Saturday, February 26, 2011

Day 17: Sweaters and Blue Jeans

There’s something to be said for comfort. No matter how concerned I may (or may not) be about the number of accessories I have on – or, in this case, the number of ways I can wear certain clothes – I know there are some things that will never change:
  • I take a sweater with me most places I go.
  • I am faithful to each well-fitted pair of blue jeans I can find.
  • I may never wear anything longer than a 16-inch necklace.
  • Even though I should embrace high heels, I am obsessed with ballet flats.
  • Peter Pan collars may not be sexy, but I feel great when I’m wearing a blouse that has one.
  • Some belts still scare me.
[My suede heels, which you can barely see in this photo, 
are one of only of three pairs of heels I own.]

[Cooper and I matched with our white and tan shades, so he decided to join for this photo.]

What I’m Wearing
White Silk Blouse (DKNY, collected at a clothes swap)
Xhiliration Tan Cardigan (Target)
Wide Leg Editor Trousers (Express)
Mossimo Black Suede Heels (Target)
Gold Owl Necklace (Forever XXI)
Floral Bunch Gold Ring (Forever XXI)

Day 16: Crossing Over

At this point, I have crossed the halfway point of the challenge, and although I am looking forward to wearing some of my other clothes again, I still have a lot of ideas on how to build some outfits for the challenge. A few other epiphanies are listed below:

Lessons Learned
1)    It’s not always a good idea to include five dry-clean-only items in a 30-day clothing challenge. On the bright side, I have spent so much money at the cleaners that I got a $5 coupon to use on my next visit. Jeeeeealous, much?
2)    Nearly all of the seven skirts I included in my challenge are basically the same style: A-line and a few inches above the knee. Does this mean I have a signature look? It might. But at least I know what items I don’t need more of when it comes time to build a wardrobe for the upcoming seasons.
3)    Holy H, did you just read that last sentence? … I know what items I don’t need more of …  Do you realize what this means? I may have actually discovered the meaning of the challenge – to shop your closet instead of the stores. Woah, progress.

[I had to wait until the weather was warmer to wear my Minnie pants, 
because I only really like wearing them with flats.]

What I’m Wearing
Chambray Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
Olive Green Sequined Blouse (J.Crew)
Black Minnie Pants (J.Crew)
Black Xhiliration Flats (Target)
Black and Gold Bracelet (Collected at a clothes swap)
Glitter Gold Headband (J.Crew) 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 15: My Love Affair with Green

I’ve mentioned a couple times now of my obsession with olive green during the fall. When the spring season arrived, that interest translated into a mellow, grass-colored shade of green. The plaid shirt I combined with a white embroidered skirt today was one of a few green pieces I acquired for the current season.

I’m not ready to shy away from olive green completely yet, so I still threw in my favorite belt. I think this is what other fashion bloggers call “transitioning your wardrobe.” I might call it “being stubborn.” Either way, I’m glad it means the belt stays.

How are you transitioning into spring?

[Another quintessential "Daisies and Chains" look: plaid and lace.]

[I like the bold contrast the belt provides against the white skirt.]
What I’m Wearing
Green Plaid Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
White Lace Dobby Skirt (J.Crew)
Olive Green Patent Leather Belt (J.Crew)
Tan Saddle Shoes (Steve Madden)
Gold Merona Boyfriend Watch (Target)

Day 14: Valentine's Day

I know I’m late to the party here, being that Valentine’s Day was nine days ago, but I did not go to work naked that day, so I wanted to prove it. In the same vein, I vow to get my act together within the next few days so I can finally start posting in real time. And by “real time,” I mean less than 48 hours after I wear an outfit. No promises beyond that. Thanks for not judging. Hugs and kisses.

[I chose to wear orange-red, instead of regular red on Valentine's Day.
I'm such a rebel.]

What I’m Wearing
Striped Boatneck Shirt (J.Crew)
Jackie Cardigan in Cerise (J. Crew)
Green City Fit Roll-Up Pants (J. Crew)
Black Xhiliration Flats (Target)
Gold Glasses Necklace (Forever XXI)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Days 12 and 13: The Weekend of Little Imagination

Last weekend, I was feeling particularly boring (i.e. not creative) and resorted to the one-two punch of wardrobing. That is, I made sure I 1) covered up my fanny and 2) covered up "the ladies." 

And I didn't do much else. 

Sometimes, I put on shoes. But only when my feet got cold.

[I'm thinking I'll turn this outfit into something more exciting later. 
Stay tuned!]

[I'm a big fan of rolled-up sleeves, 
but I went wild on Sunday and let them free.]

