Friday, November 29, 2013

Red Friday

Happy Thanksgiving AND Happy Hanukkah, everyone! I hope you all are happily recovering from your feasts and/or getting the deals of your lives out in the mad Black Friday world! We're actually celebrating our family thanksgiving this weekend, and I'm ever-so-looking-forward to all the (real) cranberry sauce I can eat.

Prep will begin a little later this evening, but I've just returned from braving some Black Friday craziness myself. (And by "braving" I mean one store and by "craziness" I mean TJ Maxx. Black Friday's not really my thing, folks.) What does one wear to navigate the, er, masses? Flat boots, of course, and a little frenchie Breton stripes with a perfect red pencil. And a warm, warm scarf. Cuz it's cold out there, my friends.

Striped top - Banana Republic / Curvy Pencil Skirt in Romancing Red - c/o Kiyonna /
Handbag - Steve Madden via TJ Maxx / Boots - Ciao Bella via DSW

It occurred to me recently that I still, after all these years, did not have my perfect red pencil skirt, yet. I have one in nearly every other color, but not red. What was the world coming to?? My love of Kiyonna's perfect pink pencil (the Curvy Pencil Skirt) that I received a few months ago made me realize that their red version just may finally fulfill my every red pencil skirt desire. And it does, my friends. It does.

At the risk of being repetitive, I'll once again hail its length, stretch, and shape. A pencil skirt trifecta! Most importantly, its hue is the perfect shade of cherry red, and there isn't a better complement to navy stripes and tall boots. C'est magnifique!

Scarf - Gap / Ring - Ruche / Earrings - The Limited /
Nails - Essie "Midnight Cami" (via Ulta) with Essie "Matte About You" Top Coat

But let us not forget the scarf, my friends. A scarf that, without it, I sure as hell would not have braved the temperatures for outdoor pictures.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Give Pants a Chance

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that I rarely wear dress pants. The fact of the matter is, they I hate me and I hate them. Try as I might to find a suitable pair that fits and flatters, I always come out worse for wear in the experience and predictably empty-handed. But a basic dress pant is a wardrobe staple, right? I mean, as much as I love the skirt thing, sometimes you just want to put on some damn pants and call it a day, amirite? Happily, though somewhat frustratingly, I was able to find a basic black trouser that fit all my pant requirements: no muffin top (a somewhat higher rise is therefore my preference), no camel toe (DUH), longer length for heels (I'll never wear them with flats), and a leg opening on the wider end of things. Thank you, Lane Bryant, for having this pair not only in my size but also length in store so I could spend about an hour trying to figure out if they were worth it or not try and actually buy (with a coupon, of course.) But seriously, as basic black trousers go, these fit the bill nicely. So much so that I was finally, really, actually, able to give pants a chance...

Bolstered by this success, I decided to try Gap's Perfect Trousers a few weeks ago. They truly might have been "perfect" if not for my current size/weight/shape. Great colors/textures, ideal length, slimmer through the thigh, wide-but-not-excessively-so leg opening. YES! But, no. I couldn't keep the camel toe away long enough to convince me they were a good idea. I even went up a size, but then everything else I loved about the fit went away. And I just don't have the patience for a tailor. I may return to them when I shed a few pounds, but until then, black pants is alls I got. And if I'm being honest, maybe alls I need.

Smocked Waist Blouse In Chevron - TBags Los Angeles (via Gwynnie Bee) /
T3 Classic Trousers - Lane Bryant / Half-cami - Coobie (via

But the real victory of this outfit, and probably therefore of the pants, is the top. It just might be the nicest, comfiest, flatteringiest thing in my closet, and I don't even own it. That's right, Gwynnie Bee to the rescue once again for nice things that I could never own even if I wanted to. (Have you tried Gwynnie Bee yet???) I would LOVE to purchase this top - every time I peruse these pictures I sigh happily - but it's well over $100 even discounted though GB, and if I'm being honest with myself, I can only see myself wearing it like this or with my favorite jeans (which I've done a few times now as a great date-night get up - take away the cami and HELLO LOVELY CLEAVAGE!) No, I think I'll just continue to hoard this one a little while longer...

Ah, but the chevrons. And cobalt blue. And silky smooth fabric. And belly coverage. And cleavage (when appropriate)...

