It’s nude to me

Dress: Vintage (handmade, I think?), purchased at Tatters
Nude-to-me Fishnets: Also from Tatters
Nude-to-me Pumps: Shoegasm

Here begins a rant. Does it ever bother you, dear blogosphere, that the “nude” color only comes in one shade? Seriously. I know it’s got to bother someone besides me (well, I know for sure it bothers Rachel) that SKIN TONES come in all sorts of shades and colors, but “nude” is pretty much limited to one tone. So from now on, I will say only that it is nude-to-me. My pumps today? Nude-to-me. My awesome new fishnet tights? Also nude-to-me. Friends, let’s start a new fashion trend: it’s nude-to-me! ūüėČ

Rant #2? Having the words “nude” and “fishnets” so often in this post means I will almost certainly get some unintentional visits from certain individuals utilizing their search engines to find nude and fishnetty things. Won’t they be happy to find me in this adorable, full-coverage outfit? Gentlemen (and perhaps a few ladies), thanks for visiting. Now be on your merry way–and hey, thanks for helping out my blog’s statistics for a day.


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Cat confessions

Dress: Via’s Vintage
Tights: ?
Oxfords: Thrifted

I’ve decided I need about 30 more of these dresses. So simple, so flattering, appropriate for work, but visually interesting and a little off-the-beaten-path (at least for folks I encounter in my daily life).

And, you can coordinate them to the colors of the seasons! Won’t this be a great Halloween dress?! Perhaps with a little black shrug and creepy black-cat earrings? (Yes, I am a cat lady. It’s true. Y’all might as well prepare yourself to see some cat pictures on this blog sooner or later, because it’s going to happen.)

Men’s fashion with Morgan

From Al:¬†I’m loving this friend-blogging thing, and today I’m so thrilled to introduce one of my besties, Morgan! As a personal shopper at J. Crew, I feel so flattered that he’s decided to grace my blog with his presence, and share how he’s accessorizing his wardrobe with custom accessories. Take it away, Mo!

From Morgan:¬†First, hi! I’m in the same boat as the previous two guest bloggers on Al’s blog, Alison and Rachel. I¬†never thought I’d be writing a post for a style blog. Same deal with the lurking around other people’s¬†style blogs, though, too, so. My interest in style is pretty recent, but I’d like to think I’ve gotten a pretty¬†good handle on the basics.

Which brings me to the subject of my post: how us regular guys can go about jazzing up our menswear.¬†Here’s how it goes. You learn the fundamentals. Belt and shoes match? Yup. Shirt and tie work¬†together? Sure. Throw on a blazer, and BLAM, you’re put together and people will start telling you¬†how much more, I dunno, put together you look these days.

This recipe is basic, though‚ÄĒthe mac and cheese of menswear‚ÄĒand sooner or later you start thinking¬†about how to add to it. But the problem is how to add to your look (I guess we can say accessorize,¬†even though I don’t want to) without coming off as a foppish dandy. We’re supposed to look stylish and¬†classy without looking affected and false. Pocket squares are a possibility, as are things like scarves and¬†bracelets. But there are such better options! Here’s one.

¬†A few months ago I rummaged through a box of trinkets and found an old key my grandfather had¬†given me years back. He was a civil engineer, and at one point he worked on the huge crawlers that¬†moved Apollo rocket components around the Kennedy Space Center. The key he gave me went to¬†some long-obsolete part of one of the crawlers. What it opened is a mystery now, but when I found¬†the key I had an idea. I looked up a quirky local jeweler and had him fashion the key into a tie bar for¬†me. It took a day, and about thirty bucks. Cheaper than most tie bars you’ll find out there! And more¬†importantly, it’s not just a key anymore, or a tie bar‚ÄĒit’s a story.

Boots: stolen from my dad, who stole them from his dad
Jeans: J. Crew, by way of Mr. Porter
Shirt/tie: J. Crew
Belt: J. Crew Factory Store

*Pssst–like reading about men’s fashion here? Leave a comment on Morgan’s post and tell him to keep blogging!!! ūüôā

Super Cincher

Tee: Heartbreakers
Jeans: Gap
Scarf: Swapped
Belt: Picky Girl
Shoes: UO
Blazer: Swapped

This post is like Superwoman, but instead of saving humans, I’m saving WAISTS, my friends! Just call me the Super Cincher–and check out the waist-to-hip proportion on this outfit!

Actually, in all seriousness, my vision for this outfit did not pan out into real life. What I imagined was something simple and monochrome: navy and grey with a cinched waist and scrunchy scarf. What I lived in real life was a scrunchy blazer! I think the key to making this outfit work next time would be a skinnier belt not cinched quite so tight. This one is elastic and wide, making it rather right. and I have such a dramatic waist that perhaps I don’t need such a dramatic belt. Your thoughts, dear readers?

Also, ANNOUNCEMENT! My next guest fashion post will be one of my besties, Morgan, here to talk about MEN’S fashion. (Ya hear that, gents? This blog is not only for the ladies!) And PS, Mo is a personal shopper at J. Crew. So stay-freaking-tuned.

