Versatility

I’m just going to throw this out there and say that I shop too much.  I know that I will regret saying that at some point, but it is true.  Now, I am not as bad as some people out there in the world, but I can admit that I own more things than I really need.  But, it’s hard to resist that siren song of new clothes and trends.

So, I try very, very hard to be mindful of the items that I purchase.  And, I certainly make sure that I am not breaking the bank with my spending habits.  But, truth be told, I often buy new things and I am so excited to wear them as soon as I bring them home.  And then I look in my closet and I see all these other wonderful items of clothing that I haven’t even worn yet!  I’m not one of those people who looks in my closet and thinks, I have nothing to wear!  I look into my closet and I think, Ahhh, I have so many things to wear and so little time to wear them all!  Which, could explain why I often change so many times throughout the day.

I also really like the challenge of coming up with different ways to style a piece of clothing.  Sure, some items are easier than others, but that just makes it fun.  And not all of my styling idea’s come from my own mind– many of them are idea’s that I get from fashion magazines, television, Pinterest, other bloggers, etc.  Here are the recent additions from my closet on my last shopping trip.  (I can justify each and every one of these purchases, y’all!)

(Clockwise from Top) Printed Cowl Neck Top: Target on-sale $9, Denim Colored Pencil Skirt: Target clearance $12, Printed Ruffled Tank (magenta/black): Target on-sale $12, Purple and Black Dress: (thrifted) $4

As you can see, I went on a min-shopping trip to Target and the thrift store. The printed cowl neck top has been in stores for a few weeks now, but they just went on-sale for $9.  There were two color options and I chose the magenta, mustard yellow, and cream because I knew it would fit into my closet well.  I could think of a few different ways to wear this top for Fall and for Spring.  I could pair this with my mustard cardigan or a cream-colored cardigan and jeans or khaki pants for Fall.  For a more Spring time outfit, I could play off of the white/cream and wear it with white pants or a khaki skirt.  I could even see layering it under a sweater or a button-down for a Winter-y version.

The second item, a denim colored pencil skirt, has been on my wish list for some time now.  I love the pencil skirts from Target.  I have one in black and khaki and they fit very well and are staples of my closet.  I have a denim colored pair of trouser pants from Target that I get a lot of use out of, and I knew that a skirt in the same color/fabrication would work well in my closet.  Basically, any outfit that I’ve worn with those pants can be worn with this skirt.  Plus, this girl fueled my desire for a denim-colored pencil skirt.  And, it was on clearance. And my size.  That’s like a fashion rule that you have to buy it.

This third item won its way into my cart because it is the same cut and style as this tank top, albeit a different print.  Again, my brain immediately started counting the outfits that I could create with this top.  I could wear it with black dress pants/black skinny pants/black pencil skirt, jeans/denim shorts/denim skirt, or blue pants/gray pants/white pants.  And those are just the bottom choices.  There are a number of toppers that I could wear over the tank top: black cardigan, royal blue cardigan, mustard cardigan, white cardigan, black blazer, blue blazer, magenta button up, white button up, or a black button up.  And, not to mention that I could layer a black tissue turtleneck under it for a Fall option, and a cardigan or blazer over it with the turtleneck for a Winter option.  I mean, that’s worth $12, right?  I knew you’d agree.  This is why we’re friends.

The last new item may have the least amount of remix possibilities, but I have been on the search for dresses.  I mean, with a dress there is barely any thinking involved.  You just pull it over your head and you’re good to go.  I mean, you may want to put on some shoes, too.  I could see this dress as is, with a black cardigan or black blazer, and maybe a black or purple sweater over it, so just the print shows on the skirt.  I could also layer under it with a black v-neck t-shirt or turtleneck.  I can see this with black tights and booties for Fall, or black tights, over the knee socks, and knee-high boots for Winter, or with an open-toed sandal or black wedges for Spring.  I could even wear my purple peep toed pumps with this dress!  The only downfall of this dress is that I don’t currently have a cardigan or sweater that is the same shade of purple, but I don’t think that would necessarily stop me from wearing this purple cardigan with the dress.

In case you weren’t convinced, here are some outfits that I created with the printed cowl neck top.  These first two are casual outfits.  And, the one on the left I have actually already worn.

