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Thursday, September 14, 2017

5 Casual Go-To Outfits for Fall

5 Casual Go-To Outfits for Fall

I'm starting a mini series with 5 go-to outfits at different levels of casual to dressy.  Today we're starting off with 5 super casual fall outfits!  This is what I'll be wearing for quick daycare drop off, a day of running errands, or a day of toddler chasing.  (--when our weather cools, that is.  Not until November for us!)  

SIZING: For reference I'm 5'6" and usually size 6/8 or S/M.  Size 8.5 to 9 in shoes.


striped tee + distressed jeans + utility jacket + white sneakers
Jeans + Utility Jacket +Slip on sneakers + tee
Tee + Utility Jacket + Jeans + Slip On Sneakers
This is my go-to look when I'm dropping off Addie at daycare really quickly and coming back home to work.  I either wear a striped tee like this, or often times it'll be my favorite grey v-neck tee (HERE).  I wear this in the earlier part of fall when weather is warmer.  

Shop for the Look:
Tee: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size S)
Jacket: c/o Conversation Pieces (similar
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Zappos (exact--wearing size 8.5)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Watch: c/o JORD (exact)


Black Vest + Striped shirt + distressed skinnies + sneakers
Distressed Skinnies + Black Vest +Striped Shirt + Sneakers
Striped Tee + Puffer Vest + Jeans + Sneakers
Once weather gets a little cooler in the fall, I'll move to long sleeve tees and puffer vests like in this outfit.  If you haven't gotten on board the puffer vest train, you should give it a shot!  They make a comfy, sporty look with jeans and sneakers, but you can also wear them over plaid button up shirts with riding boots.

Tip: Some puffer vests are too puffy, and several women I've talked to who have larger chests worry about puffer vests making them look awkwardly top heavy.  Not all puffer vests are created equally, so I'd recommend looking for one that's quilted as well as has some seams down the side to create some curves.  This one from J.Crew Factory is nice, whereas other not-quilted puffer vests that I love from Old Navy would probably be too puffy.  

Shop the Look:
Tee: J.Crew Factory (exact, similar)
Vest: J.Crew Factory (exact--wearing size S)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Zappos (exact--wearing size 9)
Watch: c/o JORD (exact)
Tote: Nordstrom (exact)


Jeans + White Sweater + slip on sneakers + pendant necklace
cream sweater + jeans + white slip on sneakers
Sweater + Jeans + White Sneakers
I didn't have a lot of looser pullover sweaters until last winter, but I've grown to love them.  As weather continues to cool, a loose fitting sweater would be my go-to over the striped or grey v-neck short sleeve tee in the first outfit.  Find a sweater that's really easy and effortless to wear--one that doesn't cling too tightly and requires no adjusting through out the day.  

Shop for the Look:
Sweater: Nordstrom (similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom (similarsimilar)
Shoes: Nordstrom (exact--size 8.5) 
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Watch: c/o JORD (exact)
Necklace: Nordstrom (similar


Grey Textured Sweater + Leggings + Black Nike Tanjun Sneakers
Grey Textured Sweater + Leggings + Black Nike Tanjun Sneakers
Grey Textured Sweater + Leggings + Black Nike Tanjun Sneakers
Leggings + Oversized Sweater
This is basically the same outfit formula as above but with leggings and athletic sneakers.  These leggings are thick and opaque.  They're actually workout leggings, and I've worn them to run several miles in, but I also wear them in casual outfits.  People have asked if they are shiny like workout leggings, and the answer is nope--they're matte.  Find them HERE.  Also, these shoes are incredibly comfy with what feels like a memory foam footbed!  

Shop for the Look:
Sweater: H&M 
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact--wearing M) 
Shoes: Zappos (exact--size 9)
Bag: Nordstrom (similar)


Blanket Scarf + Riding Boots + Leggings + tunic + cardigan
Leggings + cardigan + tunic + blanket scarf
Cardigan + Leggings + white tunic + blanket scarf + riding boots
Leggings + Tunic + Cardigan + Scarf + Riding Boots
I wore this in the winter last year, so if this is still too warm for you in the fall, I'd lose the cardigan and keep the blanket scarf.  You can't go wrong with a loosely flowing tunic with leggings!  Comfy, casual, and cozy!

These are the same leggings as in the previous outfit.  This tunic covers my rear, but even if it didn't, these leggings are thick and opaque enough to feel confident.    

