Winter Fashion Tips & Tricks – Part 1

January 4, 2015 in Winter Fashion Tips

If you live in a climate that has a long, frigid winter season, you probably know how challenging it can be to motivate yourself to stay warm and stylish the entire season. I know I’ll be happy to start wearing scrubs again!! With this in mind, I put together a few tips for staying warm, comfortable and presentable throughout the season. Part 1 is all about the layers up top!

Tip #1: Combat itchy sweaters. Nothing looks more winter than a chunky oversized wool sweater. Especially the turtleneck variety. Unfortunately, these can be annoyingly itchy, particularly for those with allergies and sensitive skin! Layering is the obvious answer. But finding the right layer is the key. The highest quality, best variety, and most highly rated tops I’ve found are made by a brand called Majestic (best varieties at Bloomingdales and Neiman’s). The Majestic layering tops are a super smooth and stretchy viscose blend; they are extremely form fitting, so they lay smooth under any sweater and don’t add bulk. They come in lots of versions (long sleeve crew, turtleneck, boatneck, etc), so you can always find the perfect cut to layer under a specific sweater.   They are starting to hit sale, so now is the perfect time to pick some up (I just grabbed a white turtleneck and black 3/4 sleeve U neck, each for >50% off).

winter layering; fix itchy turtlenecks
Shirt // Outfits
 

Tip #2: Get top layers to lay flat. I love the look of a button down shirt peeking out from under a more form fitting sweater. But may times, the overlaying sweater shows lumps and bumps if worn directly over the shirt. A quick and easy way to smooth everything out is to throw a tank top on over the shirt and under the sweater. Any tight tank top would do, preferably one with a little less length so it doesn’t start peeking out the bottom. I love this tank from J. Crew because it has a double layer of fabric which is wonderful for smoothing things out (whether its needs to conceal shirt buttons when layered or bra lines when worn alone).

winter layers lay flat
Sweater // Shirt // Tank
 

Tip #3: Find the right blend. When you’re sick of layering and want to be warm yet comfortable in just one layer, finding a specific fabric blend is the way to go. 100% wool fabrics are extremely warm, but tend to have at least some itchiness. However, when the wool is blended with a itch-free fabric such as silk or cotton, you get the best of both worlds (plus a beautiful drape). These blends can get pretty pricy, but they’re available at reasonable prices as well. Yoox always has some good options (like this beautiful cardigan sitting in my dreambox  at $59), as does the Outnet and Last Call.  Be a little cautious of super cheap ones- you do need a certain quality of wool to achieve this.

Cashmere Silk Blends
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6
 

Do you already use these tactics? What other tips to do have?

Holiday updates

December 29, 2014 in LOOKBOOK

Having extra days off is a rare commodity in residency, so I was pretty lucky to have off on 12/25. Although I considered it, I decided against driving 12 hours to see my family for a the day (I also have a fear of driving long distances in my car now that I hit >180k miles). So, instead I accompanied Ben to celebrate with his family on the 24th (after work) and the 25th. It was nice and relaxing. We did lots of eating, chatting, and wine-ing. And after some wine-ing we played Cards Against Humanity. I’ve played this game quite a few times now and it has been fun each time, regardless of the crowd. If you haven’t heard of it… and aren’t easily offended… definitely give it a look!

Mackage Coat
Mackage Coat (current version, their sister company also made an awesome puffer this year that’s on my radar), Gucci Pants, J. Crew Shoes, Fendi Bag
Since I’d only seen Ben’s family a handful of times (and never for some extended family), I had quite the struggle figuring out what to wear. Nearly everything I wear is business casual (or pajamas or yoga clothes, but that’s even less helpful). So on the 24th I did the only thing that seemed logical… I wore these work clothes. It was pretty obvious that I was working all day, so I don’t think anyone cared that I hadn’t changed. But for Christmas day I didn’t have that excuse. I realllllly wanted to wear sweat pants, but I don’t feel quite that comfortable doing that just yet. :p I ended up throwing on my favorite jeans and a black sweater with cutouts (similar to this one but with a cowl neck). Seriously, I wear too much black.