Power to the sweater dress!

Sweater/Dress: Gifted
Skinnies: Gap Outlet
Boots: Corso Como
Glasses: Warby Parker – Sinclair (just cause I haven’t reminded y’all in a while)

Remember? I told you I had more sweater dresses on the way! Actually, folks, this might be it for a while… but then again, I might be creating a trend out of this: a Minnesota(/Midwest)-based, potentially-scandinavian(-or-andean)-inspired, non-jacket-wearing, hot-mulled-whiskey-drinking trend out of…. THAT’S RIGHT–Sweater Dresses.

Hell, let’s make this a public call for mass wearing of the sweater dresses! If YOU wear a sweater dress, please tell me! I’ll link to it! And if you don’t have a blog, send me the picture and maybe I’ll even POST it (if I’m not lazy)!¬†Because guest posts are awesome. Power to the street stylists!

And PS – About this pose (below): Rachel told me to do it. (But she also told me to pose for the cuter ones above. These things don’t come naturally, friends).

Behind the Lens: Alison!

From Al: Second in my “Behind the Lens” series is (the other) Alison, my photographer friend who took those photos that so many of you loved. Alison works down the hall from me, shares my love of margaritas and photography, and blogs ever so beautifully at left in front of right…¬†Please welcome her by leaving lots of sweet comments! ūüėČ

ruffle shirt: jcpenney
cardigan: gap outlet
pants: gap
shoes: famous footwear eons ago
belt: that french boutique, target

I’ll start with this – I never, repeat that,¬†never¬†thought I would be writing a guest post for a style blog. I’m a long-time lurker around sites like¬†Selective Potential,¬†Calvintage,¬†What Would a Nerd Wear,¬†Lulu Letty,¬†The Daybook,¬†and on and on and on. Style has been something I’ve been fascinated by, but something other people did. They were those blogger girls who pouted and looked down at their in-turned toes while their doting boyfriends/husbands/friends snapped shot after shot of their perfectly thrifted, stunningly paired, imaginatively styled outfits. It wasn’t something I could do, and to be honest, it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Did I want to gawk from the safety of my web connection?¬†You betcha.

And then that all changed. Someone I knew and admired was starting a style blog. A style blog, kids! And to top that, she was making it all about cinching. Enter the paradigm shift. All of a sudden style and fashion weren’t just something in magazines and on the web, they were written, being created and being lived right in front of me. How could I not be effected?

Because of Alison’s cinching, I paid attention this fall to the color trends that were happening. I looked at the skinny little belts that were circling the middles of every mannequin, every magazine ad, every lady I passed on the street. And then, to top it all off, I went shopping. I went shopping and I bought things that were in style. I bought a freaking belt. A little cinchy one. My world has changed. Now, I’m not cinching every day, and I certainly do the jeans and t-shirt the moment I get home from work (if I’m not going out that evening), but I’m not afraid to put yellow and teal together and tie it up with a little bow. I can wear big ruffles without fear! Alison’s style blogging just down the hall gave me the push to step out of the shadows of internet lurk-dom, and in front of the camera for a change.

Many humble and cinched thanks, friend!
Alison from¬†left in front of right…

Behind the lens: Rachel!

From Al: Friends, we have a special treat today on In A Cinch! The woman behind many of my photos agreed to be featured in an outfit post of her own today (I’ve been trying to convince her to start a blog of her own… don’t you think she should?!) So with no further ado, I give you my dear friend, Rachel!

Top: H&M
Skirt: Banana Republic (Thrifted)
Belt: Urban Outfitters
Boots: Some mall a long time ago?
Socks: Target
Necklace: Was my Grandma’s

Hello style blog enthusiasts! Since Alison first introduced me a couple of years ago, I have been a regular observer of world that is fashion blogging and this post is my first time as an actual participant! Hummm what to say…

Well the weather changed pretty quickly from summer to fall in the past couple of weeks and I couldn’t be happier. To join in what seems like general agreement, I think it’s so fun dressing for fall weather and this outfit is a great example. I love the rich colors and warm fabrics, and the belt (which is new and was totally on sale) is so autumn it’s almost cliche (almost, right?!).

Fall colors

Sweater/Dress: H&M
Tuxedo Tee: J. Crew
Tights: I don’t remember
Oxfords: Thrifted
Scarf: Urban Outfitters

Fall is in full swing here in Minneapolis, and I have the sweater dresses to prove it! Pulling out a nice, thick sweater is a sneaky Minnesotan way of denying that the temperatures are heading south–we can stay warm without having to tote around a jacket quite yet. Plus they’re just treeees chic, no? (heh…)

Also, in case I haven’t said it here yet, fall is my favorite season. Bring on the the dusky, earthy, rich colors, and I will wear them to my heart’s content. Until January–then it’s straight up black, white and brights, my friends. Just you wait and see.

