Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's a Bib, Baby

Dressing each morning has been fun this week because I've rotated into the wardrobe a few Fall/Winter pieces that have been tucked under my bed since last spring. This gray wool dress is one of them - it's perfectly "Sara" thanks to the classic cut + feminine details (in this case a ruffled bib collar and pockets). I've not yet bought tights, so made do with a pair of leggings since this dress is too short to do without a little extra leg coverage.

The bib collar is fun but also makes me feel a little like an overgrown baby when I'm eating. I'm always self-concious that I've dropped food onto the bib. Because that would be so like me!

The clothes:
Black jersey bolero - Lane Bryant
Gray wool dress- Gap
Leggings- Lane Bryant
Ballet slippers-
Vintage flower earrings - Great Grandma Midge
Zebra Belt- Merona, at Target

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What to Wear - Alumni Homecoming Parade

This weekend is my alma mater's Homecoming game and parade. I went to the University of Minnesota and, while I never attended a single football game as an undergrad, all of my friends are Golden Gophers who make a fun day of watching the Homecoming game and carousing on campus. A big part of this ritual is decking ourselves out in our school colors - maroon and gold - before gathering on University Avenue to watch the Homecoming parade and surrepticiously sip screwdrivers out of an OJ bottle.

Because I'm not a true fan and only show up once a year to root for the team, I've never made a point of buying any Gopher gear- no T-shirts or sweatshirts, knitted hats or scarves hang in my closet. So I've become a pro at creating festive, spirit-fingers worthy outfits that incorporate our school colors with clothes I already own or pieces I've purchased and can wear the other 364 days of the year. Here's my approach to dressing for Homecoming-

Most of the time, I usually wear dark jeans because they're dressier than a lighter wash. But a light wash is the perfect choice for casual events like this:

A striped tee, contrast scarf and black Converse All Star sneakers are all super casual, easy pieces that combine to create a really cute outfit.

A plaid button down is a little nicer than its tee shirt alternative. Keep it from straying into "too serious" territory by looping on a contrast-pattern scarf, the same black Converse shoes and a simple ponytail.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pattern Play

This dress is a real eye-catcher. The first few times I wore it, I self conciously wondered why everyone seemed to be looking at me. Since then I've grown more comfortable with the fact that the print and color combo beg a second glance. I reserve this jersey print dress for fall and winter; despite the vibrant blue and white color palette the fabric is very heavy. This is the first time the dress has seen the light of day in several months, so I decided to pair it with one of my newer belts. Give it a proper welcome and all that.

The clothes:
Blue and white dress - Donna Morgan (via Marshalls)
Black cashmere cardigan- Gap
Faux-snakeskin stretch belt - Lane Bryant Outlet
Mixed metal necklace- Lane Bryant
Black kitten heels - Payless

Hair How-To: Easy Half-bumped Hair

Monday, September 27, 2010

Perfect At Any Age

One of my favorite monthly features in Harper's Bazaar magazine is Fabulous at Any Age. It's a spread that details the current trends and relevant fashion notes by age group: 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60+. I love the way the magazine acknowledges that an interest in style doesn't stop once you turn 40, 50, etc. Plus, it's a great gauge for anyone who's afraid of dressing either too young or too old for her age.

This month, Harper's took this feature one step further to break down the myth that what's perfect for a 60 year old will look dated on a 20 year old; and that what a 20 year old wears could never be appropriate for a woman of a certain age. Here are two pages from the article, titled Ageless Style (pgs 354 and 355).

This is 1960's style icon (and former Mod Squad star) Paeggy Lipton, paired with up-and-comer Ashley Greene. Peggy is 64 and Ashley is 23 - yet neither looks out of place in their matching outfits.

The second page is of 66 year-old Jacqueline Bisset, renowned actress, with former Jonas Brother girlfriend Camilla Belle, aged 23. In their trenches, gloves and tights, Jacqueline looks like an extremely chic woman with a touch of femme fatale. Camilla pulls it off in a youthful, Uptown girl kind of way.

This is a great lesson that, mini skirts and glitter aside, the line between what's appropriate for younger women and older women may not be that far apart. Here are a few pieces that I can see hanging in the closets of women in their 20's, in their 60's and everything in between:

Pages scanned from October 2010 issue of Harper's Bazaar.

Date Night

This weekend, Dan and I attended a screening party to celebrate a short film one of our friends made. As we were getting ready, Dan was really proud of the fact that he'd matched his shoelaces to his belt...both a bright yellow. Since he was clearly in fashion mode, I told him he was about to be featured on my blog:

Then he gave me some pointers on how to pose for these outfit shots (instead of my old standby of "hand on the hip and smile.")

I guess out of the two of us, Dan's the more natural supermodel.

Sara's Outfit:

Black cardigan - Gap
Green and white tee- Old Navy
Gray denim skirt- Gap
Black leggings - Lane Bryant
Ruched boots- Payless
Pinecone necklace- Grandma Ruth's
Gold bangle- Lia Sophia

Dan's Outfit:
Gray tee (underneath) - Gap Outlet
Blue plaid button down- Gap
Gray jeans- DKNY
Blue Converse All Stars (with custom yellow laces) -
Sports watch - Adidas

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Simply Be Hits the States

Simply Be is the one of the latest plus size retailers to make the leap from across the pond, landing smack in the center of the surge of fabulous offerings here in the U.S. I've not had a chance to experience their clothing first hand - though the fact that they carry Anna Scholz speaks well for them. ButI do like a lot of what I see.

