Monthly Archives: March 2013

Casual Friday Five

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Blazer – Bergner’s (similar) | Shirt  – Old Navy (similar) | Jeans – The Limited (similar) | Necklace – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Anne Klein (similar)

As I’ve mentioned before, casual Friday is my nemesis. I want to wear jeans but I still want to look professional.  So what do I do? I default to a blazer! Seriously, I bet if you look through most of my posts on Fridays you’d find that I’m wearing some version of this. So, in an attempt to spice up today’s 5 Days, 5 Ways post, I’m going to give you 5 random facts about me (thanks to Valerie)  to go along with five of my other blazers.  Let’s get started.

Random Fact #1 – I am horribly allergic to cats but didn’t develop the allergy until I was in high school. Now, cats make me sneeze and my eyes itch, but they also cause my lungs to feel tight and, in severe cases, my throat to close up. I have been known to steal hits off my husband’s asthma inhaler when visiting people who have cats. I am, however, not allergic to dogs which is good because I LOVE dogs.

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Random Fact #2 – The instant my fingernails grow more than a centimeter past the tip of my fingers I unconsciously bite them off. Yes, I’m a nail-biter and a cuticle-gnawer. I have tried to stop many times, even getting acrylic nails to see if that helped. Nope. I am the only person I know who chewed off her acrylic nails.

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Random Fact #3 – I have run 3 marathons (my fourth will be at the end of April), twelve half-marathons, and I’ve lost count of how many other races of other distances I’ve done. Although if I wanted to I could count them up because I scrapbook all of my races. But that’s the only thing I scrapbook. And I’m over a year behind…

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Random Fact #4 –  I don’t drink coffee or caffeinated soda and gave it up my freshman year of college. I will drink caffeinated tea but only one cup a day.  When I was in college I worked at the campus police station (random bonus fact!) and the officers and dispatchers couldn’t believe I gave up caffeine as a college student.

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Random Fact #5 – I have not seen a lot of tv shows since I don’t watch much tv  but my brain is a sponge and soaks up random pop culture references. So even though I haven’t seen most of the shows, I can usually fake it in a conversation.  We also don’t currently watch tv other than Netflix (and Mythbusters, gotta watch Mythbusters) so I’m always several seasons, if not several years, behind. I prefer police procedurals (NCIS, Bones) and dramas about the supernatural (X-Files, Supernatural, Medium, Buffy the Vampire Slayer). I dislike sitcoms and reality tv. And when a show goes on hiatus for the summer (or longer)? I apt to forget about it entirely!

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Wear All The Dresses

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Dress – Nordstrom Rack (similar) | Cardigan – The Limited (similar) | Booties – Liz Claiborne via DSW (similar)

Today’s 5 Days, 5 Ways challenge is…dresses! Although, as it turns out, I don’t think I’ve worn the same dress five times in five different ways. Although, I’ve worn a lot of my dresses two or three different ways. So, I thought I’d give you a taste of how I transform summer dresses into cooler weather dresses in today’s post.dress_collage

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Today’s outfit was inspired by this pin which I saved when I saw it and immediately realized, hey, I have a dress that color and a cardigan that color! Why did I never think to put the two of them together?

Wearing a summer dress in the winter is actually pretty easy.  Wear a shirt underneath, wear a cardigan or sweater over, or throw on a blazer. Add tights and boots or closed toe shoes and you’re done!  Double the wardrobe, half the cost.

Want to see more ways I’ve worn dresses? I’ve tried to tag all of them here.

Also linking with Texas Lovebirds, Frills for Thrills and Vodka Infused Lemonade

 

 

The Hilarity of the Half Acre Brewery Tour (Guide)

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Taking a quick break from this week’s 5 Days, 5 Ways challenge to share this story with you.

Last month a bunch of my Chicago Running Blogger friends and I  met up for a quick run before drinking ourselves silly at the Half Acre Brewery tour. I didn’t do a write-up on my running blog but if you’re curious, there are quite a few write-ups from my friends who didn’t fall asleep on the couch when they got home after all that beer.

The highlight (and the reason I’m writing this post) of the tour was drinking three pints of beer in about an hour after very little food.  We got a little giddy and the group decided that we loved our tour guide’s hipster outfit pictured above and wanted to recreate it.  “Host a link-up, Erin!” They said.  So here we are.

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Chambray shirt – Old Navy (similar)| Lace shirt – The Limited (similar) | Pants – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Anne Klein | Belt – The Limited (similar)| Necklaces – gift & post-race swag

Of course, I went with an office-appropriate version so it’s more preppy than hipster. But what about my blogger buddies?  Check out their interpretations below.

Little Red Pants

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Sweater – Gap (similar) | Shirt – J. Crew (similar) | Pants – Gap (similar) | Boots – Bandolino via 6pm.com (similar) | Bracelet – gift (similar)

When I saw Laura wear her cropped red pants with boots and a sweater I knew I wanted to recreate the outfit with items in my own closet.  Sadly, after I put it on and took pictures I realized that marathon training (and my subsequent desire to EAT ALL THE THINGS) has not been kind to me.  Plus, it’s been awhile since I wore these pants and now they’re a little too tight in certain areas.  I ended up swapping out the crewneck sweater for a long oatmeal colored cardigan so I would feel less exposed.

