Can I let you in on a little secret? This gingham top is actually a crop top, which trust me, I am fully aware as a mother of two I have no business wearing, but can I also tell you how glorious it is to wear a shirt that doesn’t need to be tucked in when it is 110 out. This was another huge score at Last Chance ($1.50), so I figured it was worth the risk if it didn’t work with anything in my closet. My intention was never to bare my stomach, but I thought the shirt’s length might pair nicely with some higher waist skirts, like this black and white number. Best $1.50 I’ve ever spent as the shirt pairs nicely with several skirts I own, hits at a fairly flattering spot, spares me the torture of extra, bulky fabric during the hot summer days, and actually provides enough coverage I could wear this to work without violating the dress code.
I have foolishly had a real hankering for fall of late, so I’ve been busy pinning away looks for wardrobe inspiration a few months down the road. In the meantime, I’ve been concentrating on how I can incorporate some of what I am loving for fall now, even when there’s a heat advisory. Black and white is always one of my loves and comprises a large amount of what I am drawn to for fall and winter, but thankfully, is really a seasonless color combo.
What I love about wearing black and white is how easily it transitions from sophisticated and polished to carefree and playful. It’s an easy, go to color duo and is universally flattering but that doesn’t mean it has to be muted or boring. In fact, if you shy away from pattern mixing sticking to a black and white color palette is a fool proof way to incorporate mixed prints in your wardrobe. In this look, the gingham print compliments the bold, graphic stripes of the skirt by creating the illusion of smaller black and white stripes and even echoes the subtle texture of the skirt with it’s vertical and horizontal lines.
The other lovely thing about a black and white outfit is how easy it is to accessorize. Feeling bold or wanting to express a little more personality? Include pops of colors with a statement necklace or bracelet, with a fun handbag, or a cool pair of shoes. Feeling a little more subtle or wanting to evoke a classic vibe? Stick to accessories in black and white with a little bit of gold.
Style Notes: Topshop shirt via Last Chance (summer 2014; love; fall version) / Anthropologie skirt (spring 2013; similar; pencil skirt) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (fall 2012; love) / Kate Spade clutch (fall 2013; love) / Banana Republic bracelet (summer 2014) / Kate Spade necklace via outlet (spring 2013; similar)
This is one of those dresses that jumped out at me from the racks, demanding to be tried on and then, of course, taken home. How could I resist such a perfectly me frock? From the bold stripes in colors that easily transition from spring and summer to fall, to the pockets, a teacher’s and mother of small children’s dream come true, and the comfort of the fit and flare style this is a dress that will get a lot of wear both during the work week and on the weekend. Speaking of fit and flare, have you given this style a try yet? It’s truly a flattering shape for most body types. The fitted bodice tapers in just enough to define a small waistline or to create the illusion of one while the A-line skirt helps create the illusion of hips or disguises what may be the widest, or least favorite, part of your body.
Another thing I love about this dress is its versatility. At first glance it might be easy to dismiss this as a dress that can only be worn for casual events, but it simply requires a few accessories or layers to take it up a notch, making it more than just a weekend staple. To slightly elevate the look I would add a fun accessory, like this ban.do pouf or a great statement necklace, and would keep the shoe casual and fun. This is the kind of look that would be perfect for summer picnics or BBQs, outdoor concerts, brunch with girlfriends, casual date night, or running errands with the kiddos.
Style Notes: Gap dress (summer 2014) / Gap shoes (summer 2014; cute) / ban.do pouf (spring 2014) / Old Navy earrings (gift; spring 2014; similar style) / Kate Spade purse via Last Chance (summer 2014) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; similar)
For a dressier look I added a cardigan in complimentary colors or print, a statement necklace, a skinny belt, and a kitten heel shoe. The layers all work together to add some extra visual interest without competing for attention. The necklace compliments the blush tones in the stripes and also echoes the dots on the cardigan while the belt helps to further define the waistline.
Worn this way, the dress is a great look for date night, showers, weddings, church, or brunch as it’s the perfect mix of sophistication and fun.
