Friday, December 31, 2010

Stand and deliver

Necklace: JCPenney
Cardigan: Target, Christmas gift from parents
Skirt: Boden
Tights: Walmart
Boots: Target

Oh how I love this sweater! I saw it at Target right before Thanksgiving and begged my mom to buy it for me for Christmas. She lied and told me it was sold out and BAM, sweater for Christmas! It is my first ever cashmere sweater and I love it.

I thought this necklace was very silly when I first saw it. Bib necklaces aren't really my look (though I do have a couple large necklaces), but I ended up trying this necklace on and I loved it. One string did fall out but I was able to clip it. No harm, no foul. I really like how silver, brown and black look together. People say not to mix black and brown, to which I say whatever!

This outfit was great for a long day at work. I was running around for eight hours in two different departments, juggling various different tasks, but everything got done ahead of the new year and I was comfortable. My body temperature was perfectly level, despite the fact that my coworkers were complaining about how cold it was in the work area!

Lastly, here is a picture of my rings, which I mentioned earlier. I really like rings and think they're great accessories but my finger sizes change between summer and winter, which makes it hard to wear most rings year round! Boo, because I love my class ring.

I hope you all have wonderful, healthy and most importantly, very happy new year celebrations!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

What were they thinking

Cardigan: Target
Silk top: Gap
Belt: Target
Wool pants: Gap
Socks: Walmart
Wedges: Shoe Carnival

I'm not totally sure what was going through my head with this outfit. I guess I was thinking "brown! and yellow! great combo!" & then somewhere along the line I thought red would be wise too? I don't know. Sometimes you have an off day.

This is the first silk top I've ever owned. It is as much a pain in the tail as everyone has ever said to maintain. I generally try to take good care of my clothing (though I do avoid wearing white if I'm not at work), but silk has really tested the limits of my patience. I love the detail of this top but I've somehow managed to stain the top several times and one stubborn mark will not disappear. I will admit that the Tide To Go stick totally works on silk though!

My wool pants, on the other hand, are one of my favourite investments. They're comfortable, flattering, and have a nice houndstooth pattern. They are also warm!

Are there any fabrics you try to avoid?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Channeling Dorothy

Top: Old Navy
Belt: Target
Skirt: American Apparel
Tights: Target
Heels: Nine West

I received this top for Christmas (and the tights!) and I love it. It's really comfortable, and I think it's very flattering. I especially love the pockets and the collar.

I struggled to figure out how to incorporate these decidedly summery shoes into my winter wardrobe. I love these shoes and they're extremely comfortable but because of the very open toe I didn't really want to wear them without anything. I usually want to wear crazy coloured tights but in this case, black is perfect with the colour of the shoes.

I painted my toes white and you could kind of see them through the tights. It was cool!

Lastly, I dyed my hair recently. It is, I think, a lot darker. Eep.

The work party

Here, belatedly, is the holiday party post with my coworker!

My coworker C. (on the left) wrote her very own post to go with the picture! Read on:

Tonight C. is wearing a black and white animal print sweater paired with tailored black trousers both by Multiples purchased at Dillards. Watch and earrings by Guess. Her bracelet is a handcrafted gift from her daughter. Her shoes are black patent leather low wedges by Nine West, which she snagged for a deal at TJ Maxx. Notice the cohesion of the repeating circle design on both the earrings and shoes (see below) which pulls everything together.

(C. can't sit still!)

On J. (right):
Dress: Handsewn by my mother
Cardigan: Target
Necklace: Target
Tights: Target
Flats: Steve Madden

I have to say I'm impressed by the amount of support my coworkers have shown me in starting this blog! (Hi everyone!) C. was so excited that she wrote her own post, and today at our shared desk computer I found that someone had typed the address to my blog into the address bar. Goodness.

This dress is really important to me--my mom made it for my college graduation ball, and she put an incredible amount of work into it. It is beautiful and I only wore it twice in college before it was relegated to a garment bag in my closet. I broke it out for the holiday party but was obliged to put a cardigan on because my chest area was a bit overwhelming! It was not like that two years ago!

