Monday, August 31, 2015

Dots, Stripes, & Leopard

This is one of my all time favorite pattern combinations and when paired with these plum pants, getting up on a Monday morning just got a lot easier. OK, maybe not easier. Just more fashionable.

I picked this cardigan up from The Limited a couple years ago on a whim. It's become a closet staple. The shell is a Target find, and while I can't find it online, I think it is probably still available in stores.  I also have these pants in navy, seen here. They are really comfortable because of the stretch, but they aren't baggy by the end of the day. In fact, I was able to wear the navy a couple times before washing.

Here's to starting the week off on the right step!

Shirt: similar here, here, and here | Cardigan: similar here | Pants: here | Shoes: similar here

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oreos and Leopard

Those of you who know me, may know that I've been on a lactose free diet for 2.5 years. That means no real pizza, ice cream, cheese, yogurt, brownies, or cookies, just to name a few. Milk is a sneaky ingredient and ends up in a lot of prepared foods. Butter is worse. It's everywhere. But, I'm really good at doing what I'm told and when my breath test revealed my lactose intolerance was off the charts, I knew I didn't have a choice.

The lactose breath test was just one of many tests I've undergone in the past few years trying to diagnose and treat my stomach problems. I even started a blog a while back to document my journey including tests and diets. But, it wasn't much fun documenting my failures. I was diagnosed with IBS very early on in the process and that diagnosis stuck even though all known dietary changes and medications didn't relieve the symptoms. Although I don't care what my diagnosis is, I do want the diagnosis to lead to effective treatment. I'm still not there yet. But, I did receive a new diagnosis recently - gastroparesis. Basically, I don't digest food in a reasonable amount of time. So, it just sits and causes problems.

Unfortunately, the treatment for my new diagnosis is very similar to the ones we tried, unsuccessfully, for IBS. But, I'm hopeful my new doctor in DC will have more luck treating the symptoms since we have a more accurate diagnosis. Also, knowing what's really causing the problem is comforting.

Anyways, all of that was to say that I'm now on a gluten free + lactose free diet. I've been on it before with no success, and gluten free only before with limited success. This time, however, the diet changes are being accompanied with meditation designed to assist digestion. I'm not quite two weeks in, we're low on groceries, and I was craving something sweet. Well, I'm all out of dairy free/gluten free sweets, but my husband stays well stocked in Oreos. Which, by the way, is a pretty good dessert if you're only dairy free. So, since I was desperate, I decided to scrape the cream filling from the cookies.

I think that's an all new low. Even for me. And, I'm the girl who will make a run to the convenient store to buy M&Ms (pre-diet, of course; now I just grab Skittles).

My stomach problems, which generally consist of really bad bloating ("abdominal distension") and abdominal pain, influence my outfit choices on a daily basis. I'm always careful to select clothing that won't show my bloated stomach. Which is one of the reasons why I wear so many dresses.

Shift dress, however, aren't always the most stomach friendly because they tend to skim too closely for me. But, I couldn't resist this dress when I found it at Loft. I couldn't pass up a leopard print dress in tall. Paired with a blazer, I don't feel so self-conscious. So, it will be on rotation in the fall and in the winter (paired with tights).

Like I've said before, clothes should make you feel great about yourself. And while sometimes I resent not being able to wear anything I want because of my stomach, I feel much better when I wear something that makes me feel comfortable and confident. 

Dress: old, similar leopard here, and here and other patterned shift dresses here and here | Shoes: old, similar here, here, and here | Blazer: old, similar here (mine is also from Limited and is not in tall)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I Must Confess

This dress has me excited about the impending change of seasons. I'm also enjoying the cooler morning and evening temperatures we've been having, they make the early morning dog walks that much more enjoyable. 

Something about this wine color just says fall to me and when paired with ruffles, it is the perfect dress to get me in the mood for sweater weather! I'm also convinced that wine and leopard were made for each other, which is fine by me.

