Monthly Archives: November 2013

Sole Society Review: Maddy Riding Boots

Shopping

Sole Society Maddy Riding Boots

A few weeks ago I asked for your opinions on Facebook about which riding boots I should order from Sole Society.  The almost unanimous opinion was that I should order these, the Maddy riding boots.

So, I did.

Review of Sole Society Maddy Riding Boots

Here’s what you should  know about the Maddy riding boots:

  • They are made of real leather. Since I don’t have any qualms with wearing real leather I prefer, when possible, to buy riding boots made from it because I feel that they last longer.
  • The entire back of the boot is stretchy material which is great for those of us with athletic calves
  • Based on a size 6 the calf circumference is 14”. I ordered a size 8 so the calf circumference was closer to 15.25”.
  • They come in all full and half sizes between size 5 and 10 and then only full in 10 and 11.
  • They don’t have a full inside zipper. It’s only up half the inside which I was a bit concerned about it but it didn’t end up making a difference.

When I first put them on I thought they were too bulky around the ankle. But that was on bare legs. When I put them on with my jeans they looked much better. And considering I mostly wear my riding boots with jeans I think they’d be fine. Plus, it can be difficult for me with my 15” calves to find riding boots that fit comfortably over my jeans and these did that just fine.

Sole Society Review Maddy Riding Boots

I also tend to shy away from boots that have straps around the ankle but with these the strap sits lower on the front of the shoe making it less likely to cut off your leg, visually, which I liked.

However, I ended up returning them. Why? Because the size 8 I ordered was too big in the heel.

I’m in a weird gray zone between a size 7.5 and an 8. The front of my foot is an 8 but my heel is a 7.5.

Sole Society doesn’t currently do exchanges so I’ll just have to hope that after they process my return they still have a 7.5 in stock that I can order to try. Otherwise I’ll be using my store credit to try another pair.

Yeah, that’s the other thing about Sole Society. They charged a $7.95 restocking fee if you ask for a refund instead of store credit.

Still, I really liked the elastic back and the leather was nice and smooth. I do worry that they might start to get slouchy around the ankles but hopefully the elastic on the back would help with that.

So, there’s my review of the Sole Society Maddy Riding Boots. Hopefully the 7.5 will work better for me because otherwise I really liked them!

Real Snow and Faux Leather

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

Cream tweed jacket, faux leather skater skirt from The Limited, winter in Chicago

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Jacket – Forever 21 (similar) | Skirt – The Limited (same) | Camisole – The Limited (similar) | Necklace – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Anne Klein (similar) | Tights – Target (similar)

This faux leather skirt has been hanging in my closet waiting to be worn since I bought it in October and I was going to wear it today no matter what. Even though when I took these pictures it was in the middle of snowing. Didn’t matter. I figure if Katie can do it, so can I.

I wore the same jacket as yesterday and wanted to wear it all the way buttoned up but the hook and eye closures just weren’t staying closed! So instead you get a flash of brown from the camisole I have on under the jacket.

I ended up really liking this outfit and I think the all neutral palate of cream, brown and tan tones down the fact that this skirt is both faux leather and a tiny bit shorter than what I would normally wear to work. However, I’ve noticed my boss wearing shorter flared skirts recently so I’m pretty sure I’m still in the clear dress code-wise. Good thing, too, because I really want to wear this outfit again!

White tweed jacket, The Limited faux leather skirt, tights, heels, winter in Chicago

DIY Animal Print Dress

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

White jacket, animal print dress, black ankle boots, Chicago style blogger

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Jacket – Forever 21 (similar) | Dress – Target (similar) | Shoes – Liz Claiborne via DSW (similar) | Necklace – The Limited (same)

Two things you need to know about this dress:

1. It originally looked like this

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2. I turned it into more of a sheath dress by removing the elastic from the waist and gave it a higher neckline by wearing it backward.

Yes, this is about a DIY as I get. And why did I go to all that trouble? Because I wanted to recreate today’s Inspiration Monday look.

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White jacket? Yep, I got that. Animal print sheath dress? Well, kind of. I never liked the original waistband of my dress all that much so this gave me the perfect excuse to see if I could alter it. And pairing it with this jacket gave me a new way to wear each item!

White jacket, animal print dress, black ankle boots, Chicago style blogger

By the way, this is the last week of the Take One, Pass It On challenge and I’ll be participating today and tomorrow. Wednesday I’m planning on a review of the boots I ordered from Sole Society and then I’m taking Thursday and Friday off to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday.

