Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fashion Adventure: A Little New, A Little Old

Today's outfit has a few new items and a few old items.  I was pretty stoked to wear this outfit all week but then it didn't turn out exactly how I had hoped.  However, I still loved wearing this!  It's so funny that a year ago I never wore skirts and now I've worn one twice in one week!  And loved it!!  Now I want more skirts, as I only own three!
The Pieces:
1. Ruffle Edge Tank from Target (already owned)
2. Gray cardigan from Target (already owned)
3. Red belt from New York & Company (new)
4. Denim pencil skirt from Vanity Fair Outlet (already owned, hidden in closet)
5. No Nonsense black control top nylons from Walmart (already owned)
6. Red ballet bow flats from Bass Outlet (already owned)
1. Legs!  I have them!  And they're cute!  Who knew!  Seriously though, I used to hate my legs and it turns out that 90% of the problem was that my skirts were too long and made my legs look short and stumpy.  Just wearing skirts that hit above the knee makes such a difference!
2. The red accents are super fun and punch up an otherwise boring outfit.

1. You can't tell in all of the pictures but the cheap $1 nylons that I'm wearing do this weird thing where they suffocate me and cause weird lumpy stomach fat to bulge out in odd places.  So aggravating!  And the funny thing is that I've had these black nylons for a couple of years but I never even opened them until today.  I'll be replacing them with some better quality and maybe more opaque ones this weekend.
2. Something about the cardigan just doesn't look right again.  I don't know if maybe I should have tucked it into the skirt or what.

And just for a little fun, I tried the same outfit on with gray boots in the photo below.  It works but I prefer the red flats.  They just looked so cute with the red belt!  I really liked this outfit and I felt really cute in it all day, even after work when I went to the orthodontist and then shopping.  I don't want to give anything away because I still have lots of shopping to do this weekend but I did pick up two items today!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fashion Adventure: Wednesday Outfit

I am one of those people who picks out their clothes for the week on Sunday night and to be honest, all week long I really was not very excited to wear this.  It doesn't incorporate any of my new pieces but I really wanted to see how these dark brown pants look on me in photos because I came really close to getting rid of them during my closet purge.
The Pieces:
1. White Gathered Neck T-shirt from Target (already owned)
2. Light Blue Short Sleeve Cardigan from Target (already owned)
3. Dark Brown Trousers  from Bealle's Outlet(already owned)
4. Pewter Ballet Flats from Bass Outlet (already owned)
5. Beaded Necklace (already owned)
1. I actually almost got rid of these pants because I thought they weren't flattering.  They are definitely a little big on me but I think they actually look okay on me.  They aren't my favorite but I'll keep them for the time being.
2. I like the color combination of the light blue and dark brown (I know the pants look black in the photos but I swear they are dark brown).  To me, the necklace tied the colors together well too.
1. Something about the tops just does not look good to me.  Maybe the cardigan doesn't work buttoned up or maybe I should have tucked in the white shirt.  I don't know but I just think the tops make me look lumpy, shapeless and not very hourglass like.
2. I like the brown and blue together, but not really on me.  I really just don't think that pale or pastel colors look very good on my fair skin.

Overall, I really wasn't a fan of this outfit and I don't think I would wear it again.  At least I'm really excited for Thursday and Friday's outfits!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fashion Adventure: Hidden in the Closet

When I cleaned out my closet last week, I found several items that I already owned hidden in my closet.  Some of them were shoved in deep corners where I couldn't see them, and some of them were in plain sight but either didn't fit quite right or I just didn't know how to work them into my wardrobe.  Today I'm going to share these items with you as well as my mission to work these "new old" pieces into my new wardrobe.

Black Trench Coat
This is an item that was stuffed in our downstairs coat closet where I never look.  I've actually had this trench coat for years and never have worn it once.  The sleeves are too long and I when I rolled them up, the same giant buttons on the front were on the sleeves.  It never occurred to me until this morning to just take the buttons off the sleeves and cuff them up!  They were really cute that way!  I originally bought this coat five or six years ago from J.C. Penney's petite department on clearance.  And I've already worn it once!  If you look closely, you can see that there is a very subtle pattern in the fabric that makes it even more special. (see photo at top of page for close up; center top)

Purple Purse
Another item stuffed in a corner!  This purse was in the top of my closet with in a box with a bunch of other purses.  It's my favorite color and all the different pockets keep my stuff organized.  I'm using it every day right now.  This is also a few years old but I can't remember where I bought it.  If I had to guess, I would probably say Target.