(L to R) Mustard cardigan: Target. Printed cowl neck top: Target. Skinny Khaki’s: J.C. Penney. Brown boots: Old Navy.
Printed cowl neck top: Target. White jeans: (thrifted.) Brown penny-loafers: Old Navy.

I originally purchased this top with my everyday wardrobe in mind, but after getting it home I felt that the cowl neck top took this t-shirt up a notch and I was curious to see if I could make this piece work for my professional wardrobe as well.  Here are the results: 3 professional outfits with this printed cowl neck top.

(L to R) Printed cowl neck top: Target. Light khaki skirt: (thrifted.) Magenta belt: Target. Brown pointy toed shoes: (thrifted.) Burgundy open toed pumps: (thrifted.)
Printed cowl neck top: Target. Cream colored cardigan: Old Navy. Brown dress pants: Bitten (Steve n’ Barry’s). Brown round toe pumps: (thrifted.) Burgundy open toed pumps: (thrifted.)
Magenta button up: J.C. Penney. Printed cowl neck top: target. Denim colored skirt: Target. Brown heeled boots: unknown. Brown round toe pumps: (thrifted.)

So there you have it!  Self-imposed challenge, complete.  Oh, and elements from these three dressy items made up my outfit that I wore to class on Tuesday night.  So, stay tuned for that– it’s coming up shortly.

What do you think?  Do you ever play this game when you are buying clothes?  Or do you just go all willy-nilly and buy whatever happens to strike your fancy at that particular moment whether it fits in your closet or not?  Do you make purchases based on how you actually dress, or how you wish you dressed?  Sound off below– I love reading your comments.  And, I wouldn’t mind if you pinned my outfits, either!

-Carla

 

Advertisements

Mustard

As the temperatures slowly start to drop and I see and hear advertisements for school uniforms, jeans, and inexpensive dorm items I start to get excited for the upcoming Fall semester.  Wednesday I submitted my syllabus to my mentor for approval, got my nails done, and went to Target.  I have been slowly collecting Fall outfit idea’s on Pinterest, much like everyone else!

I bought three items at Target; a long-sleeve boyfriend style mustard-colored cardigan, a pair of grey trouser style pants, and a silky horizontal striped tank top.  The cardigan and pants are new items for Fall, but the tank top is more of a summer-time item.  (Although, it would make a wonderful layering piece, I bought it mostly to take on vacation to Florida this Fall.)  All 3 items were on sale, too!

I do not own anything in mustard yellow which made it that much more of a surprising buy.  But, two of my recent pins on Pinterest involved Fall colored cardigans.  Plus, I think it will add more depth and interest to my wardrobe.  And it was $15.  Immediately after I got home I searched Pinterest for “mustard cardigan” and created this board.  And then I re-created several of the looks that I pinned with my new mustard cardigan and items that I already had in my closet.

Check it out:

Yes, I am wearing two different shoes in both of the bottom pictures, your eyes are not deceiving you.  I couldn’t decide between the brown studded pumps and the burgundy peep-toe pumps with the plaid linen dress.  I think that both of them look good.  In the right hand picture I liked both the round toe pumps and the pointy-toed pumps, so I wanted to show the outfit with both options.

I know that not everyone thinks that Fashion and clothes are fun and enjoy looking at magazines and Pinterest and spending the time and effort looking for alternate ways to wear clothing items– but I certainly do!  And, it’s not that hard or time consuming to come up with interesting ways to wear items.  Could I have shown you a photograph of an outfit comprised of a white button-up, khaki pants and brown pumps–yes, but I think that it is the type of outfit that everyone can come up with on their own– you don’t need me to show you pictures of no-brainer outfits like that!

Stay tuned for more photo collages– at least one with my new striped tank top!

Blue? Black? Does it Matter?