What I'm Wearing

Day 12
Jackie Cardigan in Cerise (J. Crew)
Grey Skirt with Feather Print (Forever XXI)
Tan Saddle Shoes (Steve Madden)

Day 13
Sequined Sweatshirt (J.Crew)
Green City Fit Roll-Up Pants (J. Crew)
Grey Ballet Flats (J.Crew)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day 11: Black and Blue

No, I'm not talking about the way my knees look after I take a spill during a run.

I first discovered the magic that is pairing black and blue shades together during the fall of 2007. I even remember the outfit: blue turtleneck, black duster (cheese and rice, do you remember those things!?), jeans, and black boots.

Fast forward three-and-a-half years, and I have made some adjustments to my style. Now, I like to throw in the sorbet-colored skirt and a floral belt. The epitome of the “Daisies and Chains” look.

[I wasn't sorry to stop wearing blazers all week.
It FINALLY warmed up outside after Day 11.]

What I’m Wearing
Navy/White Plaid Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
LC Lauren Conrad Boyfriend Blazer (Kohl's)
Pink Twill Bell Skirt (J.Crew)
Rose Applique Ribbon Belt (J.Crew)
Blue Patterned Tights (Target)
Black Suede Slouchy Boots (Steve Madden)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 10: An Oldie But a Goodie

The cedar is kicking my fanny this week, so pardon the short posts. Sneezing and blowing my nose has been taking up most of my free time.

I really liked the black-tights-with-tan-shoes look from Day 8 so I did it again, just two days later. I paired them with a dress that I have owned for 10 years.

No exaggeration, kids.

Ten years.

And I received it as a hand me-down from the girl who used to babysit me when she was getting rid of a bunch of college clothes. So, this skirt is probably close to 15 years old. If  Golden Girls taught us anything, it’s that age is irrelevant when it comes to style.

[This dress came from Express during the days 
when it was attached to Structure at the mall. 
Woah, throwback!]

[I actually love that this necklace looks tangled all the time.]

What I’m Wearing
Black Sleeveless Empire Waist Dress (Express)
Purple/White Plaid Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
Black Tights (Target)
Tan Saddle Shoes (Steve Madden)
Bead, Pearl, and Chain Necklace (J.Crew) 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 9: Little Thrills

I was feeling pretty uninspired when I picked out my clothes this morning. The only saving grace was realizing that I had my purple cardigan, which was of course part of the 30 pieces, back from the dry cleaners. I don’t know about you, but when I get clothes back from the dry cleaners, it gives me a little thrill, as if the piece was brand new. This feeling was amplified tenfold this morning, so I think this 30 for 30 challenge business is doing the trick when it comes to appreciating my closet and clothes.

[My pants look best when I walk. So this is me "walking" ... with a back problem, apparently.]

What I’m Wearing
Purple Bling-Button Cardigan (J.Crew)
Marled Charcoal Blazer (J.Crew)
Wide Leg Editor Trousers (Express)
Mossimo Black Suede Heels (Target)

Day 8: One Girl’s Trash … Is Part of My 30 Pieces

I absolutely adore the white silk blouse I wore today, and even better than the adorable Peter Pan collar is that fact that it was free! I got it at a clothes swap we did at work one day last year. If you’ve never heard of a clothes swap, I’m here to tell you they are better than Christmas. Here’s the basic breakdown:

Step 1: Gather all the clothes, shoes, purses, and accessories you don’t want. Tell a few (or several) of your buddies to do the same. It doesn’t matter if no one is the same size, because there is a good chance that if someone is throwing a piece out, it’s because it doesn’t fit them – so it could fit someone else!

Step 2: Everyone meets at the office or someone's house with their unwanted goods and spreads them out – whether it’s on the floor, on top of tables, or hanging from the shower rod. You can divide the clothing into piles of tops, pants, skirts, and dresses (and then in size order if the groupings are still huge).

Step 3: Everyone goes nuts grabbing what they like. You can even set up a “dressing room” station so gals can try before they (don’t) buy.

Step 4: Donate the remaining clothes to a women’s shelter or to a Goodwill donation center. You’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside while you’re wearing your warm and fuzzy new sweater you got from the swap.

[My hair closely resembles a lion's mane in this photo.]

What I’m Wearing
White Silk Blouse (DKNY, collected at a clothes swap)
Jackie Cardigan in Cerise (J. Crew)
Nico Blossom Skirt (J.Crew)
Black Tights (Target)
Tan Saddle Shoes (Steve Madden) 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Day 7: Procrastination (Sometimes) Pays Off

I was pleasantly surprised with the outfit I put together today, especially considering I selected the pieces within the three minutes I gave myself to dress. I know there are some 30 by 30 participants who plan all 30 outfits in advance, and I commend them! I wish I were that ahead of schedule. My new year’s resolution in 2011 was to be on time, so maybe my new year’s resolution in 2012 can be to move ahead of schedule. (I just got chills.)

[I feel like Audrey Hepburn in these pants.]

