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.

Boots and Skirt and Boots and Skirt and Boots and Skirt…

One of my friends taught me the secret to beat-boxing: Just say “Boots and Cats” over and over. It sounds ridiculous, but I dare you to try it. Go ahead. Try.

So, if Boots and Cats works, Boots and Skirt can work, too, right? I don’t know. Seeing as there’s really not a non-silly way to beat-box, might as well go with it.

Today I did that thing were I got tired of wearing jeans and was determined to wear a skirt, regardless of what the weather did. Lucky for me, it turned out to rain all day. Awesome.

Proof that I took this first thing today: If you look closely, you can totally see my retainer. Awkward.

Wearing white tights on a rainy day was not a good call, but the outfit worked, for the most part. I picked this sweater up on clearance at Target a few months ago, and I love it — it’s super soft, and it’s a great dress-up, dress-down piece. I like wearing it like this for college, but I can see myself someday attempting to wear it with a pair of brown slacks for a job. I really want a light blue collared shirt to wear under it, but the tank works for now.

What do you guys do on days when you just don’t want to wear pants, but the weather isn’t quite cooperating? I have to figure something out — I’m predicting a rainy spring here because we’ve had such a mild winter. Missouri weather is always a challenge. Cheers.

My fall/winter uniform

Fun fact: I spent my first- through eighth-grade years in a uniform. Plaid skirt, polo, the works. I think that’s part of the reason I’m just starting to really think about clothes: I went through grade school wearing the same thing every day, then high school trying to wear something different every day, and now that I’ve figured that out, I can try to actually look decent every day.

But, I’ve come to realize, having a uniform was a pretty handy thing. Life’s always busy, and any day when I have to make one fewer decision is a good day. On days when I don’t feel like thinking too hard about what to wear, I turn to my favorite standby: my American Eagle cable-knit v-neck sweaters.

I don’t remember which one I got first, or when I got it, but these days I have five. The striped one is the newest; the purple one is my favorite. The colors and necklines change a little year to year, but one thing never changes: They’re honestly perfect for every single occasion. I’ve worn them with Chucks to class, with black slacks and heels to work, with skinny jeans and knee high boots for just about everything else. They work with scarves. Short necklaces. Long necklaces. Tank tops. T-shirts. Skirts. Seriously, I can’t get enough of them.

I’m cheating with the outfit photo below, because I’m wearing a Tommy Hilfiger version that I “stole” from my mom, but it’s basically the same thing. How many times have I wore variations on this outfit in the past two weeks? Seeing as only the solid blue one is clean right now, looks like five. I’m sure if you read back on this blog to last winter, you’ll see them several times. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

Sorry for the horrendous Photoshop abuse. Sunshine + snow = death of my camera.

So if I go multiple days without an outfit post, you all can probably safely assume it’s because I’ve fallen into my uniform trap and I’m too embarrassed to admit it 😉 Cheers.

Mixing textures: Flowers and snakes

Ann Taylor and Loft are stores on my “Get used to so you can dress like a grown-up” list, but I’ll readily admit that they intimidate me. The first time I tried to visit Ann Taylor, I didn’t even make it in the door — I saw nothing but neutrals and suits and promptly fled.

But I couldn’t avoid it forever: I received several Ann Taylor pieces for Christmas, and I had to make the trip to return or exchange the ones that didn’t fit. I was left with an item I could handle — a beautiful gold bangle — and two that I liked but had absolutely no idea how to wear: a cream floral-textured pencil-ish skirt and a skinny faux-snakeskin belt.

I asked the saleswoman for some help picking out tops that would work with the skirt, and we ended up with two turtlenecks, one burgandy, one coral. I really like the turtlenecks; they’re soft, which is always great, and they have elbow-length sleeves, ideal for push-every-sleeve-past-my-elbows me. Here’s one of the outfits we finally came up with:

I don’t think it’s perfect — I wish I could find some burgandy tights to swap for black, and it could use a necklace — but it’s a step in the right direction. If you have any other ideas on how I could wear either of those items — the skirt or the belt — they would be greatly appreciated! Cheers.