Our shoes, as C. mentioned, were pretty awesome. They added cohesion for both of us, and we were comfortable and classy in our flats!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bits and bobbins

A friend of mine, A., has mentioned on my Flickr that there are certain things I wear daily that I don't mention as part of my outfit. I thought I would outline them to avoid future confusion!

a) My glasses.

Most likely the second thing I reach for in the morning (after my cell phone/alarm), my glasses are included in most (if not all) of my outfits. My glasses change rarely, though I do have two pairs; I normally wear a pair of burgundy rectangular frames from America's Best, because one pair is free! My second pair is black cat eye frames.

b) My ring.

I got this ring years and years ago at American Eagle. I started wearing it a couple years ago on my right ring finger and I only take it off to shower and bake. I don't know why I wear it so much, but it has left a slight indent in my finger, and my hand feels weird without it. The ring I wear when I'm not wearing the leaf ring is my class ring.

c) A hairtie.

The one I currently use is white, but I permanently have an elastic hairtie either in my hair or on my left wrist. I tend to prime my hairties because if they're too tight they choke my wrist, but if they're too loose they don't hold all my hair. My college roommate used to give me her hairties when they stretched too far for her fine hair, but for my thick beast of a mane, a hairtie with extra elasticity is perfect.

d) Chapstick. This isn't something you can see, but believe me, it's important!

I don't believe there's anything else on a day to day basis that I wear (that you can see, of course). I do wear nail polish quite often and tend to consider it more an accessory than makeup, but if I find my nail polish pertinent to my outfit, I'll of course say so!

Is there anything you wear without fail?

I dedicate this house to the Griswold family Christmas

Today is Christmas!

Necklace: Old Navy
Cardigan: Target
Beaded top: Marshall's
Belt: Target
Pants: JCPenney
Shoes: Shoe Carnival

I've finally set up a separate Flickr account for hosting my clothing photos. I take a lot of pictures but most of them aren't outfit related, and considering the amount of pictures I'm taking for this blog, I should split them up better. Anyway.

This is my Christmas outfit! I wore it last night (sans necklace) to mass, and I liked it so much I rewore it today. I don't think it's a big deal because mass + driving time was about two hours. Originally the plan was to just wear the pants, top and cardigan, but somehow tucking in the top and adding the awesome red belt pulls everything together.

I'm also a big, big fan of the necklace my mom gave me for Christmas! I love the colours and the big black bow to tie it together, and it's the perfect length for the outfit. I see getting a lot of use out of it in the future.

My hair, as usual, did whatever it wanted. Last night for mass it looked fantastic, voluminous without being out of control and wavy to the point of perfection. Then I slept on it and all hell broke loose, so for most of the day it was in a lump at the back of my head. I did take it down for the pictures, though, and it does look pretty good. But between baking and wrapping and cleaning and entertaining, not a lot of time was available to style my hair!

This picture is more for the haze than for my outfit, because the haze is foreboding of a white Christmas, the first in my part of South Carolina in 43 years. Amazing, and quite awesome. I hope you all have a very merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, a lovely Kwanzaa, mildly painful Festivus, or enjoy your winter!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wrapping it up

Cardigan: Target
Tank: Target
Jeans: Walmart
Boots: Target

The final countdown to Christmas is here! I'm still receiving packages--this one is for my coworker and my dad--and I'm nowhere near done my wrapping! Ack.

This is what I wore to work today. A systemwide email was sent out yesterday announcing that per the head of the system, we were allowed to wear jeans. Very exciting, since normally jeans are relegated to weekends & Fridays and require a work-approved t-shirt. I don't mind, though it's nice to have a break from pants and skirts once in a while! Especially on a long work day like today.

Coworker S. mentioned that she would never think to put a yellow tank underneath a black cardigan. I considered green this morning, but decided against it because it didn't seem to have the same pop. I also really liked how the mustard had the same warmth that my boots do, while my jeans & sweater have the same dark coolness about them. The yellow balances everything out and adds a shock of colour without going overboard or detracting from the sweater.

Because see the shiny stuff on my boobs? That's a sequin bow!