For the fall, I think I like this dress paired with a grey jacket, but will probably pair it with black when I throw on tights for the winter. My leopard wedges, however, will be on call for both seasons. 

What has you excited for fall? 

Dress: here | Shoes: old, similar here | Necklace: similar here | Jacket: old, similar here

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer Tweed

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. We hosted our very first house guest as a married couple (my mom), and for some reason that makes me feel like a real adult. Now, on to today's outfit post!

I always thought tweed was a cool weather fabric, but in the right color it can be a perfect way to add some texture to your summer work wardrobe. Also, as we transition into fall, I think tweed is one way to do so while still staying cool. Because, if you live somewhere like DC, it is still very much summer and will be for quite some time! 

I will also say that tweed can read matronly. And, although I want to look professional, I don't want to frumpy. (Which I find easier said than done!) Keeping a flattering, more form fitting silhouette will help counteract that. Pairing tweed with a bold pattern, pop of color, or fun jewelery (or in this case, all three) helps keep the look fresh. 

 This dress in navy is sold out in tall, but it is still available in pink. It does run a little small, and I noticed that it shrunk a little after being dry cleaned, so if you're in between sizes, size up. I also recommend this dress; it does run large in tall, so you might be able to get away with a regular, or size down. If you're not on the tall side, this dress is just too much fun! Like, it kicks tweed's matronly tendencies in the butt. This dress will cross seasons well.

Blazer: here (I recommend removing the shoulder pads) | Necklace: available in Francesca's Stores | Shoes: old, similar here and here | Purse: gift, but on sale here

Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Beauty Products

Today, I thought I'd share some of my favorite beauty products for the summer. I don't use a lot of  products and I am quickly frustrated when products don't live up to their hype. But these are products I use on a daily basis. 

The Olay In-Shower Body Lotion is a total game changer. Hands down the best product on this list. I've never found a body lotion that provided sufficient moisture without leaving a residue or making me feel greasy. Plus, I found it difficult to remember to put on  lotion  as part of my morning routine. Applying it after the shower meant I had to allow for drying time before getting dressed. If you have a dog, you might understand the challenge this presents. Sadie thought my legs were very tasty and lapped up my lotion-covered legs. The in-shower body lotion means I don't have to remember or fight the dog to put on lotion. Not to mention, it does a great job moisturizing and smells wonderfully.  The downside: it's difficult to find. I used to buy it while grocery shopping at Kroger. But, since I moved to DC, I've started buying it online from Wal-Mart.

I have packets of these oil absorbing sheets stashed everywhere. I do mean everywhere. Read: my desk, my work bag, and my purse. I also keep extras on hand. These are great at absorbing excess oil while leaving your make-up in tact. I have oily skin so I keep these within reach year-round, but I do use them more during the summer. 

Clinique Chubby Sticks are my favorite. I have tried the "Intense" Clinique Chubby Stick in colors similar to the cherry and strawberry, but I didn't love them nearly as much as the original. I didn't notice a difference in moisturizing or staying power, so I'll be sticking with the standard in chunky cherry and super strawberry. They are not as bright on as they appear in the picture and you have significant control on the color based on how many coats you apply. I find that these two colors cover all my bases, regardless of what I'm wearing (from peach to purple to red). They're easy to apply (i.e. don't need a mirror), stays longer than traditional chapstick, and offers some needed moisture.

Let me know what you think if you give any of these products a try. I hope you lvoe them as much as I do. 

Do you have any products that you absolutely love? What are they? I'd love to hear about them! Also, please let me know if you're interested in more posts like this!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Pearls, Bows, and Pumps

Fit and flare is everywhere these days, and I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about the style. On the one hand, it's fun, flirty, and forgiving. But, I definitely think it can look juvenile or simply overwhelm my frame. 

