You Pick Wednesday

My Curly Hair Product Essentials

You Pick Wednesday

If you’ve been following Loop Looks since the beginning you know that my hair went from long and straight to long and curly and is now short and curly! In that time I have slowly been creating my arsenal of curly hair product essentials.

hair_collage

My hair is naturally curly but not like the tight ringlet curls that many people picture. Instead, it has a wave to it that I can coax into being curlier with help from a few products I’ve discovered. And my trusty diffuser. Seriously, if my hair dryer ever dies I’m going to have a heck of a time finding another diffuser I love.

Anyway, I’m sure what many of you are interested in (and what at least one person has asked about) is what I use to get my hair curly.

curly_hair_product_collage

 

Step 1 and 2: Wash and condition

I recently switched to L’Oreal EverCurl Shampoo and Conditioner. However, I only use the shampoo every other day. I get my hair wet and condition it every day but don’t shampoo it every time. I have what one hairdresser described as a lot of very fine hair so I’m a bit terrified of dry shampoo. So this method currently works for me.

Step 3: Add moisturizing oil

To add some shine and help keep the frizzies at bay I started using this Soy Renewal Argan Oil from Sexy Hair. I got some as a free sample at Ulta and fell in love with it. I put about a dime sized amount in my palm and run it through the ends of my wet hair after I comb it.

Step 4: Volume!

I have approximately zero volume at the roots but mousse tends to leave me hair feeling crunchy. My friend Kelsey recommended this  Aveda Volumizing Tonic and my hairdresser concurred. I hold up my hair and spritz it on my roots.

Step 5: Define the curls

I was originally using mousse for volume and to help define my curls but it was leaving my hair crunchy and dry. My hairdresser recommended curl cream and I just picked one at random off the shelf at Ulta. Turns out this Got 2b Kinkier curl cream works great! It helps define my curls without leaving them crunchy. My hairs actually curly AND soft which are two things I didn’t even realize it could be.

Step 6: Blow dry

As I mentioned earlier, my blow dryer and my diffuser are essential. I’m so glad I didn’t throw the diffuser out! I had no idea that years later I’d come to depend on it so much.

Step 7: Keep it in place

Since I don’t want to shellac my hair in place I spray some of this Dove hairspray on the roots and on my bangs to give my hair a bit more lift and keep it out of my face.  Nothing too extreme.

 

And there you go! The curly hair product essentials I keep on my bathroom counter. Believe it or not, it doesn’t take me that long to do my hair in the morning, either. Probably less time than when I wore it straight!

Have questions about my hair routine or anything else? You can always email me at looplooks at gmail dot com and I’ll answer them on a future You Pick Wednesday post!

Making Pencil Skirts Casual for the Weekend: Three Key Things to Know

Casual Clothes · You Pick Wednesday

You probably have at least one in your closet. A pencil skirt. An business office wardrobe staple for many of us. And they might get a lot of wear, too. I mean, we are at work more than we’re at home. Or, at least, it seems like that for me. But who wants to have two entirely separate wardrobes? One for work and one for play. I mean, that gets expensive! Which is why faithful reader Kelsey asked me how should could make her pencil skirts casual for the weekend.

Pencil Skirts Casual Outfits

Clockwise from top left

Shout Out to You | Merrick’s Art | Celebflair.com | Gap | Atlantic-Pacific | Fashion on the Fly | J. Crew | Refinery29

I collated 8 different casual pencil skirt looks that include what I consider to be the staple pieces in making your pencil skirts casual.

1. A loose-fitting, casual shirt.  Plain, patterned, striped, graphic, whatever. It needs to be casual and not super-tight.  T-shirts, sweatshirts or tank tops will all work for this purpose as long as they are loose and comfy.

2. Flat shoes. Sneakers are a great way to dress down your skirt but if you think that’s TOO casual then just flat sandals are a good way to go in the summer.

3. Casual outerwear. For work we tend to pair our pencil skirts with cardigans or blazers. For the weekend, though, jean jackets, utility jackets, or zip-up sweatshirts are the key making those pencil skirts casual.

So, what do you think? Would you wear any of these outfits?

Don’t forget you can always submit your own You Pick Wednesday questions via Twitter, Facebook or email!

