Remixing: School day to school board

Today was a difficult day to get dressed: I had to sit through a day of classes then attend a local school board meeting on a work assignment, all with an inch or so of snow on the ground and even more in the air. How to go from put-together casual to professional with minimal effort? My solution: A basic top and sweet accessories. Just a plain Forever 21 black turtleneck sweater, with a super pretty, multi-strand, multi-color New York and Company necklace and matching earrings.

The outfits:

For the school day, skinny jeans and my favorite black boots, which are not as waterproof as I would like but still functional.

For the school board meeting, Banana Republic slacks and my favorite black wedges (heels would have worked better with the slacks, but, again, snow). I also swapped the big, colorful earrings for plain studs.

I loved both looks today — neither was complicated, but both looked sharp and pulled together, which is impressive on snow days, when half the campus is in sweats — or, worse, leggings as pants — and rainboots. Cheers.


Not-so-casual Friday

I finally did laundry for the first time in a month, which is alarming on so many levels. How did I accumulate so many items of clothing that I can go a month without washing anything and still have stuff to wear? And how am I fitting everything in my itty-bitty college room?

Most college students take “My clothes are dirty” as an excuse to wear old t-shirts and sweatpants. Given that I have to maintain a semi-professional appearance all the time for my work, though, for me it means more dresses and “nice clothes” than usual. When my casual jeans got too dirty to keep wearing, I went as long as I could wearing dresses and skirts, but Friday I had to pull out my nice jeans, which require heels because I still have not had them altered. Heels on a normal college day! People were judging so hard.

The challenge became finding a top that was casual enough to not look ridiculous on campus but nice enough to wear with heels. So, I went for nice but basic: just a turtleneck sweater in a rich color. I even threw on that snakeskin belt I got for Christmas and had no idea how to wear, which is exciting — now that I’ve worn it with an outfit other than the one the saleswoman put together for me, I might be able to actually wear it on a sort-of-regular basis.

Do you ever think to yourself, “WHERE DID ALL OF THESE CLOTHES COME FROM?” I know it’s totally #firstworldproblems, but really. It’s embarrassing. I’d love some advice on how to execute a closet purge so I can have more space and feel better about myself. Cheers.

My favorite things: San Francisco Soap Company Sugared Citrus lotion

Admit it. When you stay in hotels and find tiny bottles of lotion in the bathrooms, you take them with you when you leave. More often than not, they’re watery and useless and don’t smell like anything, but they’re at least something to throw into your purse for emergencies.

A year ago, I stayed in a hotel somewhere in Iowa for a band trip. I don’t remember anything about the hotel but this: The complimentary lotion was the best I’ve ever smelled. Not only did I grab my bottle on the way out, but I asked a friend in another room to snag me his, too. I’d never heard of the brand, San Francisco Soap Company. The scent is called Sugared Citrus, but I don’t know how to describe what it actually smells like; “citrus” always means “orange” in my brain, but it doesn’t smell like an orange. It’s strong, but too good to get tired of it. I kept one bottle in my purse for a year, one in my backpack, and they were well loved.

When Christmas rolled around this year and my family started asking me what I wanted, I remembered this lotion and thought it was time for an upgrade. I didn’t know where you could find the lotion in a store, but it wasn’t hard to find the San Francisco Soap Company website on Google, and on Christmas morning I had a nice box of Sugared Citrus under the tree.

I haven’t used the body butter or the shower gel yet — don’t want to use everything at once! — but the lotion is great. It’s a lot thicker than the version I got from the hotel sample, perfect for super-dry winter skin, but the scent is just the same, just as wonderful. If you’re looking for a great new scented lotion but don’t want to wear the same Bath and Body Works scent as everyone else, I highly recommend Sugared Citrus. Cheers.

How to pretend your flats fit

This post comes to you inspired by the wonderful Kelly of Alterations Needed. Kelly had a great post last week, “Faking Fit,” in which she gave advice on how to take items that don’t fit exactly right and make them look like they fit great. They’re genius tips, and simple, too — rolling up long sleeves, pushing up blazer sleeves to balance wide shoulders, putting cardigans over ill-fitting shirts, etc.