But the point of this post is not to talk about pants that are a tad too small.  Nope, it’s to talk about the many ways I’ve worn these pants since “Pants” are the topic of the second day of 5 Days, 5 Ways.  Actually, this post is kind of a cop-out because I did a past post showing 9 different ways I’ve worn these red pants!

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Still, other than a quickie photo from last year’s trip to New York City this is the first time I’ve showcased these pants for cold weather wear.  See, if your cropped pants are narrow enough at the ankle you can wear them all year round by putting boots over them!  Pretty neat, huh?

Want your own cropped red pants?  Here are a few that might fit the bill!

The Perfect White Shirt

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Jacket – J. Crew via ebay (similar) | Blouse – Gap (similar) | Jeans – The Limited (similar) | Boots – DSW (similar) | Necklace – NYC (similar)

 

Another casual-ish outfit for you today since I’m still off work and traveling home from visiting friends. However, I had two great reasons to take photos for today. The first, it’s Inspiration Monday and Two Birds was extoling the virtues of dressing up a plain white shirt with this inspiration photo.

 

 

Inspiration Photo Source

I bought this shirt over a year ago from the Gap.  Originally it was ridiculously overpriced for a polyester white blouse with a little bit of shoulder detail, but it turns out I’ve worn it so often that even if I had paid full price for it (I didn’t) I would have definitely gotten my monies worth.  Which is why I also chose to feature it today as part of the 5 Days, 5 Ways link-up with Franish and Along the Lines of Style since today’s topic is “Tops”.

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As you can see, this blouse works with almost everything in my closet and across all seasons.  A white shirt that can be dressed up or down and can be worn untucked or tucked in turned out to be a major work horse in my wardrobe.

Want one of your own?  Here are a few options that I think would work.

What to Wear When Your Weekend Starts Early

Casual Clothes

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Shirt – The Limited (similar) | Scarf – JF&A Show (similar) | Jeans – Express | Belt – Target | Boots – Macy’s (similar)

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m off work for a few days. So today you get a weekend casual outfit from me instead of a regular casual Friday outfit! Yes, yes, I know I’m wearing boots with a heel, but flat boots like the similar ones I linked above or even boat shoes in warmer weather would also work with this outfit.  The key here is that I kept the visual interest with the striped shirt and the patterned scarf.

Next week I’m participating in Whitney’s and Franziska’s 5 Days, 5 Ways Link-Up so get ready to see how I’ve remixed pieces in my wardrobe into many different outfits.

Until then, I’m off to enjoy my weekend.  I hope you enjoy yours!  See you Monday!

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Lace Dress Take Two

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Turtleneck – The Limited (similar) | Lace dress as a skirt – Marshall’s (similar) | Boots – Cole Haan (similar) | Belt – Target | Necklace – Groopdealz (similar) | Earrings – Bauble Bar (similar)

Last week I wore this lace dress as a skirt for the first time and wasn’t too sure how I felt about that outfit. But I didn’t give up!  No! Lace is very on-trend right now (I even saw an adorable eyelet lace dress at Old Navy yesterday) and I really wanted this sleeveless dress to work for colder weather. So, taking your advice from last week to add some black on top to balance out the black on bottom and using this and this as inspiration, I topped my lace dress with my black turtleneck, my leopard belt, and my black mini-bubble necklace.

Yes,  I know, it’s technically spring.  But the weather in Chicago didn’t get the memo and it’s still freaking cold here.  So a turtleneck is totally appropriate.

Although, to be honest, I’m not actually at work today!  But if I was, this is what I’d be wearing.  So what am I doing instead? I’m on my way to Cleveland, Ohio to visit my best friend from college! I’m sure much hijinks will ensue.  Well, at least as many hijinks as you can get up to when you’re in your mid-30s and one of you has a kid.

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No, I don’t know who Joe is.

Linking up with Marionberry Style| Texas Lovebirds | Work Clothes, I Suppose | Mix & Match Fashion

From Wedding to Weekend: A Multi-Purpose Wedding Dress

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Multi Purpose Wedding Dresses

Dress 1 | Dress 2 | Dress 3 | Dress 4

Mica recently contacted me with a question.  See, she’s getting married in a few months but doesn’t want a big, fancy, traditional wedding dress.  In fact, she wants something she can wear to multiple events, wedding related or not.  The lucky couple is not only having a small main ceremony but then they are planning a cross-country road trip to celebrate with as many friends and family in as many locations as possible.

Mica also wanted to make sure she didn’t break the bank on a dress since they’ll need that money for their road trip! So, she asked me for some suggestions on places to find dresses that fit the bill.

