Appropriate for a western-themed wedding

Dress: Anthropologie
Boots: Corso Como
Belt: Herberger’s

I can’t seem to get enough of these boots lately! The are my go-to friends in sprucing up an outfit, particularly a skirt or dress, bringing an automatic chic factor. Plus they’re so dang comfortable! If I were to choose all over again, I’d probably have far fewer shoes in my 30 items, because I wear these boots about every other day!

Back to the outfit… this dress is one that I bought to preside at a friend’s wedding in Colorado earlier this summer. I wanted something that would be appropriately Western, very pretty, and that seemed somehow fitting for the officiant at a wedding. This dress really worked! I love the color, too. If you like, you can see pictures from the wedding at my Flickr stream.

Today’s lesson learned: I’ve having some belt problems here. I added the belt as a nice complement to the boots, but I spent most of the day tugging at it, since it’s cinched tighter than the holes available at my natural waist. I like the contrast of the pretty scallops on the dress to the roughness of the leather, but I don’t like that it’s sagging a little. I wonder if the contrast isn’t worth the problem of looking sloppy. Okay, another item for my “to-be-thrifted” list: a wide belt that can be cinched at the waist! (Sigh.)



Top: Bought at a market in Oaxaca, Mexico with bffs Sophie and Kate
Skirt: Thrifted
Boots: Corso Como from Shoegasm
Belt: J. Crew

This shirt is one of my favorites for a number of reasons. First of all, it has happy memories and lots of love associated with it, because I bought it on a trip with my two best friends, when Kate and I went to visit Sophie in Mexico. Buying this (handmade!) shirt in the market in Oaxaca, I had all kinds of hesitations, thinking that the 40 American dollars I paid for it was way too much. But Sophie and Kate talked me into it — “a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity!” — and just like that, a beautiful summery addition to my closet was born.

Also, when I stopped at the grocery store in this outfit, the cashier asked me if it was vintage or from Anthropologie. I tell ya, nothing makes this lady feel better than feeling like she made a great deal on a remarkable top. And the fact that I bought it with my two best friends just makes it all the more special. (Love you two!)

Today’s lesson learned: Okay, well, I’m not absolutely sure that I learned my lesson of not pairing this skirt with flowy-er tops, but I think at least it’s better than the last time around.  My oath to you today? The next time you see this skirt, I promise it will be while wearing a fitted top. And then we’ll see if I really, actually, truly want to keep it, or if I should start the hunt for a better-fitting, high-waisted black skirt for under $15.

What happens at a bachelorette…

My Outfit
Dress: H&M
Tights: Thrifted
Shoes: Thrifted
Belt: J. Crew

Okay, so we cheated a little (but not on any partners!). Mandi‘s and my friend, Linnea, had a bridal shower and bachelorette this past weekend, and we were instructed to wear black, as the bride was to be wearing white. It’s a special occasion, so we gave ourselves license to let loose, get a little crazy, and — GASP — wear something OUTSIDE of our 30 items.

Also, since the two of us blog so much together but rarely appear in pictures with each other, we thought it would be fun to share some proof that YES, we not only hang out in the blogosphere, but actually in real life, too.

PS – My tights inspiration comes from Lydia of Style is Style, a gorgeous woman with a fabulous instinct for color.

Reigning in the empire

Dress: J. Crew, 3 years old
Scarf: Fair Trade Artisan scarf, artist unknown
Belt: J. Crew
Boots: Shoegasm

And just like that, one of my favorite dresses walked into the ring.

I. LOVE. THIS. DRESS. It’s a little ridiculous because it’s just a simple cotton dress, sleeveless with shirred empire-waisting. It was one of the cheapest things I could buy at J. Crew (yes, ON SALE!) as a grad student three years ago, but I bought it, and thank god. It’s super bright (how can you NOT smile while wearing something this bright?), super light, and I can probably only wear it for about three more weeks until the summer plummets away into crisp temps and dry leaves.

It also follows one of my favorite rules for cute dresses: it’s the easiest outfit ever! Just throw it on and go. Bada boom.

Today’s lesson learned: Don’t be afraid of cinching an empire waist. I worried it would look awkward, but am happy with the result of this outfit. Have you ever belted a dress with an empire waist?

