Friday, December 2, 2016

Style 101: The Completer Piece

Since the weather's right for layering, it's the perfect time to talk about one section of a wardrobe that makes it super easy to look put together: completer pieces!

I mentioned them in Part 4 of the Building a Remixable wardrobe Series (HERE) and since then have only mentioned them here and there through out the blog.  It's been a while since I've explicitly posted about them and I've been getting asked about them by some new faces around here.  So, here is all you need to know about completer pieces!

What They Are and Why They're Awesome
Completer pieces are things like blazers, cardigans, vests, and other jackets like denim, bomber, moto, or utility jackets that you can layer over a top or sweater.  Besides keeping you warmer thanks to the extra layer, completer pieces do what their name says--they complete an outfit!  I find they do so for a couple of different reasons.  First, the extra layer provides more visual interest.  Second, often a piece like a blazer, vest, or jacket will provide structure to an outfit which helps pull everything together.  

They Define Your Outfit
Completer pieces can also define your overall outfit, taking two basic pieces like a t-shirt and jeans and making them appropriate either for a night out or for chasing small kids, depending on which completer piece you choose.  For example: 
How blazers, cardigans, and jackets complete an outfit

Above I'm wearing a striped t-shirt with jeans.  If you throw on a cozy cardigan and booties, you have a casual, laid back outfit for hanging out with friends.  If you throw on a blazer and pumps, you'll have a shaper, dressier looking outfit.  With my utility jacket and sneakers, I'm in one of my go-to mom outfits for keeping up with my toddler.  The base is the same--a tee and jeans--but the completer pieces (in addition to shoes and accessories) play a large part in defining the outfit.  Isn't it amazing?  And soooo simple!  

If you want to pull together your outfit, throw on a cardigan, a blazer, a vest, or a jacket!  There are a lot of different kinds of completer pieces, but if you're looking to build this section of your closet, here are my favorites and why.

Cardigans - I find these to be the most comfortable because they are flexible and soft.  You can wear thinner cardigans, more fitted ones, cropped ones, or oversized ones like the one above which are the ones I've been preferring lately!  I used to only have a black and a grey cardigan, but then I realized how different colored cardigans totally change up your outfit!  

One note: Because cardigans are softer and sometimes more drapey, sometimes they can drag down an outfit.  If you're still feeling unpolished, even in a casual outfit, try adding something with a "harder" texture, like a belt, leather or suede shoes, a leather banded watch, or even a small simple pendant necklace like the one I'm wearing in the picture above. Even a tiny thing like the pendant necklace can go a long, long way.  

Below are a few different cardigans that I love:
Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three
four  |  five  |  six  |  seven

Ways I've worn cardigans here:
Mustard Cardigan HERE  //  Maroon Cardigan HERE  //  Grey Cardigan HERE  //  Tan Cardigan HERE

Blazers - Did you know there are a lot of different types of blazers?  Maybe that sounds like a dumb questions, but there was a point where I had absolutely no idea that blazers didn't all have to be super professional looking.  There are very professional ones that are part of suits.  There are twill ones that can be worn in business casual settings or for a night out.  And then there are ponte or knit blazers that are suuuuuper soft, feel like sweatshirts, and can provide you the same polish of a sharp blazer but be flexible enough for you to chase a kid around in.  YEAH.  I had no idea until a few years ago!

Blazers are the easiest way to sharpen up an outfit or help you look a little more sophisticated, professional, or pulled together--even the soft, sweatshirt-like ones!  

Below are different examples of blazers:
Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three
four  |  five  |  six

Ways I've worn my blazers here: 
Navy Blazer HERE  //  Grey Blazer HERE  //  Black Blazer HERE  //  Grey White Striped Knit Blazer HERE.

Vests - I used to think vests were pointless because they didn't keep your arms warm.  I was sooooo wrong!  Turns out they're perfect for a warmer climate like San Diego, where I live.  It also turns out you can wear them over sweaters which are thicker than a normal shirt, so my arms are still warm.  It also turns out that they're just darn cute!