Animal Print Blouse
I actually came really close to tossing this blouse because I've had it for about two years and only worn it two or three times.  I actually really like this top but the straps were way too long for my petite body and it hung down way too low and just didn't really fit properly.  For a long time, I had the straps safety pinned in to be shorter.  Then I decided I could just quickly hem up the straps with my sewing machine!  I fixed it this weekend and I'm looking forward to wearing this again!  It really feels like a brand new shirt since I've worn it so little.

Denim Pencil Skirt
I bought this skirt last year and literally wore it one time.  It's super cute but it's not petite size so it was too long.  I hadn't forgotten about it or anything, I just didn't really like the length of it on me.  I once again busted out the sewing machine and with a quick hem, breathed new life into this skirt.  And I even practiced this technique I learned from Pinterest on how to leave the original denim hem intact!  I think it worked well and I'm excited to wear it again.  Like the blouse, it feels like a brand new item!

Teal Skinny Belt
I think I've looked at this belt every day for about two years now!  I keep it with all of my other belts, which I wear often.  I just really was struggling about how to wear this belt and what to wear with it.  I bought it from Target, thinking it would be a great accessory and then I just got...stuck.  I didn't know what to do with it but now I am determined to find something to wear with it, as I've never worn it once!

Black Leather Jacket
This jacket has been with me for ages!  My parents bought this classic black leather jacket for me when I was a freshman or sophomore in high school (probably almost fifteen years ago now, yikes!).  I wore it all the time back then and even used to condition the leather a few times a year.  It was from Wilson's and was great quality and as you can see, it still looks brand new.  It was buried in the coat closet next to my trench so now I'm storing them both next to my blazers in my clothing closet.  I've already worn this baby too!

My mission is to find a way to work these items into my wardrobe rotation again.  Some are easier than others but seeing these great pieces lost in my massive amount of clothes has made me realize that when you have too much, sometimes great pieces can get lost among the garbage.  Meanwhile, remember the hissy fit that started my whole Fashion Adventure series?  If not, I basically was getting ready for date night with my husband and stood looking at a closet full of clothes and getting angry about having nothing to wear.  Meanwhile, I totally could have worn the blouse above with either the trench coat or the leather jacket and it would have been a perfect outfit for the night.  So it's kind of funny that I had pieces all along that were ideal but I had forgotten about them in the clutter.  But I'm glad I did because I really feel happier about the pieces I do have now and my new outlook on my style.

Fashion Adventure: New Outfit 2

Yea for a sweet girly outfit!  I have to share with you the fact that I never wear skirts.  I was trying to think about it and the last time I wore a skirt was probably last year.  There's honestly a reason behind this.  I am a Type I diabetic and for about six years now, I've been on the insulin pump.  Using the pump makes life easier as a diabetic, but not so great as a girl because you have to have some place to attach the pump to your clothing.  Normally, I wear it on my pants pocket but you can't do that with skirts.  This year, one of the new teachers at our school is also on the pump, and I just found out that she keeps hers tucked away between the cups of her bra.  I never even knew she was on a pump because it's well hidden.  So that's the trick I used with this skirt to avoid the weird "pump lump" under your skirt or over it.  So many possibilities are opened up with such a simple trick!  Can you tell it's there in the photos?  I can't!
I know this outfit probably looks way too cold for most of you, but it was over 80 degrees here today in Northeast Florida and I was quite comfortable taking my students out to recess in this.  In the morning, it was a little chilly so at the bottom of this post, I showed you what the skirt looked like with my recently rediscovered trench coat too.  But you could easily turn this into a winter outfit by tossing on a cardigan and a pair of boots.
The Pieces:
2. petite dotted A-line skirt - Loft Outlet (new)
3. black necklace and matching earrings - Walmart (already owned)
4. black belt - free with a top from Rue21 several years ago (already owned)
5. George control top nylons in suntan - Walmart (new)
6. black bow ballet flats - Bass Outlet (already owned)
1. Fit!  The shirt fits me well and the skirt is a perfect length for my petite stature.  I felt put together in this outfit!
2. I felt that I did a good job of adding in the little details that made this outfit work.  As a shirt and skirt it would have been cute but the added necklace and earrings with the belt really make it feel complete.
3. I think the colors work on me.  Since I am so fair skinned, I tend to look better in saturated colors.  I feel like I look washed out in pastels and other paler colors so these bold fun shades work well on me.
4. Print!  I never wear printed bottoms and normally wouldn't even have looked twice at this skirt but when I bought this on Sunday, I was really trying to branch out and I think it was a success!  And it worked because there are four colors in this skirt, white, black, royal blue, and sky blue (hard to detect, even up close).  I have shirts in three out of four of those colors already so it wasn't hard for me to find something to wear on top with this fun dotted skirt.
1. This cheapo Walmart shirt has seen better days.  You can't really tell in the photos but up close, the seams are beginning to fade in color.
2. Again, the Walmart shirt!  It doesn't quite match the dark blue in the skirt exactly, which is why I separated the colors with a belt.