A Gray Kind of Day

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Black J. Crew sweater, gray animal print scarf, black jeans, faux leather moto jacket, J. Crew bow flats, Chicago style blogger, Fall in Chicago

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Sweater – J. Crew Factory (same) | Shirt – The Limited (similar) | Scarf – JF&A Show (similar) | Jeans – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – J. Crew Factory (same) | Jacket – Zara (similar)

 

Two things I wanted to mention to you today. The first, the weather is horrible. Yet I stood outside in it to take pictures. All for you! Okay, for me, too. Because I hate taking photos indoors. Also, in full disclosure, I wore my Uggs during my commute and packed my flats to change into. Yes, I’ve become one of THOSE women. The ones who wear Uggs. I don’t care. They’re warm. And comfy. And on a cold, gray, wet day like today you need some of that while waiting for the train, you know?

The other thing I wanted to mention is that it’s actually kind of difficult to make a black crewneck sweater seem interesting. I actually have several ideas saved on my Pinterest boards but several of them involve also wearing a blazer over the sweater. I just wasn’t in the mood for that kind of layering today (in fact, even the scarf is kind of driving me crazy) so I looked for other ideas. So, the black on black outfit might be kind of boring but it’s doing the job for me today. And it just goes to show that you can wear a black sweater with crazy animal print one day and tone it WAY down the next.

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And thus brings us to the end of Take One, Pass It On week three. You know, if you want to see how lots of other bloggers are remixing the pieces in the closet from day to day don’t forget to follow Sarah’s Real Life. She’s the one who created this challenge and she’s the one who does the round of up all the participants every week. It’s a lot of fun to see how other people make new outfits out of the pieces they pass on from day to day.

take_one_week_3Also linking up with AJ Wears Clothes

A Little Peek of Gold

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Black J. Crew Factory Sweater, Target leopard print skirt

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Sweater – J. Crew Factory (same) | Shell- The Limited (similar) | Skirt – Target (same) | Boots – Cole Haan (similar) | Necklace – Groopdealz (similar)

First things first: yes, I got my hair cut. And it’s about half an inch shorter than I like. But that means that in a few weeks it will be the perfect length. Thank goodness my hair grows quickly. Until then I’ll just have to be hyper-vigilant about wedge-shaped hair. Although, it looks positively flapper-esque when I wear my winter hat.

Secondly, yes, I am doing the Take One, Pass It On Challenge today. I actually had a completely different outfit planned but at the last minute decided that I also wanted to participate in Bri’s Third Thursday theme of animal print with a new outfit. So what did I pass on? The gold shell I had on with my red, gold, and brown outfit! See it peeking out underneath my sweater?

gold_shell_two_ways

This shell is quite long on me and I’ve always worn it tucked in. But after seeing a few sweaters at Target that had bottom hems embellished with a different material such as this one and this one I thought this would be the perfect top to wear underneath a sweater. Turns out, it works pretty well! And it adds a little extra visual interest to what might otherwise be a much simpler outfit.

 

Also linking up with Vodka Infused Lemondade

Black Friday: To Shop or Not to Shop?

Shopping

Admittedly, I have never done the whole Black Friday thing. I really, really like sleep so the idea of getting up at 3:00 AM to go shopping just kills me. Yes, I like sleep more than I like shopping but it’s a lot more difficult to have a blog devoted to sleeping than a blog devoted to personal style.

Anyway! My friend Kelsey wrote a blog post last year about how Black Friday is probably her favorite day of the year.

Now when I say I love Black Friday, I mean I really love Black Friday.  As far as I’m concerned, Thanksgiving is just Black Friday Eve.

I asked her if I could share her tips with you and she very nicely said yes.  So, here’s what Kelsey has to say about Black Friday shopping.

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Part One: Getting ready to shop

  • I put money aside from each paycheck into a separate bank account labeled BLACK FRIDAY (starting in January) so I have lots to spend when the day finally arrives.
  • I literally do all my Christmas shopping on this glorious day- I do not come home until I’ve completely gotten everything I set out for.
  • Whatever money I don’t spend on Christmas presents (once I’ve bought everything I intended to) I spend on myself.
  • I go to bed super early on Thanksgiving so I can be up, alert and ready to go around 3:30 AM.

 

Part Two: The actual shopping

For those of you not as crazy as myself- here are the stores you definitely NEED to check out on BF because they have such awesome deals:

  • Kohl’s– This is the only day I ever go to this store.  Kohl’s basically gives stuff away on BF.
  • Macy’s– Always my first stop because I do 75% of my Christmas shopping here.  Great deals and amazing coupons.
  • Old Navy– They basically give stuff away too.

Stores to skip?

  • Nordstrom Rack- Last year their big thing was a coupon for 40% off one item-um hello that’s not BF worthy.
  • TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s– They never have BF deals because everything is already on sale.  The lines are always crazy crowded so I typically skip these stores all together on BF.
  • Banana Republic- I still don’t get how Old Navy has such awesome deals and Banana Republic will have something like 20% off full priced items. Again, not BF worthy.

So, tell me, do you go shopping on Black Friday or do you avoid it like the plague?

