30 August 2012

Now and Later

gilded estate stripes   camel dots & blue

I think the vast majority of us consider fall to be a much favored season. The crispness in the air and respite from the heat, not breaking out into a sweat by virtue of standing still and being able to finally slip on the cozy layers, changing foliage and crunching leaves underfoot, snuggling on a chilly afternoon with a blanket and good book, being the right season for sipping hot cocoa with too many marshmallows.

camel dots & blue  gilded estate stripes

Can you tell which season I adore most? Unfortunately for a fall lover like me, I live in the SE, so despite it being mere inches away from September, it is going to feel quite summer-like for another few weeks still. And then be like fall for about a week before we hit SE winter - i.e., cold and wet with nary a drop of real dea snow.

gilded estate stripes    camel dots & blue

So when the skirt I am wearing in this post finally hit sale and I brought it home with me, I was inspired to not only show off the outfit I did wear (striped top) but also another ensemble for when my idea of cool weather hits (lotsa dots). Shoot, throw on some tights and a collared shirt under the sweater and I'll be all set for winter too!

What are you wearing now that will also easily transition for fall? What are you looking forward to breaking out of your closet once the weather starts cooling down?

gilded estate stripes

gilded estate stripes

Top: J.Crew perfect boatneck (worn here - sim, sim, simtunic)
Skirt: Yoana Baraschi via Anthropologie gilded estate (now on sale - sim, lighter, luxe)
Necklace: J.Crew factory (worn here - simsimsim)
Shoes: Guess kissani (sim wedge, low heelluxe)

camel dots & blue

camel dots & blue

Sweater: ON boatneck (same print as dress, sim, white dots)
Collar: Asos gold sequin (worn here - sim)
Bracelets: J.Crew factory, ON, Target, F21 (sim, sim, sim, sim)
Shoes: Michael Kors hamilton (worn here - plain, simsimlow heel)

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Have a good Labor Day weekend, ladies! Enjoy summer's unofficial last hurrah.

And don't forget to enter my giveaway for a $100 gift card to Shopbop! Enter here.

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28 August 2012

Wanna Win $100 Gift Card to Shopbop?

It is nearly September, people, which means fall is nearly upon us and our stylish minds are turning towards cool weather frocks, boots, woolies, and cozy jackets. So what better way to help (literally) gear up for autumn than if you had $100 extra in your wallet to spend?


Sponsored by the fashionable folks over at Shopbop, here's an opp for one of you lucky gals to win a

$100 gift card to Shopbop

Have you check out Shopbop recently? They just relaunched their web site so surfing and product viewing is more streamlined and user-friendly. Shopbop is one of my favorite online designer retailers that carry pretty much everything you need to deck yourself out - along with a HUGE sale section that gets frequently updated. I have spent way too many hours perusing their site - and now they even have a Shopbop Pinterest page for more stylish inspiration.

This season on Shopbop, they've got a huge selection of McQ Alexander McQueen (including McQ Alexander McQueen flats) and Current/Elliot denim. And with free expedited shipping and returns, what have you got to lose?


Entering is easy: Be a follower of respect the shoes via GFC, Bloglovin or Facebook
(And leave a comment on this post with your e-mail address - if there's not already a way to reach you via your profile or blog - letting me know how you follow)

* For an extra entry, you can blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with the link
** Another option for an extra entry is to go on the Shopbop web site and let me know what you're loving

Three total chances to enter per person. Please leave each entry as a separate comment.

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Contest concludes at 9:59 p.m. EST on Friday, September 7 a winner will be selected at random shortly after that. International entries are welcome, but unfortunately PA bloggers are not eligible, sorry! This giveaway is sponsored by the folks from Shopbop.

Good luck ladies!