To give you an idea of what you might find there, I've pulled together two very different looks styled around two of my favorite dresses from Simply Be.

The second I saw this ultra-frilly dress, I knew it would be the perfect foundational piece for a girly/tough combination. This ponte moto jacket and boots perfectly balance out the super feminine dress.

I would wear this outfit out with the girls, or on date night with Dan. The zipper front dress is a chic LBG that would look great paired with dark tights and short boots in an unexpected color - in this case an eggplant purple. A dramatic necklace necklace and cocktail ring are both interesting without looking too busy on this edgy frock.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Dressing for Myself

A great perk of my job is the ability to work from home when one has no meetings and it's raining cats & dogs outside. I love going into the office and thrive on the energy of my co-workers, but every once in a while it's nice to hunker down with some paperwork without having to get dressed.

Although of course I still got dressed for the day. I feel more productive when I have a cute outfit on. And if I do say so, it's a shame no one saw me because I had a fantastic hair day:

I've received several requests for a video showing how I create this hairstyle. I assume the people who've asked are fully aware of how terrible I am at how-to videos so they must really want the details. :) So I'll pull that together very soon. In the meantime - how great is that red belt? I found it in a boutique accessory shop at Rosedale Mall. It's super comfortable, and I love the horseshoe clasp.

The clothes:
Gold gemstone necklace - Lia Sophia
Striped boyfriend-style button down - Lane Bryant
Red stretchy belt- Lulu Rose
Skinny jeans- Z. Cavaricci (via Torrid)
Black suede booties- Payless

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Charm of a Charm Bracelet

I'm hopelessly sentimental, especially when it comes to memories of my family. I'm the one who's always pulling out a camera and unfolding a tripod in the middle of a hotel lobby to capture a family photo. One of my favorite ways of preserving memories is with jewelry. I've been fortunate enough to have been passed down several pieces from my mom and grandmothers; and my dad, husband, and brother have each gifted me with some really special pieces too.

One of the most personal ways to combine jewelry with memories is with a charm bracelet. Have you ever owned one? My first charm bracelet began when I was in middle school. I was so excited to go into York Jewelry with my dad and pick out a sterling silver bracelet, just waiting to be filled with charms representing milestones and adventures in my young life: a crown to represent my name (God's Princess); a clarinet (chosen when I joined the 8th grade marching band), and even a medallion with a bear imprint (picked up during a memorable family trip through the Black Hills). Sadly, I have no idea what happened to this bracelet because I would absolutely still wear it.

I have two charm bracelets at the moment.

The top is a classic Tiffany & Co. ID bracelet, given to me by my brother and sister-in-law to commemorate my college graduation. I've often thought of adding more charms to it but haven't really found any that mean something to me.

The bottom bracelet was a gift from Dan. He gave it to me the first Christmas we were married, so I'd always remember our first Christmas. It's from Red Envelope and is holiday-themed. Because it's seasonal, I wear it non-stop from November to January.

If you'd like to start your own charm bracelet, you can either build your own or choose one with charms already attached. If you're building your own, you can find chain link bracelets lots of places - your local jewelry store or an online store like Blue Nile. You'd be surprised where you can find charms to add - everywhere from mall kiosks and junk shops to upscale jewelry stores like Tiffany's.

If you're going the route of a pre-made charm bracelet, Alex and Ani charm bangles are a favorite of Hollywood stars like Sandra Bullock and Jessica Simpson. They're delicate and so pretty:

Prices for Ani and Alex charm bangles run about $21-32 per set, but you can get a great discount (30% or more!) if you sign up as a member of
Whenever I'm asked to give a presentation at work, my first thought is always, "What should I wear?" It should probably be a lot of other things (what should I talk about, who is my audience, yadda yadda) but I'll be honest and admit that it's always about the clothes. This is my version of power dressing - something that is memorable but not distracting, shows my personality but is situationally appropriate:

I absolutely love this sleeveless watercolor print swing dress. I bought it in June and have worn the heck out of it since then. This is the first time I've paired it with the long open cardigan; I usually go with a waist length cardi. But I wore mine yesterday so swapped this one in. I felt comfortable and polished while presenting.

I was really happy with the way my makeup turned out, too:

I swept a mint green shadow over my entire lid, then patted a taupe color up to my brow bone. A darker shade of mohoganey defined the crease while a dark brown liner along the top and bottom lashes accented my eye shape. I slicked on a clear gloss with just a hint of purple (which is supposed to make my teeth look whiter) and called it good. And my manicure? Is O.P.I.'s Mrs. O'Leary's BBQ - my favorite fall shade.

The clothes:
Black open cardigan - Lane Bryant
Watercolor swing dress- Lane Bryant
Reversible belt- Gap
Kitten heels- Payless
Swarovski crystal necklace- gift from a friend's wedding
Chain link bracelet- Lia Sophia

The makeup:
Foundation - Revlon Photo Ready in Vanilla
Pink Blush- Pale Pink by Bobbi Brown
Shadows- Mint, Taupe and Mohoganey all by Bobbi Brown
Eyeliner- Mink by NYX
Mascara- Scandalash by mark, in Black
Lipgloss - by Fleur's