One Piece, Many Ways: Gray Sweaters

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

This week Jen at Fashionably Employed has been talking about being a conscious consumer and shopping thrift stores, adding classic pieces that will last many years, and learning more about where your clothes come from. To celebrate her week of thinking about all of this she invited readers to participate in a One Piece, Many Ways link-up.

I admit that I do buy “fast fashion” but I also have items in my wardrobe that were purchased second-hand or have been around for years and still get worn. Some of those ancient items include my gray sweaters. I have two gray turtlenecks and one gray crewneck sweater, all of which were purchased YEARS ago. The gray turtlenecks in particular are probably close to 10 years old and still going strong.

Nine gray sweater outfitsI also think it’s appropriate that I’m highlighting my gray sweaters today because I’m actually re-wearing the gray sweater and white jeans outfit today to have my picture taken for Crain’s Chicago!  I’ll be sure to post the link when the article goes live.

Unintentional Throwback Thursday

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

I know maxi skirts have been in style for awhile now and I know that some people swear by them. I do own two maxi dresses but, believe it or not, I don’t own any maxi skirts. So, I decided to try one from Le Tote (<- referral link) to see if it was something I wanted to add to my closet.

Strangely enough, once I got it I stood in front of my closet for what must have been 30 minutes trying to figure out what to wear with it. I’ve even written a post on how to wear maxi skirt to the office and yet I still couldn’t come up with anything. Except this.

red-cardigan-black-maxi-skirt-2Cardigan – Target (similar) | Shirt – Old Navy (similar) | Skirt – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Boots – DSW (similar)

Maybe it’s because it was cool and rainy out the day I wore it so I wanted to wear boots. Maybe it’s because I felt weird tucking something into it. Maybe it’s because I felt that anything I put with it could just as easily be done with my black maxi dress.  Whatever it was, I was really struggling.

red-cardigan-black-maxi-skirt-3And after I put this outfit together I spent the entire day feeling like I was wearing a costume. Specifically, I felt as though I was dressed up as myself from college. I had a black maxi skirt that  wore all.the.time in college and I liked to pair it with black loafers or black boots.

red-cardigan-black-maxi-skirt-1But I’m glad I tried this skirt from Le Tote. It told me that I don’t need a black maxi skirt in my closet right now. Maybe I’ll feel differently in the summer and I’ll see if they can send it to me then. For now, though, I won’t be adding one to my wardrobe!

Linking up with Happiness at Mid-Life

You Pick Wednesday: 11 Ways to Wear a Button Up Shirt

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · You Pick Wednesday

Did you know that technically a button-down is a shirt where the collar actually buttons to the shirt and a button-up is a shirt that has buttons from top to bottom in the front? A button-up can also be called a button-front shirt but unless the collar buttons to the shirt it shouldn’t be called a button-down.

The more you know, right?

Anyway, recently a reader contacted me to say she had a closet full of button-up shirts from J. Crew and was getting tired of wearing them the same old way. I know that we tend to get in ruts of tucking our button-up shirts into dress pants, adding a belt, and going to work. So instead of the usual, try one of these 11 other ways to wear your button-up shirt!

11-ways-to-wear-a-button-up-shirtShirt in this image seen here

  1. Add a vest or sleeveless blazer over the top of the shirt and pair with ankle pants and flats.
  2. Add a puffy vest over the shirt and wear a belt at your waist over both. Pair with a pencil skirt and heels to dress it up for the office.
  3. Add a skirt and a cardigan but instead of tucking in the shirt knot it at your waist.
  4. Wear the shirt under a crewneck sweater but do some pattern mixing.  This could go with jeans, a skirt or dress pants.
  5. Button the shirt all the way to the top and add a cropped collarless blazer/jacket over it.
  6. Wear the shirt open over another top so it’s more like a jacket or cardigan.
  7. Add a blazer, scarf, skinny pants, and riding boots.
  8. If it’s cool enough out, wear a crewneck sweater over the shirt and then put a blazer on top of that.
  9. Layer two button down shirts over one another.
  10. Wear a button down underneath a sleeveless dress or a long-sleeved sweater dress.
  11. Wear with a pencil skirt and a scarf

There are probably lots of other ways you could wear a button-up shirt that I haven’t even mentioned! What’s your favorite way?

Still Wearing White Jeans

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Are you guys tired of my stairwell yet? I hope not. Between the weather, it getting dark earlier, and my attempts to go to the gym at lunch I can’t promise you’ll see a lot of fun photo locations. Sorry! At least I tried to brighten it up with white jeans and a puppy?navy-top-white-jeans-cream-cardigan-3

Top – Express (similar) | Cardigan – Target (similar) | Jeans – AG Adriano Goldschmied (similar) | Shoes – TOMS (same)

Yes, I am still wearing my white jeans. And, just to show you how versatile they are, I actually wore this same cardigan, top, and jeans over the summer but with my leopard print flats instead of these wedge booties. Just changing the shoes makes it totally work for fall!

navy-top-white-jeans-cream-cardigan-1

Actually, I think the white jeans in the fall thing is even more accepted considering I got an email from Crain’s Chicago expressing interest in featuring me as part of their Chicago work style series after the last time I wore these jeans. I still haven’t heard anything final but just getting the email was pretty cool!

navy-top-white-jeans-cream-cardigan-2

SIA: Brown and Black

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

I took these outfit photos almost two weeks ago now but, as it turns out, they work well with this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge. My favorite thing about this challenge is that you have so much freedom to interpret the art. For example, this week Jen chose this painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

Two Women at a Window, c. 1655/1660, Bartolomé Esteban MurilloAnd then I realized that my outfit, with its mixture of brown and black, worked out pretty well!

J. Crew leopard print perfect shirt with black moto vest and brown riding boots

Shirt – J. Crew Factory via ebay (similar) | Vest – Target (similar) | Pants – Gap (similar) | Boots – DSW (similar

I know, I just said I don’t like leggings. So these aren’t leggings! They have a zip fly and belt loops and everything. But, they don’t have back pockets and with this shirt I admit that made me a bit self conscious. I think I spent a good part of the day pulling my shirt down to make sure it wasn’t riding too high on my behind.

However, this outfit was perfect for running errands after work. I rode a Divvy bike to the library to pick up the One Book, One Chicago choice The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. Then I walked home from the library through Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood which, to be honest, is one of my favorites.

And of course I stopped for some pictures.

Leopard button up with leggings and riding boots Also, I have to say that these boots are on the verge of being replaced by the Sam Edelman ones linked above. These boots have holes in the heels that I’m not sure can be fixed. I might take them to the cobbler just to see if they’re fixable but sometimes it might just be time to let go.  Sigh. These were my very first pair of riding boots and I think they’ve lasted me about 5 years. I got them for a steal on the DSW clearance rack and I was so excited that they fit my calves. So, maybe it is worth it to get them fixed? Thoughts?

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