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing M)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar)
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact--wearing M) 
Boots: Fergalicious via Famous Footwear (very similar in select sizes) (similar)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (identical
Bag: Nordstrom (similar

The key pieces to these casual go-to outfits are a great pair of leggings, athletic sneakers, slip on sneakers, oversized sweaters, t-shirts, and comfy jeans.  




Stay tuned for the next go-to fall outfit post which will include casual outfits that are just a step up from these!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

10 Ways to Wear the White Tunic (aka One of My Favorite Tops)

Today's remix features this white tunic, which is one of my favorite tops in my closet, in a whopping 10 outfits!  I've been referring to this top recently and have been excited to show you this remix.  If you want one of the most versatile tops out there, this white tunic is it.  

First, let me tell you why I love it.  When I first bought it a few years ago during a Nordstrom Anniversary Sale I didn't think much of it.  I knew I needed more basics in my closet, but I was like, "Ehhh, a plain white top, big deal."  I didn't know how to use plain pieces back then, and I had even less of an understanding about how not all tops are equal--how it drapes and other things like that matter!

And one of the things I love about this top is its drape.  It's loose and relaxed--not too stuffy--yet can be worn in business casual outfits or dressed down in casual outfits thanks to that relaxed feel.  Also, it is quite long and many people wear it full tunic-length, but I love tucking this in the front and blousing it out.  Because this top drapes so well, it lays flat when you tuck it and blouse it out rather than poofing out awkwardly like stiffer tops do.  It also helps that it's so long because there's more material to blouse out.  

I named it as one of my top 5 Tops That Will Make You Look Effortlessly Put Together last week, and I have this in both white and blush (see all the colors HERE) and have the shorter version in black and olive.  (Exact shorter version HERE.  Super similar shorter version HERE.)  It's just as easy to throw on with jeans as a plain tee, but it looks so much more polished.  You can also dress it up in business casual looks as you'll see below!

SIZING: I'm 5'6" and usually wear 6/8 or S/M.  I wear this top in M even though it's oversized.  Size S fit alright, but I liked how M fit my shoulders better.  See all the colors HERE.  

P.S. This says "dry clean," but I usually hand wash and air dry, but several times have accidentally machine washed and machine dried and my tops still look new after several years.  Several other PMT readers have said they have had these for years, always machine wash/dry, and theirs look new. Of course, do that all at your own risk, but from my experience they have been very easy to maintain. 

Onto the looks!


SHOP THE OUTFITS:




white blouse + distressed jeans + nude flats + large handbag
Distressed Jeans + White Blouse + Nude Flats + Brown Bag
I'm showing this look first so that you can see the top without a completer piece.  See how it just drapes effortlessly?  Worn with the comfiest flats I've ever owned (HERE) this is an easy outfit for running errands, comfy enough to chase my toddler, but also polished enough to go out to lunch with friends!

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size 8.5)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (similar)


Camel jacket + gray jeans + white blouse + leopard bag
gray jeans + leopard bag + leather jacket + white blouse
All neutrals with a pop of print for a date night!  I loooove mixing cognac and grey, and this white tunic is the perfect light neutral to break them up.  

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Jacket: Forever 21 (similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom (almost exact; similar)
Shoes: c/o Naturalizer
Bag: c/o Grey Monroe (similar)


White Blazer + White Blouse + Olive jeans + Nude Pumps
Olive Jeans + White Blouse + White Blazer + Nude Pumps
Here's a business casual look with a white blazer.  If you're worried about the tunic being long in the back, especially when you need more polish or when paired with completer pieces, you can also do the same type of tuck in the back that you do in the front.  You can see in the sideview shot above that I've tucked the backside, and no one would ever know how long the top is.

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Blazer: c/o Shein (similar
Jeans: Old Navy (similar)
Shoes: Target (similar)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (similar)


Gray Cardigan + Leggings + White Blouse + Riding Boots
Riding boots + leggings + gray cardigan + blanket scarf
This is a super casual and cozy look from last winter.  The tunic here is at full length and great for covering your front and rear in leggings.  BTW though, these leggings are totally opaque, meant for working out, but completely matte and useable for everyday casual looks!  I'd still want to cover my rear a little, but knowing they're not see-through provides double reassurance.