After cleaning out my closet, I rediscovered several items in my wardrobe that I had completely forgotten about, either because they were stuffed in among other items or because they needed some tailoring to get the best possible fit.  I plan on writing a post very soon about these items.  Keep an eye out!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fashion Adventure: New Outfit 1

I swear this happy, professional outfit gave me much needed extra energy today!  Last night was one of those nights where Brian and I both just tossed and turned all night and I woke up still feeling exhausted.  But the bright, perky colors of this outfit kept me going all day!  I guess that's a side effect of feeling great in your clothes!

Before I get into the nitty gritty of this outfit, let me just apologize for the hot mess in the background of these photos.  I've really been having trouble finding a room in my house with enough artificial lighting to get good photos since my "good" camera is on the fritz right now.  So I had to improvise and I've found that the lighting in the closet of my classroom is perfect for photos!  LOL!  I get to work super early so I definitely have time to snap a few photos on my phone before the day begins.  The background isn't pretty but the colors are accurate and you can actually see the details of the outfit better when the picture isn't blurry!
The Pieces:
1. sleeveless white button down shirt - Kmart (already owned)
4. black Worthington petite modern fit trousers - JC Penney (already owned; bought a few years ago but they still carry very similar trousers now)
5. black bow ballet flats - Bass Outlet (already owned)
1. Ummmm.... everything!!!  LOL  The color combination of teal and yellow is so happy!  I think the teal looks good on my fair skin too.
2. The statement necklace is a perfect fit in the empty space of the blazer.
3. The pants are flattering on my figure.
4. I felt really professional in a blazer, yet the fun colors keep it from feeling too stuffy for this fun loving elementary school teacher.
5. Overall, I feel like this outfit makes me look thin and creates a great hourglass shape.  The clothes do all the work to flatter my figure.
1. I really should have work a belt with these pants because they are looking a little saggy in these photos.  I always wear a belt with these but I was running late today and just forgot it.
2. The white button down shirt.  It's too wide so it felt stuffed into the form fitting blazer.  It's also not exactly as white as it used to be, even after bleaching.  I think it's time to retire this one!

I think my first outfit created with my new pieces (and a few old favorites) was a total success!  I honestly felt great wearing this and I would totally wear the same outfit with jeans on the weekend!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fashion Adventure: Starting Over Shopping

Detailing on red belt
Wow, I am exhausted!  I spent a total of about eight hours shopping for practically an entire new wardrobe this weekend and then another four hours altering shirts, skirts, and pants for myself and even a couple pairs of pants for hubby.  Not a very relaxing way to spend your weekend, but I had a blast!  Let me also explain that this is not the typical sort of thing I would do on the weekend.  Hubby and I just got a bonus paycheck (and still have a few more on the way) so we had some extra cash to spare.  More than half of it went into savings but the rest we dedicated to fun!
Cuff detail on boyfriend blazer
Before embarking on this shopping marathon, I set out some guidelines to help keep me focused.  If you're thinking of doing the same sort of thing, you should definitely check out Audrey's Style/Wardrobe Tips Tab on her blog, Putting Me Together.  She has suggestions on how to build a mixable wardrobe, shopping mistakes, and she recently started a wardrobe from scratch series that is awesome!  I used her site as inspiration to help me focus before shopping.

First, I started out by making a list of items I was shopping for:
- fitted blazers
- A line skirt
- pencil skirt
- trouser jeans
- trousers, cut straight down from the hips
- statement necklace (I really wanted one like this!)
- high quality, comfortable high heels in a neutral color
- thin red belt that fits around my waist
- blouses with easily mixable patterns or colors, preferably with special detailing
- high quality leopard print flats, preferably pointed toe

Next, I established some general shopping rules to keep in mind.
1. Do not settle for something that is okay because of price.  Instead hold out for something you love, even if you have to pay a little more for it.
2. Steer away from synthetics that are droopy and shapeless.  Instead go for cotton, cotton blends, and fabrics with structure.
3. Go for pieces that will mix and match well, instead of individual or "special" pieces.
4. Stick to jewel tones or neutrals for a color palette.  Emerald, violet, ruby, sapphire, or neutrals.
5. If the store doesn't have the exact size you need, don't compromise on a size that's larger.  As a super petite person, this can tend to make me look like I'm playing dress up in Mommy's clothes, which was a big problem I had with many of my old clothes I got rid of.