Tuesday I went shopping!  I was looking for a myriad of things:

  1. silk blouses
  2. shorts
  3. colored beads for my Pandora bracelet
  4. white shirt
  5. black heeled boots
  6. black shooties
  7. curler clips
  8. iPhone 3 case

I had my day all planned out.  I was going to my local thrift store first to look for silk blouses and shorts.  Then, I would head over to the mall on the other side of town to visit the Old Navy for shorts and a white shirt.  I also planned on walking around the mall and stopping by one of the kiosk’s to look at colored beads for my Pandora bracelet.  Then, on the way back home I wanted to stop at a nearby shopping plaza with a dollar store that sells iPhone cases, ULTA and Sally Beauty Supply to look for curler clips.  And DSW to look for some Fall footwear.

But, Tuesday was not my thrifting day.  I found a few items, but nothing like the major score the last time that I was at the thrift store.  I had two blouses in my hands, but neither one of them were the half-off color of the day and they were both polyester, not silk.  So, I decided to pass.  Some days I am like that.  I did, however, purchase a brand new  (tags still on) pair of navy dress pants originally from New York and Company. According to the tag, they are the Summer Stretch 7th avenue pant–midtown fit, straight leg.  I was a little unsure because they are “petite” but, I was hoping that they would turn out to be an ankle-length cigarette style.  Besides, they were a half-off color so they came to $4.00.  I was willing to take that gamble.

I also purchased a straw cloche hat and a pair of white cotton-y riding gloves.  I am very excited about both of these little purchases.  The hat was a whopping 50 cents and the gloves were 60 cents.  After the thrift store, I continued on my journey to the mall.  At Old Navy I picked up a pair of shorts similar to ones that I bought earlier this summer and totally love, and a new white shirt.  They had a big sale going on, so the t-shirt was $6 and the shorts were $7. It wasn’t quite the haul that I was expecting, but sometimes that happens to me.

I looked at the beads for my bracelet, but didn’t see any that I had to have so I continued on.  I stopped for an Auntie Anne’s cinnamon sugar pretzel and lemonade while I was there, though.  Back on my side of town, I went to a shopping plaza with all sorts of stores.  I got a new iPhone 3 case for $5!  I didn’t find the clips for my hot rollers at either of the beauty stores and DSW only had a smidgeon of their Fall shoes out.  Plus, I am pretty cheap when it comes to things like that!  Investment piece, or no, it’s hard for me to spend over $50 on a pair of shoes.

Wednesday, I wanted to wear my new navy pants.  Luckily, my gamble paid off and they did fit.  I had this shirt out from when I was making outfits last week, and I thought it would be the perfect compliment to my new pants.  Let me tell you something, people, I was operating the assumption that this shirt has navy polka dots on a white background.  But, my BF disagreed with me.  He thought that they were black polka dots.  I held up the buttons and compared them to my new pants.  They looked a little black.  Then, I held them up to his black socks and they looked a little blue.  Honestly, I can’t really tell.  Before the color comparison test I was certain that they were navy polka dots.  But now, my faith has been shaken.

And then it was like my whole world was shattering around me.  I have paired this shirt with red accents so many times and even wore it as my red, white, and blue outfit.  Could I still pair it with navy pants if the polka dots were black?  I was operating in a world of uncertainty.  But, it was starting to get late, so I did it anyway.

I put on these black patent-leather sandals and accented this outfit with a silver bracelet and watch.  And of course, red lips.  But, I didn’t really like the outcome.  Maybe it was lingering thoughts that the polka dots are blue and not black.  Or, maybe it was the neon pink toe nail polish.  Whatever it was, I decided to change up the accessories.

Wednesday July 18, 2012
Polka dot blouse: (thrifted.) Red belt: (thrifted.) Red bracelet: gift from mom. Navy pants: (thrifted.) Silver watch: Fossil. Pandora bracelte: gift from mother-in-law. Red ballet flats: Target.

I liked the new outfit more, even though I can’t say that it will make the favorites list for this semester.

Wednesday, in class, we began the last chapter of the semester: argumentation.  Our textbook makes a distinction between persuasive speaking and argumentation.  Although I understand how and why they are separating the two, I think that it can be a bit hard for the students to understand.  Especially when the goal of both types is to motivate the audience to take action.  Who really cares if you are using motivational appeals or logic and reasoning?  Besides, my tactic is to use both to make sure that you cast a wide net and reach those most people possible.