Compliment in earnest

Tee: Gap Outlet
Skirt: Ann Taylor Loft, many years ago
Belt: ModCloth
Boots: Shoegasm
Necklace: J. Crew
Earrings: Local Artist
Glasses: Boutique in Durango, CO

 Readers, not every item in this 30 for 30 challenge was chosen because it was among my  favorite clothes. Not only did I try to think about clothing that would mix and match well, I also tried to pick clothes that could be worn both for work or play.

This skirt is an example of something that I don’t love, but I keep it around because it’s comfortable, versatile, and I tend to get a lot of compliments on it. I never knew why–I always thought it looked a little too feminine and clung to all the bits I didn’t want showcased. But after all these years with this skirt in my closet, upon seeing these photos, I think I’m starting to get it. I like how it hits just below the knee, and while it’s feminine, wearing it with boots tends to add some contrast and interest to the outfit.

Today’s lesson learned: Trust your friends when they tell you something is flattering on you. And as friends: don’t lie, but do give earnest compliments openly and often.

smiles with teeth

Top: ModCloth
Pants: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Shoegasm

My friend L recently commented that she liked this new blogging endeavor of mine, but that she wanted to see me smile. WITH TEETH!, she specified. So L, here you are, my white shinies just for you. I will try to smile more in future posts, though I can’t always promise it’ll happen. Style blogging is a hard life, my friends… it’s awkward enough taking photos in alleys and hoping no one sees you. But having to smile, too?! Well that’s almost asking too much.

Now, on to the outfit! This is the recent addition to my 30 for 30 pieces, when I realized my white button-up was an awful waste of closet space. And boy, did I ever trade up! This blue piece is flowy, soft, comfortable, bright, and most importantly, DOES NOT STRETCH AT THE BUST. Hallelujah!

Today’s lesson learned: Smiling makes you pretty. Must smile more. (Thanks L!)

Swapping gold for cognac

Dress and Belt: Gap
Necklace and Blazer: J. Crew
Bag and Sandals: Thrifted
Earrings: Anthropologie

Last night Mandi and I went for a little walk at the lake (I’ll be sharing photos with you later today!) for our “photoshoot”. Are you all aware that Minneapolis is the “City of Lakes”? Summers here are so fleeting and so lovely, and with over 20 lakes, Minneapolitans really get out on summer evenings. It’s already returned to the 70s and cool at night, with some hints of fall around the edges in late summer. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m starting to crave chunky wool sweaters, mugs of hot apple cider, and crunchy leaves on the ground.

Such idyllic weather is very much what allows me to wear a blazer in mid-August and not even break a sweat! The blazer is new, a gift for my birthday, and I love how the cuffs roll up and feel a little more casual. I tried to play off the gold buttons and accent with gold accessories… were I to remix this outfit, though, I might rid it of the gold accents and switch it to a cognac belt instead, skip the necklace, and wear my boots. Choices, choices!

Today’s lesson learned: an evening walk with a good friend makes awkward public photoshooting SO MUCH MORE BEARABLE.

Bombs and busts

Top: J. Crew, thrifted
Pants: J. Crew, 10 years old
Belt: ModCloth
Sandals: J. Crew

Readers, let us take a moment to consider the unfortunate pairing of larger busts with button-up blouses. Yesterday as I was putting together this outfit, I originally paired it with my white button-up.

The culprit in question

Typically with this shirt I have to practically strap down my bust, wearing a constraining bra in order not to have a large gap that allows the world a glimpse into my inner cleavaged world. That particular bra was in the wash, so I selected another and decided to go for it.

My morning, predictably, was characterized by awkward tugging, shrugging, and attempts at closing the gap with tape and pins. Nothing worked. So over lunch I went home, changed into this pink top, and while it is not free from a little pull in the front either, I ultimately felt much more comfortable.

New true blue

All this tugging and discomfort led me to an awkward realization. One of my items in the 30 for 30 challenge is ill-fitting and, worse, inappropriate for me to wear to work. So I am doing to responsible thing. I am THROWING OUT (donating!) the top in question and replacing it with a different one. I hadn’t worn my white button-up yet in the 30 for 30 challenge, and I’m replacing it with a blue button-up, shown here to the left.

Today’s lesson learned: This is all is part of living life one hourglass at a time, my friends. Our bodies all differ from one another, and sometimes, well, we full-chested women may have to choose larger-sized button-ups than we normally wear in order to not bomb out and display our busts to the entire world.

Are button-ups a bomb for you, too?