With that in mind, I was off!  Over the last three days, I have been to: J.C. Penney's, Sears, Gap, Charlotte Russe, Dress Barn, Vanity Fair Outlet, Easy Spirit Outlet, Pac Sun, New York & Company Outlet, rue21, LOFT Outlet, Jones New York Outlet, Papaya, Body Central, Target, Old Navy, and KMart.  Wow.  Good thing I already have high quality shoes or my feet would be killing me just thinking about this list!

So after all was said and done, I found lots of pieces that I love, made some mistakes along the way, and learned a lot!  I'm really happy with what I got and I found a lot of it on sale and even had some coupons.

1. Petite Boyfriend Blazer - LOFT Outlet
2. Covington Petite's Blouse & Tank Top in White and Black Polka Dots - Sears
3. Gathered Neck T-shirt in Gray - Target
4/5. Cuffed Sleeve Jacket - Papaya (in 4. black and 5. teal)
6. White Camisole - Vanity Fair

7. Petite Curvy Boot Cut Jeans - LOFT Outlet
8. Black Pencil Skirt - Target
9. Petite Dotted A-Line Skirt - LOFT Outlet
10. Petite Curvy Fit Trouser Jeans - LOFT Outlet

11. Skinny Red Belt - New York and Company
12. Fit For A Queen Statement Necklace - Charlotte Russe

And just for fun, I included some pictures of the pieces.  I'll be doing pictures of outfits some time later this week, but I was having camera issues today and the pictures were coming out really blurry because I didn't have enough light.  I'll have to try again on a sunny day when I have better natural lighting.  These will have to do for now though.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fashion Adventure: OOTD Saturday

Whew!  I spent about seven hours in the past two days clothes shopping!  I've been to the mall, the outlet, and Target and I'm almost done with my "starting over" haul.  I actually live right next door to two pretty large outlet malls.  One of them is a one minute drive from my house.  I shopped around there today and took some time to think before purchasing a few items that I had seen and wasn't quite sure about.  After a bit more shopping around, I decided there are two items I want to go back and get tomorrow.  That's the luxury of living right next door!  But that's a story for tomorrow.  Today I'm here to tell you about the outfit I picked out to wear for today's five hour shopping marathon.
It was a mild 74 degrees here today in northeast Florida so I went with a tank top, jeans, and a 3/4 length cardigan and I was quite comfortable, even walking around outside at the outlet mall.
- Merona Women's Perfect Summer Tank - Target
- 3/4 sleeve Bracken Fern artist's cardigan - Target
- Faded Glory bootcut jeans - Walmart
- pewter ballet flats - Bass Outlet
1. This outfit was great for shopping!  It was easy to try on necklaces when I wasn't already wearing one and I could really see how they looked against the black tank top.  Also, because I was already wearing layered pieces, it was easy to see how items I tried on would look with different tops or to try on other tops.  (I tried on a lot of blazers over that tank top!)  Also, the ballet flats worked well with jeans, dress pants, and skirts that I tried on to give me an idea of what they would look like paired together.  And slip on shoes are great when you're trying on shoes too!
2. The extra detail on this cardigan made it feel a little more interesting than a plain one, which worked well since I wasn't wearing any accessories other than my everyday watch, medic alert bracelet (diabetic) and my stud earrings.
1. This outfit was more about function than style.  Kind of plain but it served the purpose that I needed it to serve.
I'm really excited about the pieces I picked up while shopping!  I've been totally obsessed with reading this blog and also this blog lately and I really feel like I did well at getting pieces that will work for what I need.  Also, if you have trouble combining outfits, you should check out this post and this post for some awesome tips!  And Audrey's blog is full on TONS of posts about packing for trips and also how to remix your wardrobe to make the most of what you have.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fashion Adventure: OOTD Wednesday

Today is one of those days where I really wish that I could have totally just scrapped 99% of the clothes in my closet and completely started over from scratch.  Sigh.  When I bought this cardigan at Target less than a week ago (before the closet melt down), I was thinking that I love my cardigans, get tons of wear out of them, and could certainly use another.  Now I'm not so sure this was the best choice.  This is a pretty kelly green cardigan with small white polka dots.  By itself, the cardigan is very cute.  But I'm finding it's harder to pair with other things than I originally thought.  I didn't really have any necklaces or scarves that it went with I couldn't think of any other shirt besides plain white that it would look good with.  I guess it would work with pretty much all of my pants but I'm just feeling less excited about it than I was when I first bought it.  Live and learn, I guess.