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Transition from Summer to Fall with Faux Leather

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Shopping · You Pick Wednesday

CAbi Fleather Pieces for Fall 2013

A friend of mine, Holly, is a representative for CAbi which is personal shopping experience that features a new line up of items every season. CAbi recently released their Fall 2013 pieces and I am admittedly lusting after many of them. High on my radar, though, are these faux leather items, all of which are under $100. CAbi calls them “fleather” which I think is just the cutest name I’ve ever heard.

Appropriately, this week’s IFB Project is to show off your leather looks for summer. The best part about these three CAbi pieces is that they can easily be worn now and then transitioned into fall. Proof? Read on.

CAbi fleather skater skirt for both summer and fall

 

Skirt| Blouse | Belt | Sandals | Cardigan | Wedges | Earrings

CAbi fleather shell styled for both summer and fall looks

Shell | Left necklace | Right necklace | Skirt | Blouse | Pants | Black shoes | Silver shoes

cabi_faux_leather_pencil_skirt_fall_2013

Skirt | Blouse | Sandals | Earrings | Tank | Blazer | Heels

The key to wearing leather (or faux leather) in the summer? Pairing it with lightweight tops, summery patterns, strappy shoes, and bright colors. I currently only own one faux leather item (a burgundy pencil skirt) that needs to get back into my outfit rotation soon. In fact, these awesome outfits have inspired me to wear it next week. Stay tuned!

Would you wear faux leather in the summer? Which of the above is your favorite outfit?

Note: I did not receive any compensation for writing this post. I just think Holly is pretty awesome and wanted to share her with you. If you are interested in purchasing any of the CAbi items, you can email her at hjhaley@gmail.com for your own personal shopping experience.

Comfortable Sandals Under Sixty Dollars

You Pick Wednesday

Comfortable walking sandals under sixty dollars

 

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It’s officially summertime so for this week’s edition of You Pick Wednesday we’re going to tackle sandals. Specifically, comfortable sandals you can wear during your walking commute that won’t leave your feet sore or your knees aching. Here’s Bethany’s question:

While I normally blow off every warning about how flip flops are terrible for your feet/legs/body in general, since I’m training for Chicago [Marathon] this year and my #1 goal is to remain uninjured, I’d like to do whatever I can to make myself less likely to get injured or aggravate something…and poor footwear choices don’t seem like the best way to go about doing that.

Basically, I’m looking for sandals that 1) will be nice to my legs, particularly since I walk two miles (not all at once, just overall) on my commute, 2) are more appropriate for a twentysomething who more or less likes to keep up with shoe trends…. 3) are flat or very close to flat, since I avoid any shoe with anything resembling a heel at all costs on work days (see: two miles of walking in my commute), and 4) are not $$$$$$. $30 or less is ideal, but I’d be willing to go up to $50 if absolutely necessary.

Okay, so, the tricky part of Bethany’s question is the price. Supportive shoes and under $30 don’t really go together. At least not that I’ve found. Perhaps if you scour clearance racks and stalk sales you could find some, but chances are good you’re going to have to spend $50 or even $60 to find them. But, if you think about it, you have your feet and legs for life, right? And we pay $$$ for running shoes to keep ourselves uninjured. Why not spend that money on our every day shoes?

By the way, this is a case of do as I say, not as I do. I’m a hypocrite. I admit it.

ANYWAY!

The six sandals above range in price from $39.99 to $59.00 (although, I bet you could get the $59 one for less since they’re from Macy’s and Macy’s is always having sales and coupons). All get good reviews in terms of comfort and walkability. And most come in a variety of colors so you can pick something neutral or something fun.

The key is find something that isn’t just piece of leather or plastic attached to some straps. Cushioning and arch support are key. And if you MUST have flip flops, I can personally recommend the Montrail brand. You put them in the oven so that they warm up and then put them on and they conform to your fit. A little pricey but your cost per wear will be one of the best deals you can find.

Do you have comfortable sandals you love to wear in the summer? What kind are they?

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Don’t forget, you can always submit your own question for a future You Pick Wednesday!

Five Summer Hats That Aren’t Baseball Caps

Casual Clothes · You Pick Wednesday

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When I asked on Facebook for questions my fans wanted answered, one of my readers (and long-time friend) asked:

I’m tired of wearing baseball caps out (unless I’m running) but still want to keep the sun out of my face…. Just please don’t say “fedoras,” I’d feel like a poser.

So, in response, I picked 5 summer hats from Target (because, really, who doesn’t love Target).  One “cowboy” style hat, two floppy hats, one traditional sun hat, and one conductor style hat.