Also, it gets a little weird at the end because I am teaching them something that they really won’t utilize.  Their final speech will be delivered on next Wednesday and then that closes the book for the semester.  There is no final for this class, so what I am lecturing over they won’t be tested on.  I always keep my fingers crossed that they won’t figure this out, but they always do.  And then I get the inevitable question, Do we have to know this?  I always give one of those frustrating parent/teacher responses of “this will help you in your final speech, and you never know when there might be a POP! Quiz.”

What are your thoughts? Are these polka dots blue or black? Did you like the outfit better the first way or the second? Please leave a comment, I love hearing your feedback!

All About the Bling!

Last Saturday, I received my knock-off J. Crew Bubble necklace in the mail.  I purchased it off e-bay for $15.  There were several retailers to choose from and a myriad of colors available.  I chose a turquoise/minty color.  They also had a hot pink one that I was really fond of, but I wanted to just order one to start with in case it wasn’t everything that I had hoped it would be.

Sadly, I do have to admit that my longing for this necklace is due to its popularity with other style bloggers that I follow.  I have seen this necklace on nearly every one of these girls and hundreds of pins on Pinterest.  I have also read a handful of DIY posts on this iconic necklace, and even tried to replicate it myself.  (It didn’t work.  I was very sad.)

But it felt like Christmas when it came.  And I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that on Monday I wanted to create an outfit that hinged on this necklace.  First, I paired it with a white button-up shirt and a coral knife pleated skirt.  However, I couldn’t find my wide brown belt to finish off the look, the shirt wasn’t staying tucked in to the skirt, and the skirt was more sheer than I seem to recall.  I knew that all these little annoyances would make me uncomfortable and that is something that I just won’t put up with.  So, I changed.

Instead, I wore this mod-looking dress that I thrifted a while back.  The navy, white, and mint seemed perfect for a warm summer day.  And, it was a near match to my new necklace!  I accessorized with a tan and gold belt, nude pumps, and a gold watch and hoop earrings.  To top off the look I added some coral lipstick.  I actually wore a white short-sleeved cardigan over the dress while teaching–my classroom is air-conditioned, thank goodness, but I neglected to take any photo’s with the cardigan on.  Mea culpa.

Dress: (thrifted.) Necklace: e-bay. Belt: (thrifted.) Gold earrings: Charlotte Russe. Gold watch: Wal-Mart. Nude pumps: Target.

Do you ever do that? Do you create an entire outfit around one piece or accessory? Sometimes, I find it easier to build an outfit when I have a starting point. I think the next time I wear this necklace, I want to wear it with contrasting colors.

Debby and Wrinkles

This week we’re having  a cold snap in our neck of the woods due to tropical storm Debby.  I mean, if 75 degrees in the summertime is cold.  Of course when the days preceding are in the 90’s the twenty degree difference is bound to make people turn off their air conditioners and put on pants!

And I was no exception.  Sunday night I ironed out the horizontal crease in my thrifted white trousers so that I could wear them on Monday.  Trouble is, I didn’t quite iron out some of the other wrinkles in the material.  When I put the pants on Monday morning I deluded myself into thinking that with a quick spray of Febreze, the wrinkles would just fall out.  It didn’t work.  And I wore them anyway.

I paired them with my blue silk blouse.  The last time I wore this shirt I went with brown and gold accessories, so this time I decided to switch it up and pair it with cool silver and pearl jewelry.  I had some trouble with my shoes, though.  I tried on about 7 or 8 pairs, comparing them to each other and trying to find the best one.  My BF helped for the first three pairs, but then he conceded.  Ultimately, I settled on my blush patent leather wedges because they had silver toned accents and because they have yet to make their blog debut.

Blue silk button-up: (thrifted.) Pearl earrings: J.C. Penney. Camisole: gift from mother-in-law. Pearl necklace: unknown. Silver zodiac necklace: Target. Pandora bracelet and charms: gift(s). Silver watch: Fossil. White pants: (thrifted.) Wedges: Target.

The outfit was o.k.  It looked better in my head.  I wanted to wear the shirt tucked in for a tailored look, but it didn’t look quite right.  Also, the shoes just felt off.  I did like the idea of the outfit, though.  Also, I am layering my necklaces, again.  This is a look that I am starting to really dig.  Lastly, I tried to echo the red-orange toe nail polish with a similar hued lipstick.

