Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Style Help: Same Top, Different Seasons and Situations

A couple of weeks ago I did a Shopping Help post on Office to Casual tops.  Today I'm featuring a top that would have fit into that category, but actually showing how to incorporate it into outfits that work for both office and casual looks.  AND, since many of you are starting to experience the weather shift from warm to cold I'm also showing how to wear this top in office/casual looks for both warmer and cooler weather.  Double whammy today!

This top from H&M is a fantastically versatile piece.  I love its pattern, particularly that it's prominent but also kind of subtle at the same time.  The navy/white combo also helps give it a neutral background without being plain.  Navy is one of my favorite neutrals because it pairs well with a lot of colors without looking too severe.  This will pair well with a number of different cardigans, but of course my go-to would be yellow!

Outfit 1 - Work in Warmer Weather
If your weather is still warm, pair your blouse with a light colored, flowy pleated skirt.  I paired this top with a beautiful white pleated skirt that's ON MAJOR SALE.  I have been eyeing and eyeing and eyeing this skirt and watching the price drop, hoping it's still in stock when I can actually try it on without a baby bump.  I almost didn't want to put it in this post because I'm a stingy meanie and I didn't want you all to scoop it up before I could get my grubby hands on it.  But hot dang, it's such a frigging good deal right now!

Anyway, the skirt keeps things airy and fresh, and to continue in that vein I added a neutral beige pump and some lilac nail polish.  Then I grounded the outfit with a faux suede navy bag from Target, which is also on major sale.  We bought this bag for my sister-in-law for Christmas and she loves it!

Shop Outfit #1:
Top: H&M
Skirt: NY & Co. (sale for $15!!!)
Bag: Target (sale for $12!)
Shoes: Target
Nail Polish: Target

Outfit 2 - Work in Cooler Weather
For a cooler weather work outfit try your blouse with a colored trouser or colored khakis.  I went with maroon khakis and a navy blazer.  I LOVE maroon in the fall, and I really love it with navy!  Then I mixed neutrals with a black suede pump and my all time favorite cognac satchel.  Doesn't it look so good with fall outfits?  Or...just anytime, really.  <3

Shop Outfit #2:
Top: H&M
Blazer: Target
Pants: Old Navy
Bag: Target
Shoes: Old Navy

Outfit 3 - Casual in Warmer Weather
Try your blouse with longer shorts!  They're sleeker and a classy kind of casual to help you look polished while wearing shorts.  I chose black ones for this top, but they could have been paired with a lot of other colors.  I kept it simple with a matching flat sandal with gold accents, but added a touch of color with a coral pendant.

Shop Outfit #3:
Top: H&M
Shorts: Old Navy
Shoes: Target
Necklace: Forever 21

Outfit 4 - Casual in Cooler Weather
Lastly, try your blouse with colored denim and a closed toed shoe.  I went with olive for this top, because olive is my other favorite color for fall (in addition to maroon).  Instead of a normal ballet flat like I might normally do, I tried some smoking loafers.  They say "fall" a little better, you know?

For jewelry, I typically go with a simple gold chain when I want to add something but don't want it to compete with a busy top.

Shop Outfit #4:
Top: H&M
Jeans: Old Navy
Bag: Target
Shoes: Old Navy
Necklace: Forever 21

Is your weather already transitioning to fall?  Ours is gonna be hot hot hot for the next couple of months, I think.  

Which of these tips could you try with one of your own "office to casual" tops?

Monday, August 18, 2014

Cargo Vests: A Great Summer-Into-Fall Layering Piece

Still no baby, but I've got an ever-growing bump and an outfit that's been on repeat for 4 days.  Call it even?

I don't know why this vest has been on hiatus for as long as it has, but now that it's back on my radar I want to wear it over ALL THE THINGS.  One thing about summer dressing that I miss is the ability to make outfits more interesting with layers, but if you're in a climate that can handle some sort of layer (sorry, Florida peeps) then a cargo vest is a great option.  And you can totally wear it in the fall over long sleeved tops and sweaters.

I've had mine for 3 years and am amazed that I continue to wear it year after year.  If you want ideas for how to wear this thing, see all my outfits by clicking here.

Links to Shop:
one  |  two (bit of a splurge)  |  three
four  |  five  |  six--sale for $11!