I managed to snag a pair of Missoni for Target flats back in September, but after only a few days of wear, the soles broke down and I had to get them resoled. To add insult to injury, the shoes stretched out somewhere in the resoling process, so I have trouble keeping them on my feet, especially when wearing them with tights. I’ve been dealing with it, taking tiny steps and walking slowly so I don’t randomly lose my shoes. But yesterday, inspired by Kelly’s post, I thought, “There has to be a way I can make this better.”

On Sunday, a friend told me that she about stuffs her pointy-toed heels with cotton balls to make them fit better. I wondered if I could pull off the same thing with my flats. I put four cotton balls in the toe of each shoe, and, sure enough, it worked! The cotton pushed my foot back just far enough to make the fit more snug.

Top, without cotton balls; Bottom, with cotton balls. See the difference right at the back?

It wasn’t a totally flawless fix. As the day wore on, my feet slid around a little more because the cotton packed together and took up less space; I’ll probably try five or six cotton balls next time. Also, because the flats are low-cut to begin with and the cotton pushes my foot back, I ended up showing a lot more “toe cleavage,” if you will, than I think is attractive.

"I need to ask you to cover some of that toe cleavage. That's just obscene."

Still, given the choice between “You can see too much of my toes!” and “You can see my entire foot because my shoe just fell off in the middle of the street!”, I will definitely take the former. All in all, this is a great trick! Definitely give it a try next time you’re struggling to keep your flats on. Cheers.

Necessity is the mother of… fashion?

Okay, lame title, but I actually said that to a friend today after she complimented my outfit. Pretty much everything I wore today was chosen because I needed to make up for something that wasn’t working.

I wore a dress because my jeans are all dirty. I wore Oxfords because it was supposed to snow and the shoes I first wanted to wear aren’t waterproof. I wore my chain-knit black tights because my argyle ones were missing.

Close-up on my ($5 from Walmart!) "chain-knit" tights

I even wore my glasses today because my eyes decided they’ve worked hard enough this week and weren’t feeling contacts. Today wasn’t perfect — I woke up late (again), couldn’t find half my clothes, meant to belt the dress but ran out of time and couldn’t do anything about the baggy sleeves. And yet, apparently by accident, some things went well. Don’t you love it when that happens? Cheers.

Circles and stripes

No outfit photo for Tuesday, because it was “one of those days” and I was too tired to even take a bad auto-timed photo of myself. You ever have those days? I’m talking “Sat in my bed to talk to Dad on the phone and promptly passed out for 1.5 hours, fully dressed, with all the the lights on” tired.

It did the cold-and-rainy thing again today, which is getting pretty old, Missouri, so cut that out. I just wore jeans and boots and one of my flannel-ish shirts in an attempt to be warm under my light raincoat.

The only notable thing I did today was accessorize my flannel with one of my nicer necklaces. I spotted it hanging with my other necklaces on my way out the door and thought, why not? It’s a little weird, but I like the contrast of the round chain necklace against the straight lines of the plaid shirt. Cheers.

Time machine

I got dressed in a hurry today, just throwing on a cardigan over the first semi-decent shirt I grabbed. At some point in the day, though, I thought about the shirt I was wearing and laughed when I realized it’s one of the oldest shirts I own.

I am not entirely positive, but I’m pretty sure I bought it back in eighth grade, when Hollister was just starting to get popular and everyone wanted to be wearing their clothes. I don’t remember what made me choose it at the time, and I don’t think I wore it much for the first several years I had it, either. It’s grown on me lately, though — it’s simple, but I like the color and the detail around the neckline.

Having the same item of clothing for seven years is not remarkable if you’re an adult buying quality, investment items, but when you’re still wearing a $20 Hollister shirt that you bought at 14 when you’re a few weeks shy of your 21st birthday, it’s amusing.

I only have photos from college on my laptop, so I couldn’t find any really old pictures of this shirt, but I made the even funnier discovery that I actually wore it the day I moved into college as a freshman.

One shirt, two totally different looks. Then: Lace cami, short shorts, flip flops. Now: Cardigan, jeans, wedges. My favorite part? Aside from having grown out my bangs, my hair is pretty much the same. Love it. Cheers.

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