In class we covered chapter 10: delivery.  I’m doing things a bit different from normal.  In the past, I have covered some of the information, the students gave their first speech, then I expanded upon their knowledge with the chapters on wording and delivery.  This way, they didn’t get too apprehensive about delivering their first speech.  But, since this is an 8-week accelerated course, it was a bit if a challenge to fit everything in.  This time around, I have also placed more emphasis on the outline.  I will have collected it and given feedback twice.  The third submission they will receive their final grade.  I think this is good because it allows them to do well on one of their first big assignments.  (Although, I get the feeling that they have a different opinion.)

I tried to give them everything that they needed to prepare for their first speech.  However, I was having some technological difficulties that really put a wrinkle in things!  I had planned to show them two examples of informative speeches so that we could critique them and they could get a good sense of what they are expected to produce.  But, the sound wasn’t cooperating and we only had time to watch the “needs improvement” version of one of the speeches.  I still made use of the 20 minutes before the building administrator got it working, but it wasn’t what I had planned.

What do you think?  Are there times where things don’t turn out the way you plan and you just have to roll with the punches?  Is it something that you are able to do gracefully, or do wrinkles in your day get you all in a tizzy?

P.S. Please go comment on my 100th post so that I can give away this $10 Starbucks gift card.  (I’d really like to reach 10 comments on my 100th post before I reach my 200th post.)

Off-Duty

Here are two casual (re:non-teaching) outfits that I wore the last week.  The first outfit I wore on Thursday Night Date Night: Errands.  Sometimes our date nights are not very exciting.  This happened to be one of those times.  My BF and I had to take care of a lot of business.  First, we went to J.C. Penney for a massive shopping spree.  Sadly, it was not for me.  It was for my BF.  He hates shopping and literally only shops for himself probably 3 times a year.  But, it just so happened that there were tons of Father’s Day sales and he needed some new summer clothes so I drug him to the store.

He got quite a bit of new clothes– several pairs of shorts, t-shirts to go with them, two pairs of sunglasses, a new pair of swimming trunks, two pair of dress pants for work, and a nice long-sleeve dress shirt.  For most of the trip he walked around acting like I was torturing him!  When we checked out the total was over $200– but this boy hoards gift cards like nobody’s business.  (I felt bad for the poor cashier who kept trying to get him to open a credit card).  After his hoard of gift cards was cashed in, he had to pay a measly $24.00 out of pocket!

But, I am super proud of myself.  I didn’t even go into the women’s section to browse.  I think I should be rewarded with a guilt-free shopping trip just for abstaining!

After clothes shopping we went to dinner at Chili’s.  We are both trying to get back into swimsuit shape, so we have been working out and watching what we eat.  However, we have the hardest time when we go out to eat at restaurants.  Besides plain grilled chicken or fish and vegetables, it seems like there is never anything truly healthy on the menu.

Our errand running continued after dinner with a stop at Target.  We have been on the look out for a small table for our balcony.  I had been at Target earlier that day and saw a few that I thought would be good, but was reticent to make a purchasing decision without the BF’s input.  So, we went to Target, I showed him the tables, he concurred that two of them would work, and then we left empty-handed.  Our last stop of the night was the grocery store.  We needed some staples–milk, bread, eggs, etc. and we had to get the ingredients for the dish we planned to take to a Father’s Day get-together.

My BF made what he likes to call Cherries and Cheese.  No, its not what it sounds like.  It is cherry tomatoes, mozarella cheese, shallots, salt & pepper, olive oil and thyme.  It’s a great summertime side dish– it’s seasonal, healthy, and delicious!

The second outfit is from the Father’s Day get-together at my BF’s parents.  Sunday was partly cloudy and a little drizzly so my original idea of a long maxi dress was scratched.  Because of the weather, I knew that I wanted to wear pants.  I’ve been to gatherings at their house before and I know from experience that the air conditioning is always cranked up.  I am what you call a freeze-baby– I am very susceptible to getting cold.  I would much rather be hot than cold.  That’s why you’ll always see me grabbing a cardigan or light jacket to throw over any outfit in case I get cold.  That’s another reason why I hardly wear shorts in the summertime.  I’m fine outside in the warmth, but once I go inside a restaurant or store and they’ve got the air cranked up I am cold and uncomfortable.