In the spring and summer you can wear a utility vest which is thinner.  In the fall and winter (though, maybe not harsh winter areas!) I loooooove puffer vests!  Old Navy has one that I'm in love with that comes in several colors, and it's often on sale between $15-$22.  J.Crew Factory also has one that I just added to my wardrobe that I am also already in love with, though it is more expensive.  (Wait for it to be on sale between 40%-60% off!)  Both the Old Navy and J.Crew Factory puffer vests are thick without being super bulky, they are flattering for despite being a puffer vest, and the Old Navy has fleece lining on the inside and inside the pockets and the J.Crew Factory has beautiful quilted detailing.  See them below:
Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three  |  four

Ways I've worn my vests here: 
Black Vest HERE  //  Navy Vest HERE  //  White Vest HERE  //  Utility Vest HERE

Utility Jacket - I talk about this a whole bunch, but I just can't imagine my life without one.  I know that sounds dramatic, but it's probably the completer piece I choose most often.  Olive, surprisingly, goes with everything.  When I need a light layer and nothing else really works, usually this one does.  Also, it provides a tiny bit of structure, so if the pieces I'm wearing need that, this fits the bill.  Not to mention it's the best choice for mom life.  It has huge pockets for storing all that crap you need to carry when you're with kids (or maybe that's just my child?  haha) and they're usually pretty durable against dirt or sticky fingers!

I've been asked a ton if I could actually wear one all day, like I would a cardigan or blazer.  The answer is YES, absolutely, but it depends on how soft your utility jacket is.  Some are very stiff or thick and heavy, and I probably wouldn't wear one of those all day.  The one I have is moldable, lightweight, and fairly soft, so when I wear it I typically do wear it all day, even indoors.  After having that one for a couple of years, this past year I found one that's even softer!  Like sooooo soft.  Didn't know they even came that soft!  Anyway, just something to consider if you're looking into one.
Links to Shop:
one  |  two  |  three

Ways I've worn my utility jacket HERE.

Moto Jacket - Lastly, I have a couple of faux leather jackets that make outfits instantly cool and chic.  I grab one of these most often when I need to dress anything up with a cool factor for a night out, whether that's a plain t-shirt and jeans or a lace dress at a wedding!

My jackets are super old from Forever 21 and Shein, and I need to replace them but I've been having a hard time finding good affordable options.  Below are some that people have liked, and I've tried a couple but they are too broad in the shoulders for me.  They could work out for you though since lots of other people like them.

Links to Shop:
one  |  two
three  |  four

Ways I've worn the tan moto jacket HERE.  Black moto jacket outfits HERE.

Please let me know if you have questions about completer pieces, and I'll do my best to answer them!  


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gifts for Her: My Tried and True Favorites

Recently I told you that I tend to do Christmas shopping in mid and late December, which is kinda stressful!  This year I wanted to get a head start, and while I didn't finish it all during the Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale weekend, I did some of it, so that's improvement.  And I came up with several options for almost everyone on our list, so yay!  Not gonna lie though--I shopped a lot for myself, haha!

I'm relieved that many stores are still having pretty big sales.  Today's gift guide is full of a lot of my favorite things that I think would also be easy to give others on my list.  You might recognize that a few of these are repeats from the Traveler's Gift Guide (HERE) which is because I swear by these items!  When I post gift guides I like to suggest mostly items that I've had personal experience with because if you're choosing these as gifts for others, I want you to have confidence that these are GOOD.  Today's items are almost all things I use regularly.  And most of them are on sale! 

Here are some recommendations for gal pals in your life!

Links to Shop:
9. Beauty Blender  //  10. Ankle Boot  //  11. Watches  //  12. Water Bottle
13. Tote  //  14. Mint Statement Necklace  //  15. Puffer Vest  //  16. Sneakers

Some special notes on them:

1. Leggings - My review for this pair and why they are so awesome and worth the price tag is HERE.  HOWEVER, right after I posted that, one of you, Kathleen, emailed me to tell me about THESE leggings from LOFT that are apparently phenomenal, and almost half the price with the current sale.  And come in petite and tall!