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar)
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact--wearing M) 
Scarf: Nordstrom 
Boots: Famous Footwear


Jeans + Mustard Cardigan + Blouse + Flats
Jeans + Flats + White Blouse + Long Cardigan
This top goes so well with all the oversized cardigans you can find.  In this look, I made it pop with some colorful flats.  

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (exact-in different colors, similar but more expensive) 
Jeans: Nordstrom (similar, similar)
Shoes: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size 9)


Maroon Cardigan + jeans + booties + white blouse
Jeans + Booties + Maroon cardigan + White Blouse
Another jeans + cardigan look, but with booties instead of colored flats.  This top is so easy to wear!

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar
Jeans: Nordstrom (similar, similar)
Booties: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size 8.5) 
Bag: Nordstrom (similar


Jeans + Boot + Blanket Scarf + White Blouse
Jeans + White Blouse + Blanket Scarf
If you don't want to wear a cardigan or completer piece, a huge blanket scarf also works well with this tunic.  The tunic is a great backdrop for any scarf you've got!  

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Jeans: Nordstrom (similarsimilar)
Scarf: Amazon 
Bag: Nordstrom (similar
Boots: Nordstrom 


Pencil Skirt + Jean Jacket + White Blouse + Blush Pumps
Jean Jacket + Blush Pumps + Jean Jacket + White Blouse
Blush Pumps + Pencil Skirt + Jean Jacket
Even though this tunic is quite long, it easily tucks into a a skirt--even a fitted one.  You can pair it with a blazer for a more professional look, but I chose to dress down the look a bit with a denim jacket.  

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Skirt: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size 6)
Shoes: Nine West 
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)


Green Jacket + White Blouse + Jeans + Leopard Flats
Leopard Flats + Green jacket + White Blouse + jeans
Here's another casual look with a utility jacket.  Added some leopard print shoes to bring a little life to the outfit! 

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Jacket: c/o Conversation Pieces (similar)
Jeans: Nordstrom (similarsimilar)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Shoes: Nordstrom (similar)


Blazer + White Blouse + Pendant Necklace + Black Jeans
Black Jeans + Leopard Flats + Oatmeal blazer + White blouse
Lastly, this is another business casual look with a knit blazer and these wonderful black skinny jeans that I mentioned in last week's post on jeans that don't sag.  

Shop the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size M)
Blazer: Nordstrom (exact--wearing XS)
Jeans: Nordstrom (exact--wearing size 6) 
Bag: Nordstrom (exact)
Shoes: Nordstrom (exact--size 9)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (similar)


You've got casual looks, business casual work looks, and looks for date night.  Are you convinced yet?  :D  Check out all the current colors HERE!

Created in partnership with Nordstrom
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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Raising Funds for Harvey and Irma Relief

image credit: @missdesignberry

Hey friends.  Praying for everyone being affected by Hurricane Irma and continuing to pray for those affected by Harvey.

I'd love to invite this PMT community to support relief efforts for the communities affected by both hurricanes.  I've set up a fundraising page to raise $1,500, and if that goal is met, my husband and I will match it with an additional $1,500 towards relief efforts.  If just 150 people give $10 we'll meet the goal and together give $3,000!

When I was trying to figure out what goal to raise, I originally had $500.  But my husband said, "Don't underestimate your readers!"  He seems to have a lot of faith in you all, so we bumped it up to $1,500.  Thanks so much to those who've already given!  To everyone else, would you consider contributing to relief efforts with us?  Go HERE to donate!


For everyone out there who's been affected, we are praying for you and standing with you!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

3 Tests to Do With Your Jeans to Ensure You'll Love Them

Entering fall means it's time to talk denim!  I have always loved wearing jeans, but it hasn't been until the last year or two that I've felt completely happy with my jeans.  In the past I bought what I thought were the "perfect" jeans, only to be frustrated halfway through the day when they stretched out, lost shape, and got awkwardly saggy.  Not to mention how annoying it is to have to pull your jeans up all the time!  I also bought pairs of jeans that looked really good with flats, but once boots weather came around I discovered too late that those jeans didn't look right with my ankle boots or with my riding boots.  I hated spending money on jeans to later discover all these things that were problematic about them.

Having learned from years of mistakes with dozens of jeans, I finally realized I just need to test my jeans before I pull off the tags and decide to keep them.  It's better to do it on the front end when you can still return things rather than discovering them later and having to pay for it.

