Tag Archives: dress

Photo Jul 23, 4 02 21 PM

How working out affects your wardrobe

About Me · Fitness

I don’t really know how to write this post without sounding like I’m bragging or like I’m vain or, I don’t know,  like there’s something wrong with me. Because I’m not writing it for any of those reasons. I’m writing it because I’m proud and I want to share something that’s been working for me.

And what is that something? Strength training.

Photo Jul 23, 4 02 21 PM

Tracking journal customized and provided c/o Journal Menu

I know, I know. You’re thinking, “Wait. This is a style blog. Why are you talking about working out?? Don’t you have a fitness blog for that?”

But here’s the thing: working out can change your body. And when your body changes it changes what you wear.

For example, take these three dresses.

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Which are all from Le Tote, by the way. Which I love because it lets me try things I wouldn’t think I could wear…until now. Try it yourself for 50% off with code ERIN25. Sales pitch over. 

Last year at this time I wouldn’t have felt comfortable wearing them. In fact, for the longest time I didn’t feel comfortable in a wrap dress at all. I felt like they clung, showed every bump I had (or imagined I had) and just weren’t flattering. Never mind a body-skimming knit dress that could possibly enhance a bulge or two.

Now, I know, you’re rolling your eyes and thinking that I’ve always looked just fine. But, when you’re in your own body and wearing your clothes every day you can tell when something is off. In fact, I noticed it with my red and green pants.

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When I replaced my original red pants I had to go up a size. Actually, I had to go up two sizes. And I almost replaced these green pants that I’ve had since 2012 because they had gotten too tight in the waist. I haven’t been a couch potato in years, but clearly whatever I was doing (running all the time) wasn’t doing enough.

But last fall I met a woman in my office who had an enviable physique. I asked her what her secret was and she told it was the book Thinner, Leaner, Stronger. So, I bought it. And it became my bible. How to eat, how to workout, what to lift at the gym. I even got a personal trainer that I meet with once a week.

And it paid off. I lost 10+ pounds, I’ve got almost visible abs for the first time in my life. I’ve got muscle definition in my arms that sometimes you guys even comment on. I can deadlift 1.5 times my bodyweight. And I’m even a faster runner! I don’t follow TLS as religiously anymore (I mean, I do have to train for triathlons and try amazing drinks) but I still workout 4-6 days a week, mostly doing strength training.

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Journal Menu lets you choose what type of workouts you want to track and customizes the pages in your journal to match

So, believe it or not, I’ve actually had to re-buy those red pants TWICE, getting them in smaller sizes each time (thank goodness The Limited still sold them!) and now the green pants are a tad bit loose. Actually, a lot of my clothes are too loose. Most of my pencil skirts are too big at this point. Thankfully I rarely have to wear them. But, I have expanded my dress options because now I feel much more comfortable in knit dresses!

I am proud of what I’ve accomplished and, I have to say, I’m thrilled that my wardrobe options have expanded! I never thought I could wear a wrap dress but, look, here I am rocking one.

I promise I’m not being compensated to tell you about Thinner, Leaner, Stronger and while I received the Journal Menu for free I’m not getting paid anything additional to include it in my life. I just really think it’s awesome that yes, you can make a significant change to your body if you really want it.

If you want to know more, just ask. I know that talking about weight and body shape and what you look like isn’t necessarily “polite” conversation, but it’s such a huge part of my life right now and has had such a big impact on even my wardrobe that I felt weird not sharing.

Now, excuse me, I’m off to find some more dresses that make me feel like a million bucks.

June 4, 2015 - 4 of 4

  
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One Box, Two Shoes: Part Two

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

As you saw on Monday, I received some Alterre shoes to try out. Why are these shoes special? Because you get two pairs of shoes in one. The bottom of the shoes stays the same and you can change up the look by swapping out the ankle straps.

IMG_8112This is the peg that holds on the straps.

IMG_8110You pop the straps off and on using the provided holes. They also have metal discs that tell you if that strap goes on the left or right shoe.

IMG_8103Ta da! You can see one strap attached and the other color strap just above for comparison.

As I mentioned on Monday, I was sent the Grey Sandal Starter Kit which comes with grey and navy ankle straps.

I wore the navy ankle straps with a navy and white wrap dress from Le Tote.

IMG_2302Dress – Le Tote (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same) | Shoes – c/o Alterre (same)

IMG_2311Initially, I thought I was going to like the navy and grey combo the best but, as it turns out, I enjoy both sets of shoes equally! I like that one is very classic while the other has a bit of trendiness to it. Both ankle straps were quite comfy as well.

Overall, I enjoyed the versatility of these sandals. The only downside in my eyes is that you have to keep track of “shoe accessories”!

