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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?

Linking up with Fashionably Employed | More Pieces of Me | On the Daily Express

  

October Stitch Fix Review

Shopping

Thanks to those of you who have signed up for Stitch Fix using my referral link! It’s allowing me to keep trying Stitch Fix. From what I’ve read, the more you do it the better they get at nailing down your style. And although I didn’t end up buying anything from October’s fix, it was more due to fit issues and not style issues. If the items they’d sent me would have fit I would have kept at least three of them!

October Stitch Fix ReviewSo, what happened?

Items 1 & 2

  • Kensie Todd Colorblock Slub Knit Raglan Sweater – $78
  • Kut from the Kloth Delphine Houndstooth Corduroy Pants – $78

stitch-fix-review-october-2014I’ve been looking for a white or cream sweater and this one was fun because the sides were white and the rest was cream. The fit was comfy and the fabric was soft. However, it felt a bit boxy and was a tad too sheer for my liking. Also, I’d already ordered a cream sweater from American Eagle that I ended up liking better.

The pants, though, I really wanted to fit. The dark houndstooth and corduroy are like nothing I have in my closet and I would have paired them with lots of different, fun colors. Sadly, they were too big in the waist although they fit great in the thighs and calves.  Stupid “athletic” legs. No, wait. Stupid pants manufacturers.

Items 3 & 4

  • Octavia Bennie Heathered Stripe Knit Infinity Scarf – $34
  • Market and Spruce Sam Hi-Lo Short Sleeve Tee – $44

stitch-fix-review-october-2014-1The scarf was a definite no because the red and black? navy? just weren’t working for me. Neither was the infinity style. This was the one item I wouldn’t have kept and of course it was the one that “fit”.

The top is one of my favorite colors but the fabric wasn’t my favorite. When I originally saw that my Fix had shipped I logged into my account and went to “checkout” and started Googling the items. I saw this top in gray on a lot of other bloggers and was really hoping I got that one. I probably would have kept it if it was gray but although I used to own a ton of items this color, I just wasn’t feeling this one. So close, though!

Item #5

  • Staccato Franz Plaid Tab-Sleeve Top – $58

stitch-fix-review-october-2014-2You guys, I LOVED this top. Loved it. So why didn’t I keep it? It was too tight in the butt and hips. It looked fine if I stood perfectly still but if I moved it bunched up and did weird things. I was so sad, though, because it was super soft and I loved the colors.  Also, I think it was designed to be worn with leggings because of how long it was in the back and, well, I’m just not a leggings person.

So, as you can see, I loved something about four of the five items but in the end it was the fit and fabrics that just didn’t do it for me. I’ve scheduled another Fix for November and told them to avoid hi-lo tops and things that they expect would be paired with leggings. Fingers crossed this is the time they nail it!

  

Preppy Pink and Green

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

Do you ever have one of those days when you check the weather 100 times when trying to decide what to wear? Today was one of those days. Another cool, gray, rainy day in Chicago but I saw this outfit on Pinterest and wanted to wear it. A pop of color on a gray day? Cropped pants but worn with a button-up and a sweater? Seemed like a good fall outfit to me.

Pink gingham shirt with black sweater and green ankle pantsShirt – J. Crew Factory (similar) | Sweater – J. Crew Factory (same) | Pants – Express (similar) | Shoes – Sole Society (same)

It occurs to me looking at the photo now that she might be wearing a navy sweater. And I have a navy sweater. But for some reason black seemed more appropriate for fall. Also, I left off the pearls. Right now some of my jewelry seems too over the top for work. But this outfit? I felt perfect in it. I just tossed on my rain boots for my commute to work and to pick up Chewie from doggy day care.

And speaking of Chewie, of course he needed to make an appearance.

pink-gingham-shirt-green-pants-2Hey, I’m wearing pink! So let’s link up with Bri

  

THE Target Scarf

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

So, if you read a of style blogs you tend to see the same trends over and over again. When I first started it was the bubble necklace. Then peplum. And then last year it was the plaid blanket scarf from Zara. Well, as it goes, sometimes it even takes stores a year to catch onto the trend. This year? Target made it so we could all have our own giant plaid scarf. And I fully admit I love it.

Plaid scarf with stripes and leopardScarf – Target (same) (similar)| Shirt – The Limited (similar & 25% off w/code FAMILY25) | Jeans – American Eagle (same) | Shoes – TOMS (same)

It’s been gross and rainy here the past two days which means I want to basically wear comfy pajamas to work. This scarf, jeans, and tee fit the bill. The pattern mixing keeps it from looking dull and the wedges make me feel like I’m more dressed up. And even though our dress code is super casual, I was giving a presentation at work yesterday and today so I wanted to feel put together. But then after my presentation I spent the rest of the day creating report templates and sitting in our AV room working on a training video. Such glamor. Oh, I also got to help with our department newsletter. We were having trouble with the color scheme so I grabbed my scarf and said “let’s use this as inspiration!” Man, this scarf really is just that great.

Anyway, rain also means no dog park which means Chewie is desperate to get out of the apartment. target-plaid-scarf-with-stripes-2He can barely sit still long enough to not be blurry. We break the rules and let him into the stairwell with us and let him run around while taking photos. I figure this is the stairwell no one uses so why not? Plus, he’s cute.target-plaid-scarf-with-stripes-3

  

More Navy, More Problems

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

In case you don’t follow me on Instagram or Facebook you might have wondered where I’ve been for the past few days.

Or, maybe not. Anyway, I’m back. I’ve been busy fighting off some kind of bug and then volunteering at the Chicago Marathon. Both of which led to a lot of sleeping this weekend. Man, I really do love sleeping.

Which is why I’m glad that I saw this week’s Pinned it and Spinned it prompt on Instagram because, wow, did I need some inspiration this week. Monday’s outfit still gave me some issues, though, because I wanted to wear my navy lace ankle pants but the two navys just didn’t go well together. And then I almost wore my navy pencil skirt but it felt constricting. So, jeans it was. And a dog photobomb. Teal cardigan, navy polka dot top, jeansCardigan – Van Heusen (similar) | Top – Gap (similar) | Jeans – American Eagle (same) | Shoes – DSW (similar)

I have to admit: days like today it’s really nice to be able to wear jeans. I know that my original intent of this blog was to show you how to dress for the office when you can’t wear jeans so I hope you guys don’t mind jeans a bit more often than normal, especially as the weather gets cooler. At the very least, I hope to show you that you don’t have to look like a slob even if you do wear denim to the office!

Teal cardigan with navy polka dot blouse and skinny jeans and heels

 

  

Gray Pall

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall

I had every intention of participating in this week’s Style Imitating Art challenge but man, sometimes life just gets in the way. For example, I had visions of wearing my black sweater with my faux leather pants and black booties but I couldn’t find my black sweater. So then I switched it up with this outfit, took pictures, but then didn’t have time to blog until now!

Gray sweater with white jeans and black boots

Sweater – Gap (similar) | Shirt – The Limited via Poshmark (similar) | Jeans – Adriano Goldschmeid (same) | Boots – Cole Haan (similar) | Necklace c/o fibi & clo (same in maroon

And then I had all kinds of issues with this outfit. The jeans bunched up at my knees with these boots. I feel that the boots are too pointy for what’s in style right now (although, since these are the most expensive shoes I own, I don’t think I’ll be replacing them any time soon). And then I was having troubles taking pictures because it was so sunny.

Sigh. Difficulties all around. Ah, well. I suppose if that’s the worst part of my life right now I’m doing pretty well, don’t you think?

Grey sweater with striped blouse and black boots