwynnie Bee over the summer, but since I didn't have anywhere to wear it at the time, I sent it back. But love it, I did. When it came out in this bold magenta hue I knew it would have to find a place in my closet, and Kiyonna was so kind to send it to me! One of my favorite features about it is how great it looks with both pencil skirt and pants or jeans. I've found that most Kiyonna tops are too long on me to look good with my beloved pencil skirts, but the asymmetry of the top combined with the feminine flounces helps to balance out those proportions. The berry hue paired perfectly with this relatively new brown pencil of mine, all of which happily proclaimed autumn to me. Most importantly, however, it was just the thing to camouflage my problematic belly in a way that is still me.

Handbag - Steve Madden (via TJ Maxx) / Necklace - Urban Outfitters (old) / Ring - Banana Republic (old) / Earrings - Ruche (old)

And I'm definitely fighting with my personal style right now. It's one of the main reasons I've been struggling with my posts theses days. All of the things I love to wear are not working on me as well as they used to. Facing the fact that my body shape has changed has been a tough pill to swallow, my friends. And I can't even say I've swallowed it yet - choking on it, is more likely. I'm in new territory, and short of a miracle drug, it's gonna take me a bit to figure this one out.

In the meantime, I am ever-so-grateful for silhouettes that stand the test of time (and body shape)!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Eye of the Tiger Lily

Having only two real "working" days these days, I find myself in much more need of casual outfits. When I'm not in the classroom, I'm either in my home office or coffee shop "office," both of which provide some real sartorial challenges. While I've actually grown to love my home office (especially with my precious La Perla de Oaxaca a la French Press), it doesn't really encourage me to get dressed for the day. (Yoga pants and old college sweatshirt does not a bloggiful [totes just made up that word] ensemble make.) And the coffee shop certainly doesn't require pencils skirts and heels! (Not that that has stopped me.) So what to wear, what to wear... Alls I can say is, thank goodness for denim in its many varieties!

Top - Lucky Brand via Gwynnie Bee / Skinnies - Lane Bryant (old)
Sandals - Christain Siriano for Payless (old)

I've honestly loved wearing my skinnies with some kind of voluminous top lately. It's not only a chic way to do casual, it's comfortable and, better yet, a great way to dress for the hotter fall days we've been having in the Midwest. (86° in October? C'mon now...) And once again, Gwynnie Bee comes to the rescue with yet another cute top to don for just such an "occasion." I know I wore this exact outfit at least 5 times before finally sending the top back!

Ring and necklace (old) - Ruche

I loved pulling out the pink in the top with a few choice accessories. The orange and pink made for an unexpectedly fabulous color combo! In fact, I think the accessories pretty much made the outfit.

The other thing about heading downtown to my fave coffee shop is the need to lug more than a few books with me. Sure, I have a backpack, but what fun is that? This is where my many oversized bags come into more "functional" play...not that such function has ever been a consideration for me before - the bigger the better, I say! Happily, and pretty much outta nowhere, the kind folks over at Gustto - after seeing my blog header with one of my favorite handbags ever (my fuchsia Gustto Pavia, worn OFTEN) - offered to send me a bag from their eye-popping, budget-friendly handbag line, Miss Gustto. Was I going to jump on a chance for a free handbag from a designer I know and love? HELLZ YES. The difficult thing was only which to choose! I settled on this goes-with-everything taupe number (The "Katie") both for its fabulous size and delicious hardware. The unexpected surprise was that it not only fit a number of books, but also my laptop! All while able to sit comfortably over my shoulder for all those now easy jaunts downtown. I was also really impressed with the quality of the bag itself. It's a vegan/budget bag-lover's DREAM - smooth faux leather, good construction and really fun details. I tend to think this brand nails the oversized trend, too. Pretty sure I'm officially in the market for a few more...

"Katie" Handbag - c/o Miss Gustto

And you know what, Miss Gustto is offering my readers a chance to win one of their bags! Stay tuned for details regarding the giveaway in the next few days!

Earrings - LOFT (old)

Hmmm...that fuchsia Pavia would have been a perfect choice for this outfit, too, eh?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Rotational Pull

So my new favorite thing to wear on slightly cooler days has involved variations on the following combination: cardigan, blousey patterned top, belt, favorite denim, wedge sandals. It's seriously the perfect combination of feminine meets comfortable. And with my midsection being what it is these says, I'm grateful for the the stylish camouflage!

Cardigan - LOFT / Top - Land's End via Gwynnie Bee / Denim - Lane Bryant
Sandals - Nine West / Handbag - Ruche
Necklace - Old Navy (?) / Ring - Ruche / Earrings - LOFT / Belt - Eloquii (part of different top)

The top, of course, is yet another "rental" from Gwynnie Bee. I don't think I would have purchased the top online on its own, and probably would not have bothered even trying it on in the store if I had come upon it. But it's a sweet little piece that I was glad to put in my closet rotation for a while! Reason #17215679 why I don't think I could live without my Gwynnie Bee subscription! The offer still stands for you to try out a month for free yourself!

In other news, a month has FLOWN by in my new-old life as a PhD student. It's been great to get back into the classroom, actually. It feels so natural and comfortable that I couldn't help but notice that my stress levels have diminished significantly. In some ways I've been having an identity crisis, however. Going from a titled position of relative "power" (not to mention a bigger paycheck and better benefits - boy do I miss my FSA) to the somewhat heedless life of a grad student and teaching assistant? Gah, I feel lost. But it's a means to an end, as I keep telling myself. Get this dissertation written so I can move on with my life and really make a dent in my career aspirations. And maybe, finally, settle down with a wedding and (gasp) kids! But having time (read: evenings and weekends) to myself again has been wonderful. I've even found my way back to the gym, and we're eating much healthier meals on a much more regular basis. Change really is good...