The Pieces:
- white short sleeved button down shirt - Walmart
- kelly green/white polka dot cardigan - Target
- Navy blue bootcut pants - J.C. Penney
- Sand colored suede boat shoes - Bass Outlet

What I Like:
1. The shoes are really comfortable!  This is my sixth pair of shoes that I've purchased from the Bass Outlet, and I love every pair I own for their comfort as well as being cute.  Who knew you could have both?  And these boat shoes have replaced my tennis shoes as my comfortable weekend shoes.
2. The white button down fits me really well and looks great on its own.  It's the same fit as the shirt I showed yesterday.

What I Dislike:
1. The fit of these pants!  Grrrr!  They make me look so big and hippy and wide!  Whoever said that bootcut is universally flattering was a big fat liar!  The really frustrating thing is that I just bought these pants two weeks ago and this is only the second time I've worn them.  And I may never wear them again.  Lesson learned: from now on, take a picture of myself with my phone in the mirror at the store before deciding to buy.
2. I found that I was having a really hard time styling this polka dotted cardigan today.  None of my scarves or necklaces seemed to go with it and I just couldn't really come up with anything to jazz up this outfit because it just didn't seem to go with anything that I had.  If you have any ideas on what I could pair with this, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or my Facebook page!

Generally, I'm not too pleased with this outfit.  The pants do my figure no justice and the rest of the outfit is just plain boring.  I definitely need to do some dress pant shopping this weekend!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fashion Adventure: OOTD Tuesday

After purging my closet, I found it was much easier to try to pick out outfits for work than it used to be.  There's just so much less to sort through and most of what I have left are clothes that I really like.  There are still about twenty to thirty items that I keep looking at and thinking I might end up getting rid of but I'm sticking to my "wait a month, then decide" strategy.  Honestly, even though I got rid of five garbage bags of items, I still have that slight fear that if I get rid of too much too fast, I'll be left with nothing to wear.  I figured as I gradually add pieces that are easy to mix and match, I can always get rid of more later when I feel more comfortable.  Change doesn't happen overnight, right?

This is the outfit that I picked out for work today.  I tried a few different combinations, but this is what I ended up with and I felt really comfortable and really liked the look.  I wore this all day today for work and had my husband take a few pictures after I got home and I took a couple either in the mirror or using my cell phone's self timer.  Sorry about the quality of the pictures, as I see now that they aren't so hot.  Next time I'll use my good camera.

Let's break down the outfit into the pieces, and then I'll share what I liked and didn't like about this ensemble.
1. Faux denim look chambrayish button down shirt - Walmart
2. Black cardigan - Target
3. Skinny leopard print belt - Ross (originally posted here)
4. khaki pants - Target
5. black flats - Bass

1. I love the fit and color of this button down top from Walmart.  It's comfortable, doesn't need a ton of ironing, and the fit is flattering on me.
The color is most accurate in this picture.
2. I love the way the black cardigan and leopard belt cinch the waist and still maintain some shape to my figure.  I've never worn this belt around my waist before and I really can't figure out why I've only used it to hold up my pants before today.
3. The colors are all pretty neutral and muted, yet they still somehow felt special together.  It was all in the way the brown and black worked together in the belt.
4. The shoes are cute but really comfortable!  Work shoes are something I'm willing to invest in, since as a teacher, I'm on my feet all day.  These flats fit the bill and I got them on sale too.
5. This outfit could easily be changed up for different occasions.  Wear a skirt and some heels or sandals for a dressier look.  It dawned on me that I could have even worn the outfit this weekend for my date night!  Just put a camisole underneath with a few buttons undone at the top and maybe change up the pants to a skinny jean with boots.
Overall, I felt comfortable and chic and I got several compliments from students that I looked "stylish" today.  Yet the pieces are so basic and totally the sort of thing I would already have in my wardrobe.

1. After seeing the fit of these pants in pictures, I see how awful they look on me!  These pants are left over from my heavier days and I thought they still looked okay but now I see they look baggy, saggy, and too big on me.  While the color is okay, I could really use a pair of pants that fits better.  Maybe something with a wide leg that would make my legs look longer and leaner instead of making them look wider at the hips.  I am petite at only 4'11" tall but I definitely have some curvy hips and these pants do me no justice.  By the way, Stacy London taught me to dislike the pants for this, not my body.  This whole fashion adventure is about the clothes, not my body, as it should be for all women.

In summary, I love the outfit but definitely think it's time for some new pants!  Also, if you aren't sure about if you should keep that article of clothing during your closet purge, snap some pictures of it to get a more realistic idea of what it really looks like on you.  I swear these pants didn't look nearly so bad in the mirror as they do in photos and therefore, real life.  I think I'm going to find this true with lots of my pants!