27 August 2012

Falling into the Bandwagon

orange & elephants

I was pretty successful at staying away from the J.Crew bubble necklace for several years, since the original had a heart-stopping price point, the size is nearly too-darn-big, and there are copycats all over the place. I didn't know whether I love or hated the piece since it seemed pretty popular in blogdom, but I relented and fell for the trend a few weeks back when I bought one off Ebay for cheap - obviously not the real deal  J.Crew original, but for $12, I didn't think it would hurt to try it out.

orange & elephants  hat

I wore these outfits over the weekend when BF and I went to visit some fam. The weight of the necklace felt a bit heavy on after some extended wear, but the quality of the copy I got seemed similar to the real deal (granted I don't own the real version of the necklace and have only ever handled it in-store) and it sure was a no-brainer way to make a statement on an otherwise basic outfit. Was I glad I bought this necklace? Absolutely, I definitely think I'll get my money's worth and I had a hoot to telling anyone who asked that I scored this necklace off Ebay for $12 because I do think it looks more expensive.

hat  orange & elephants

Will I get another one? Honestly I am seriously tempted since the rainbow hues are gorgeous and I was pleasantly surprised at how wearable this pretty big necklace was. But I don't know if I will. Because this is obviously a knockoff of a real deal necklace that is selling for a lot more (though I personally feel that the original is way overpriced for what it is) and it is a distinctive-looking piece that seems to be everywhere on everyone. So I fell for a trend - but I don't want to look like everyone else. Except I do. But it's pretty. And a tag overdone. But I like it.

What do you think about the J.Crew bubble necklace? When a particular item becomes highly sought-after and popular, does it make you want the item even more, or does it turn you off from the item? If you want the item and can't get your hands on the original, do you keep seeking or opt to get your hands on a copycat?

orange & elephants

Top: Gap boyfriend popover (sim other prints, sim, pricey)
Necklace: J.Crew bubble via Ebay (real deal, options via Ebay, via Etsy)
Shorts: J.Crew chino (worn here - sim)
Shoes: Indigo by Clarks joli (worn here - sim, sim, plain, edgy)

hat

Top: LEC boyfriend (worn here - sim, sim)
Skirt: J.Crew pin-stripe (worn here - sim, sim, sim)
Shoes: LifeStride utopia (on sale - worn here - sim, sim)
Bag: Zara (worn here - sim, pricey, canvas)
Hat: Christy's & Co (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)

23 August 2012

The Perfect Blogger Ensemble?

I think it is great that style blogging exists so that a group of gals who adore fashion and dressing up can get together in a way that we may not be able to do in real day-to-day life. We often share and compare our daily outfits and inspire (and challenge) ourselves to find fresh ways of wearing an old basic or new combinations we never would have thought of before on our own.

I've said this over and over again, but style blogging has really let me blossom on the sartorial front and dress better than I think I would have on my own. 'Cause let's be honest, we dress for ourselves as much as we do for other women (because I think part of the fun of fashion is appreciating it).

teal stripes

So in these modern times when we can be a part of a community of like-minded individuals from literally all around the world, does the inspiration (and challenge) to "dress up" get amplified more than it should? Am I getting over-influenced and over-dressing?

In normal day-to-day style blog world, everyone gushes but no one really bats an eye over a boldly mixed pattern outfit (stripes on stripes! dots on dots! zigzags and floral!) Four-inch heels with a pair of shorts are normal casual wear. If you can wear one chunky necklace, why can't you layer them and wear two? My belt is going to match my shoes which match my purse which match my ... lipstick - victory!

But while we can flock together virtually, what happens when we venture our individually into the real world with our blog-best ensembles? Do we just look like we're trying too hard now?

teal stripes  teal stripes

Take my outfit today. I was really proud when I put this together because the cardi matched the shoes which matched the necklace. And the necklace had the perfect touch of pink to go with the belt. And my striped dress? Well shoot, it is a neutral! I think I look pretty darn good, but I am borderline on whether or not it all goes together too well, if you know what I mean.

If I had no inkling of style blogging, this outfit would have never happened, period. And that would have been sad, because I really enjoy this dress. If I wasn't planning to blog this outfit, honestly the necklace would have likely gone and been replaced by something simple in gold or silver (but visually in blogdom, the big scoop neck looks empty without anything else emphasizing the neck area). So is style blogging making me dress better because I am less afraid to accessorize with a bold necklace, or is it just making me make a good outfit into a little too much outfit?