If you’re transitioning from a baseball cap I think the conductor hat is probably the closest match if you don’t feel comfortable jumping right to a floppy hat or a cowboy-style hat. Personally, my summer hat is a purple floppy one that I bought at a boutique in Michigan.

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And if you don’t like my hat picks, here are a few more summer hat posts that might inspire you more.

Summer Sun Hats (WARNING: Contains fedoras)

White on White (Super cute hat also from Target)

The Grass is Always Greener (The perfect floppy hat outfit)

And a few other bloggers who keeps hats on constant rotation as part of their accessories:

Jen at Librarian for Life and Style

Katie at Alaskan Weredork

Four Ways to Wear a Maxi Skirt to the Office

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · You Pick Wednesday

Say hello to Anne from Anne Really Blogs! She does her own occasional style posts (along with posts about yummy recipes, travel, her dogs, fitness, and much more) but recently she asked me for help with ways to wear her new GAP maxi skirt to work.

 

GAP Striped Maxi Skirt

Skirt

 

I’ve worn my own maxi dresses to work (sometimes even turning them into skirts) but I admit that this time I turned to Pinterest for some inspiration. So here are my takes on four different ways you can make your maxi skirt work for the office.

 

Black and white striped maxi skirt with gold accessories

 

Shirt | Shoes |Belt | Similar Necklace |Similar Earrings

 

Neon cardigan with striped maxi skirt

Cardigan | Shirt | Necklace | Shoes

 

 

Striped Maxi Skirt with Coral Top and Black Blazer

 

Blazer | Shirt | Clutch | Shoes

Striped maxi skirt with white top, obi belt, and statement necklace

Shirt | Belt | Shoes | Anne’s own necklace!

 

Key takeaways?  Here are three.

1. Avoid flat sandals. They make it look like you’re going to the beach.

2. Pair the skirt with some “lux” accessories. Faux (or real) leather belts, shiny jewelry, and non-cotton tops are all good choices.

3. Wear something more structured, like a blazer or a waist belt to give you some shape and decrease the casual factor.

 

Do you have a maxi skirt or dress? How do you like to wear it?

For more maxi skirt inspiration, head over to Marionberry Style. Her trend of the month is maxi skirts!

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cat bow tie

Crazy Cat Prints: Dos and Don’ts

Office Appropriate Outfits - Fall · Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · You Pick Wednesday

A few months ago I saw a shirt on Fran and emailed the link to my friend Kim with the subject “Classy cat shirt”.  Kim is a HUGE cat person so I thought she needed some cat clothes.

cat bow tieNo, not like that. Like this:

Gap-Boyfriend-Cat-Shirt-Navy, cat print

 

We have a ongoing joke about ugly cat shirts and how I believe they should not be allowed outside of your house. Ever.

Ugly cat print t-shirts

(Although, to be honest, the top right one isn’t half bad)

 

So, of course, Kim was excited that there was actually a Loop Looks approved cat print shirt. Which means when I asked for “You Pick” posts for this week while I’m on vacation, she immediately responded asking for more Crazy Cat Lady-friendly yet office-appropriate cat print clothing items.  Believe it or not, they were easier to find than you’d think. This first one I actually saw being worn by Sarah’s Real Life!

 

Anthropologie Printmaker Shirt

Carousel Animal Print Shirt

Other Items

It helps that fun prints such as cats, birds, household objects, and other animals are trending right now. The key, though, is to keep the print small or in just one or two colors.

Cat print dresses no one should wear

Cat print dresses from Dorothy Perkins

Dress One | Dress Two

Other Items

Three cat print blouses that can be worn to work

Shirt One | Shirt Two | Shirt Three

Other Items

 

Would you wear a cat print shirt? Are you a cat person or a dog person?

P.S. If you want to see actual photos of my outfit from last Monday, they’re up at Work Your Wardrobe along with my tips on how to incorporated printed pants in to your wardrobe if you’re scared of looking like a clown.

(Full disclosure: I am a dog person all the way)

10 Denim Jackets Under $50

Shopping · You Pick Wednesday

Denim jackets, jean jackets under $30

Target | Old Navy

Denim jackets, jean jackets under $40

Old Navy | Forever 21 | Kohl’s

Denim jackets, jean jackets under $50

Kohl’s | American Eagle | Macy’s

Kelly recently asked me to help her find an affordable denim jacket. The great thing about a denim or jean jacket is that you can find one at literally every price point. I stuck to suggestions for under $50 but they can range from $20 to $200. And, to be honest, I can’t really tell the difference in quality! It all depends on what you want in a jacket. I bought mine over 10 years ago from the GAP outlet and it’s still in great shape. I’m looking to replace it myself, though, because the style is getting kind of dated.