Sweater: Ann Taylor Petite Elbow Sleeve Turtleneck, sz XS (Not available online, final sale in stores — similar here, with long sleeves). Skirt: Ann Taylor Petite Snow Flower Lace Skirt, sz 2P. Belt: Ann Taylor Perfect Skinny Watersnake Belt, sz XS. Tights: Target. Shoes: Payless Dexter Karma Pump, sz 5.

Sweet Home Chicago! Skating in the City.

I’ve been to a lot of cities in the past year, and lived in a few states, but today, my first day in the city since May, made it clear to me that I am forever a Chicago girl. I grew up in the suburbs, but my parents have taken me downtown from a very young age, and I worked there a few summers ago, so I feel like it’s my city.

I didn’t get many good pics today, because I was with a friend and we were mostly just walking and talking, and we didn’t really get out by the lake, which is where the best pictures are taken. Next time.

Millennium Park's Cloud Gate, commonly known as "The Bean."

Millennium Park Amphitheatre

Awkward corner of the Skyline, taken from Buckingham Fountain. The tall, silver-blue, roundish one in the middle-back is Trump Tower.

Our main activity today: Ice skating! I’m a terrible skater; I think the last time I skated was at least four years ago, and I only went a few times before then. You’d think that the ten years of ballet I took in grade school would have given me good enough balance to skate well, but nope. Not good. Today wasn’t all my fault, though — it was a bit too warm, so the ice didn’t hold up well. Even my friend, who played ice hockey growing up and actually could skate, had trouble. Oh well. It was still a fun day! Cheers.

Sweater: Gap (old). Scarf: My university bookstore, oddly enough. Jeans: L.E.I. (old). Skates: Chicago Park District 🙂

Boots, Skirts and Fuzzy Socks

I’m back, guys! We’ll see how long it lasts. New Year’s Resolution: Blog. Right.

Seriously, though, I’m going to try to start this up again. Why not? I’m home on winter break, so I have some free time to write and actually dress nice. I’m starting my stress!job again next semester, so I’ll need this blog for sanity’s sake again. And, an even more compelling reason to make this good: I finally took the leap of showing this to someone in my “real life.” My little sister and I read the same fashion blogs, so I made the decision to let her in on mine. Have to keep it cool so she doesn’t laugh at me too much 😉

Today’s outfit started with a pair of boots. If you guys have been reading my blog from the beginning (which, okay, you probably haven’t, but let’s roll with that), you know that a) I have a pair of black knee-high boots that I adore and b) I have absolutely no idea how to wear them with anything other than skinny jeans. I think the problem is the attitude of the boots. They’re kind of tough, if you will — I’ve had more than one friend refer to them as my “hooker boots,” which is never a good thing — and I don’t know how to wear them with skirts or dresses. So, I wanted a pair of “softer” boots, wearable with skirts and dresses, and I wanted them to be brown, because I’ve never had brown boots. After a long search, I found my perfect pair at Target.

They’re tall but slouchy, brown but not cowgirl. I love them.

Once I had the boots, it was no time at all before I learned to wear them with skirts and tights. It just feels easy, you know? Today’s outfit is one of my current favorites (and my fashionista sister liked it, too!). I picked up this sweater with the skirt-tights-boots combo in mind. I like the way the off-white in the sweater pairs with the off-white tights.

I think I might go with my lighter denim skirt next time, just for a better contrast to the navy sweater, but it works for now.

Just for kicks: A confession, and a thought. Confession: I wear fuzzy socks under my boots. Why not? They’re warm. They’re soft. They’re comfortable. They keep my tights from getting too worn out. And, you know, no one can see them, so no big deal, right?

So here’s the thought. I do this. My friends all do this. Everyone I have talked to who wears boots has confessed to doing this at some point. Do any of you do this? And, more importantly, do you think there are famous people who do this? I can’t get the thought of Kate Middleton or Kim Kardashian or Katy Perry or some other celebrity walking around with fuzzy socks in her boots. Crazy or not, it makes me smile. Cheers.

Boots: Target Mossimo Kailey Tall Boots in brown, sz 5 1/2 (also available in black, gray, taupe and navy). Sweater: Forever 21 Patterned Knit Sweater, sz S. Skirt: Old Navy (old). Tights: Forever 21 (old). Socks: Old Navy Chenille Cozy Socks (Stripes out of stock, but star-patterned socks here).

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