Style Notes: Gap dress (summer 2014) / Loft cardigan (fall 2012; love) / Loft belt (fall 2012; love) / Anthropologie necklace (spring 2014) / Halogen shoes via Last Chance (fall 2012; love) / Kate Spade purse via Last Chance (summer 2014) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; similar)
While I love fashion and styling different looks, I don’t really take a lot of risks with my own personal style. Sure, I love mixing prints and never shy away from bold colors, but I tend to stay within the same style genre and garment types. When you know what works for your body and what style makes you feel the best it’s hard to deviate from that, right? I can admire different fashion personalities in others, but due to comfort, and finances, I tend to stay within my comfort zone. So when the updated track pant first hit the fashion scene a few seasons back all my instincts said this is a trend I would definitely stay far, far, far away from. And for a few seasons I managed to put them out of mind, but then just a few weeks ago I went digging in my favorite bargain basement and came across this cheetah print pair for $3. Mind you, I do not subscribe to the theory that you should buy something just because it’s a total steal. I was curious, enough, however, to askew my personal buying tenets, figuring worse case scenario I would simply turn these into lounge pants. Three dollar lounge pants, now those are hard to pass up, right?
After having worn these pants on two flights and various errand running I am hear to tell you I am still not completely convinced a track style pant is the trend for me. Being totally honest, I don’t find them to be the most flattering pant of all time. In fact, the elastic waist band makes me feel a tad older than I am, so they are a pant I would only dare wear with a longer shirt. If the shirt is not the right cut, however, it will further the boxy, unflattering effect of the waistline. On the flip side, though, that detestable elastic waistband does make for a very comfortable pant that feels glorious during a long flight. The material washes and dries perfectly and travels extremely well- no ironing! They are also surprisingly cool on very hot, muggy summer days.
To create a defined waist, I have found that a peplum is the most flattering top to pair with these pants. The fitted top helps create a defined waist, while the peplum helps disguise the unflattering waistband. Another thing I like about these pants is that they are a departure from my usual very feminine sensibilities. The peplum certainly brings some sophistication to the look, so to keep things from looking too polished I went with an edgy statement necklace. The key to trying a trend or garment piece that’s outside of your wardrobe norm is to add in elements that are typical of your everyday style. For me, the feminine peplum, statement accessories, and the print are all pieces that exist in my closet and helped to make this fashion risk less difficult.
Style Notes: Target peplum (spring 2013) / Nordstrom pants via Last Chance (summer 2014; love) / Julianne Hough for Sole Society shoes via Last Chance (summer 2014) /Anthropologie necklace (winter 2014) / Kate Spade bracelet (spring 2011 ; love) / Marc Jacobs purse via Last Chance (summer 2013; budget friendly) / Loft sunglasses (summer 2014; love)
I got my first subscription to Elle when I was in seventh grade; each month I spent hours pouring over the ads, the editorials, and articles about fabulous people, designers, and locations a girl from a small Midwest town could only dream, and read, about. I would dog ear beloved pages and rip out my favorites, peppering my bedroom walls with looks that seemed so distant from my local mall that they were merely pieces of art I could admire.
These days I find myself increasingly turning to Pinterest for seasonal inspiration as well as new ways to mix up items in my closet. I know the notion of pinning aspirational images is not a novel one, but I wonder just how many of us pinners do much with all these lovely pictures we are curating? Certainly, I frequently turn to recipes, the occasional DIY, and fitness guides, but even though I am someone who loves fashion and style, I rarely return to all those pretty things I am saving for inspiration when I plan outfits. It’s a shame really as I follow some pretty amazing women and brands on Pinterest, so I thought it might be fun from time to time to put together a look inspired by something or someone I pinned.
When I saw this image of Reachel from Cardigan Empire come through my feed I immediately pinned it and mentally filed it away as a must wear look. Fortunately, I already owned these pieces, but was happy, thanks to Reachel’s impeccable style, to find a new way to wear them.