So what should you look for? Here are some key things I would suggest:

1. Nothing too light and nothing too dark. An in-between shade is more likely to go with lots of different tops, pants, skirts and dresses. However, if the jacket is cheap enough maybe get two, one lighter and one darker!

2. Not cropped. A cropped jacket will go out of style faster than one that hits at or just above or below your hips.

3. Tapered in at the waist. Mine is way too boxy on me and makes me look wider than I am. I would like one that shows off my waist instead of hiding it.

Denim jackets are also a great thing to look for at thrift stores or on Poshmark since they’ve been around a long time. Just remember the three key features mentioned above so you pick out a modern looking one. Unless you’re going for a 1950s vibe. Then, by all means, grab that vintage jacket and rock that style!

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Don’t forget to ask your own questions! Hit me up on Twitter at @looplooks and get a You Pick Wednesday post just for you.

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.

blue_dress_black_blazer 021pink_skirt_gray_sweater (1)

Original                                                                     Original

 

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

pleated_skirt_blouse 003polka_dot_dress_bubble_necklace 3

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

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Original                                                                             Original

 

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

leopard_cardigan 004_croppedpolka_dots_blue_blazer 002

Original                                                              Original

 

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!

 

Printed Pants: From Simple to Smashing

You Pick Wednesday

For this week’s You Pick Wednesday a reader asked on Facebook for ideas on how to wear her new printed pants. This particular pair from Old Navy are adorable and can be paired so many different ways. Below you’ll find four different outfits, at least one of which you’re sure to love!

 

1. Pair them with a sold colored top. Chambray is a sure thing for a casual look but if you’re looking to be a bit more dressy just add a solid colored shirt. For these pants I would go with pink, emerald, red, or another shade of blue. Throw on a necklace that sits right under the shirt collar and pops against the shirt color and you’ve added some visual interest to your blouse without going too crazy. Sandals make it casual but if you add a pair of heels or wedges you’ve got a more office-appropriate look.

Printed pants with chambray shirt and Bauble Bar necklace

Shirt | Pants | Shoes | Necklace

Outfit total = $100

 

2.  Another color that goes well with navy or blue is yellow. Old Navy has these AMAZING boucle jackets in multiple colors. The blue one would also go nicely with these pants but for more visual interest the yellow is a great complimentary and spring-y color. Add a tie-neck blouse instead of a necklace and some nude wedges and you have the perfect spring outfit for the office. Not a fan of the boucle jacket? Try a yellow cardigan instead!

 

Old Navy polka dot printed pants with Old Navy boucle jacket

 

Jacket | Shirt | Pants | Shoes | Earrings

Outfit total = $154

 

3. We all know I love pairing stripes with polka dots and it’s honestly one of the easiest ways to dip your toe into pattern mixing. In this case the shirt has blue stripes in it which play off the different blues in the pants. Wearing the bright cardigan over the top only gives you a strip of stripes (say that 5 times fast) so your eye isn’t overwhelmed by the two patterns. This outfit would be perfect for a casual Friday or a weekend out and about.

 

Old Navy polka dot printed pants with Old Navy striped tank and cardigan

Cardigan | Tank | Pants | Shoes | Necklace

Outfit total = $106

 

4. But if you really want to go crazy with the pattern mixing, I’m loving this floral blazer from Forever 21. It has two different shades of blues, yellows, and reds all of which go great with the blues in the pants. And because the pattern of the pants is tiny the bold floral pattern doesn’t compete with it the same way a smaller floral print might. The striped heels balance out the bold pattern on the top by bookending the pants with more pattern.  But if that feels like too much to you, nude heels or flats are a perfectly acceptable option. This outfit is bound to get you compliments in the office! Not feeling the floral blazer? A solid colored one in any of the colors in this floral one would also pair just as nicely with the pants.

Old Navy polka dot printed pants with Forever 21 floral blazer

Blazer | Shirt | Pants | Shoes | Earrings

Outfit total = $174

 

So, thoughts on printed pants? Would you wear them? Which of the above outfits is your favorite?

 

And don’t forget, I’m here every Wednesday answering YOUR questions! You tell me what you want to see or know about and I’ll make it happen.

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