Oct 4, Rain boots

This outfit started with my rain boots and then worked it’s way up. I often decide my outfits this way- choosing my shoes first, then building the outfit from that. I take into account several factors; including the occasion, the weather and how long I am going to be on my feet.

I’m teaching school today, so will be on my feet a lot, so need comfy shoes. Since it’s supposed to rain all day, these Hunter rain boots are perfect. They are comfy and warm, and much cuter than the clunky and awkward boots on the left.

As for my leggings, I’m not usually a fan of wearing yoga pants to work, they seem too casual, so I have dressed these up with a long blouse and cardigan. The black cardigan is fine, but isn’t the burgundy one on the right better? I love the pop of color, and the longer length is sure to cover my entire behind. The blouse also covers everything (front and back!), and has such a cute but subtle pattern.

The blouse (old) and sweater (new) are from Target, boots are Hunter (Nordstrom) and my leggings are Athleta. I recommend buying high quality leggings! Cheap, thin ones look terrible. They stretch and sag easily, and often you can see right through them. The more expensive ones hold their shape and last for years.

Oct 2, Satin Bomber

I’ve mentioned my love of my bomber jacket several times, so forgive me for being repetitive, but boy do I ever love this jacket!

First of all, it is so warm. Like seriously warm. Secondly, I feel like it adds a layer of ‘cool’ to my outfit, which at my age, I can use all of the ‘coolness’ help I can get. I also love the color, it’s a gorgeous blush/rose- which is really different for me. And lastly, it’s a great alternative to a cardigan or blazer.

My outfit today started with my straight leg blue jeans and a grey v neck tank. For warmth, I added the bomber jacket- but then when looking at the photos, I decided I didn’t love the way it looks. I don’t know if it’s the shoes, the color of the jeans or what… but I wasn’t feeling it. So I decided to try grey jeans instead paired with grey booties. I like this a lot better!

However, then I saw this cute printed tank that I rarely wear, so I thought it would be fun to try it out. When I say ‘shop your closet’ this is exactly what I’m talking about. I’ve had this tank for years (I think it may have been an item I received back when I did Stitch Fix years ago), but I never wear it. But paired with this cute bomber, I really like it. Plus, I’ve been really trying to add more patterns to my outfits rather than always wearing solids.

So here’s my advice today. Block out some time this week (like an hour or more) and play in your closet. Combine items that you’ve never paired together to see how they look. Take photos to get a different perspective. Save the photos on your computer to go back to on those days when you think you have nothing to wear! It’s amazing how many different combinations you can come up with when you take the time to explore!

Jacket- H&M

Top- Stitch Fix

Jeans- Levis

Boots- Paul Green, Nordstrom

Oct 1, Back to Basics

Whenever I can’t figure out what to wear, I go for basics. Nothing is more basic or classic than blue and white stripes. This look will always be in style!

However, even the most basic look needs a little styling. In my before look I have a long sleeve t shirt from J Crew, which I actually really like a lot, but paired with the white jeans I think the sweater on the right is cuter. The sweater is linen, which I like better than the cotton t shirt (it’s a bit dressier), plus, the white stripes on the sweater are smaller than the blue stripes- which makes the blue really pop, adding a nice contrast to the jeans. I also like the neckline on the sweater better as well as the detail on the sleeve (see how the stripes change direction?). All of these little details really add up.

Rolling the sleeves and adding bracelets complete the look.

I’ve also rolled the hems of the jeans to reveal a little skin and changed out the slip on tennis shoes (which I also love by the way) but thought these cute leopard flats would add some instant fun to the otherwise simple outfit.

Sweater- Vince

Jeans- J Brand

Shoes- Franco Sarto

Sept 25, Wide Leg Jeans

In an effort to bring out something I haven’t worn in a while, today I am wearing my wide leg jeans. Personally, I love these jeans. I think there is something a little retro about them. My hubby, on the other hand, isn’t a fan. Oh well!

The trick with wide leg jeans is balance. Because they are voluminous, I need to make sure my top is more fitted, otherwise I look larger than I really am. Looking at the before photo, the high necked striped shirt and the long cardigan paired with the jeans is not flattering.