Kathleen said, "These are AMAZING. I have very full thighs, hips and rear, and I'm also pushing 50, so I have to be really careful about leggings. But these shape and control, and they are absolutely opaque -- no see-through whatsoever. I have two pairs so far (black and grey), and since purchasing them several months ago, they've held up super well in the washing machine (I line dry them as the tag suggests)."  Thanks, Kathleen!  See them HERE.

2. Window Pane Blanket Scarf - See the ways I've styled mine HERE.

3. Locket Pendant - The one shown above is not the exact one I own, but the link takes you to the one I own.  I wear it ALL.THE.TIME.  See the outfits HERE.  It ties together every outfit in a simplistic way.  And, it's a locket that's also made with a special meaning!

4. AirPufs Insoles - I wrote an entire post to tell you why these are awesome and better than any other insole HERE.  Even today, 1.5 years since writing that post, these are in almost every pair of shoes I wear with sneakers being the only exclusions.

5. Grey Crossbody - I think any girl can appreciate a new bag.  Either this one or the tan one (#8) would be great.  This is on sale for 33% off, making it about $26.  It's so cute in person!

6. Eyeshadow Palette - Got this almost exactly 1 year ago and have worn it every single day.  Literally.  Still haven't run out!  It's known as one of the most versatile and universal palettes around, and giving this as a gift would be a safe way to pamper or spoil one of your friends with colors that are likely going to work for them.  

7. Grey Cardigan - If you've been reading the blog, you clearly know I'm obsessed with this.  Pretty sure any of my friends would wear this all the time if I gifted them one!  I'm normally S/M or 6/8 and got this in S.  It runs really large, and I could maybe get away with XS.

8. Tan Crossbody - I own a similar one and use that, the tote I featured, and the grey crossbody I featured the most.  This one is on sale for only $21!

9. Beauty Blender - This is on the expensive side for a makeup tool, so it's another fun way to pamper one of your friends.  It's something that's pretty popular that they might be intrigued by but not want to spend their own money on.  Same with the eyeshadow palette from earlier!  

10. Ankle Boot - This one is also pricey, but I HAD to share it because it's on such a huge sale!  It hasn't been near this price since the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale back in July.  These are my favorite ankle boots because the shaft is really low, which is great for thinner ankles or anyone who wants to elongate their legs without having to wear heeled booties.  If you want to know what I'm talking about, see THIS post on Choosing the Right Pair of Ankle Boots and THIS post on How to Wear Ankle Boots with Skinny Jeans.  (I did not own this pair at the time I wrote those two posts, so they are not featured in pics.)  Also see THIS post where I show 3 outfits with these boots and review them more thoroughly.  I normally wear 8.5 or 9 and wear this in 9.  However, I have ample room and maybe could have sized down to 8.5.

11. Watches - Timeless and classic.  I've been surprised by how many compliments these garner.  Fantastic special gift for someone.

12. Water Bottle - We gift these to soooo many people, and they all love them. They're expensive for a water bottle, but for something I use daily and for how cold they keep water, they are worth it.  They come in a bunch of different sizes, colors, and lid types.

13. Tote - I use this almost everyday.  It's also reversible, so you get two bags in one!  Comes in several color combos.  I've had mine for 2.5 years and have been very rough with it.  It's finally starting to show wear, and I think I need to replace mine.  

14. Mint Statement Necklace - I don't wear statement necklaces much anymore, but this one is so pretty and remains in my jewelry collection.  See it on me HERE.  

15. Puffer Vest - I just added this to my wardrobe, but I have admired it from afar for a very long time.  The quilted details make it look really expensive--and actually normally it IS pretty darn expensive.  It's on sale right now though!  I normally wear S/M and wear this in S.  I also love the Old Navy ones which are cheaper (HERE), but they are a little thicker and puffier so it just depends on what look you're going for.  The Old Navy ones are lined with fleece--including in the pockets!  See the black one on me HERE.  White Old Navy vest outfits HERE.  Navy Old Navy vest outfit HERE.   