I purchased this dress last fall for my now-husband and I's November engagement photos. I styled it with black tights and flats. But, I've been wearing it to work this summer. I've been pairing it with heels an wedges to give me just a little more height so the flare is more proportionate to my frame. I also accessorize with pieces designed to draw your attention to a different focal point so the skirt isn't the entire focal point. 

These pearls, which you know by now I wear with everything, are great for drawing the attention up and away from all the flare. But really, I'm always looking for an excuse to wear these pearls. 

The belt is a great way to dress the outfit up, for an event or summer wedding, while also downplaying the pleats and flare.  I definitely need to incorporate it into more outfits.

I promise I'll start posting transitional and fall outfits soon, I'm just holding onto the last few weeks of summer!

Dress: old, similar here | Shoes: old, similar here | Necklace: here currently sold out, but will probably be re-stocked. Also available here. Belt: Old, similar here

Monday, August 17, 2015

Pattern Play

I originally bought this dress a couple of years ago for casual wear (it's a tall dress from Banana Republic). And it didn't cross my mind to wear it to work until recently. I've found that my shoes have the biggest influence on whether my outfit is business or casual. When paired with these leopard wedges, I find it to be work appropriate. The three-quarter length sleeves makes it a great dress to transition into fall and then also wear in the winter with tights. Or, a great dress to fight the freezing office temperatures.

Have you seen this article? Like we've all suspected, office temperatures are designed to accommodate men in suits. AND, as if we didn't already know, men have faster metabolisms. My husband is a bean pole, but eats no less than three cookies and a Klondike bar a day. I want his metabolism that way I can stay skinny and warm.

As much as I love summer, fall is coming whether we like it or not. I love to mix prints, but I find it kind of difficult to do so in the summer since I wear so many dresses. But, come fall, it's easy to add a patterned scarf or cardigan. One of my all time favorite pattern combinations is stripes and leopard. In the winter I'll add a polka dot scarf to this outfit.  If you're mixing and matching several prints, I recommend maintaining the same color scheme. Other prints that are great to mix and match: floral and stripes, windowpane or gingham and floral, and polka dots and stripes.

Dress: old, similar here | Shoes: old, similar here | Necklace: old, similar here and here

Friday, August 14, 2015

Rules Are Meant to be Broken

Happy, happy FRIDAY!  It's here, finally. I was under the misconception that yesterday was Friday. And by 3:30pm, I was really bummed when I realized it wasn't. Whoops. But, good news. TODAY is Friday. So, here's one of my favorite desk to drinks dresses, perfect for Friday. 

Do you ever buy a piece of clothing that just ends up sitting in your closet? I have a rule, if I don't wear it in a year, I discard it. Exception: I lost the piece of clothing or totally forgot about it. This dress should have been thrown out according to my rule. But, for whatever reason, I never tossed it. It's times like these that I'm so glad I broke my own rule (though, it was by complete accident).

I originally bought it probably 3+ years ago on super discount from Anthropologie. And then it just sat in my closet. But, I've definitely made up for lost time. It's now one of my favorite summer work dresses. For those in conservative offices who want to incorporate patterns, a geometric in a traditional work color (navy, grey, black) paired with the same color blazer is a great choice. 

Fun fact: We've been taking photos outside but in more isolated areas. I'm a little (um, very) self-conscious of taking photos while there are onlookers. Well, when we were headed out the door take photograph this outfit, we had a little bit of a miscommunication. So, we ended up in one of the most crowded areas near us. Eeek. But, I powered through. I feel pretty good about it. And, it means that you're not looking at the same backgrounds. Progress! It definitely gave me the confidence to branch out more in the future!

Dress: old, but similar here and here | Blazer: here | Shoes: old, similar

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The All Occasion Dress

When my husband and I got married earlier this summer, I moved from NC to DC, and we moved in together. He graciously offered me the walk in closet. He volunteered it. I didn't even have to ask. I knew I married well!