So, here are 3 very simple things I do to test my jeans once I think I've found a great fitting pair.  While there is a LOT of ground we could cover to troubleshoot all fit problems with jeans (like, finding jeans that you don't have to pull up even if they're not stretched out, figuring out which rise is best for you depending on your midsection, or how jeans should even fit you in the first place) all of that is too much to cover in one post.  Today I just want to focus on what to do to minimize buyer's remorse when you think you've found the perfect pair of jeans.

These might seem like obvious things to do, but I'm always surprised by how often I hear women lament about wasted money because of these problems.  A few little tests on the front end would save a lot of heartache and money!

3 Ways You Should Always Test Your Jeans

THE SIT TEST: Sit, bend over, and squat in them.
My mom used to make me do this in dressing rooms, but I've learned that not all women try this with their jeans before pulling off the tags.  Sit in them.  Bend down in them.  Squat.  I plan to wear jeans to chase kids around, run errands, and basically do anything.  If I'm not comfortable sitting in them, squatting in them, or am annoyed that they fall off my hips way too far when bending over, I will not want to wear them and they'll sit in my closet.  You need to be comfortable in your jeans and not feel like they're restricting your movement in any way or else they're not worth your money.  All of my jeans have so much stretch to them, but they aren't jeggings.  They're thick, hold in my extra jiggle, maintain their shape, are comfortable enough to do a lot of movement in--and stay on my hips while doing so.  There are millions of jeans out there, and though it's a pain to find great ones, it's worth it!  

If you have problems with jeans revealing your rear when you sit or bend over, try a pair with a higher rise, especially a higher back rise.

SHOP THE OUTFIT:


THE SAG TEST: Wear for *at least* 3 hours around the house.
We've already said saggy jeans are frustrating.  I’ve experienced sagging with jeans at all price ranges, from cheaper brands to expensive $100+ designer jeans.  I've also experienced amazing jeans that retain shape over multiple wears with jeans across all price ranges.  While some brands tend to retain shape better than others, every pair of jeans is always different, even within the same brand.

To test this, I wear my jeans around the house with the tags on for at least 3 hours to see if they’ll stretch.  If they do get saggy yet everything else about them is great, I would exchange them for one size down and do the test again to see how the size down fits after 3 hours of wear.

One example is with my Old Navy Rockstar jeans. (The ones I'm wearing in the pics above.)  If you were around last fall, you have heard me talk about these a ton. But for everyone else, this is a very important lesson to apply to all jeans. I read reviews that these stretched and sagged and people were unhappy with them. I read other reviews of people saying to size down 1-2 sizes. It sounded crazy to size down two sizes, but since shipping and return shipping are free with Old Navy, I had nothing to lose.

I’m normally size 6/8 and got these in 4. They started out SO tight!  I could get them on and zipped, but they looked almost painted on because they were so tight. I wore them around the house for 2 hours and they were still tight. At around 3 hours, they had stretched a little and felt looser.  They no longer looked painted on either, rather they actually looked like a perfect fit.  Being skeptical, I thought they would continue stretching out a lot more, but after a full day of wearing, they hadn’t stretched beyond that initial loosening and maintained that perfect fit all day. I kept them and wore them for like 4 more days straight (because I’m gross like that) and they still didn’t stretch anymore!  They had maintained that perfect fit for multiple wears before washing.  If I had stuck with size 6, I would have been one of the people complaining that these stretched out and got saggy.  With sizing down, they were perfect after the initial stretch, and they have been my absolute favorite jeans! 

So, 1) test your jeans.  2) Try sizing down if they sag.  Sizing down does not always fix the problem, but it's worth trying if all else is right with the jeans.  If you still don't like them, move on and find a better pair!

*I have the Old Navy Rockstars in 6 colors, and they are all different sizes.  Most fit me in size 4, but in one color I got size 6.  In some other colors I've tried the 4s were too tight and I couldn't even zip them up.  All are different, so always buy two sizes and always do the stretch test.  

**Also, unfortunately my very favorite pair of Rockstars shown above are not available at the moment.  If they come back this year, you'd better believe I'm going to shout it from the rooftops and let you all know!  One pair that is fairly similar, except the size 4 did not fit me and I needed to try size 6, is HERE.  Old Navy has tons of other Rockstar jeans HERE.