You can sort of see it here. It's not the clearest picture (though it sure is hip!), but it gets the point across. S. and I have similar styles, so it surprises me that she didn't pinch one of these cardigans herself at Target! I'm also surprised that I went for this cardigan myself--I'm not really the bow type, but I couldn't resist. I also love how perfectly this cardigan fits with no gaps at the buttons.

My next post will be about what I wore to my department's holiday party--because most of us have to put up with them at some point, don't we? Fortunately I had a blast and the food was delicious.

Do you like embellishments?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Out of the shadows

With a guest photographer!

Sweater: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Boden
Tights: Target
Boots: Target

My best friend was in town, and she kindly took these pictures for me! It's kind of great to have someone else holding the camera, instead of propping it on a shelf or desk or something else flat. I obviously need a tripod.

It was so warm today in South Carolina that I need to wear something to celebrate that! I truly love this skirt and am considering buying another colour in the new year. Boden is great for comfortable, well fitting, easy and colourful clothing that lasts. I'd complain that it's expensive, but you get what you pay for, and Boden's clothing quality is excellent.

Pockets. POCKETS on a skirt! and front and back. It's fantastic for when I don't want to haul my purse around.

I want to be a little more adventurous with photo locations. Again, I'm limited by where I can balance my camera, but there are a lot of places in my town that I can photograph, and lots of friends to help! I know my armoire is not that fascinating, and outdoor locations tend to be more interesting. It's hard to juggle time for taking pictures of my outfits with everything else I do, though. But I'll keep trying.

Ok, maybe I need to work on my posing too. It's kind of awkward to pimp myself out to a camera, but it must be done. In the name of style! Finally, let me introduce my guest photographer, E.:

She's #1. And much better at posing than I am! But obviously this venue has a lot of potential.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Earning my stripes

Top: Target
Belt: Target
Skirt: American Apparel
Both pairs of tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival

This is a near carbon copy of an outfit E. put together last week over at Academichic. She has incredible style and an eye for putting together patterns in an amazing way, and as soon as I saw her outfit I knew I had to steal it.

I have to say, the responses I received about my tights were quite similar to the responses she received. One coworker liked the idea but hated the thought of wearing two pairs of tights when one is "enough of a pain". I can't disagree because tights can be a pain in the tail, especially the patterned tights here. I had a horrible, horrible time getting them on, and eventually had to take them off and put them back on, AND I ended up with a couple holes in this pair, but I still like them enough to put up with it!

Please ignore my lumpy knees! When I was at Target over the weekend I found these red tights in my size. They aren't quite as vibrant as E.'s, but they do the job. I really want now to buy a tights sampler--another 6 pairs of solid coloured tights (including white) and a bunch of patterned tights and fishnets and do a billion different things with them. I think people really underestimate what a weapon tights--and accessories in general--can be.

Here's a close up of the pattern:

I love it. It's simple, but still adds a lot of intrigue to what otherwise would be a plain pair of tights. Though I'm not sure there really is such a thing!

What's your secret weapon?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hay fever

My parents are gone for the week, so I'm running the show here!

Hat: American Eagle
Vest: Target
Shirt: Old Navy
Jeans: Walmart
Boots: Tractor Supply
Hay: coastal

I took these pictures on Saturday, before it was freezing cold. The wind and cold that came from Canada are pretty horrifying and painful, and I'm now wearing a LOT more when I go out to handle the horses.

I've always avoided vests. For a long time I thought they made me look fat and stupid and kind of lumpy, since they add so much bulk. But I got this one a couple weeks ago and I like it a lot! It's warm and comfortable and I don't think it actually adds a lot of weight.

I wear the same hat to the barn every time I have to wear a hat. I got this hat two years ago, and the first time I wore it to feed the horses, they wouldn't come near me because they weren't used to my hat. Now that they're used to it, I can't change my hat! It's a pretty goofy looking hat but it's fleece lined and keeps my head warm. There's nothing like an ugly hat when you're in the barn!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To the doctor!