A little trick I learned somewhere is that your clothes should cut your body into thirds, not halves. In my before look- my top half and bottom half look about even- which makes me look frumpy. In the after photo, I have 2/3 legs and 1/3 top, which is a more slimming and appealing look. By replacing the long cardigan with a short fitted one- and a lower neckline on the tank (revealing a little more skin) I now look more polished and put together.

As for my shoes… this type of shoe is called an Oxford, or a Brogue and mine is made from Cole Haan (similar). I bought these years ago and while it’s a little funky, it is truly the most comfortable shoe in the world, and perfect for days when I am on my feet for hours. Plus, they are a fun alternative to the slip on tennis shoe that I normally wear (and love).

Jeans- Eddie Bauer, Tank- Banana Republic, Cardigan- J Crew, Shoes- Cole Haan

Sept 24, Growth Mindset

I’m not even going to talk about today’s outfit, party because I think it’s just an ok outfit (these early school mornings are killing me), and also the changes are pretty self explanatory.

Instead I want to tell you about something I learned about myself last night. 

I was out to dinner with friends and I shared that I have been trying some new vegetarian recipes for my family, and how my daughter has been reluctant to try my amazing concoctions. However, rather than force her to eat it, in our family we have what I call a ‘no thank you bite’ meaning you must take a bite and try it and then you can say ‘no thank you’. I always thought this was a great way of getting my kids to at least try new things. 

However, after I shared this story, my clever friend Stacey said, “why wouldn’t you call that a discovery bite? When you call it a ‘no thank you bite’ you are already setting the stage to saying no….” 

Wow! How had I never thought of that? She is totally right, and that is the perfect example of a growth mindset.

Have you ever heard this phrase? I honestly hadn’t until I started back teaching 3 years ago. Now, I hear it daily. Growth mindset is the idea that instead of saying to yourself ‘I can’t do that’, you say ‘I can’t do that- yet’! Meaning there is always a possibility that you may grow or learn something new! Cool, huh?

So, now I will say to my family, “would you like to discover Ginger miso salad?! Smokey cauliflower tacos? Chickpea faro stew… ?” and I’m hoping their response will be, “I’ve never had that- yet… but I’d love to try! “ Do you see where I’m going here? By simply changing the way I phrase my suggestion to try something new- I hope I can teach my kids to explore- and grow! 

I don’t know why I had to share that, except for the fact that it really made me reflect on how I present things to my children (and students) and maybe even possibly myself. Am I saying no to things because I haven’t mastered them? Am I afraid to try something new? Do have a growth mindset? Thanks to Stacey, I will now approach my life in a more open minded and exploratory way! We are never too old to learn! 

(jeans- Gap, flannel- American Eagle, boots- Nordstrom)

Sept 20, School Spirit

There are some days when I am excited to share what I’m wearing, and then there are days like today where I struggle. The issue for me is that I have a really hard time figuring out what to wear to the high school football game tonight. I know that sounds silly, but since I am always cold, the idea of having to dress in an outfit that can withstand sitting outside for 3 hours freaks me out a bit.

In my before photo I am wearing cropped jeans, a spirt wear shirt from my daughter’s high school and tennis shoes. Really bright tennis shoes. This outfit is one that I see women in all the time. And while I totally get it, it’s a quick and easy outfit that shows school spirit, it’s just not very cute (or warm!). So, to fix this look I have replaced the t shirt with a sweater in the same deep red that is our school color. I’ll be much warmer in the sweater, and the fun ruffle sleeves add some interest. To bring in even more interest, I have added a leopard belt. The pointy toed shoes are a huge improvement over the bright tennis shoes. And even though it is supposed to be around 60 degrees tonight, I will also bring a jacket and a stadium seat. If you attend a lot of outdoor sporting events, I highly recommend buying a stadium seat. They really come in handy and are much warmer than cold metal bleachers! 🙂

My sweater is old, from Nordstrom. My jeans, shoes and belt are all Target!