Pairs of Jeans That Don't Sag!

Below are jeans that I personally own that do not get saggy.  For sizing reference I'm 5'6" and usually size 6/8 or S/M.


THE SHOE TEST: Try them with several different types of shoes.
This is definitely based on preference for how you want your jeans to look with your shoes, but I'm throwing it out there because I've heard so many women say they can only wear a particular pair of jeans with ONE pair of shoes because of how the jeans are cut or how wide the leg opening is.

I personally like when my jeans have a skinny, tight fit with ankle boots, flats, and riding boots.  However, a few years ago, my skinny jeans had pretty wide leg openings and looked a little more like slim fitting straight leg jeans.  They looked fine with flats, but once I rolled them up with ankle boots the fit wasn't tight like I wanted it to be.  My jeans also looked baggy and bulged at the knees with riding boots because overall the leg wasn't skinny enough.  I personally hated having jeans that could only work with flats or heels but didn't work with ankle boots.  Now I look for a skinny ankle and test my jeans to make sure I like how they look with a variety of shoes.

Again, this is dependent on how you want your jeans to look with your shoes.  Some of you might like your jeans to be a little looser when rolled up with ankle boots.  But, regardless of whether you want a skinny, fitted look like I do or whether you have a variety of preferences depending on the shoes, try the pair of jeans with all of your main shoes.  My main shoes are: a pair of simple flats, my go-to pair of ankle boots, a pair of riding boots, and white slip-on sneakers.  If your jeans look how you want them to with a majority of the shoes you'd want to wear them with, then you're probably good to go.  If they only work with ONE pair of shoes, you might want to move on to finding a pair that would work with at least two pairs of shoes.  

*One caveat is that you will probably need two different pairs of jeans for heels versus flats for denim  cuts other than skinny jeans.


How to Find Jeans You'll Love
SHOP THE OUTFITS:
(L to R, top row first)


Again, I know these seem obvious, but I can't stress them enough.  I have talked to soooo many women that complain about one or all of these things, especially the latter two!  You have to trust that you CAN find jeans that will not sag, that you can be really comfortable in jeans even while doing a lot of movement, and that one pair of jeans should be able to work with multiple types of shoes.  Don't settle until you find jeans like that!

Denim Brands as a Starting Place
I already gave you a list of specific pairs of denim that I own that meet all my hopes for jeans, but let's now open it up to brands that tend to have a good track record.  Please remember that not every single pair of jeans from the same brand is created equally, so read reviews regarding stretch and sizing and all that.  But at the very least, this should point you to the right playing field for good, comfy, stretchy jeans that won't sag.

These brands tend to have jeans under $100.  I avoided listing designer jeans because while they're great, I think you can find ones you'll love at lower price points.

For an idea of where I'm coming from, in the last 5 years I have owned multiple pairs of jeans from Target, Old Navy, LOFT, Wit & Wisdom, Paige Denim, Caslon, Lucky Brand, and tried them from many, many, many more brands.  While I have found *one* good pair from some of those brands, that same quality may not have spanned across the whole brand.  The brand listed below have several pairs that I felt good about. 

  • Wit & Wisdom - Tend to be very stretchy without sagging.  Vary in thickness, depending on whether it's a regular pair of denim or a jegging.
  • Kut From the Kloth's Diana Cut - Usually very stretchy and thick, but usually need to size down a LOT because they are so stretchy.  (I like these a lot and am pointing you to them but usually don't purchase Kut From the Kloth myself because the rise is too high for me.  Material is great though.)   
  • Kut From the Kloth's Donna Cut - From what I remember trying these on briefly is they are thinner than the Diana cut above, but also stretchy.  
  • Old Navy Mid-Rise Rockstar Jeans - All over the map in softness, thickness, and sizing, but all 6 colors I own do not lose shape after that initial 3-hour stretch.  They are very affordable, especially with Old Navy sales.
  • Articles of Society - A lot of people love these, though honestly I prefer any of the other 4 brands listed above.  From the few I've tried on, I recall them being fairly stretchy but also fairly thin and not great at holding in my jiggles, haha!  But they are often on sale, around $38-$50.  I'd still prefer Old Navy Rockstars or would pay a little more for Wit & Wisdom though. 

Do you already do any of these tests before deciding to keep a pair of jeans?  Are there any you need to start doing?

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