I paired my jeans with a short-sleeved burgundy silk top and a cream colored cami underneath.  This outfit was a little dressed up, but still casual enough for the occasion.  I paired it with gold and brown accessories.

Don’t worry, I saw my dad on Saturday and gave him his Father’s Day present.
What do you think? Are there certain places that you go where you know it will be hot or cold and you have to take that in to consideration when getting dressed? What factors do you take in to consideration when dressing up for certain events?

Thrifting: Blue and Green

As promised, and a little overdue, here are the items I scored on my last thrift store run!  The half-off colors of the day were blue and green.  But, wouldn’t you know it that everything I fell in love with was not a blue or green tag?!  Coincidently, they were mostly yellow tags.  Sure I could figure out when yellow tag day is and go back, but it’s not like a regular priced store– you’ve got to grab the goodies when you’re lucky enough to find them.  Being half-off is just the icing on the cake.

For this thrift store visit, the wanted item was silk blouses.  I have been pinning tons of pins on Pinterest with button-up silk blouses and shorts.  But, that is not what this visit yielded.
Accessories

1. Gray Sam and Libby sling-back pointy-toed pumps $6.00
2. Belts (unknown brand) 10 cents each
3. White Keds look-alikes $3.00

I wasn’t looking for shoes, but when I spotted these gray beauties in great condition and my size, I knew I had to put them in the cart. Whether or not I would actually purchase them would be determined later. Belts are always so expensive– they retail for around $12 at Target. That’s a bit much for me, but I can handle ten cents. I try to pick up belts in different lengths, widths, and colors whenever I go to the thrift store. Lastly, white leather tennis shoes are hard to come by for under $10 bucks. I used to always wear white Ked-like tennis shoes in the summer. Then, I kind of stopped wearing shorts for a long time. But, whether it was nostalgia or what, these went into the cart, too.

Clothing

4. New York & Co. Dark Khaki Skirt $6.50 (half-off)=$3.25
5. The Limited Light Khaki Skirt $6.00
6. Navy silk button-up (unknown brand)$2.00 (half-off)=$1.00
7. Talbots White Trousers $6.00

These two skirts were both too good to pass up. First, they were name brand–which is a huge plus for me.  And they were my correct size.  Let’s face it–there are sometimes I buy something at the Goodwill that may be a tad too big or too small because it is so cheap.  I am trying to break myself of that habit, though, because I just end up wearing it once (or not at all) and recycling it back into the clothes universe.

The navy silk button up was the only silk button up that I found with any real possibility.  It didn’t have a brand name or a size, but I tried it on over my shirt and it seemed to work out.  Plus, it was only a $1 if it didn’t.  I was willing to gamble a dollar.  I know, I’m crazy!  And the last item is these white trousers.  I liked the fact that they are dressy white pants, as opposed to my white jeans, and again–they are name brand.  Talbots!  Also, they are fully lined, which is a big plus in my book.  I’ve never purchased anything from Talbots, so I’m not sure what my correct size is in their clothing, but these were close enough to the size I normally wear so I went for it.  Like many thrift stores, mine does not have a dressing room.

At first it is an inconvenience, but then you adapt and overcome.  There is a full length mirror where I usually try on items over my clothes.  That works for a lot of shirts and skirts, but not usually for pants.  I use the old trick of holding them up to my waist and making sure that they at least wrap around halfway.  This gives you a good indication of whether or not they will fit.  I’ve also heard that you can wrap the waist around your neck for the same purpose, but I think that’s taking it a bit far.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t spend $6 or $7 dollars on an item at the thrift store, but sometimes you just gotta know when something is worth it.  For me, it’s name brand items in great condition and my correct size.  All told, I ended up spending $27 for 2 name brand skirts, 1 pair of name brand trousers, 1 pair of name brand shoes, 1 silk shirt, 2 belts, and 1 pair of casual shoes.  You couldn’t even look at those Talbots pants for $27, so I was tickled pink with my finds.  So much so, that I’ve worn many of them even before I could get this post up!

What do you think of my new-to-me items?