Category Archives: style

My Top 10 Wardrobe Essentials

essentials

‘Capsule wardrobes,’ and ‘daily uniforms,’ are The Big Blogger Buzz Words right now. While I’m not sold on the concept of boxing up three-quarters of your closet each season as some kind of experiment in minimalism, I am completely converted to the ideology of the uniform.

I started by figuring out which outfits I wear most often and feel the best in. Then I narrowed down the common denominators in those outfits to identify my “essentials.” Now I focus on those essentials when I shop and get dressed every day.

And holy moly, life is so much easier!

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Gimme all the Juicy joggers!

IMG_5514To all the ladies in the place who lived out their college years in velour Juicy Couture jumpsuits (or less expensive Express knock-offs, like moi):

Kohl’s carries Juicy for, like, a third of the price Regina George paid for hers way back when. The velour joggers are my favorite. They sold out in stores and online over the holidays, and it seems like they can’t keep them stocked for long. I’m waiting for the perfect sale opportunity to pounce on a pair in black, “regal blue,” or “forged iron.”

I’m not one of those style bloggers who will tell you to wear joggers with heels and a blazer to the office. I do, however, advocate throwing them on with a tee and flip-flops to run your weekend errands. ;-)

Gimme All the Cozy Cocoons

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Olive + Oak open knit cardi – m.marie
Vince Camuto leather “Colby” bag – Hautelook
La Mer Collections leather wrap watch

My friend, Meghan, recently celebrated the fifth anniversary of her boutique, m.marie. She had a big open house a few weeks ago, and I scooped up this Olive + Oak cocoon sweater. It called to me from the rack: big chunky knit, neutral color, long enough to cover my butt in leggings; checkity-check-check. When I tried it on and got the nod of approval from my girl, Lisa, it was a done deal.

Now I’m thinking I need a couple more open knit cocoon sweaters to get me through fall and winter; they’re kinda like wrapping yourself in your favorite throw blanket, and I’m alllll about it.

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My Grown-Lady Shopping Rules

Since the day I learned to dress myself, my style M.O. was to “look cute.” (I’m not saying it was always successful; there was a very unfortunate JNCO jeans phase in my adolescence). Now that I’m getting older, that’s shifted to “look polished/sophisticated/put-together.”

A year ago, I purged my closet of all the bad shopping decisions of my twenties. It was one of many closet cleanouts; I’d spent years in a cycle of buy-wear-toss and couldn’t figure out why I was never satisfied with my stuff.

During that Labor Day 2013 Purge to End All PurgesI got the moment of clarity I so desperately needed: the trick wasn’t filling a wardrobe with a whole bunch of random inexpensive stuff; it was creating a well-edited collection of great stuff.

For so many years, I equated good style with having lots of options and never wearing the same outfit twice. So I bought as much as I could within my [limited] budget: I rummaged through clearance racks, shopped at outlet stores and fast fashion retailers, and gave zero damns about quality or fit. I wasn’t invested in my clothes because I tied their worth to their value; which wasn’t much.

After that last cathartic closet cleanse, I promised myself that going forward I would be much more mindful of what I purchased. And I have been. In the last 12 months I’ve completely changed the way I think about shopping and my style: I have a better grip on what works for my body, I’m not afraid to splurge on quality basics, and I understand the value of keeping things super simple.

Here are the self-imposed rules I’ve followed to create a closet that I really love on the same budget I’ve had for years:

1. Is it on the list? One of the things that’s helped me the most this year is keeping a mental list of the pieces I think are missing from my closet from season to season, and sticking to that list when I’m shopping. The benefits are two-fold: it keeps me from buying a bunch of random crap, and helps me keep an updated inventory of what I have.

2. What’s it made of? When you start to pay attention to garment construction, you can easily spot shoddy pieces that will fall apart after the first wash. Now I check the tags on clothes the same way I check nutrition labels on food. I won’t buy shoes or handbags unless they’re leather (I always have great luck finding both on Hautelook), and I try to find things made from natural and/or durable fabrics that are easy to care for, like cotton, lyocell and rayon.

3. Does it fit? No seriously, does it fitNot to be confused with, “can it zip?” Here’s what I’ve figured out as a 5’3″ hourglass: as much as I love shift dresses, I’m much better off in tailored and wrap styles; curvy-fit jeans that sit higher on the waist are my friend; super tight skinnies and cropped pants of any kind are my worst enemy; I should avoid mini skirts and shorts with less than a 4-inch inseam; and I feel best in tops and sweaters with some breathing room. Once you figure out what’s most flattering for shape, shopping becomes so much easier!

4. What’s the cost-per-wear? Five years ago, if you handed me a $100 gift card, I’d buy as much as I could with it, supermarket sweep style, and end up with a bag full of things I’d probably only wear once or twice. Now, I’d put it toward a staple — a great leather jacket, a pair of black suede pumps, or a little black dress — that I can wear lots of ways for years to come. At the end of the day, it comes down to cost per wear. If I impulse-buy a clearance top for $20 and wear it twice, my CPW is $10. If I splurge on a versatile black romper for $80 and wear it 25 times, my CPW is around $3. So romper, FTW.

It took me a while to get over my obsession with more is more, and realize that it’s better to have a few pieces I really love than a lot of pieces I just kinda like.

5. Will it play well with others? When I’m shopping for clothes, I stick to mostly neutral tones and pick just a few printed statement pieces. I used to do the exact opposite, and I ended up with a closet full of mismatched patterns and colors that didn’t work together. Now I can easily remix my favorite pieces and put outfits together quickly.