Shop for the Look:
Dress: Target (super similar, similar)
Vest: Old Navy (current season version, similar)
Sandals: Target (exact)
Bag: Nordstrom (exact in black/cognac)
Earrings: Target (exact)

*Bump status: 40 weeks

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Life Lately: New House!

So, if you missed it on Instagram, the reason I haven't shown any pictures of our baby room is because it's in limbo.  Nothing fancy and just enough to be functional.  Why?  Because...Benson and I are psychos who just bought a house and closed escrow on Friday--the day before our baby's due date!

I didn't talk about it on the blog because it was a long-shot kind of thing from the start.  And once we got into the process there were more ups and downs, so the whole time we were like, "It ain't over until we get the keys!"  But now, with keys in hand, we're looking forward to moving in!

It was all fast and unexpected as we weren't planning on moving.  We currently own a 2br/2ba and when we bought it 4 years ago we figured we could stay in it at least until a second kid was on the horizon.  However, I LOVE houses and always have, even as a kid.  So even though we weren't looking to move, I'm the kind of person that casually looks at real estate listings on a constant basis, and if I see something interesting I'll explore it.  That's how it went down with our current place as well as with this new house.  And in both cases (after figuring out if it was feasible and doable to move) it was like all of a sudden we're moving!

We're sad about leaving our current place because we love it and it's been so good to us, but it helps that the new house is a beautiful 4br/3.5ba--the house we can raise our family in.  We have been filled with gratitude the past month and a half as we not only look ahead but have been looking around at what we'll soon say goodbye to.

We probably won't move until September, but we've got some busy times ahead, to say the least.  Caring for a newborn, packing and moving, doing some work on the new house, and selling our current place.  Don't worry though.  Benson is not letting me pack or move a thing!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Shopping Help: Basic Shoes 101

I can't keep track anymore of how many people have asked me for help with shoes over the last few years.  The two main questions are, "What are comfy shoes I could wear that are not heels but are not sneakers?" and the more frequent question which goes something like, "I need help with shoes!  I have no idea what to do with them or where to start!"  So, not really a question, but a general plea for help.

I haven't really know how to help with the latter because I don't have clarity on what's confusing for those in need of help.  While I love a pop of color in my shoes, at least 75% of the time I'm wearing cognac/tan shoes.  My advice would simply be to start there.

Otherwise I've rounded up a few types of shoes that are basic building blocks to start with.  All from Old Navy and Target.  If you need shoes that have more padding or cushioning you should still be able to find similar styles at stores with more expensive shoes since these are all pretty basic.

Simple Heels:  Option 1  |  Option 2  |  Option 3
Most basic options for workwear OR for going out and special occasions.  I own pair #1, and there's a small platform in the toe box which makes them a lot more comfortable than a normal pump--the heel doesn't feel so high and doesn't put as much weight on your toes.

Options 2 and 3 are classic, sleek styles.  Instead of having that shiny, patent leather look, these look more like suede, which I personally love for pumps.  Something about the matte look works well for office type looks but also works really well with jeans without me feeling too dressy or fancy.

I love #3 and am considering ordering them but I'm waiting to see how my feet are after birth until I buy anymore shoes!  I LOOOOVE that color though!

NOTE: These all come in black and other colors, even some leopard and snakeskin prints.

Solid Flats:  Option 4  |  Option 5  |  Option 6
This group addresses shoes that aren't heels or sneakers.  Any type of ballet flat is the easiest place to start if shoes confuse you.  I own #4 and wear them as my go-to shoe.  When all else fails, when I have to walk around a lot, when I don't want to think about shoes, I step into these and head out the door.  (See them in action here.)

There are also pointy toed flats like #5 and #6 that can elongate your leg line, whether you're wearing jeans of any cut, straight legged slacks for work, or a skirt.  Great alternative to a heel!

NOTE: All come in different colors.

Flats with Details:  Option 7  |  Option 8  |  Option 9
Finally, flats that are neutrals and still somewhat basics but offer a little more than a plain flat.  Details like quilted textures or small bow ties give more interest to the shoes without being anywhere near too much.

NOTE: All come in different colors.  Option 6 comes in a two-toned white with black cap toe, kind of like Option 9 but with the quilted detail.

What's your favorite basic type of shoe?  (Like the tan flats for me!)

Also, if you have specific shoe questions please leave them in the comments.  I would love to help the people who've asked for shoe help, but I really need more clarity on what is confusing.  The more specific the questions the more helpful I can be.

Blogging tips