Handbag - Furla / Sandals - Nine West / Ring - H&M / Earrings - Lane Bryant (?) / 

And, oh yeah, pants.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Floral Affair

The cleaning out of unblogged outfits continues! I wore this outfit numerous times in the waning summer days. It became the perfect go-to outfit for all those body-conscious days and then some - it was concealing, to be sure, but it was also feminine, flattering, and on-trend. It began an obsession for all things floral, in fact.

Ring - Pim + Larkin (via Piperlime) / Earrings - Ruche / Nails - Stylenomics by Essie (via Ulta)

This Kiyonna top, and I realize I'm sounding like a broken record here, is yet another Gwynnie Bee rental. (However, after wearing it so many times, I found I couldn't part with it and finally just bought it!) When I first received it, I was a bit concerned it skewed too matronly, but pairing it with skinny jeans was really the best way to offset that concern. I think you could wear it with trousers or a skirt and accessorize accordingly, but I loved how fresh skinnies made the print look. (For what it's worth, I also tried the emerald version, but I didn't like it nearly as much. The print really is part of its charm!) Plus, its billowy sleeves and longer length were, as I always say, the perfect complement for close-fitting bottoms.

Chantal Chiffon Blouse In Black Floral - Kiyonna (via Gwynnie Bee) /
Skinnies - Lane Bryant (old) / Sandals - Nine West

The great thing about the print is its numerous colors, too. I like the black background as a "winter" floral option, but you can really pull out any color you want to make it seasonally appropriate. Fuschia and kelly green were my pop-of-color du jour for warmer days, but I can absolutely see mustard yellow and darker green options to come.

Handbag - Gustto "Pavia"

You know, I've been in the market for new skinnies, but I can't get over how good this older LB pair still looks on me. When I first started wearing skinnies, I swore by Gap's Always Skinny Jean, but no matter how many times I give them a try these days, they don't seem to work as well on me. I blame their uncomfortably low rise (and the ensuing muffin top), so I've just decided to stick to these trusty LB skinnies until I absolutely wear them into the ground (and possibly even shed some weight). Do you guys have any favorite brands for skinnies to recommend?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Galaxies Away

So in efforts to clean out my picture albums and to get on a more regular blogging schedule, I'm pulling out a few unblogged outfits from the summer that I simply have to post. It's so odd to see the freshly clipped bright green grass rather than the piles of golden leaves everywhere, but it's actually a nice reminder of the joys of changing seasons!

This outfit was fondly worn for a weekend outing to our favorite downtown bars during a wonderful summer visit with my sister and brother-in-law. I love when they come to visit - I wish they did more often! - but it's a great way to rejuvenate our love for our town by experiencing their own enjoyment of it!

Wrap Top in Galaxy Print - ASOS (via Gwynnie Bee) / Ankle pants - Lane Bryant /
Instant Sleeves in Black - LucieLu / Sandals - Nine West

The top is, you guessed it, another rental from Gwynnie Bee. Yet again, it's definitely a top that I would never have purchased for myself, especially considering its potential cray-cray involving an exaggerated shape at the hip. But it is exactly its silhouette that makes it so unique and worth trying, and it just so happens that the same hip exaggeration makes a perfect balance for skinny ankle pants and killer heels. The print itself is fabulous too, and it was lots of fun pulling out various colors from it - coral, cornflower blue, purple - some of my favorite hues, to be sure.

Ring - The Limited (old) / Necklace - Banana Republic (old) / Earrings - Lane Bryant (old) /
Clutch - Lane Bryant (old) / Nails - Suzi Says Feng Shui by OPI (via Ulta)

Bottom line, it was kind of perfect night-out ensemble - attention-getting, comfortable, and just plain fun. Much like the margaritas and fabulous company. =)

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...

Friday, September 27, 2013

Pencil Pusher

Hello, old (and new) friends!

Lately, blogging has become one of those things I don't seem to miss until I do it. And so, here I sit on a gorgeous September afternoon, blogging, drinking iced coffee, and realizing how much personal satisfaction I really do get from this process. I think, like so many things in my life lately, it's just all about routines. And with so many changes this year, a new routine has been challenging to find - and that includes blogging.

But when a joyful pink pencil skirt comes around, and it just so happens to be a fall trend (says the interwebs, and now me!), it makes me want to get my groove back. You already know my devotion for pencil skirts, but I'm convinced Kiyonna makes the very best. This one, the Curvy Pencil Skirt, is ponte knit like so many of my faves already in my closet, but Kiyonna always makes them a bit longer than the rest, and therefore just the right length for me - right past my knee caps. They always fit so well that I feel like I've lost 10 pounds just putting one on. Why I haven't purchased every single pencil skirt they've sold is beyond me, but perhaps that should be my goal. I mean, sure, I have, errrrr, about 5 black pencil skirts already, but I can guarantee one by Kiyonna would be my last.