And, in the interest of full disclosure, they do cost $180 for the starter kit. But, if you think about it, you’re basically paying $90 per pair of shoes. That may still seem steep but they are made of quality leather and 5% of the profits go to Restore NYC whose goal is to end sex trafficking in New York.

IMG_2306Of course,  I did get my pair gratis but I wasn’t asked (or paid!) to blog about them. I just think it’s a neat concept that others might enjoy knowing about.

In fact, I might even spend some of my own money on the Black Suede Mule with the Marilyn strap in Stingray.

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Summer Dress Blues

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

For my most recent Le Tote order I swapped out a few items for some casual dresses. I chose this blue and white one because it reminded me of a polka dot blue and white dress I used to have and consigned because it got too tight on my hips (and now I’m sad I got rid of it because I bet it would fit again).

IMG_2125Dress – Le Tote (same) | Cardigan – The Limited (same) | Sandals – TJ Maxx (similar

Use code ERIN25 to get your first month of Le Tote for 50% off! 

Unfortunately, while this dress showed off my shoulders (and, unfortunately, I forgot to get a picture without the cardigan), it billowed out strangely in the waist making me look, well, pregnant. Even Jason mentioned that it needed a belt or something. I tried to compensate by wearing the cardigan completely buttoned up but, in the end, it just wasn’t working for me.

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I thought about putting this outfit together and posting it as my “Fourth of July” outfit but, as I mentioned yesterday, I didn’t actually wear anything other than workout capris all weekend. But I did wear this outfit to work on Monday.

And, I do have an interesting story to share about the year I wore the blue and white polka dot dress for Fourth of July. It was our first or second summer in Chicago and I’d convinced Jason to donate enough money to the local public radio station to get us tickets to watch the fireworks from their terrace on Navy Pier. That was when I learned you DO NOT go to Navy Pier to watch the fireworks. After walking miles in heels and getting there late and being underwhelmed, we almost got run over by fighting teenagers in one of the public transit tunnels on our way home. Let’s just say that ever since then I’ve been perfectly happy to stay home on the Fourth. At least now we can see fireworks from our balcony!

 

  

Bucketfeet is the Best

Casual Friday · Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

Last night I attended a preview opening of the new Bucketfeet store in the Bucktown neighborhood of Chicago. Bucktown is known as a hipsterish haven and, as an owner of an original pair of Bucktfeet shoes, I was totally a fan before they were popular. Which makes me hipster, right?

And, yes, I was totally that person who wore the shirt of the band they were going to see. Except in this case it was the shoes to the store I was going to visit.

June 4, 2015 - 2 of 4

Dress – Le Tote (same) | Shoes – Bucketfeet | Necklace – NY & Co (similar)

bucketfeet-1Bucketful believes art is for everyone so they work with artists to design the art that goes onto the shoes they sell. Their latest Chicago store front (only the third in the world!) has an art studio in the back and a spot where you can create your own shoe design and upload it so their head of design can review it. If he likes it you can bet you’ll see it on shoes on their website and in their stores.

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I totally brought home those lavender shoes c/o Bucketfeet. I lurve them.

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I learned a lot about the Bucketfeet history, though. While drinking a cocktail created by Chop Shop I met the Bucketfeet founder and the head art director/co-founder. Turns out the head art director drew on a plain pair of canvas shoes that the eventual founder wore all around the world and got tons of compliments and questions about. When he got back to Chicago he decided to start a shoe company that would give artists another place to share their art. Bucketfeet’s slogan is Art is for Everyone and their Bucktown location aims to embody that philosophy with not only shoes but a whole host of coloring books and other art-related stuff for sale.

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To be honest, I wear my original Bucketfeet all the time in the summer and I wore them with this dress before I even got the invite to their store opening! Kismet, right? Everyone who works for Bucketfeet was so excited to see my “OG” shoes.

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I also learned that Bucketfeet shoes are machine washable which is good because my teal pair need to be washed something fierce.

Cleary, since I spent my own money on a pair of Bucketfeet, I recommend them as a nice casual shoe that is a compromise between a sandal and a running shoe. And since patterned casual sneakers are very on-trend this year I definitely think you should invest in a pair if you need something to fill that gap in your shoe wardrobe. My husband thinks I’m adorable when I talk about shoes with such enthusiasm but, look, I love shoes. And I love my Bucketfeet. And I’m excited to have another pair to wear this summer!

 

 

 

  
05_May_2015 - 7 of 10

All the Blues

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer

A few Sundays ago, on a warm humid day in Chicago with a threat of rain, I joined my triathlon training friends for a 40+ mile bike ride. Even though it drizzled on us for the first few miles, we ended up having one of those perfect bike rides that gives you a bit of a high. We all stuck around the bike store after the ride chatting and drinking beer until I left to get ready to meet my friend Kelsey for brunch.

I tossed on this outfit because I’d worn it to work earlier that week and it was handy.

