Monthly Archives: October 2012

Pattern Mixing for Everyone

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · You Pick Wednesday
Welcome to this week’s installment of You Pick Wednesday!  After last week’s polka dot post I received quite a few requests to do a pattern mixing post.  So, here we go.  My thoughts on pattern mixing from beginners to advanced dressers!
Pattern Mixing with Stripes
Stripes make a nice “blank” canvas
Striped Top (similar)| Skirt (similar) | Pants | Polka Dot Top | Scarf (similar)*
1. When mixing with another pattern make sure that the dominant color in the patterns are either in the same color family, immediately next to one another on the color wheel, or opposing each other on the color wheel. (<-Beginner to Advanced)

2. Stick with patterns going in the same director or have one be an all-over pattern with no discernable direction. (<-Beginner and Intermediate)

Pattern Mixing with Polka Dots
Small scale polka dots go well with larger scale patterns

3. Pattern mixing is easier when the patterns are different scales.  Trying to pair one small pattern with another small pattern can make it look like you got dressed in the dark.  Larger patterns paired with smaller patterns  look best. (<-Beginner)

Pattern Mixing with Plaid

Mixing with plaid is a good illustration of all of the tips

Pants | Striped Sweater | Polka Dot Sweater | Blazer

4. If there is a lot of pattern going on, such as with plaid, keep the accessories minimal or neutral. (<-Beginner and Intermediate)

5. When in doubt, throw on a leopard scarf, belt or shoe.  But limit it to two of the three.  (<-Everyone!)


Need more help?  Angie at You Look Fab has some great pattern mixing posts as well.

Pattern Mixing for Beginners

Four Patterns for Easy Pattern Mixing

And, I hope you keep in mind that I haven’t always been drawn to mixing patterns.  So don’t expect to open your closet one morning and suddenly know exactly what patterns to put with what.  Start with the beginner tips and work your way up!

Or, you know, submit a question for a You Pick Wednesday post for your specific item or contact me for a closet consultation!

YouPickWednesdayicon*Note: I did not list links to all the items pictured.  If you want help finding something please let me know!

Hurricane Windy

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

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Blazer – Forever 21 (similar)| Shirt – Old Navy | Necklace –NY & Co (similar)| Pants – Ann Taylor | Shoes – Anne Klein

Last night I stayed up way too late reading superstorm Sandy updates on Twitter and through various websites.  I was also following the news about the Chicago lakefront and the 60 MPH winds we’re supposed to get today.  The radio even specifically told women not to wear dresses or skirts today!  I think they were joking but I totally understand why.  It’s windy out there!

(Side note: Chicago is not called the Windy City solely because of the wind.)

As a result of staying up too late with my jaw hanging open I grabbed my trusty Pinterest inspiration board this morning for an outfit idea.  This one grabbed my attention:

Turns out there’s a reason I like this look.  I’ve worn it before!  I try not to duplicate outfits on the blog but I knew it was bound to happen.  So, here you get a taste of the same look with a few minor changes.  Different pants, shoes, shirt, and accessories.


Also, lest you think it’s nice enough outside to commute to work sans jacket, here’s what I actually wore on my windy walk to the train.

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Just imagine the jacket buttoned up and some black gloves on my hands and you’re got the picture.

I’m thankful that today all I have to deal with is wind.  My thoughts go out to everyone in NYC, New Jersey, and other areas along the East Coast.

Inspiration Monday–Sparkle

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

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Peplum top – The Limited (similar)| Blouse – The Limited | Skirt – Banana Republic Outlet | Shoes – Via Spiga via Loehman’s | Necklace – JF&A Trade Show | Earrings – c/o Anjolee


Today’s Inspiration Monday from Two Birds is yet another “celebrity” that I’ve never heard of.


Original Inspiration: Ashley Madekwe

I’m not a huge fan of her peplum top with the jeans.  It’s making her look disproportionate.  Which is why I tend to pair my peplum top with a pencil skirt.  It just seems to flow better to my eye.

I did, however, continue to incorporate the sparkle of her top with my jewelry.  I just purchased this necklace and it turns out that it goes perfectly with the earrings that I recently received from Anjolee.