Jacket: JCPenney
Scarf: Target
Shirt: Old Navy
Jeans: Walmart
Boots: Target

Well, I really wanted to avoid going to the doctor. Like really. I can beat this thing on my own! I'll be fine! I was my own cheerleader and I told myself I was BETTER THAN THIS ILLNESS, and I would be a-ok come Thursday.

Here's Thursday, and here's me with a stack of drugs high enough to open a pharmacy.

I was scheduled to work this morning, but as soon as my alarm went off I knew it was so not happening. Something was hacked up at one point so I called in, then I broke and called my doctor. I slept fitfully until lunchtime, when I swallowed some soup and pulled on some jeans and plaid.

I have to admit that I was resistant to plaid. I went to a concert in November and 90% of the audience (and all three of the people I went with!) were wearing plaid shirts. It's always screamed hipsterwear to me, hard to pair with anything but jeans, and, well, kind of goofy looking. But then Old Navy came along and made it sort of okay. I'm going to be fodder forever, but at least I'll be plaid fodder!

One thing I love about these boots--they're the same as these boots, but brown--is that they have an exposed zipper in the back, and the lining fabric is red. At first I hated it, but it actually creates a jumpoff point for the rest of the outfit. It matches my shirt!

Now I'm going to take four different kinds of medicine and hope one makes me better before I'm scheduled to work tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What to wear when you feel like death

Hint: probably not this.

Cardigan: Target
Top: Anthropologie
Pants: Target
Socks: Target
Shoes: Target

I have felt like I've been Zamboni'd all week. Since Sunday I've been fighting a very nasty cold/sinus infection/nasal thing that has taken me over. I have also been dragging myself into work, Monday & Tuesday because I was facilitating programs, and Wednesday (today) because I thought I could do it, I really did! And then around 3pm patrons were telling me I sounded awful and at the behest of my coworkers, I was sent on my way with a sick leave request and a box of decongestants. I spent the rest of my afternoon/evening passed out.

It's really hard to get dressed when you're sick. Most people, very understandably, take a pass and throw in whatever's clean and a giant warm sweater because when you're sick, the last thing you want to think about is putting together an outfit. I didn't want to do that simply because I was having dinner with friends afterward and didn't want to look like I felt--I thought that if I wore something nice, I'd feel nice. WRONG

On the bright side, I did receive a lot of compliments on my outfit, especially the top. I absolutely love this shirt; I bought it from Anthropologie in a moment of weakness/when it was on sale, and despite it being a large, I think it fits me very well. My only complaint is that the cowl is definitely waaaaaay too low. I have a fairly small chest, but this top without something underneath makes me look like Dolly Parton. Maybe that's not a bad thing? (No, it's a bad thing.) I also have a hard time matching it to anything, which is why it usually sits in my closet. I'm trying to get past matching it anymore, and moving on to pairing. It's a fine line to toe.

Which is why I'll need good shoes to do it.

How do you handle dressing when you're sick? Is there a go-to outfit you wear?

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Print power

Cardigan: Target
Top: American Eagle
Skirt: Boden
Tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival

I'm loving tights season, obviously. I'm also loving finding tights in more colours--I think this outfit is tied together by this particular hue of purple on my legs, and I love it.

Originally I was planning to wear a blue t-shirt with this skirt/tights but my mother vetoed that idea. Running low on ideas and time, I dug through my closet and stumbled upon this cardigan, which is nicely detailed at the shoulder but not overwhelming. Awesome that it matches the tights, too!

I love cardigans but I feel like there are times where I'm almost too reliant on them to pull an outfit together or cover something. It's definitely something I need to work on, though part of the problem is that a lot of my tops are not quite appropriate for work without a cardigan (eg. tight fitting, no sleeves). It's become a crutch in some way.

Is there any item you rely on to help you style your outfits?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quite trim

Cardigan: ???
Skirt: Boden
Tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival
Necklace: gift from mom
Tractor in the back: Husqvarna

I have been stalling in terms of fashion, so good thing two skirts I recently ordered from Boden came in the mail!