05_May_2015 - 7 of 10Jacket – Langford Market (similar) | Scarf  – Le Tote (same) | Dress – BCBG (similar) | Sandals – Sole Society (similar)

It’s interesting because Bri at Work Clothes, I Suppose, also got this scarf from Le Tote and thought it was a strange material. However, I really liked it! The only thing I didn’t like was that the dots seemed to be painted on instead of part of the actual fabric. It did give it some texture but I worried that they would eventually fade so I sent it back to Le Tote after wearing it twice.

I also recently got an email from Le Tote inviting me to be part of their ambassador program. I said yes because the requirements are what I’m already doing! Wear items from my Le Tote subscription, blog about them, and share those outfits. What do I get? Purchase credit so if I decide I love something from my Le Tote I can keep it.

In fact, I’m thinking about not doing any more shopping and only using Le Tote for the rest of the summer. Might be a fun experiment! Want to try it yourself? You can get your first month for only $25 if you use this link.

05_May_2015 - 6 of 10

  
05_May_2015 - 2 of 4

Freezing Legs and Free Drinks

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring

Hey everybody! I’m back!

I realized that I basically went almost all of May without sharing outfit photos with you. I hope you’ll forgive me. Thankfully, as I mentioned in my last post, Jason has started his new job and I have him back on weekends. This means this past weekend we were able to do a photo shoot. I recreated outfits I’ve worn in the past few weeks and now you get to see them.

You’re thrilled, right?

05_May_2015 - 2 of 4Dress – Le Tote (same) | Jacket – Macy’s (similar) | Shoes – Nine West (same) | Watch c/o JORD (same)

Anyway, I wore this particular outfit about two weeks ago to meet my friend (and neighbor) for drinks at a new restaurant near our offices.

prime_and_provisionThe weather was a bit chilly for bare legs but I didn’t care. I’d gotten this dress in my latest Le Tote and was dying to wear it. At first I thought about pairing it with my black blazer but decided that was too expected. Gray knit moto jacket to the rescue!

Also, because the dress has a fun metallic jeweled neckline I didn’t need any extra jewelry.

05_May_2015 - 4 of 4I did need my new watch, though. JORD contacted me to see if I wanted to review one of their wood watches and of course I said yes. I love that their styles can be dressed up or dressed down. In fact, tomorrow I’ll show you how I wore it with a more casual outfit!

05_May_2015 - 3 of 4Anyway, I chose this dark wood one with a black face because I thought it was the most classic. Although they have so many fun ones that it was a tough choice. This zebrawood and turquoise one is amazing, right?

Other tough choices? Which drinks to choose at Prime & Provisions. My friend had gotten us tickets to a preview event and, as such, we each got three free drink tickets.

IMG_5201I had two drinks and then had to cut myself off because I was meeting Jason and his parents for dinner. I didn’t want to show up too “pre-gamed,” if you know what I mean. Those drinks were strong!

Those drinks also helped keep me warm on my walk to dinner. Weather in Chicago is crazy and one day it can be a high of 50 and the next day it’s a high of 80. So, you just never know. But, it’s May and I refuse to wear tights! So, suck it, weather. I’m going with bare legs if I want.

05_May_2015 - 1 of 4Linking up with Bri’s Third Thursday Threads

 

  
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Thank goodness for outfits in a box

Office Appropriate Outfits - Spring · Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

I’m just going to lay it out there: life is kind of crazy right now. Between swim lessons and dealing with Chewie’s behavioral issues (more on that below) and keeping up my 4-5 days a week of strength training and Jason’s work schedule, well, I’m lucky if I get outfit photos taken at all.

I really need to find someone who can shoot photos at like 5PM near my office. Any takers?

le-tote-cardigan-and-dress-1Cardigan – Le Tote (same) | Dress – Le Tote (same) | Tights – c/o Hanes | Booties – Sam Edelman c/o Shopbop (same) | Necklace – local boutique (similar) | Earrings – c/o Rocksbox (use code looplooksxoxo for a free month!)

le-tote-cardigan-and-dress-3Of course, it doesn’t help that apparently Chicago is having one of the coldest March months in history.

Putting together an outfit is not necessarily at the top of my to-do list which is why I’m glad that Le Tote sent both this dress and this cardigan in the same box and that these Rocksbox earrings worked perfectly with the finish on the cardigan’s zippers. The dress itself was a bit annoying because the lighter colored lining kept peeking out (as seen in the top photo) and it was a tad shorter than I expected, but the cardigan was a winner. Expect I’m not paying $64 for it! Maybe if those were real leather accents….

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Anyway, Chewie. As adorable as he is and for as much as he loves Jason and me, he is not a fan of other people. So much so that we had to take him to a behaviorist and get him on some anti-anxiety meds. Like mother, like (furry) son, I guess. Which means that we’ll be doing some more training work with him as well. We also tied a yellow ribbon to his new harness and are working on teaching him to go to safe spot in our apartment. Good thing he’s cute.