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You may have heard of whoever Ashley Madekwe is, but have you heard of Anjolee?  They sell custom made diamond jewelry.  You can choose what type of jewelry you want, whether it’s a bracelet or an engagement ring.  From there you choose what metal you want (yellow, white gold or platinum), the diamond size and quality, and, if applicable, the size of the piece.

Even if you’re not in the market for some new bling, it’s still fun to play around on their website or use their free iPhone app to design your dream item.

Note #1: Anjolee provided me with these sample earrings free of charge in exchange for a post.  Me wearing them and loving them is of my own accord.

Note #2: I apologize for the photo quality for the next few weeks.  My camera took another header onto the concrete and I can’t justify spending another $145 on a new one less than 5 weeks after the last one. 

JF&A Trade Show Chicago



If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (@looplooks) you may recall that I posted this image back in September.  The JF&A Show is a four day jewelry, fashion, and accessories extravaganza at the Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.  I went in 2011 and scored some great jewelry and accessory deals so I was looking forward to attending in 2012.

jfa_show 010 Last Thursday Kim and I took the afternoon off work to peruse the hundreds of booths filled with everything from fine gold and diamonds, costume jewelry, to various other items to fill your home and your closet.

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The JF&A show is designed for people who run boutiques or other stores that sell accessories such as jewelry, scarves, gloves, etc.  So since it’s a wholesale buyers market place, it’s also a paradise for people seeking great deals!

Need a scarf?  They have hundreds to choose from, most under $20.  Need some fun necklaces or earrings but don’t want to spend a ton?  You have your pick of pieces from $15 and under!

Kim and I spent several hours at the show browsing and buying.  Most booths only take cash for small purchases.  This actually works out well because you can pre-determine how much you’re going to spend and only bring that much money.  Of course, I always go a bit over and have to borrow a few dollars from Kim.

This year’s haul included the following:

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Clockwise from left:

Necklace – $8.50

Scarf – $2.35

Leather wrap bracelet – $10

Leather wrap watch – $12

I also FINALLY ordered a grey J. Crew style bubble necklace for $15 including shipping.

The JF&A show is also a great place to do some gift shopping.  I purchased one gift for someone as well.  But, don’t worry!  If you didn’t attend in October you have another chance to shop before the holidays!

The next JF&A Show is scheduled for November 29th through December 2nd in Schaumburg, IL and registration opens tomorrow, October 29th.  There is a registration fee of $5 if you register online or $10 if you register at the door.

I will definitely be attending this show to do a bit more gift shopping and to look for a few items I didn’t pick up last week.  If you’re interested in attending let me know!  It’s always more fun with friends.

Copycat Friday–Black Cat

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

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Blazer – The Limited (similar) | Top – Express | Scarf – NYC street vendor (similar) | Pants – Gap | Boots – Cole Haan (similar)| Earrings – Bergner’s

It’s CopyCats Friday from Fills for Thrills!

I don’t even want to tell you how many images I looked through on my Pinterest boards try find something I wanted to copy.  Not sure why I was having such a difficult time this week.

In the end I settled on this outfit.  It’s a fun cross between Casual Friday and regular office sophistication.  And it’s based on an outfit from Wendy’s Lookbook.


I went with a pinstriped blazer instead of a solid black one because, well, my solid black one needs to go to the drycleaners.  However, this pinstriped one is a little bit too big so it might be going in my Poshmark closet very soon.

What do you think?  Did I hit the nail on the head with my copy?


FrillsforThrills CopyCats

The Fingertip Rule

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

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Dress – Express (similar) | Necklaces – J. Crew via Poshmark (similar) | Shoes – Lucky Brand via Marshall’s (similar)


After yesterday’s dress code discussion I admit I felt a bit odd going to work in what is essentially an outfit that pushes the envelope of a professional dress code.  But, considering my only work obligation was a meeting on our more casual campus and then I was off to the JF&A Show (post on Sunday!) I felt I could get away with it.