16. Sneakers - Totally comfy!  No need to break in, and the shoe to wear when you're going to be walking a TON.  And really good price!  I'm normally size 8.5-9 and wear these in 8.5.  
Let me know if you have questions about any of these!  See my past gift guides HERE, including Gifts for the Traveler (HERE) and Gifts for the Animal Lover (HERE).  Still to come: Men's Gift Guide (in the meantime see last year's HERE), Benson's and My Favorites (good stuff for ANYONE, singles, families, or couples), and Practical Gifts for the Stylish Friend.  If you have preferences of which of these you want first, tell me in the comments!  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

8 Fall Outfit Formulas + Tons of Stuff Still on Sale + An Update on the Style Challenge

Cute Fall and Winter Outfit Ideas

Ummm...a little late for fall outfit formulas?  Yes, maybe.  Don't worry, I'll tell you how to adapt some of these for colder weather.  Some of you are getting snow right now while San Diego is juuuust starting to cool down.  I'd been planning to get this post out for nearly two months, but it kept getting pushed back, and now nearly into December here it is.  Whoops!  Anyway, ideas for layering these up more are below.  

Either way, in addition to the outfit formulas, many of these items are ON SALE still.  Some of them are on crazy sale, like 60% off!  I made notes in the outfit details below if they are, and some are more specific than others only because as I write this I'm unsure of what the change in sales will be for some of these stores as Cyber Monday sales come into play.  Should be good, though!

Also, my apologies.  Recently I announced that I was going to launch a Style Challenge program in time to provide outfits for you throughout the busy holiday season.  Unfortunately I was wrong, and it won't be ready in time.  :(  Instead, we are looking at opening registration in mid December and officially starting the challenge in January!  You'll still be able to buy membership for your friends (or ask for it for yourself) for Christmas.  More details will come soon, so keep a lookout!  

In light of that, hopefully this post kind of serves as an outfit calendar for you through out the holidays.  If you're going to be busy with holiday errands and gatherings and don't want to think about what to wear, start with the first outfit formula on this list and rotate through them all with pieces you've got in your closet!

Below are ways to adapt each outfit formula for colder weather. 

1. Solid Dress + Blanket Scarf + Boots
This outfit is super easy and can be done with all the solid dresses and printed scarves in your closet.  I particularly love blanket scarves because of how huge of a focal point they are against a solid scarf.  

For colder weather, wear tights and riding boots (I'd go brown tights with tan boots, or taupe OTK boots), and add an oversized cardigan.

Shop for the Look:
Dress: Old Navy (similar--50% off!)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (exact--at least 20% off code FRIDAY20, up to 40% off)
Boots: Nordstrom (exact--majorly on sale!  My favorite booties right now!)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact--10% off with code THANKYOU)

2. Jeans + Printed Tee + Vest
This works with any printed or solid tee.  However, printed tees provide visual interest without having to do much work.  You don't need to add other accessories to make an interesting outfit. 

For colder weather, I would add a solid scarf in a color that pops, like mustard yellow.  If it's really cold where you are, opt for a sweater instead of a tee.  There are tons of striped sweaters around, but you can also get a non-striped printed one!

Shop for the Look:
Tee: H&M (similar--50% off)
Vest: Old Navy (exact--on sale)
Jeans: Nordstrom (similar--only $21)
Boots: Fergalicious (similar--currently 40% off)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact--10% off with code THANKYOU)

3. Printed Top + Oversized Cardigan + Jeans
This is my go-to uniform.  Mix it up by choosing different colored jeans and finding a top that will match it.

For colder weather, add a scarf and wear riding boots instead of booties.

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o Modcloth (exact)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar--52% off)
Jeans: Paige Denim (exact, similar)
Boots: Nordstrom (exact--majorly on sale!  My favorite booties right now!)
Bag: Nordstrom (very similar)
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

4. Printed Button Up + Pullover Sweater + Jeans
Another classic go-to formula.  You can do this with solid button ups, like solid white or chambray, but printed button ups are more fun!  

For colder weather, wear riding boots and a thicker sweater.  Add a scarf!

Shop for the Look:
Top: J.Crew Factory (exact--on super sale for $22)
Sweater: Old Navy (exact--on sale, similar--only $21)
Jeans: Nordstrom (similar--only $21)
Boots: Target (exact--only $27)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact--6 colors)

5. Plaid Button Up + Vest + Leggings + Boots
If you don't have a plaid button up for fall and winter, you need to get on it!  They are extremely versatile!