So, I have the walk in closet and good thing because I filled it pretty quickly. Even after purging before and after the move. With the lack of closet space (a new phenomenon for me; I had closet space galore in NC as a single lady), I have to be careful about what I buy. This means, I'm always on the lookout for pieces that will do double and triple duty. This dress does just that. It's appropriate for work when paired with a cardigan or blazer and wedges. It's a great outdoor summer party dress without the cardigan and when you swap the heels for sandals. Lastly, I love it for a casual Friday or Saturday out running errands and/or brunching.

This dress is available in tall. I originally ordered it in tall, but found that it was a little too big. Unfortunately, JCrew doesn't offer too many pieces in Tall 0 (which normally isn't a problem for me). Tall sizes tend to run a little big: a Tall 2 is more like a Regular 4, but not quite. So, if the Tall size doesn't quite fit, I often size up in the Regular. It oftentimes (but not always) gives me the additional length I need. This dress is shorter than most of my work dresses, but not too short. And because it is shorter, it makes it more versatile outside the office.

May I share a tiny complaint with you? I'm so thankful that more and more retailers are offering Tall sizes and that those retailers are expanding their Tall departments. However, I really wish they'd offer Tall sizes without simultaneously making them BIG and TALL. Like, why is the same size in Tall any wider? It should be longer, the waist should be altered to fall at the appropriate place, the inseam should be longer, etc. But, I don't understand why there is an assumption that a tall woman is larger. And, if the stores are going to make, say for example, a size Tall 4 not only longer and proportionate for a tall woman, but wider and bigger, then they should offer the Talls in smaller sizes. Heck, if the regular clothing is available in an XXS, 000, and 00, I think it's ridiculous that the Tall sizes start in T2 and Small (especially when those are more likely to fit even a tall woman like a 4 or Medium).

Has anyone else also experienced this? OK, end rant. Thanks for listening! :)

The tip of the day is this: if the Tall doesn't fit you, try sizing up in the regular.

Dress: here | Cardigan: here | Necklace: here | Shoes: old, similar here

Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer is still in Full Swing

I hope everyone had a great weekend! Our wishes for cooler weather came true and we jumped on the chance to get outdoors so we took the dog and headed just outside the city to Great Falls. We got some good hiking in by lunch time when we decided we would make a quick trip to Chick-fil-A before heading home. Just so you know, I'm addicted to Chick-fil-A. I worked there throughout high school and it has to be my favorite fast food joint (Bojangles is a close second). But, there aren't any in the city near and easily accessible to us. So, we figured we'd stop by one on the way home for lunch. Well, what was supposed to be a quick detour turned into a scenic drive through Clarendon and Arlington, VA. We ended up at a Chick-fil-A in a food court. So, I ran in grabbed lunch and we enjoyed a picnic in the parking deck. It was delicious. Well worth the drive. 

Despite the cooler temperatures on Saturday, it warmed up Sunday and the temperatures will be rising into the high 80s and low 90s this week. Summer is definitely still in full swing. But, you wouldn't know that looking at retailers' new arrivals and window displays. Fall always seems to come this time of year in the clothing retail industry. I'm not ready for fall. Because as much as I love fall, it means winter is coming. I don't like winter. And this winter is probably going to be especially hard for me since it will be my first in the city. 

This dress is the epitome of summer office attire. It's colorful, patterned, and flows with the wind (as depicted in the photos above :)). While most of my work dresses are all-seasons appropriate if accompanied with tights and/or a scarf, I have to make the most of this dress during the summer which means I try to wear it frequently.  As summer winds down, I find myself wearing it more often in an effort to hold onto summer. So, I'm sure it will be on repeat for the next month.

Dress: old, similar here, and here | Blazer: here | Shoes: old, similar here | Necklace: old, similar here 


Friday, August 7, 2015

Tone on Tone

Sometimes I think I should have lived during the Mad Men era. Then I remember I probably wouldn't have fared well: I'm opinionated, career oriented, and a horrible housewife. But, I love 1950s inspired clothing. When I happened upon this dress, it caught my eye. The v-neck was a pleasant surprise, so many suiting dresses are round or boat neck which can get a little tight and constricting during the day (does anyone else have to remember to pull down their dress before sitting?!?). This neckline is definitely screaming for a statement necklace, but I don't currently own one that I love with it. Like I said previously, I need to expand my statement necklace collection.