 

  
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Jackie Kennedy as a Style Icon [sponsored by Boohoo.com]

Office Appropriate Outfits - Summer · Shopping

I received this dress and monetary compensation from Boohoo.com. As always, all opinions are my own. 

A few weeks ago Boohoo reached out to me to see if I would be interested in putting together a Throwback Thursday look inspired by a past style icon. I perused their website full of fun and well-priced items but was having a really difficult time figuring out just who my style icon even is!

So, I asked a friend who I think just started naming off brunettes. But when she said Jackie Kennedy I realized that she’d hit the nail on the head. Especially because I was already eying a dress that fit Jackie’s style perfectly.

jackie-kennedy-red-dress-inspirationDress – c/o Boohoo (same) | Necklace – Express (similar)  | Shoes – MIA (similar)

boohoo-persie-dressThis dress is perfect for those of us that either have hips and want to camouflage them or don’t have hips and want to look like we have curves. The pleats at the waist give the lower half of the dress a really interesting silhouette and (bonus!) add pockets! And you know how I love a dress with pockets.

It also comes in a light peach color that echoes Jackie Kennedy’s dress as seen here:

jackie1Except this Boohoo Persie Pleat dress has a bow on the back instead of the front.

boohoo-red-dress-5When I was looking at the Boohoo website I found that quite a few of their dresses are very “mod”. Boohoo is a British website (although they have free shipping to the U.S. if you spend $50 or it’s only $4.99 if you spend under $50) so it made me wonder a bit if the style in the UK is trending toward 1960s “mod,” I’m definitely more of a fan of Jackie’s classic early 1960s style so I was happy that I found a dress that fit my aesthetic.

Boohoo does have a lot of fun options, though, and would be a great choice if you’re looking for something trendy at a palatable price point (and can’t stand going to the mall). Just one word of caution: pay attention to the size conversions. I ordered a UK size 8 which they say is a US size 4. This dress fit me perfectly but sometimes the UK conversions run a tad small. Evidenced by the fact that in many stores I can fit into a US size 2.

Regardless, I’m glad Boohoo reached out to me. I’ve linked to some of their items as similar to ones I already own in the past and I was happy to get to try something in person. The quality was decent for the price and I was excited that it fit so well.

Now I just need a place to wear a Jackie Kennedy-esque red dress. Anyone need me to go to any Presidential functions any time soon?

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Then and Now [Vol. 3]

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter · Then and Now

I know, I know. I JUST wore a black and white houndstooth outfit. But, in reality, I did actually wear these outfits on back to back days to work. No one noticed (or at least, no one said anything). I’ve admittedly been staying up too late and getting up too early which means my brain reaches for the first thing it sees outfit-wise. And in this case it was a houndstooth dress.

houndstooth-dress-1Dress – Target via Goodwill (similar) | Cardigan – Old Navy (same) | Tights – c/o Hanes (same) | Shoes – c/o fibi & clo (same) | Purse – Nine West (same) | Necklace – Le Tote (same)

houndstooth-dress-2My boss at my former job used to wear a very similar outfit. Black and white wrap dress, long black cardigan, tights and flats. I always thought it was a simple and classy outfit. Yet, for some reason, it never occurred to me to wear it until my brain was half asleep and this is what I put on.

Clearly I was saving it in my subconscious for a day when I needed extra inspiration.

This dress was one of my first thrifted pieces that I ended up wearing on a regular basis. So, let’s take a look back at the very first time I wore it!

houndstooth-dress-two-waysOriginal post

The black and white dress with the purple cardigan is still one of my favorite outfits. Sadly, those sandals are no more but clearly the dress is still going strong! And, yes, I still have the cardigan as well.

Do you like the purple cardigan or the black cardigan better? Or are they equally awesome?

  
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Afterlife

Office Appropriate Outfits - Winter

As I mentioned on Wednesday, Jason and I had to fly to Arizona for his grandfather’s funeral earlier this week. It may seem a little morbid or crass to take an outfit photo of what I wore to the funeral, but, like Jason and I discussed, it’s an outfit. I wore it. It’s not spectacular but, then again, it was a funeral. Not a Las Vegas show.

So, in the interest of keeping it real, this is what I wore.

black-dress-black-cardigan-1We did indeed fly out in a snowstorm and apparently we were the last plane out of O’Hare before they cancelled everything else for the day. We were 40 minutes late to Phoenix but still caught our connecting flight to Flagstaff because the Phoenix airport had been fogged in (what??) earlier in the day which caused our connection to be behind schedule.

I don’t know what I believe or don’t believe about the afterlife, but there is a tiny part of me that thinks it would be nice if Jason’s grandfather had a hand in making sure we got to our destination in spite of the odds.

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