[This pink belt looks as yummy as candy.]

What I’m Wearing
Black/White Plaid Silk Blouse (J.Crew)
Xhiliration Tan Cardigan (Target)
Black Minnie Pants (J.Crew)
Black Xhiliration Flats (Target)
Pink Patent Leather Belt (J.Crew)
Black Wide Headband (J.Crew)

Have a great night, chickadees! I’m going to do some laundry in anticipation of the outfits I’ll wear this week. I’m so 2012.

P.S. Many apologies for the slight delay in posts. My lack of a camera set me back for a couple of days, but I'll get back on track by this weekend!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 6: Sweetness

I headed home from girls’ weekend wearing a few items from Day 5 and made my way to a friends’ Super Bowl party. There, I met up with Laura-Kate, the best pastry chef this side of the Mississippi (and the best pastry chef on the other side of the Mississippi, for that matter.) Check out her blog, Sweet Stirrings.)

Not only is she amazing at baking, she is a suuuuh-weet friend. I told her that I broke my camera the night before in Dallas -- I think I may I have been overserved -- and she graciously let me use her iPhone camera. Then I asked her to jump in to make the photo better.

[We tried making the photo topical by including the Super Bowl in it.]

What I’m Wearing
Purple/White Plaid Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
Jackie Cardigan in Cerise (J. Crew)
Green City Fit Roll-Up Pants (J. Crew)
Grey Ballet Flats (J.Crew)
Gold Chains Necklace (J.Crew)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 5: Girls' Weekend

One of the tips that Kendi gave for taking the 30 for 30 (via Kendi Everyday ) is to pretend you are packing for a 30-day trip. At first, I took this literally and opened a suitcase in which to actually pack all of my items, but Cooper took the opportunity to jump inside the suitcase for a long nap. Then I just felt bad about kicking him out, so I dropped it.

However, this weekend I actually took a trip for a girls’ weekend in Dallas, and I must say it was quite easy to pack! One pair of shoes, a cardigan, a pair of pants, and that’s about it. As they say at McDonald’s, “I’m lovin’ it.”

After we arrived in Dallas -- where there was still a decent amount of snow on the ground -- Marlena, Afsan, and I played fashion show in Afsan’s closet and had fun styling each other. Afsan and I agreed that we should have our own TV show, where she does the shopping and I try my hand at styling. Here’s how that conversation went:

Afsan: We can make the show dramatic by fighting with each other.
Jenn: Yeah. I can yell at you for buying stupid things that I can’t work with.
Afsan: And I can yell at you for not putting outfits together correctly and tell you that you should be able to put anything together.
Marlena: That sounds crazier than Jerry Springer.

After the TV idea faded, we held a faux photo shoot:

[It's 2011, and the iPhone still baffles me. 
Also, Afsan looks like this all the time.]

[I am totally about to laugh.]

[I didn't get the memo to wear boots on this trip.]

[My $7 suede heels from Target are not great snow shoes.]

[Love the colors. Marlena looks like a rainbow.]

What I’m Wearing
Purple/White Plaid Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
Olive Green Sequined Blouse (J.Crew)
LC Lauren Conrad Boyfriend Blazer (Kohl's)
Wide Leg Editor Trousers (Express)
Mossimo Black Suede Heels (Target)
Gold Chains Necklace (J.Crew)

Stay warm, gals!

Day 4: Long Lost Love

It’s Day 4, and a small part of my outfit was an olive green patent leather belt that I bought during my olive green obsession in early fall -- but it made a huge impact. (I am wearing no other olive green item as not to distract from the awesome belt.) Sometimes it’s fun to throw items into your outfit that remind you of other times when you were totally obsessed with a certain color, fabric, or pattern, because it reminds you of WHY you were so infatuated with that color, fabric, or pattern and also makes you wonder WHAT HAPPENED to ever make you stop your infatuation.

I like to think that you just get sidetracked with something else. I know that even though I have been wrapped up in tartan plaid, grey wool, and patterned tights since October, I still have an affinity for my olive green. Here’s to more olive green in my life.

[I love a good happy hour, full of Mexican martinis, comfy couches, 
and plenty of non-judgemental staff members who don't mind a photo opportunity.]

What I’m Wearing
Navy/White Plaid Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
Xhiliration Tan Cardigan (Target)
Orange A-Line Skirt (J.Crew)
Houndstooth Print Brown Tights (J.Crew)
Tan Saddle Shoes (Steve Madden)
Olive Green Patent Leather Belt (J.Crew)

Happy weekend, chickadees!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 3: How to Look Trendier than You Actually Are

Hey ladies, it’s no secret that I try to look trendier than I actually am on a regular basis, while also fighting awkwardness and adhering to a budget.