I don't mind looking like I try - as I've mentioned before, dressing better makes me feel better. But -

How do you know when you think an ensemble has you looking like you're trying too hard? Do you think style blogging can make us go overboard sometimes on how we wear something? (Or are we just style bloggers because we like it when it is a little too much and that's why we blog as an outlet?)

teal stripes

teal stripes

Dress: Maeve by Anthropologie slate stripes (worn here - sim, sim, other color, hi-loluxe)
Cardigan: F21 (worn here - sim, v-neck, cashmere)
Necklace: Anthropologie ampay - now on sale (worn here - simsim)
Bracelets: J.Crew factory, Old Navy, Target (sim, sim, sim)
Belt: J.Crew embossed (worn here - sim, sim)
Shoes: Zara lined wedge - ankle straps tucked in (worn here - sim, simankle strap)

21 August 2012

Love-to-Hate-to-Love

Thanks for all your comments on my shopping post last week! I'm always so appreciative of reading your thoughtful insights and responses to my ramblings. You ladies are fantastic, open-minded and smart as whips.

      ♥      ♥        

Fashion mags and marketers probably have a field day with me because I love shopping and fashion, so of course I need to keep an eye out on what's in style right this instant. I know not all trends work for everyone's lifestyle or body type though, so even though there are plenty of trends I do adore, you can thank my nostalgic tendencies for even loving some of the ones I know I can't quite pull off - 

red floral

MC Hammer must have rubbed off on my in a big way in my childhood because those slouchy cropped harem pants look not only comfy but edgy to me. However, my not being a stick-thin 5'10" supermodel makes it a wee bit difficult for me to pull of this look.

Have you walked into a J.Crew store recently? It's like a pallet of glow-in-the-dark paint went off in there, everything is so eye-searing bright. And who thought anyone would want to resemble a highlighter marker (ooh, ooh, me, me! Notice my belt?) and that this neon trend would last well past spring or beyond the Culture Club for that matter? Granted I do partake in this brighter-than-brights trend, but Jenna Lyons seems dangerously close to wanting us to go head-to-toe glow - and potentially convincing me to.

My first pair of really expensive shoes were a pair of purple and yellow Reebok Pump sneakers that my big sis bought for me. I was the kickin-ist of kids in the schoolyard when I debuted those babies. Nothing was more rad than to have a bunch of schoolmates stand around real close so they could listen to the hiss of the pump on the tongue of my sneaks in action. And those latent memories from are probably the reason why I adore with a fierce passion the retro-new trend of hidden wedge high top sneakers. Oh if I was in college again, I'd be rockin' those all over campus ...

red floral  red floral

And just as there are as many trends that I don't wear but still adore, there are the ones that just don't do it for me at all -

It's hard enough to get me in my regular dark-wash skinny jeans considering I have pretty muscular thighs, so colored skinnies in fruity look-at-me hues? I'm not quite ready for that yet. 

Cutaway bodices? I try pretty  hard to keep my midriff neatly packed in and hidden away, no one needs to get triangle-shaped glimpses of my back fat. 

Brogues or oxfords. I know it is the whole preppy tomboy-chic thing but I can't stand the sight of a pretty young thing ruining a perfectly fresh dress with dowdy flat shoes that don't even look comfy.

Photo print wearables. I know in essence it is just another pattern. But there's something about wearing some landscape portrait across my bum or something.

What are the trends that you can't get enough of, even if you wouldn't wear them yourself? Which trend do you wish would just go forever away though?

red floral

Dress: Chelsea Girl via Asos floral tea - hemmed it (worn here in original length - sim, sim, pricey, sim)
Belt: Asos fluro (worn here - sim, sim)
Necklace: F21 twisted rhinestone (worn here - sim, beaded, colorful)
Bracelets: J.Crew golden stripe via Ebay (worn here - sim) & J.Crew factory (worn here - sim)
Shoes: Seychelles she's got the moves (worn here - sim, sim, platform, pricey)

17 August 2012

This is Probably Too Much for a Friday

I initially thought about this post when I took my first tentative steps at weeding out my wardrobe (didn't get far, but my blog sale is going to be exploding soon). I obviously have an overflowing closet(s). If I didn't go shopping for the next several years, I am sure I would still have plenty of things to cover my body with and I would be in no danger of running around with holes in my soles or threadbare pants.

tribal

I enjoy shopping and adding new items to my wardrobe. I make no apologies over buying shoes, shoes, shoes and getting excited about sales or new arrivals. I make my own money, I pay my bills on time, I've worked hard to pay off huge post-college loans and living-on-my-own-for-the-first-time-woo-hoo! type debts. I may be spending but I am still saving. And when it comes down to it, how I choose to spend my money is my prerogative.