Admittedly, when my mom saw this skirt and said "what will you wear it with?", I came up short. I love this lined, wool blend skirt because it has the colour and detail I love. The problem with colour and detail is that it can be very hard to combine with other pieces. I originally planned to wear a gray top and brown belt with this skirt, but the temperature forced me to incorporate tights and the gray top went out, replaced my this cardigan. Despite it being acrylic (oh synthetics), it is incredibly soft and very, very warm.

You can see from this picture how sizable my upper arms are. Women, for some reason, feel the need to ask themselves the question "if there's one body part you would change, what would it be?" and my answer has always, always been my arms. It is impossible to find a suit that fits in my arms and my torso; it doesn't help that I have a longer torso and shorter legs, but the circumference of my upper arms always compounds the issues. Winter coats are for layering, unless you're me, in which case you freeze anyway because you can only fit a tshirt into the sleeves with your arms. What I wouldn't give to real life photoshop my arms into something normal--I feel that even compared with the rest of my body, my arms are abnormally large. Most frustrating is that it is partly muscle--one of my hobbies, curling, involves a lot of upper body strength, and my triceps are quite strong.

But I'm not complaining! I just wish it was easier to tone and erase my arm size.

My shoes are ridiculously loud, especially on the linoleum floor of my work building, but I don't care. For something with a heel (even a 1 1/2" heel), they are wicked comfortable. I once wore them to the store and fell flat on my face when I misstepped in them, but I still wear them!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seeing spots

Necklace: Anthropologie
Cardigan: American Eagle
Dress: Ann Taylor
Belt: Target
Tights: Walmart
Flats: Banana Republic

I recently made the decision not to look in the mirror after putting on my outfit. It's only ever lead to doubt and trouble for me, so without considering the ramifications of mixing stripes and spots I went to work.

I have to admit that I wasn't expecting to be eyed up and down when I stopped by the grocery for my morning chocolate milk. Did I have something on me? Was my skirt tucked into my tights? Had I pulled a Bridget Jones? (Wouldn't be the first time.) The looks continued into work, and finally I asked one of my coworkers what was wrong with my outfit. She said that nothing was wrong and in fact, everything was right. I was pleased to find that I didn't have bird poop on my dress, but still wasn't sure about the outfit.

Eventually I was convinced, and went about the rest of the day pretty pleased. This dress is one of the more expensive pieces of clothing I own, but it's worth every penny--it fits like a charm, is comfortable and classic, and the gradient at the bottom of the skirt is an added surprise. The only thing I'd change is to have it pinch in a touch at the waist, but obviously with this outfit it's unnecessary!

Do you have any doubt about what you wear? How do you deal with it?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An ode to Mondrian

First of all, happy Veteran's Day! Hug a veteran today.

Cardigan: Target
Dress: Anthro
Belt: Target
Tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival

Second, have you ever seen this painting?

You have now!
I'm an avid art fan, and though De Stijl isn't my favourite school of art, one has to respect Piet Mondrian and how he revolutionized art.

I bought this orange dress from Anthropologie at the end of the summer when it hit the sale rack--originally I wanted the gray version of the dress, but it was sold out so I dove for the orange. It was great while it was still warm out, but since fall rolled around it's been hard to incorporate the dress into my wardrobe.

Mondrian to the rescue! At a certain point the two thoughts "there's no white" and "there's a lot less colour than this in Mondrian's paintings" crossed my mind, but there comes a time where one just has to make the move! I'll admit that not looking in the mirror before going to work helped me remain optimistic about my style choice--and I received a number of comments (not necessarily compliments!) about what I wore to work. My favourite was "on anyone else it would look stupid, but because it's you it's a pass". No matter what people thought when they saw my fashion choice, I'm really pleased with the final product. I may not necessarily make this colour combination a permanent installment in my rotation, it may become an exhibit.

Do you ever mix colours in an unexpected way? How do you make it work?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater

Monday is usually a bad day.

Cardigan: Target
Tank: Anthro
Skirt: JCPenney
Tights: Target
Boots: Target

I have huge legs. I've always had difficulty finding tall boots that fit all the way around my calves, and as such rarely wear them. Until now! I found these boots at Target for $35 and they're worth every penny, even though I had to wear a size bigger than I normally wear to get the calves to fit. Wearing socks fixes the problem. I even bought a second pair in tan, because they're so comfortable and flattering.