My Favorite Jeans

A Pretty Penny Blog Blank Denim Galaxy Jeans

Wearing:

Aeropostale tee
Blank Denim Relaxed Galaxy Jeans
Cynthia Vincent snakeskin ballet flats via Hautelook
Lauren Merkin leather tote bag via Nordstrom Rack

I lived in these Blank Denim Relaxed Galaxy Jeans this summer. They were so easy to throw on with tees, tanks and camis, and worked with both flats and the stacked-heel sandals I grew to love over the last several months (put me in a stiletto these days and I’m like Bambi learning to walk). There were many mornings that I pulled them off the top of the hamper for round two/three/four, and I am not ashamed.

I have no plans of slowing down their heavy rotation as we [oh-so-slowly in Florida] transition into fall; they’ll play just as nicely with sweaters, long sleeve tees, loafers, and booties

Summer Lovin’

I’ve been lusting after these studded leather sandals since I spotted them on @studiomcgee’s Instagram way back at the start of the summer, so I was pumped to find them in a Hautelook sandal sale recently. Patience and discounts, amen.

Can someone ‘splain to me how we’re already in the last week of July? Slow it down, summer; I’m just starting to get a decent tan…

While I hear others whispering about the anticipation of fall and boots and pumpkin lattes — seriously, already? —  I’m holding on to the rest of this season with clenched fists. Give me all the afternoon thunderstorms, lazy hours by the pool, weekend BBQs, sunny boat rides, and naps. Lots of naps.

simple summer

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My style always gets a little lazy in the summer. I make myself feel better about it by using words like carefree, easy, and simple; but what we have here is a slept-in ponytail and a cotton dress that’s as comfy as a nightgown, friends.

Give me all the breezy dresses and flip flops through August, please.

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LOFT crossover cut-out dress 
Nine West sandals (SIMILAR)
Duro Olowu clutch (last year) 
Nixon Kensington watch 
Tom Ford sunglasses

every girl needs a chambray shirt dress

A Pretty Penny | Chambray Shirt Dress

 

When I bought this little chambray number on sale at Kohl’s last year, I had no idea it would become one of my all-time favorite basics.

This comfy dress is easily transformed from weekday to weekend with belts, shoes, and accessories. I’ve thrown it on with flats countless times for busy days at the flower shop, but I’ve also worn it as cover-up at the beach, with heels and a statement necklace for casual business meetings, and over tights and boots on chilly days. It’s one of the most versatile — and comfortable! —  pieces in my closet, and it just keeps getting softer and better with each wash and wear.

 

 

overalls, all grown up.

Coveralls, bibs, dungarees; whatever you call ’em, you probably either love ’em or hate ’em. I’m in the overall enthusiast camp; probably because I grew up in the 90’s and spent most of my childhood buckled up in their comfy, practical awesomeness.

This spring, a great pair of stylish grown-lady coveralls is on my wish list. I think they’d be perfect for running around the flower shop with cute sneakers and a tee, or on girls night with a black crop top — just a peek of skin on the sides — and simple heels. I’m looking for a slimmer fit in dark denim, like these Black Orchid Skinny Overalls or the Current Elliot Ranch Hand Overalls.

Of course, I’m hoping to find something much more budget friendly. I’ll keep you posted on that quest.

These ladies know how to make overalls appropriate beyond the playground (from left to right): Alexa Chung’s airport style; Street style in stilettos and a sleek coat; Elaine Welteroth in black overalls and chambray; Tuula Vintage in a simple striped tee; Where Did U Get That in a white tank and statement necklace; Crop top perfection; Tuula Vintage again in a jeweled tee; Alexa Chung again in a printed button-down; and Atlantic-Pacific in Current Elliot.

You can find more of my style inspiration on Pinterest!

Sunday Best

A Pretty Penny | Sunday Best

{ LOFT sweater; Joe’s jeans cut into shorts; Cynthia Vincent snakeskin flats; Lauren Merkin bag }

Last Sunday, the spring cleaning bug bit C; he came home from the gym with my father-in-law’s pressure washer and big plans to clean the exterior of the house. While he busied himself blasting the mildew from our stucco, I threw on my old Sunday standbys headed out for some errands and shopping.

My spring weekend uniform is typically some simple variation of this: cut-offs (I made these from a pair of extra-long Joe’s I found at the Goodwill for a 10-spot) with flats, a comfy top, and a hat. For now, I’m wearing my cozy sweaters as much as I can, until the summer heat makes it impossible.

When I made my way back to our freshly washed house that afternoon, I threw a big salad together with chicken, bleu cheese and fresh Florida strawberries. Later, I swapped the sweater for a t-shirt and spent some quiet time poolside to soak up the extra hour of sunshine.

Since Sunday is our only full day off during the week, we always try to make the most of it; a successful one is equally productive and lazy with lots of good food and a good dose of quality time together.

Last weekend we nailed it.

monday mood board | 05

This week: Oh, my darling, clementine!

clementine print | Rachel Zoe Scarlett flats | orange lips | hydrangea + clementines | darling clementine print | Fossil Cecile watch | orange tutu | floral design | Marc by Marc Jacobs clutch | Camille Styles Cucumber-Clementine Salsa | Rebecca Minkoff Mini MAC | Sea of Shoes orange coat | Late Afternoon orange leather dress | citrus print street style | Atlantic-Pacific dress and bike