Winter Blacks
Sadly, on Friday I had to go back to work. I have two more weeks of consult services, which means two more weeks of having to dress up every day. Honestly, at first I kind of enjoyed getting all dressed up in the morning. But now its not so fun. I don’t have a huge wardrobe, so I’ve been wearing a lot of the same stuff over and over. Especially sweaters. I’m trying to keep my eye out for some cozy sweaters now that the holidays are over and I can shop for myself. I was browsing Bloomingdales for sweaters to make the free shipping minimum before I realized there was no minimum (Majestic shirts went on sale and I had to grab some… these are the best under itchy sweaters) when I somehow came across this Free People pullover. Love it. I don’t usually say that. Of course its not yet on sale, so I’ll have to wait to try it. Actually, sales really aren’t that great just yet, now that I’ve spent some time looking. Is the end of January the best sale time? I suppose I should save up then.

Mackage Trench Coat
Hope your week is starting out well! And a quick thank you to the readers that have commented recently and put up with my less than punctual replies. I really appreciate all of your feedback and comments! Thank you thank you thank you!

finding perfect pants… on eBay

December 21, 2014 in LOOKBOOK

I remember how I felt when I first started using eBay back in high school. I was nervous… and a bit overwhelmed. But I was so excited about potentially being able to buy items that I couldn’t otherwise afford with my $6/hr cashier job. I made a purchase or two every month. Some worked out… some didn’t. Over time I got more and more competent at buying pre-owned. Now-a-days I’d I can find deals on just about anything I’m looking for (if there are deals to be had).

Cozy scarves and chunky layers
J. Crew Shirt (newer version), Citizens of Humanity jeans (love them!!), American Retro cardigan, J. Crew shoes, Celine bag, Magaschoni scarf
Some years I shop on eBay extremely often, and other years the purchases are few and far between. If you read this blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’ve made significantly more pre-owned purchases than new ones this year. There are a few reasons for this. First, it seemed as though every blogger was starting to wear the same clothes. That’s not the worst thing in the world, but its certainly annoying (especially when others look better in the stuff!). Next, I just wasn’t finding items that fit my style. This was especially the case this past spring and summer (I swear I couldn’t find anything that was flattering), and this really revved up my eBay shopping. The biggest reason I’ve stuck with shopping pre-owned was the strikingly poor quality of the items available.  I’ve been attempting to build a versatile wardrobe (with a focus on professional wear), and I’m looking for high quality, well-fitting (or potentially well-fitting after a trip to the tailor) items that I’ll want to reach for day after day.

J. Crew Elsie Pumps
Lets talk about pants for a moment. I’ve always struggled to find well-fitting pants (jeans are a problem too, but I’ve given up looking and now stick with my AG stilts and these Citizens ;)). At work last year I lived in my J. Crew Minnies and Ann Taylor trousers. These were the best off-the-rack pants I could find (I tried other popular styles like drapey pants, dressed-up sweat pants, tuxedo pants… but they looked ridiculous on me). Wearing these pants was fine for a while. But my Minnie pants always had to be worn the same way, with bum-covering tunics or sweaters, because they’re closer to leggings than pants. And my Ann Taylor trousers always fit just ok and typically were a little too long or short because I could never justify bringing $40 pants to the tailor for $30 in alterations (I’m between sizes and inseams). Lacking basic pairs of well-fitting, flattering pants really made it difficult to feel good about any outfit! So, as my eBay shopping was increasing, I made it a priority to look for some pre-owned pants. I did some browsing on NAP to become familiar with brands ogle their perfectly styled models featuring an array of pants styles (skinny pants, wide-leg trousers, flare trousers, slim cropped pants, wide-leg crops… gorgeous). Since the pants I was buying were so affordable (high quality brands like Prada at less than $50!), I allowed myself to try so many styles I would have otherwise avoided. It turns out that so many styles of pants can be flattering and comfortable with the right quality material and a little tailoring, even on a petite figure!

Layering chunky knits
I know buying pre-owned isn’t something that everyone is comfortable with, but it works for me and keeps me from getting caught up with the next great trend, like dressed up sweat pants. I know its not overly useful to blog about sold out or unavailable items, but there are probably 2,254,643 fashion blogs right now that link anything and everything you could possibly be looking for. And I’m sure I’ll be back to buying mostly new eventually!