But I obviously have more than enough. And yet I still want more. So as I flip through my racks and pull out items that I haven't even worn yet this season, I couldn't help asking myself - why do I want more?

Look, I'm not into the psycho-chatter and I (thankfully) never had anything really horrific happen to me in my childhood, so I don't think there's any sort of deep-rooted reasoning for why I like purses and want to buy yet another striped something. I know things don't replace people, I get it (and I don't think I am trying to replace my dad with knee-high boots). But when I already have so much, why is that not enough?

tribal  tribal

I'm figuring that since I got into even liking fashion fairly late in the game (like after college late), I may be playing a game of catch-up with myself. I enjoy the hunt of a deal and scoring the "perfect [insert item here]." Dressing nicely gives me confidence and I think people tend to treat me better because of that. Though this is not a competition, part of the coveteur in me sometimes can't help but to want what she's got. And though most of our significant others' wouldn't, other women definitely do notice a new dress or a kickass pair of shoes. So some people collect trains, some people collect porcelain cats - can't I consider myself in a way a collector of pretty frocks?

I'm not trying to really answer anything here or really enlighten anyone, but I guess I got my mind started on a fashion-related tangent and I wanted to see if I could get anyone else thinking about themselves. So ...

This may be a loaded question, but why do you like to shop? What does an item need to make the cut into your shopping cart and then your closet? How do you determine when enough is enough when it comes to buying things?

tribal

Top: Tucker isla wooden chest (worn here - sim, sim, blue/green, cas, poncho)
Shorts: J.Crew chino (worn here - sim, sim)
Shoes: Xhiliration by Target teanna (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)
Necklace: Overstock (sim, sim)
Bracelets: J.Crew & F21 (sim, sim, sim, sim)
Belt: J.Crew factory braided metallic (worn here - sim)

15 August 2012

Looking the Part

Thanks for commiserating with me about my closet vs wardrobe situation earlier this week, ladies. Glad to know (or should I say "sad to know" instead) that most of us don't have Carrie Bradshaw closets, which makes me feel better about the condition of my current wearables storage. I hope this will encourage me to make more efficient use of my space - so first, go through my stuff and start making "donate/sell" piles! And bags of "donate" stuff currently sitting in the garage? Actually donate them ...

emerald leopard

Before blogging, I was interested in fashion but was kind of shy about doing anything about it. I lived in jeans and if I needed to dress up, I always veered towards trousers - I think I had like three skirts and almost never wore them. I could put the pieces of wardrobe together into an outfit but I never considered the finishing touches - I literally had no accessories, except for two belts - in black and brown. Most of my shoes were closed-toe because my toes were not publicly acceptable. My fingernails were always chewed up. My purses were hand-me-downs and I never really thought about if they "went" with anything or if they looked cheap.

And fast forward to today and I think it is pretty apparent that I have now embraced all those things that I had formerly eschewed. I don't know what me previous adversion was to looking like I tried - maybe it was my inner tomboy rebelling?

emerald leopard  emerald leopard

Nowadays, I love getting my nails done, it makes me feel put-together and pampered and look like I'm trying to look nice. I live in heels and flippy skirts. An outfit looks so bland now without some sort of jewelry or belting or something. Bags have to complement the outfit somehow.

Sure, you can just call it vanity but I enjoy looking better (forgive the frizzed out hair though - one step at a time, OK). Wearing skirts and heels and carrying purses make me move differently, act differently, and in turn, get treated differently. I don't just fall out of a car anymore or tumble down the stairs two steps at a time. I don't chew up my nails. I sit with my legs crossed. I (try) not to look like a Hunchback behind my computer. I'm a grown ass woman now so I think I shouldn't be embarassed about trying to look that way - or be treated as such. This is what I keep telling myself.