For colder weather...I don't know, I wore this when it was in 45 degree weather while traveling during Thanksgiving week and I was fine!  

Shop for the Look:
Top: c/o J.Crew Factory (exact--60% off!)
Vest: c/o J.Crew Factory (exact--60% off!)
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact--6 colors)
Boots: Fergalicious (similar--currently 40% off)
Scarf: c/o Conversation Pieces (similar--at least 20% off w/ code FRIDAY20, up to 40% off)
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (exact--comes with a free strap)

6. Printed Dress + Oversized Cardigan + Boots
Aren't oversized cardigans useful?  Just like the solid dress outfit formula, you can do this one with every one of your printed dresses.  Have at it!

For colder weather, wear tights and riding boots.  Add a scarf!  And if it's really cold, I would do a thin long sleeve tee on top.  My favorite is Heattech by Uniqlo (HERE).

Shop for the Look:
Dress: Old Navy (similar--only $22)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (similar--52% off)
Boots: Target (similar--on sale!, similar)
Bag: c/o Sole Society
Necklace: c/o Dear Mushka (exact)

7. Plaid Button Up + Oversized Cardigan + Jeans
Another one of my most used go-to formulas.  Plaid shirts are versatile, I'm telling ya!  And they're nursing friendly, for all you nursing moms!

For colder weather I would wear riding boots and a solid scarf.

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (similar--on sale, similar--60% off)
Cardigan: Old Navy
Jeans: Nordstrom (similar--on sale)
Boots: Target (exact--only $27)
Bag: c/o Lily Jade (exact--10% off with code THANKYOU)

8. Blouse + Cardigan + Leggings + Printed Blanket Scarf
Similar to the solid dress in the first outfit, the tunic and cardigan make a great base for a printed blanket scarf.  These blanket scarves keep you toasty!  

Shop for the Look:
Top: Nordstrom (exact--only $22)
Cardigan: Nordstrom (exact, similar--50% off,
Leggings: Nordstrom (exact)
Boots: Fergalicious (similar--currently 40% off)
Scarf: c/o ModCloth (exact--at least 20% off code FRIDAY20, up to 40% off)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact--33% off!)
Watch: c/o Daniel Wellington (exact)

I think I might take my own advice and go through each outfit formula for a good portion of this month!  :D

Thursday, November 24, 2016

My Black Friday Sales List + Old Favorites On Sale

If you celebrated Thanksgiving, hope you all had a great one!  I'm really grateful for all of you for reading and following along, and also for any and all encouragement you've sent my way.  I know it takes time and effort to comment, and I'm really appreciative anytime one of you stops to give a word of encouragement.  I also really, really appreciate all of you who have written to tell me how the blog has helped you out.  It makes my day, and I'm grateful that you'd take the time to do that!

Now, onto Black Friday.  I always think I'm not going to care or that I won't shop it because it's too overwhelming and then I always do.  I was browsing for some over the knee boots (OTK boots) and saw a bunchhhh of things that I was so happy were on sale!  This year's sale is GOOD!

Below is a combination of a) some things I'm considering buying, b) some things I know I don't need but have tempted me time after time (I'm looking at you, Hunter Boots, TOMS Wedges, and Caslon Wedges), and c) items I own and LOVE that are on major sale, like my favorite grey tee, the white tunic you can see worn HERE, my tried and true maxi dresses, and a few others.  

If you're shopping Black Friday, good luck!

Best Black Friday Sales
Links to Shop:
1. Dresses  |  2. Steve Madden OTK Boot  |  3. Sam Edelman OTK Boot  | 4.  UGG OTK Boot
5.  TOMS Wedge Bootie  |  6. Wedge Bootie  |  7. Initial Necklace  |  8. Maroon Cardigan
9. Distressed Jeans  |  10. Blouse  |  11. Hunter Boots  |  12. Printed Maxi Dress  |  13.  Solid Maxi Dress
14.  Leggings  |  15. Grey Crossbody  |  16. Puffer Vest  |  17. Grey Tee

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