Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Best Chambray Shirt

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Shirt – Target (similar) | Belt – The Limited (similar) | Skirt – BCBG outlet (similar) | Shoes – Mia (similar) | Bracelet – JF&A Show (similar) | Necklace – NY&Co (similar)

Total outfit cost = $123

Today I  have a lunch meeting to meet a new department head so I decided to forgo my usual Friday Casual jeans and instead wear this pleated jersey skirt (with pockets!) with my very first chambray top. Today is the day to showcase your favorite Target score for Whitney and Heidi’s  “We Love Target” link-up.

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I bought this chambray shirt almost two years ago off the clearance rack at Target. I don’t remember how much I paid for it but I do know it was probably my best Target purchase in awhile (other than my red trench coat that also came off the clearance rack).  Unfortunately the Target closest to my apartment – the one I can walk to – doesn’t have the best clothing section, clearance or otherwise, so I haven’t gotten any good deals recently.

This skirt, though, I bought in 2009 at an outlet mall in Napa, California for a song. It’s super comfy and has held up amazingly well for jersey material. It has a slightly casual feel to it but it’s also easy to dress up, as evidenced by the time I wore it to work with heels.

However, to keep with the Target love theme, the shirt, skirt, and shoes listed in the links above are all from Target! Because, really, who couldn’t use a black skirt, a chambray top, and a pair of red ballet flats?

 

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Also linking up with AJ Wears Clothes

That Comfy Dress

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Blazer – The Limited (similar) | Dress – BCBG Outlet (similar) | Necklace – NY & Co (similar) | Shoes – TJ Maxx (similar)

Total outfit cost = $134

A few weeks ago I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t have a comfy dress to wear to work. Um, hello! What about this one? It’s jersey. It has an empire waist. And it looks great with a blazer. And considering tonight is our annual work dinner at a Brazilian steakhouse (we affectionately call it the “meat Olympics”) I needed something that would work for the office and for the impending food baby.

Also, here’s a fun tip – if you work in an office that doesn’t allow sleeveless tops but can’t stomach the idea of wearing a blazer in the summer, try a short sleeved one. All the sophistication, half the warmth.

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Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade

Best Places to Buy Jewelry

Shopping

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Welcome to my jewelry stash! Would you believe that two years ago I wore the same earrings every day and only wore silver necklaces with small charms on them? Now look at this mess!

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Interestingly, I tend to buy jewelry from the same few places. So today I thought I’d share my favorite jewelry buying spots with you and a few places I bet you wouldn’t think to check.

JC Penney

My favorite floral statement necklace (on the far left in the photos above) is from JC Penney from their MixIt line. I’ve discovered that if you like J. Crew jewelry that JC Penney probably has something similar for much, much less. And since I refuse to pay a lot of money for trendy statement jewels, this is perfect.

The Limited

A ridiculous amount of my jewelry is from The Limited. But here’s the thing; their jewelry is totally overpriced for the quality. So never, ever buy anything full price. Wait for a 40% off sale or until you have a coupon and then grab the pieces you’ve been eyeing.

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New York & Company

Several of my go-to pieces, such as the teal crescent and the blue bubble-esque necklace in the center of the photos, are from New York & Company.  Much like The Limited, New York & Company has great sales (right now they are buy one get one free on all jewelry). They also have a good mix of trendy pieces and simpler items and almost everything is under $20.

House of Gemmes

My favorite black and silver bracelet is from House of Gemmes. It goes with everything and actually fits my doll wrists. However, most of their items will fit all sizes! They are slightly pricier than some of my other picks but you get a $15 coupon when you sign up for their email list. Plus, they have pretty good sales on a regular basis. And if you’re in Chicago you can go check them out in person on Saturday!

 

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JF&A Show

I’m a little hesitant to add this one because it’s really only valid for anyone who lives near Chicago. But, trust me, if you’re within a day’s drive and you LOVE accessories, this is your go-to event. Four times a year various vendors take over an area convention center and sell everything accessories related. I wrote about it when I went back in October but I still don’t think I gave you a good enough idea of how AWESOME this event is. Definitely sign up for their mailing list so you know when to mark your calendar.  My purple/gray bubble necklace, my rhinestone cluster necklace, my gray leather wrap bracelet and many, many more items that I wear regularly are from the JF&A Show. This is a must-see event for anyone interested in accessories.