I love the way the gingham print and the midi skirt evoke a 50s vibe while the bright pink and graphic floral print modernize the look so it’s refreshingly now rather than too referential. The black and white repeated in both the top and the skirt’s print helps to unify the look while the accessories are the perfect mix of classic and on trend.
Where do you draw inspiration from when planning outfits/getting dressed? Do you turn to trusted magazines, copy looks directly from store mannequins, enlist the help of friends or a stylist, turn to beloved bloggers, or pin away dreamy looks and must have items?
Style Notes: Topshop shirt via Last Chance (summer 2014; love) / ASOS skirt (summer 2014) / Kate Spade necklace via outlet (spring 2013; similar) / Kate Spade bracelet (fall 2012; love) / dv by Dolce Vita shoes via Last Chance (winter 2014; summer update) / Kate Spade purse via Last Chance (summer 2014)
This shirt has been one of the most fortunate misfortunes to ever enter my closet. You see, fellow Style Tutor, Kristy, ordered this shirt but didn’t like the fit so she suggested I try it before she returned it. What a delight to have such a thoughtful friend, right? As it turns out, this shirt is totally me…quirky collar, dreamy color, and a built in print. We were totally meant to be and I love it all the more because such a great friend brought us together! I love when a closet staple has a great story behind it.
When I wear this shirt to work I pair it with a nude colored tank, but now that summer is here I’ve been wearing it with a bralette to stay even cooler. Have you tried a bralette yet? I always imagined myself a bit too chesty to pull one off, but when the temps hit 110 a few weeks ago I felt like my will to live was about to go, so I threw caution to the wind and picked one up on the cheap at Target. I am not sure how I survived the summer months before all confined in a traditional bra! I also love that it adds just a hint of sex appeal to a look with a strong retro vibe. During those long, hot summer months you can’t go wrong with wardrobe pieces that keep you looking and feeling cool!
The focal point here is clearly the shirt with it’s great color and built in interest (collar and texture), so I wanted to keep the accessories to a minimum but still play off the ultra feminine silhouette of the shirt and skirt. The mint colored ring and bracelet pair nicely with the shirt, but also add whimsical tones to the overall look, while the purse and shoes echo the retro with modern touches vibe of the whole ensemble.
Style Notes: ASOS top (spring 2012; love) / H&M skirt (winter 2014) / Julianne Hough for Sole Society shoes via Last Chance (summer 2014)/ Kate Spade bracelet (spring 2013; love) / Kate Spade purse via Last Chance (summer 2014) / Juicy Couture ring via Last Chance (spring 2012; love) / Loft sunnies (summer 2014; cute)
I picked up this blouse a few weeks back when Loft was offering 40% off full price items. It was one of those things I saw while browsing online and knew that fun collar, classic print, and feminine silhouette needed to find a home in my closet. It has not failed to disappoint as it looks just as great when styled for a dressier look with a skirt or for a more casual look with shorts.
The accessories are kept simple and ultra feminine so they remain extensions of the whole look rather than pieces that might detract from the blouse and skirt, which I see as the major focal points. The pouf adds a bit of a modern touch while playing off the blush colored dots in the shirt. The handbag reminds me of something my Grandmother would have carried back in the ’40s while retaining the functionality a busy woman on the go needs in a handbag.
I really love the blouse’s classic print and wanted to play off that when I chose pieces to complete the look. The ’40s are one of my favorite eras in fashion, so this calf-length pencil skirt is the perfect compliment to the retro vibe of the blouse. This is a higher cut skirt than I normally wear, but I love that it creates the illusion of a smaller waist and because the skirt hits at an abnormal spot on the leg the higher waist also helps to create an illusion of length making for the perfect feminine silhouette.
Style Notes: Loft shirt (summer 2014; on sale w/an extra 60% off) / Banana Republic skirt (spring 2011; similar) / dv by Dolce Vita shoes via Last Chance (winter 2014; summer update)/ ban.do pouf (spring 2014) / Kate Spade purse via Last Chance (summer 2014)