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Earrings (L) | Sandals | Earrings (R) | Jacket | Shoes

My first stop is always The Limited just because it’s my favorite store.  This lace yoke dress with a bit of an a-line skirt would be perfect because it’s not so over-the-top fancy that it can’t be dressed down. And it’s under $100.

Other retailers such as Banana Republic and J. Crew also carry nice dresses but they tend to be more expensive.  The Limited has good prices and GREAT sales. However, if you find a dress at a store that you love but it’s out of your price range, check ebay! I once fell in love with a beautiful dress at J. Crew but it was way too expensive. And by the time it had dropped in price they were sold out of my size. So I wrote down the dress name and searched for it on ebay. A trip to the tailor and significantly fewer dollars later I had the perfect dress.

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Necklace | Sandals | Cardigan | Belt | Shoes

Other good options are department stores.  Yes, they can be overwhelming but they do have the best selection of different items. Which is why I prefer to order items online and then return them at the store! So much easier than trying to find an item in the store if the sales clerks aren’t helpful.  Nordstrom seems to have the best balance of price to customer service level, but Macy’s has the best sales. Which is why the rest of the dresses here are from Macy’s. However, if you have a Nordstrom near you then why not check it out?

In the mean time, the dress above is great because it’s cotton, has a small tonal print that makes it a bit more fun, and has the belt that can swapped out to be dressy or casual.

white sheath dress

Earrings | Shoes | Blazer | Bag | Sandals

A sheath dress would be perfect because in this white cotton eyelet fabric it looks great alone or under a blazer, jacket or cardigan. It could even be transitioned to wear in an office with the blazer and the nude peep toe wedges.  Many people don’t think they can pull off a sheath dress but it can be done and most women actually look great in them. And if it’s too big in the bust when it fits you in the hips, consider how much you paid for it.  Did you save enough that it would be worth it to get the top tailored?

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Necklace | Sandals (L) | Earrings | Bag | Sandals (R)

Finally, this cotton eyelet trimmed dress might be my favorite of the four I’m highlighting.  Why? Because it just seems like the perfect, light, airy dress to wear when you’re getting married in a park. The wide waistband will work on just about anyone, the v-neck is flattering, you can probably wear a regular bra with it (hooray!) and looking at it just makes me happy!  Plus, I could easily see it with a cardigan or the denim jacket above to make it even more casual. And, like the others, it’s under $100.

Other great places to look for a dress?  Well, if you don’t mind a bit of a hunt, I’ve found amazing dresses at TJ Maxx, Marshall’s and Burlington Coat Factory (yes, they are more than great coats).  However, there’s no guarantee they’ll have anything so you have to be willing to leave empty handed. Some people also swear by thrift or consignment shops for exactly this sort of situation but I’ve never been thrift-lucky.

However, since I know what size I wear in a few brands, I can use apps and websites such as Poshmark or Threadflip to search for items in my size and preferred brand and get good deals that way. Or, I can use my little online shopping secret: Shopstyle!

So, Mica, I hope you find the prefect dress for your needs!  Congrats on your upcoming wedding and be sure to send me some pictures!

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Navy: The Dark Horse of My Closet

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Blazer – Express (similar under $35) | Top – Gap (similar under $18) | Pants – The Limited (similar under $30) | Shoes – Gabriella Rocha via 6pm.com (similar under $40) | Necklace – JF&A Show (similar under $25)

Do you ever get an idea in your head and you can’t wait to implement it? That’s what happened with this gray and navy outfit.  I realized I hadn’t worn my striped blazer in awhile and got the idea to put it with my gray pants. So I created a Polyvore board to remind me to put the two together. The hardest part? Decided if I wanted to wear my navy crewneck sweater or my navy and white polka dot top.

Obviously I went with the polka dots. But you know, for someone who once despised navy I am continually surprised at how much of it I now have in my closet. Also, believe it or not, a few years ago I bought these pants to wear with one top. Now I want to wear them all the time (although looking at these pictures they need a date with the iron before I wear them again). Crazy how that happens.

Have you ever found yourself wearing a color you didn’t used to wear?

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The Opposite of Skinny Jeans

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Shirt – The Limited (similar) | Pants – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – MIA via Bergner’s (similar under $15)| Necklace – NY & Co (similar under $5) | Bracelet – gift (similar)| Jacket – ZARA (similar)

Today’s inspiration photo from Two Birds is an uber-casual look of flared leg jeans, a simple white blouse, and a spring jacket. Well, like most of the Midwest it’s not spring quite yet here and, as always, I had to make my look appropriate for work.

 

Inspiration Photo Source

So, even though I have these pants for sale I decided to wear them anyway since they are my most flared pair of dress pants. I moved the pattern to my shirt but kept the same billowy silhouette.  The red moved down to my shoes and the tan of her jacket got echoed in this bracelet that a friend gave me for Christmas.

Is this my favorite outfit? Not really. Right now my style is much more streamlined. But, again, that’s the reason I love these inspiration Monday challenges. They help me see my closet in a different way and help me understand what I like and don’t like in an outfit.

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