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I do have jewelry from other places including etsy, Gorjana, Bauble Bar, and Macy’s but the five places listed above are my go-tos when I’m looking for  a new piece to add to my collection. Also, if you have an iPhone and you aren’t using Poshmark you need to get on that STAT. I’ve scored some killer jewelry deals via Poshmark (J. Crew necklaces and Stella & Dot earrings, to name two).  Use code HBAMM when you join and you’ll get $5 credit!

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Where is your favorite place to buy jewelry?

 

And don’t forget, if there’s something you want to see or a question you’ve been wanting to ask, I’ll happily tackle it on a future You Pick Wednesday! Just ask away!

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Also linking with Small Town, Big Wardrobe

Belated Red, White and Blue

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

Navy lace pants, white blazer, red and white polka dot shirt, nude heels

Navy lace pants, white blazer, red and white polka dot shirt, nude heels

Blazer – Forever 21 (similar) | Shirt – The Limited (similar) | Pants – Ann Taylor (similar) | Shoes – Bandolino (similar)

Total outfit cost = $130

After a weekend of go-go-go that caused me to pass out in bed on Sunday afternoon for an epic nap I decided to take Monday off from the blog. I was already off work so there was no real reason to get dressed up. Planting flowers on our balcony and doing ALL THE LAUNDRY didn’t really warrant the adorable red, white and blue Memorial Day outfit that Two Birds chose for Inspiration Monday.

 

Inspiration Photo Source

However, this outfit was so adorable that I didn’t want to pass up a chance to use it as an inspiration. Hence, today’s belated red, white, and blue ensemble!

Navy lace pants, white blazer, red and white polka dot shirt, nude heels

 

Yes, my pants are navy blue. We’re still working on figuring out how to get that to show up consistently. Any suggestions?

Extra Casual Friday

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

Burgundy cardigan, striped top, jeans, ballet flats

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Shirt – LOFT (similar) | Cardigan – The Limited (similar) | Jeans – Express (40% off through Monday!) | Belt – old (similar) | Necklace – NY & Co (similar & 15% off) | Shoes – Target (similar)

Total outfit cost = $146

Let’s see. Today is Friday, my boss is out of the office,  I have no meetings, and we’re on the cusp of a three day weekend. This calls for an extra casual Casual Friday outfit! My default Friday outfit tends to be jeans and a blazer but I just wasn’t feeling the blazer today.  Thank goodness for this inspiration photo I had pinned with a striped shirt and a burgundy cardigan.

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Source

For those of you looking for casual outfit inspiration, this one’s for you! This outfit would be perfect for a weekend. Pair it with riding boots in the winter or wear a striped tank top instead of a long-sleeved shirt for warmer weather. Add heels or sandals to change up the look a bit, too. This is a great canvas to work with! Heck, you could even put it with shorts instead of jeans.

I, however, will be spending much of this weekend in workout clothes. Tonight I have trapeze. Tomorrow I will be running 10 miles, Sunday I’ll be biking 30 miles, and on Monday we’ll hopefully be planting flowers on our balcony.

What do you have planned for the weekend? What will you be wearing?

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P.S. Linking up with AJ Wears Clothes so here’s a link to the last time I wore this cardigan.

For the Love of Tweed

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

Navy pencil skirt, J. Crew tweed jacket, gray heels

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Jacket – J. Crew via ebay (similar for $21 w/code SUNSHINE) | Shirt – Gap (similar for under $10 w/code ONSUMMER) | Skirt – The Limited (similar under $30) | Shoes – 6pm.com (similar under $35) | Chandelier earrings – The Limited (similar under $8)

Total outfit cost = $104

Apologies for the indoor pictures. You can’t even tell that my skirt is navy! But it’s just too cold and windy out today to stand outside. Seriously, I almost got blown over while walking from the train. Ridiculous. I am totally underdressed.

However, I’ve decided I LOVE this outfit. The tweed jacket is black, blue, white, gold, and silver so it goes with SO MUCH. So far I’ve worn it with black jeans and regular blue jeans but pairing it with the skirt makes me love it even more.  Nothing is classier to me than tweed and a pencil skirt. Now, if the weather would just go back to normal so that I’m not freezing to death in this outfit, I’ll wear it all the time.

 

Navy pencil skirt, J. Crew tweed jacket, gray heels

How to Wear Ankle Boots

You Pick Wednesday

So, I know it’s spring in Chicago and for many of us our thoughts are turning towards sandals and open-toed shoes. But for anyone who is dealing with cooler temperatures this post is for you!

A reader recently contacted me and asked for help with a pair of ankle boots she just bought.