 

Tis the season for whiskey

Sweater: Swapped
Shirt: Thrifted (J. Crew)
Jeans: Gap Outlet
Shoes: Thrifted

It’s funny, even the first day after my 30 remix challenge ended, I still stuck with two pieces from my 30 items! The jeans and pink button-up are from the challenge. I added this cozy, newly-swapped sweater for fall and my oxford heels (freshly and seasonally pulled from the closet) and was ready to go.

Today in Minneapolis it is just wretchedly windy, grey, and chilly. Lucky for me, I have some hot apple cider and whiskey waiting for me at home, along with the Glee season premiere. Add to that some laundry and starting a new book, and I think I have a perfectly cozy homebodied evening cooked up. Hallelu.

My lessons learned

Friends, the time has come for my reflections on this whole 30-for-30 challenge. Let me start by saying THANK YOU! You all are so sweet for reading along and supporting me throughout this whole project. Many of you have already heard some of my thoughts on this style blog endeavor in person, but I’m excited to share some of them with you in writing here.

I’ve also put together a collection of all my outfits so you can see them at once, and if you’re interested, you can go back and view my original post with all the 30 items. (The post also explains the purpose of the challenge, if you’re new to this blog and the style blogging world).

I suppose throughout this whole endeavor, what I’ve struggled with the most is WHY take one¬†multiple pictures of myself every day and post them for the world to see. What’s the point? Am I being shallow? Is it just fun? Is there a deeper purpose to it?

So the biggest takeway I’ve learned is: #1.¬†BE AUTHENTIC. Be authentic to my body, and to who I am. All of us, whether or not we take pictures and post them to the interwebs, get dressed for an audience and make a statement with what we wear. Our appearance is fundamental to human interaction. So in a way, creating a blog for myself is a way to be mindful of how I’m appearing to colleagues, friends, and strangers. Am I projecting the message I want to? What IS the message I want to project? Being clear with myself about who I am and how I want to look is the first step toward creating an authentic style.

Also, turns out that I am authentically a person who loves fashion blogs. So I’ll do what I do, and I’m ready to accept this fact about myself, shallow or not. I don’t need to not have a fashion blog, in order to prove to myself that I’m smart.

Most authentic outfits: #16, #11.

#2. Be intentional. The second most important lesson I learned over these 30 days is that I can do a lot with a little. As the month wore on, I discovered I liked (and disliked) certain pieces more than others, and it became a challenge to figure out how to wear the less-than-favorite pieces. Playing with those items and mixing them up in ways that would have never occurred to me before breathed new life into my wardrobe.

I’ve also learned since ending the 30 day challenge that I’ve liked the outfits from my reduced closet BETTER than when I’ve had access to my entire wardrobe. Dude, I get L-A-Z-Y! So, being mindful and intentional about what I’m wearing and how I’m wearing it not only yields better results, but I feel better wearing those outfits.

Outfits where I was most intentional: #30 and #6

#3 Take risks.¬†For better or worse, we learn by taking risks. Whether I was happy with the results or not, I was able to learn from my risks and bring that knowledge with me into future outfits. Accessories and styling are awesome–I love how outfits 10 & 29, and 13 & 27, are so different from each other, even thought the base dress is the same. Were I to wear either dress simply, with little or no styling, it would look completely different all over again. I learned the most from having to re-work the dresses in my closet over the 30 days.

#4. Clear out the closet. Or: be selectively sentimental, and always seasonal.

Maybe you all remember my struggles with that damn black skirt, or those awful pink pants? Throughout the challenge, those were the two items I questioned the most. Still, one of the most pragmatic parts of having this blog was being able to toy around with each of those items and see, through an actual real lens, whether or not it was authentic and flattering. In the case of the skirt, I found some ways to make it work (outfits #14 and #30) but with the pink pants, outfit #26 clinched it. I hate those pants. They have now moved on to a better home.

#5. Be appropriate.¬†I get a little jealous sometimes when I read the style blogs of either a) professional bloggers, b) students, or c) people who don’t live in the Midwest, because most have more latitude to wear stuff that I just can’t in my daily life. I do have a lot of room to be experimental, but there are lines that I just cannot cross in order to maintain a sense of professionalism. So one of my lessons learned from this challenge was that I can be creative while still maintaining appropriate workplace attire. And that’s pretty great.

So, what I would do differently?¬†Well, this rule applies to almost everything else in my life, which is PLAN AHEAD. You might as well call my house Procrastination Station (hehe!) because I LOVE to procrastinate. Mandi, during this challenge, had a whole long list of something like 50 potential outfits she could wear! I, on the other hand, woke up every morning and stared blearily at what in my 30 items was still clean. Which leads me to: given another chance I would (maybe?) do LAUNDRY a lot more often. Outfit #26? Yeah, that happened–in addition to wanting to play with color–because the pants and top were two of three items in my closet that were even clean at all. Oops.

So thanks for playing, friends! I already have some other post-30 outfits to share in the next few days, so I’ll keep posting on and off!

Finally, as for my favorite outfits? Click through to find out…