With that in mind, here are three things I have learned:

Step 1: Wear a Chambray Shirt
The amount I have to say about the wonder that is the chambray shirt will appear on a future post. Just know one thing: chambray shirts are awesome. Today, I paired mine with a sateen ribbon belt, rose appliqu├ęs attached.

[Guess what happens when you wear thick tights with a corduroy skirt? 
The skirt clings to the tights all day long. Whoops.]

[I was going for my signature boy-meets-girl style by adding some feminine flair with my chambray shirt.]

Step 2: Add Tortoise Shell Glasses (Optional)*
If you can pull it off, tortoise shell glasses can add the nerdy-is-cool vibe to your outfit. Today I learned that I can’t really pull this look off. (But they were still fun.)

[Luckily, I tried these on before leaving for work, so I had time to ditch them.]

[These glasses almost make my head look small, which is rare.]

Step 3: Incorporate Props (Optional)*
If you look awesome with the glasses, you need one more item to add validity to your look. Otherwise, people aren’t sure if you’re trying to be ironic. I added some old books. Other acceptable props include the following: a teacup, preferably chipped; a phonograph; a rotary dial phone; or a velvet armchair.

[I know it’s hard to see, but I am carrying a fabric-bound copy of Little Women 
and a dictionary printed in the 1980s … which I still use.]

What I’m Wearing
Chambray Oxford Shirt (J.Crew)
Navy Corduroy Skirt (Old Navy)
Gray Tights (Target)
Mossimo Black Suede Heels (Target)
Rose Applique Ribbon Belt (J.Crew)
Floral Print Fringe Scarf (Madewell)
Tortoise Shell Glasses (Forever XXI)

*Editor's Note: Tone is sometimes hard to convey. But it's important that you know I am joking. Looking trendy is all about feeling good about your own style.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 2: The Mystery of Bargain Shopping

When I finished selecting my 30 for 30 challenge items on Sunday, the temperature was in the 80s in Austin. Then Monday happened, and since that night, the temperature has been in the 20s. That’s how it happens in Texas. But what this means for my challenge is that because I planned only a few winter weather items in my mix, I have nearly exhausted those pieces in the first two days. I am le nervous.

One of my items today was heavy black pleated skirt from Gap, which I purchased during December of 2008. 

And today was the first time I wore it. 

It was on sale for about 20 dollars, and I thought it was such a great deal at the time. But now I am forced to answer one of the great mysteries of bargain shopping: is buying something on sale a good deal if you don’t wear it for two years? Luckily, this piece part of the challenge, so I’ll be wearing it at least a few more times to decide if it was worth the cash!

[Tights are crucial when you only secure three pairs of pants to wear in 30 days.]

[I love that the buttons that go all the way down the front of the skirt, 
and I'm already planning to wear it backwards next time.]

[Who says you can't get something adorable for two dollars?]

What I’m Wearing
Striped Boatneck Shirt (J.Crew)
Marled Charcoal Blazer (J.Crew)
Black Pleated Skirt (Gap)
Black Tights (Target)
Black Suede Slouchy Boots (Steve Madden)
Red Plaid Headband (J.Crew)
Gold Glasses Necklace (Forever XXI)

I don’t know the details, but I can promise you that the photos will get better. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 1: Myth versus Fact

Ladies, I must say knowledge really is power. It’s Day 1 of my 30 for 30 challenge , and I have already made so many discoveries (read: crushed my own dreams).

Myth: One pair of jeans and two blazers are enough to get you through a winter season.
Fact: Don’t think so.

Myth: You can easily pin a new hemline on a pair of wide leg pants.
Fact: Sure, if you thought about it more than five minutes before you had to leave for work.

Myth: It is easy to take a photo of yourself.
Fact: Nope. See Exhibit A below.

Myth: A good shade of red lipstick goes a long way.
Fact: What shade are you using? I need help.

Notice a theme here?

[Exhibit A: I am awkward.]

I am deliberately not showing my pants in this photo because they were crazy long. (See Myth versus Fact #2.) But, do you appreciate how I am trying to distract your focus by opening my blazer and revealing some sparkles? I try.

What I'm Wearing
Sequined Sweatshirt (J.Crew)
LC Lauren Conrad Boyfriend Blazer (Kohl's)
Silence+Noise Braided Chain Necklace (Urban Outfitters)
Wide Leg Editor Trousers (Express)*
Mossimo Black Suede Heels (Target)*
*Not shown

In other news, I thought I would share the official list of my 30 items, including my wild card piece.
  • 7 tops/blouses (including the olive green sequined top as my wild card!)
  • 3 pairs of pants
  • 7 skirts
  • 2 blazers
  • 3 cardigans
  • 1 sweatshirt
  • 2 dresses
  • 5 pairs of shoes
Check in tomorrow for lessons learned on Day 2. For now, I'm going to roll up my pants and eat some pie.