Purple's a colour I've shied away from for a long time, especially because my dad is a huge Clemson fan. Anytime purple appears, he automatically thinks there is a Clemson-related situation going down. This time I think I avoided the Clemson consideration. Mixing black and brown is also something I ignored for a long time because it's considered such a faux pas around these parts, much like wearing white after Labor Day and having a boyfriend shorter than you. I think with this outfit I also avoided looking weird, though I hear mixing neutrals isn't a bad thing.

Are there any colour combos you tend to avoid? Why?

An introduction.

This feels weird, to start a fashion blog, but maybe this can pave the way for others.

I'm a 24 year old lady living in the Southern United States, and I work in a library. I horseback ride, curl and read a lot (for work and for pleasure). I live with my parents, like so many my age currently do. I tell myself it's because I can help care for the 13 acre farm we live on, but it's really because I don't have enough money to live on my own.

Beyond the basics: I am also 5'10 and a size 18. That's embarrassing to admit, but it's kind of essential to my style woes and triumphs. My body is one of those weird hybrid mixes between straight sizes and plus sizes--my chest is miles from filling out a plus size blazer, but my arms prohibit me from wearing average size jackets which no stretch. My waist is a size smaller than my hips. Pants somehow always seem to shrink, no matter what I do. My body is weird and as such, my wardrobe and I have always been at odds.

For a long time--from maybe 6th grade, when I started becoming overly conscious of my body, to my final year of college--my body was plastered with the same outfit: jeans and a t-shirt. If we were all lucky, I'd dig a sweater or long sleeve shirt out of my closet. A college hoody also rotated in and out, depending on the weather. Threadless became my best friend in college, and I had two drawers filled with tees.

I was predictable, but couldn't break out of my routine. I was afraid of the comments I'd garner and the attention I'd receive. I was also heavily ashamed of my body, from my acne to my giant feet, and I didn't want to draw any more attention to myself than absolutely necessary. Ironic that I spent so much time in college working behind the house in the theatre department. Medicine for my skin helped me feel less embarrassed about that (though I had to just get over the big feet thing), but I still hid behind t-shirts of every colour and sign. I did break out a skirt or two, but carrying a lot of my weight in my lower half meant that my thighs rubbed together and chafed. Painful and uncomfortable, and the last thing you want is for your style to make you uncomfortable.

After graduating, I moped around looking for a job and wearing more t-shirts. Finally, I found the job that led me to my current job--and soon I was no longer allowed to wear tees on a daily basis! I was heartbroken and dazed and most of all, totally inept at putting together an outfit involving an actual shirt. For a while I simply put on a couple t-shirts like this with some pants and hoped no one would notice. Eventually, though, I started to feel underdressed and realized that I was indeed an adult and I needed to dress like one.

So very slowly, I started buying skirts and nice(r) shirts. One of my best friends introduced me to the miracle of Spanx, which helped my thighs problem. She also introduced me to my first bra fitting, and after that my confidence rocketed. I learned to walk in heels, despite my being 5'10, because I finally learned that being 5'10 is NOT a reason to only wear flats. My wardrobe expanded and my dad knocked out half a wall so I could access my entire closet. I bought more shoes, dresses, pretty tops.

Now, I'm at a point where I have enough clothing to start putting it together in a variety of ways. I'm tripped up a lot by colour combinations and pattern mixing and lengths and heights of sleeves and skirts and pants and heels. I'm hoping that by chronicling what I wear, and having an archive of my outfits, I can better see where everything fits and what works with what. Sometimes I pull together a great look, sometimes it's a wreck. Then I go back and start all over. I just hope that this blog serves as a voice for all the random-bodied dressers in the world who want to learn to dress with style.

Why, particularly, Animated Cardigan? My AIM screen name (how sentimental!) is animatedcardigan, and it never really meant anything. It just sounded good at the time. But here now, it's pretty descriptive of my style: animated and with cardigans. How foreshadow-y of myself! We'll see what happens, and at the very least, there are some hilarious outfits to be had.