 

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Here’s what she had to say:

My problem: So the Nine West store here had booties on sale. I loved a pair but as soon as I opened the shoebox at home, I started freaking out. Although I appreciate looking a few inches taller, these booties scare me to death LOL. What kind of outfit can I wear them with?

I bought my first pair of ankle boots in fall 2011.

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Admittedly, I didn’t know what to wear with them, either! But it turned out that they are quite a staple in my wardrobe now. So here are my suggestions on how to wear ankle boots.

1. Putting them with black tights or even sheer black textured tights/nylons will help ease you into wearing ankle boots with skirts and dresses.

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2. If you like the look of bare legs with booties, you could wear them with a skirt and no tights.

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3. Wear jeans or pants over the top of the booties.

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4. Tuck skinny jeans into them or roll the bottom of the jeans up so they hit the top of the booties.

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Want more ideas? I have to give a shout-out to Katie from Alaskan Weredork who does the best job I’ve seen of wearing her many pairs of ankle boots with almost any outfit you can imagine.

Do you have ankle boots? How would you wear them?

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Don’t forget you can always submit your own questions for You Pick Wednesday!

 

A Simple Houndstooth

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

 

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Shirt – Express (similar) | Skirt – The Limited (similar) | Necklace – Groopdealz (similar) | Shoes – TJ Maxx (similar) | Bracelet – House of Gemmes (similar)

Total outfit cost = $91

 

Right now I’m pretty happy with my closet. But even so there are days when I stand there and stare at all the hangers and think, “I wish I had….” Today was one of those days. I perused Pinterest. I flipped through all my hanging items. I stared at my skirts. I touched all my dresses. And I thought about how I wanted to wear something simple but sophisticated. So I’m not sure how I ended up with a red button-up shirt and a black and white houndstooth skirt.

Okay, I suppose the colors are simple. I mean, I did just do an entire post on pairing red with something other than black and white and here I am putting it with black and white. But I think what I really wanted was a nice, comfy dress that needed very little accessorizing but still looked professional. Hmm. Maybe this is something for which I will keep my eye out.

Black Monday

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

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Cardigan – Van Heusen (similar) | Shirt – The Limited (similar)| Pants – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Macy’s (similar) | Bracelet – gift (similar) | Necklace – NY&Co (similar)

Total outfit cost = $132

Good morning! How was your weekend? Mine was super busy. It included, in no particular order: running with Anne, riding my bike, getting a new tattoo, making cookies for a bake sale, re-decorating Kelsey’s kitchen with pictures of Nicholas Cage (don’t ask), having brunch with my parents, and helping Valerie with blog stuff. So, as you can see, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what to wear for the week.

So, once again, I depended on Two Birds and their Inspiration Monday photos. If only we could all look like Gwen Stefani every day, right?

 

Inspiration Photo Source

I’ve had all of these clothing pieces in my closet for a long time. I keep wavering on whether or not to keep the cardigan and then it keeps staying. The top is starting to feel too short and I may be looking to replace it soon. Funny, isn’t it, how items can feel perfect for years and then one day you put them on and you think, “Eh, this isn’t really what I like any more.”

Still, for a sleepy Monday morning an easy all black outfit with a few interesting accessories was simple to pull together. I used to love wearing all black and now it’s not really my style, either. But for the sake of not having to think, I’ll just go with Gwen.

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A Little Friday Fun

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

Blush sequined skirt, tan cardigan, nude heels

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Cardigan – Target (similar) | Shirt – Gap (similar) | Skirt – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Bandolino (similar) | Necklace – The Limited (similar)

Total outfit cost = $146

Yes, it’s Friday and yes, I could be wearing jeans. But I’m not. Instead I decided to break out my sequined pencil skirt. Why? Well, I have a luncheon to attend at the Chicago Cultural Center for my job’s Distinguished Service Awards. At first I was super excited thinking that I’m getting some kind of awesome recognition. Turns out it’s just because I’ve been at my job 5 years. Still, it’s an excuse to wear something a little out of the box, don’t you think?

Plus, this afternoon Kim and I are going to trapeze class together! It will be her first time and I’m so excited to share my new-found trapeze love with a friend. That calls for a celebration in my book!

Pairing the fancy sequined skirt with a neutral colored cardigan and nude heels helps keep it from being too bling-y or overwhelming. Just like the last time I wore it, I wanted it to be part of the outfit, not an in-your-face statement piece.

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Linking up with AJ for Friday Favorites since if you click the link in the post you can see another way I’ve worn this skirt!