What do you do or wear that makes you feel especially ladylike? Do you think you act or get treated differently dependent on how you're dressed?

emerald leopard

Top: BR factory - check stores (sim, sim, sim)
Skirt: F21 pleated leopard chiffon (worn here - sim, sim, sim)
Necklace: Old Navy ethnic statement (worn here - sim, sim, sim-ish)
Bag: H&M - check stores (worn here - sim, sim, striped)
Bracelet: Glitterbox Jewelry via Etsy (worn here - sim, cord, pricey)
Belt: Asos metal keeper (worn here - sim, sim)
Shoes: Vince Camuto bello - on super-sale (worn here - same in mint, sim, sim)

emerald leopard

14 August 2012

The Case of the Shrinking Closet

I shared my pseudo put-together closet space with you ladies several months ago with the hopes that it would spur me on to better ways to display and organize my stuff. I don't "seasonalize" my wardrobe because I like having my things available for perusal as I have a bad habit of forgetting about pieces if I can't see them. 

bright cumin

Except obviously as a girl who likes her clothes (and shoes, and purses), I can't fit into just one closet. So I have half of the walk-in in the master bedroom, half of the closet in another bedroom and a dresser and assorted bins for my "foldable" items. Which doesn't really mean that I can peruse everything at one time anyways. Which also means that the items in my dresser and bins often get "lost" (do I already have several striped tees, oh silly me ...)

And since I did that closet post last March (was it really that long ago?), it seems that the contents of my closet space seem to have ... multiplied? Let's just say when I look back at my March 2011 closet, all I can think about what how much free room I seem to have had then, because now ... not so much.

bright cumin  bright cumin

My Type A, semi-OCD self likes for everything to have their place and for everything to be neat and tidy. So now that I've taken notice of my closet again, I've been trying to think of what I could do make my things seem a bit more compact and clean.

I've been going on Pinterest for closet inspiration, but for the sake of my relationship, I just don't think it's realistic for me to turn the entire guest bedroom into my personal boudoir, à la Kardashian (though if I had several hundred pairs of Louboutins, I may feel differently). I do use those huggable hangar things but I'm not convinced that I am saving all that much space with them. I keep all my shoes in their boxes and I am wondering if it'll be more efficient if I just got shoe shelves. I don't know if those bins to store my jeans and sweaters and tees are more help or hindrance.

How do you organize your stylish things? Do you keep everything out or do you switch over your closet by season? Do you prefer to tuck your items away behind your closet doors or want your frilly frocks out on display?

bright cumin

bright cumin

Top: J.Crew factory charley (sim, pricey)
Skirt: Ann Taylor striped flounce (worn here - same petite, cas)
Belt: Asos bow skinny - on sale (worn here - same in larger sizes, sim, sim)
Necklace: c/o Simply Livly via Etsy (sim-ish, luxe)
Bracelets: Limited & Old Navy (sim, sim)
Shoes: Michael Kors hamilton (worn here - sim, sim)
Bag: Brahmin sadie (worn here - sim, sim, pricey)

10 August 2012

Are You a Good Fit?

When I spotted this dress in-store, I was immediately attracted to its neon lacy-ness, and its simple, easy shape. Perfect for warm weather, on-trend and really effortless-looking. So I grabbed a few sizes and wandered into the dressing room. One size up was a wee too baggish and gaped at the underarms. The smaller size seemed about right, didn't gap and flowed over my body well.

So yeah, of course it came home with mama!

it was all yellow

And now after looking at my outfit pics, well ... it certainly doesn't gape at the underarms ... it doesn't really flow all that well either. In fact, on camera, the fabric seems a lot stiffer than it actually feels.

While I know what styles I like and generally what looks good on my body, I still have a lot to learn about fit. Yeah, I've learned about inseams and rises and how things should look on my broader shoulders and how things shouldn't stretch out across the hips. But I think I forgive a lot of little fit things in the name style adoration neon lace dress and because I am generally too lazy and too cheap to go to a tailor a lot.

it was all yellow  it was all yellow

Rolled sleeves and hems have been a great savior these past few seasons because sometimes even a petite inseam is too long for this 5'2" person. I have a jacket (or two) that I may wear unbuttoned because it fits in the shoulders, but not so much across the waist. I never realized until recently that there was even such a thing as fabric stretch marks across the back thighs of pants - and that's a bad thing. And belting cheats some shape and makes everything fit better.

What fit faux pas have you been guilty of committing? And what fit issues do you see on other people that bother you?

it was all yellow

it was all yellow

Dress: H&M neon lace (check storessim, sim, sim, flirty, pricey)
Necklace: J.Crew tessellate (worn here - sim, funky)
Bracelets: J.Crew, F21, Glitterbox Jewelry via Etsy (worn here - sim, sim, sim)
Rings: F21 (sim, sim)
Bag: Pour La Victoire snake embossed roma (sim, pricey)
Shoes: Sam Edelman trina (worn here - sim, sim)
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