Curvy Pencil Skirt in Pretty in Pink - c/o Kiyonna / Safari jacket - Lane Bryant (sold out!) /
Eyeglasses Sweater - Lane Bryant / Sandals - Nine West / Handbag - DKNY via TJ Maxx

As for the outfit, this particular combination was an accident, really. I was trying on new arrivals at Lane Bryant a few weeks ago, particularly this outfit, and I put these pieces together on a whim. The jacket was definitely coming home with me, but the quirky sweater (a la Zooey Deschanel methinks) was more or less filler while I ventured out of the fitting room to find a few other pieces. Well, when one of the sales associates exclaimed how cute my outfit was, I started rethinking my decision. Between having this fabulous pink pencil skirt gifted to me by Kiyonna at home, and the fact that the sweater for the original outfit I wanted was completely sold out in store and online anyway, this new outfit was meant to be.

I've been dying to wear this outfit for weeks now, actually, but it just hasn't been cool enough! It's a great transitional outfit, and an army green jacket is already a fall staple in my closet. A quick search on Pinterest for additional styling inspiration for my pink skirt (and where I learned pink/fuchsia was going to be trend for fall) yielded some pretty fantastic options, pink and camel or animal print among them. I love the way the combination gives it a new twist on fall basics, and I've already got pieces in my closet practically jumping out at me in anticipation. So many outfits, so little time!

Ring - Ruche / Earrings - Lane Bryant

So, happy fall, everyone! I've already got another post planned for next week, so you can be sure you'll be seeing more of me!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Dream of Purple

The past few summer wedding seasons have been pretty uneventful for us. I've taken the relative inactivity as a good sign - it means most everyone I know is already married! Hooray for everyone! Come to think of it, Bob and I are probably the last couple left in our circle of friends. We'll get around to it, I promise! I see a delightful elopement in our future...

Happily, however, we did have one lone summer wedding to attend - a close friend of Bob's from college. And it meant a trip to Boston! We saw his family and lots of mutual friends, and we even managed not to kill each other on our drive - yes, you read that right, drive - out there. In fact, I quite enjoyed the 17 hour trip (gratefully split up in Ohio with close friends). We had ideal driving weather, and the scenery in New York State is second to none. Even better, our I-Pass worked for all the tolls out east! (Call me dorky, but this really excited me.)

Julia Pleated Dress - c/o Kiyonna

Ah, but what to wear, what to wear. Between packing on the pounds this past year and leaving my job, finding something in my closet was not only my only option, but it was a daunting one. So I was thrilled when I decided to poke around Kiyonna's new arrivals and found their new Julia Pleated Dress. Even more thrilled, I was, to have Kiyonna send it to me! This dress is PERFECT. Perfect for my body, perfect for the occasion (a conservative Jewish afternoon wedding), perfect for all the things I want it a great cocktail dress. Elbow-length sleeves? Check. Knee-length or longer? Check. Flattering but not too revealing v-neck? Check. Slimming, concealing, and feminine design features at the waist? Check! PRETTY, VIBRANT PURPLE COLOR?!? CHECK CHECK CHECK!!! (It reads bluer in pictures - blurple? - but it really is a gorgeous shade of purple.) On top of all of that, it's made of an easy, comfortable material that drapes flawlessly and doesn't wrinkle. I did wear the dress with Spanx, but I could have easily gone without - it fit that well! Seriously, as soon as I received the dress, I emailed Kiyonna to tell them this was my new favorite dress and they need to make it even more colors, STAT.

Necklace - Banana Republic (old) / Ring - Banana Republic (old) / Earrings - anniversary gift
Nails - No More Film by Essie (via Ulta)

The wedding was indeed lovely, as was the rest of the trip. And we got home just in time for me to start freaking about the fact that I'M TEACHING MUSIC HISTORY AGAIN AFTER A 5 YEAR HIATUS! And maybe working at Sephora. One week down and already exhausted! It'll make for an interesting year, to be sure!

Shoes - Audrey Brooke (old, via DSW) / Clutch - gifted

Honestly? I'm just happy to have things to dress up for again. =)