Sept 19, Leather Jacket

First off, let me apologize for not blogging the last 2 days. I posted my outfits on Instagram, so if you’re curious, head over there to see what I wore…

Now, on to today’s look. Funny story about this leather jacket. My husband bought it for me years ago at Nordstrom, and while I think it’s gorgeous, I was never really sure how to wear it. So, it sat in my closet for years gathering dust. I actually had it in a pile of clothes that I tried to take to my local consignment store to consign. Having never done that before, I wasn’t aware of the process. The lady at the store was sort of rude to me since I didn’t have an appointment. Without even looking at my clothes, she told me she wasn’t interested in what I had. I sheepishly left feeling rather insulted. When I got home I left the bag of clothes in my garage, not sure what to do with them. A few days later I saw on Fashion Jackson (one of my all time favorite Insta style gals) a fabulous photo of her wearing a leather jacket- so I decided to resurrect mine from the garage and give it a try… and here you go!

Tonight I’m going out wine tasting with some friends, so I decided this would be a perfect night to break it out. It’s a much more stylish look than the North Face jacket on the left. Other little changes that you may notice- I am wearing a much cuter white top in the outfit on the right. The top on the left has a weird neckline (that V is so high!) and it is too clingy. The top on the right is rayon, which drapes much better. I also swapped out the rounded toe leopard flats for the pointy toe version and added a long necklace. By making these little adjustments, I now have a cute and stylish outfit to wear out tonight! So thank you rude sales lady, you actually saved me from giving up a fabulous jacket!

The details on this jacket make it interesting!

Jeans- Gap

Top- Nordstrom Rack

Jacket- Nordstrom

Shoes- Nordstrom Rack

Sept 15, Black Joggers

When I think of wearing joggers, I immediately think of a very casual outfit, but today I am showing a way to actually dress your joggers up a bit- and perhaps wear them to work, church, or even out to dinner.

I started with this gorgeous wine colored polyester blouse from Nordstrom (similar). Growing up in the 70’s, when I hear ‘polyester’ I think of the Brady Bunch- but honestly, it’s come a long way since then. It’s a great (and more affordable) alternative to silk, plus it washes easily. Tip of the day, don’t be afraid of polyester!

Here is how I improved the before look. I tucked in the blouse, added a cool necklace, rolled the hem of my joggers and swapped out the boots for these cute peep toe booties. Now have a cute outfit that is super comfy while also being stylish.

*full disclosure I’m not actually wearing this today, but I totally would! Instead I’m heading to yoga 🙂

Sept 14, Waffle Top

I first noticed the waffle top last winter and knew I wanted one. They are comfy, casual and inexpensive- so really- in my opinion, the perfect top!

But, as usual, it all comes down to the styling. The shirt with just a pair of dark jeans looks a little blah. To improve my outfit I changed into cropped faded jeans- which are perfect for the weekend. I then added a black vest, both for warmth and style. Push up the sleeves, do the half tuck, add a belt and finish it all off with cute leopard slides, and now I have a cute outfit perfect for whatever is in store… unless it starts raining- and in that case will have to replace the slides with rain boots.

The jeans, top and vest are all from Nordstrom Rack and the shoes are from Marshalls. Belt is Target.

Sept 12, Back to School

Today is my first day going back to school. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a substitute teacher in elementary schools. I have missed teaching, and am excited to be back in the classroom!

For my back to school outfit I have chosen this black eyelet dress. While it’s still chilly this morning, I will add a denim jacket, and since I will be on my feet ALL DAY I need super comfy shoes like tennis shoes. But, comparing the before and after photos- you can see that subtle changes make all the difference. In the before photo my jacket is too dark and the sleeves are too long. I also have on white tennis shoes, which I usually love- but in this case feel like they look like nurse shoes. In the after outfit I have replaced the dark denim with a more faded one- which gives contrast between the dress and jacket. I also rolled the sleeves to give it a more casual vibe. I chose my Converse All Stars instead of the white tennis shoes. They are still super comfy, but look better. My last little detail is a necklace that I threw on. It’s so hard to see, but if you look super close, you can see a little black dot at my neckline. Tiny detail, but it still matters.