 I couldn't make my mind up about the pleats. They definitely make the dress stand out. But, I was concerned it made the dress a little too Jacki O. I caught it on promotion and decided to give it a try. I'm so glad I decided to take a chance. The pleats drape exceptionally well, they're heavy and keep their shape well throughout the day with  minimal wrinkling on the back side. In fact, we took these pictures after I'd worn the dress all day.

Paired with this grey leopard print cardigan, I don't think it reads too 1950s housewife. What do you think? This dress does not come in tall, but as you can see, it hits just barely above my knee. So, no extra length necessary. I've considered having it hemmed just a little, but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. I would recommend sizing down. I ordered my usual size and probably should have exchanged it, but I didn't. The reviews suggest it was also a hit with petite women who were willing to make necessary alterations. And, it comes in pink if you're more daring than me. 

Dress: here | Cardigan: old, similar here, and here | Shoes: old, similar here, here, and here

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Power Dress

Some days, I like to keep it simple. Black and white is always an easy way to look polished and simultaneously stylish.

This is my power dress. It's comfortable, professional, and makes me feel confident. Sometimes I worry that my love affair with clothes is materialistic and a waste of time and money. I feel a bit guilty. But, then I remember that when I love what I'm wearing I feel good about the way I look and about myself so I'm better able to conquer my day. I hate arriving at work wearing an outfit that I'm less than pleased with because it leaves me distracted. Even worse is when I realize something I'm wearing isn't comfortable or doesn't lay right so I end up fidgeting with my clothing all day.

I think we all deserve to feel great and look great and clothes are a big part of that. If I can't wear my yoga pants and a tank top to work, this dress is the next best thing. It's not unique, but it fits me well, is very comfortable, and is versatile year-round. It also allows me to make a statement with my shoes.

Dress: old, similar here, here, and here | Shoes: here | Necklace: old, similar here, and here

Monday, August 3, 2015

Coral + Leopard

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! We beat the heat and caught our first movie in a really long time, Mission Impossible. It did not disappoint! We're hoping for some cooler weather sometime soon so we can go hiking. But, you won't hear me wishing summer away. I'll take the heat over cold weather any day! 
This week, I'll be showcasing my wardrobe staples: suiting dresses. They are the base of my work wear and I don't think it's possible to own too many! But, they can be a little boring. Which can be a good thing. It means they go well with blazers and cardigans and are appropriate for client meetings, the courtroom, and every day office attire.

This dress is one of my favorites, for several reasons. First, it has sleeves. The longer sleeves make it office appropriate without a blazer or cardigan. Which is nice, especially here in DC where it's been topping 95 degrees regularly. Second, it has a defined waist which I think is universally flattering, and lastly it has pockets. I also love the light grey color for summer because I think it pairs well with bright colors, but you'll also see me wear this dress in the winter with tights and a scarf.

Most days, I don't have to dress for court or client meetings. So, I like to add a little color or print or both to my work dresses. Here, I love mixing the coral and leopard print. If both are a bit too much for your workday, feel free to swap out the shoes for black or nude to tone down the look. While leopard is a neutral in the fashion world, the more senior partner may not think so.

If your office is a bit cooler and the elbow sleeves won't keep you warm enough during the day, pair it with a navy or black blazer. If you are looking to introduce even more interest, add a striped blazer like this one (I have one of Target's ponte blazers and they're amazingly comfortable, but I do recommend removing the shoulder pads).

Dress: old, but similar here, here and here | Shoes: old, but similar here | Necklace old, but similar here, and here| Purse: gift, but is now on sale here