Plus, the dress does meet the fingertip criteria.  What’s that?  If a dress or skirt is longer than your fingertips when your arm is hanging by your side then it’s not too short.

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Okay, maybe it’s still too short for work for many people but for the day I had planned it worked okay.

Also, did you notice the pattern mixing with the stripes and the leopard print?  I have a post coming up next Wednesday on pattern mixing!

The Dress Code Dilemma

You Pick Wednesday

You wake up in the morning and think to yourself, “What am I going to wear to work?”

So many aspects need to be taken into account.

What am I doing today?

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And, of course, what is your job’s dress code?

I’ve worked in places that have very lax dress codes and some that are more strict.  A well-written dress code is not something all companies have so sometimes employees are left to their own devices.  For example, where I currently work our dress code reads:

Decisions regarding appropriateness of professional dress are made at the discretion of individual administrative officers. These officers have the responsibility for communicating these decisions to supervisors. Supervisors should convey these guidelines to their employees and regularly disseminate information, as necessary, related to department dress standards.

Which basically means that each department supervisor or manager can come up with what works for his or her division.

Recently a reader contacted me with a dilemma regarding work dress codes and coworkers.

What happens when you’re wearing something that is not technically prohibited by the dress code but you have co-workers who take it upon themselves to point out something you may or may not be doing wrong in terms of wardrobe at work?

My thoughts?  Those other employees may be interpreting the dress code differently than you.  So, say to them, “Gee, I never really thought of this as a violation.  Do you think the dress code says something different?”

If it’s just a conversation between coworkers and never goes any further you can probably get away with a shrug and a statement to the effect of “Hmm, I guess I never interpreted the dress code that way.”

However, if the comment makes it’s way to a supervisor then you’re probably going to have to relegate that outfit or item to weekend wear regardless of what the dress code actually says.

But, it never hurts to ask your supervisor directly if other coworkers say something to you.   Maybe offer to help update the dress code policy to make it more clear?

What are your thoughts?  Have you ever dealt with something like this? 

Don’t forget to submit your questions or requests for future You Pick Wednesday posts to!

Patriotic Polka Dot Pride

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

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Jacket – Target (similar) | Shirt – Gap (similar)| Skirt – J. Crew Factory | Necklace – J.Crew via Poshmark | Shoes – Karen Scott via Macy’s | Belt – Target

I’ve been wanting a polka dot skirt for months.  MONTHS, I tell you.  When I saw this one in a set on Polyvore I clicked on it thinking, “Oh, it’s probably sold out.”

When I realized it was actually available via the new J. Crew Factory website and was on sale for only $40 I practically ran to my wallet.

I ordered it in two sizes and was a little bummed when it arrived because the smaller size was a hair too small and the larger size was a hair too big.

So, I took a cue from Stylish Petite and washed and dried larger size of the 98% cotton skirt to see if it would shrink.  And you know what?  It did!  Now it fits perfectly.

There are a lot of polka dots going on in this outfit and along with the red jacket it feels very Fourth of July.  Still, I don’t care that the leaves are falling and it’s October, not July.  We have a warmer than usual day today so I’m wearing my new skirt with pride.

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Inspiration Monday– Patterned Jacket

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

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Jacket – Express via Poshmark (similar)| Tank top – The Limited | Pants – Gap | Necklace – The Limited | Earrings- JF&A Trade Show |Shoes – Ann Klein 

When I looked at the Inspiration Monday photo for this week I admit I was a little stumped.  It occurred to me I don’t own very many patterned toppers.  I own patterned tops, but not much in the way of blazers, jackets or cardigans.


Original Inspiration Source

I played around with a red blouse and my black pants.  I toyed with the idea of wearing a red cardigan.  But in the end I pulled this jacket on and even though it’s a little bit warm for it today I think it works.

I purchased this jacket via Poshmark.  If you have an iPhone and want to thrift shop or sell your own items from the comfort of your couch then you can sign up using code HBAMM and get a $5 credit!

Also, I just realized that I look like I could use another 24 hours of sleep.  I had a crazy fun weekend complete with running a half marathon so I’m a little worse for wear today.  But that’s no reason to look like a schlub otherwise!