Sequined Sweater

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Red sequined shoulder cardigan, gold shell, brown pants, Fall in Chicago

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Cardigan – Target (same) | Top – The Limited (similar) | Pants – The Limited (similar) | Shoes – Anne Klein via Marshall’s (similar) (same in red)

Yesterday I asked which part of my outfit I’d be passing on as part of the Take One, Pass It On challenge and, well, as you can see, it was the cardigan! Yes, I chose to wear this sequined sweater again because today’s Trend Spin theme is sweaters. Plus, pairing it with gold and brown instead of black and white is a great way to see how versatile red actually is. It’s just too bad that my photographer is busy with finals because it’s REALLY difficult to get a photo of the sequins on the shoulder of this cardigan by myself.

red_cardigan_two_ways

Which look with this cardigan is your favorite? Black and white or brown and gold?

Style Imitating Art: Uniform Style

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Style Imitating Art

Target sequined shoulder cardigan, The Limited striped top, The Limited pencil skirt, Chicago style blog

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Cardigan – Target (same) | Shirt – The Limited via Poshmark (similar sleeveless) | Skirt – The Limited (similar) | Tights – Target (similar) | Shoes – Bandolino via Macy’s (same) | Belt – The Limited (similar)

I swear to you I was at Target to get light bulbs and toothpaste, not a cardigan! Okay, that’s not entirely true. I always check the Target coupons and Cartwheel before I go to Target and since there was a $5 off an apparel purchase plus 15% off a sweater with Cartwheel AND I’ve been wanting to get a new red cardigan, well, I had to at least look, right?

Plus, the color and placement of the sequins on this one just go so perfectly with the Style Imitating Art piece that Jen picked for this round!

The coppery gold color reflects the uniform embellishments and the placement on the shoulders reminds me of uniform epaulettes. And of course red, black and white to echo the other major colors in the painting.

I also think it’s fitting that I took these outfit pictures outside the Art Institute of Chicago which is where Jen originally saw this painting. Nice symmetry, yes?

And, yes, I am still doing the Take One, Pass It On challenge but, as a reminder, I use Mondays as a reboot. And I already have some fun outfits planned for the rest of the week. Starting with….actually, you get to guess. Which piece from today do you think I’ll be using tomorrow?

Black Denim Leopard

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Casual Friday Outfit, Chicago fall, chambray, leopard print, jeans, black blazer

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Blazer – The Limited (similar) | Shirt – Target (similar) | Jeans – The Limited (similar) | Scarf – NYC street vendor (similar) | Shoes – Lucky Brand (similar) | Watch – Groopdealz (similar)

Oh, I know. Let’s not go too crazy and wear a black blazer in a different outfit! But, hey, admittedly, yesterday’s outfit didn’t leave me a lot to work with for the Take One, Pass It On Challenge. I mean, there’s only so many things you can do with black pants, a black blazer, and black heels, right? However, I love the idea of wearing a blazer for a casual outfit. In fact, I do it WAY too often. But, really, a blazer can take a weekend outfit and turn it into a Casual Friday outfit with minimal effort. I know, it’s not ground breaking. But not every outfit or tip can be.

Besides, I decided that in honor of Just Another Smith’s leopard challenge this week I was going to try and wear ALL my leopard print accessories. Scarf? Check. Watch? Check. Shoes? Check. Admittedly I couldn’t figure out how to wear both my leopard flats AND my leopard heels so I went with flats. I mean, it is Friday after all.

And speaking of Friday, here’s the round-up of the outfits for the second week of the Take One, Pass It On Challenge!

Take One, Pass It On Challenge Week 2

P.S. This door I’m standing in front of? It used to be red. I miss my red door.

Casual Friday Outfit, Chicago fall, chambray, leopard print, jeans, black blazerAlso linking up with AJ Wears Clothes

An Unexpected Suit Find

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

 

Black suit with snakeskin print chiffon shirt, fall, Chicago style

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Blazer –The Limited (similar) | Pants – Ann Taylor (similar) | Shirt – Kohl’s (similar) | Necklace – Overstock.com (similar) | Shoes – Bandolino via Macy’s (same)

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I actually wore this snakeskin print shirt and a black suit to work instead of this same shirt and my pink pencil skirt. This black suit outfit may seem incredibly simple but the fact that I’m wearing a printed chiffon shirt instead of regular cotton button up makes it feel less like a traditional suit and a little more fun while still being professional and conservative. Also, believe it or not, but the pants and the jacket were not bought together. Nope. The pants came from Ann Taylor last year and the blazer is from The Limited several years ago. Amazingly, they work together quite well which isn’t always the case with black items.

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And, actually, this top works quite well with the black suit which makes me excited. I honestly didn’t have a lot of ideas on how to wear it when I got it but putting it with a suit turned out to be a great find. So, the lesson in this? Don’t be afraid to branch out and try different tops the next time you have to wear a suit. You’ll be surprised at what you find!

Chicago style blog, West Loop, Mary Barthelme Park

Linking up with Vodka Infused Lemonade