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40% off Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy: My Picks

Until midnight, Banana Republic, Gap and Old Navy are offering 40% off virtually everything with the code SUNSHINE. Below are my picks for what to snag during this sale to update your wardrobe for late spring, summer, and beyond. I stuck with New Arrivals because there’s just too much merchandise to pour through, but don’t ignore the Clearance and Sale departments – you can get some AMAZING deals with this promotion!

Banana Republic

  • Black Floral Midi Skirt – This is an elegant and classic piece that is on trend right now. So simple to style with a crisp white shirt or even a denim/chambray shirt (sleeves cuffed, collar popped, tucked or tied at waist), or a basic white, red or black tank or scoop tee. Pair with heels for the office, flat sandals for the weekend. Regular, petite, and tall available. And hello pockets!
  • Heritage Silk Safari Blouse – Go back to Banana’s beginnings with this elegant blouse. While also available in camel, I am partial to Seaweed, which would look amazing with denim, white, black, and unexpected pairings like hot pink, coral, and chartreuse. The safari look is back in style this season, but it is never out of vogue so it’s a smart style choice. Tuck into a pencil skirt, wear out over slim ankle jeans or pants, tie over a maxi dress, and wear year-round.
  • BR Monogram Silk Dolman Top – This is such a cool top that makes such a statement while being utterly comfortable and breezy. Pair with skinny jeans and pointed-toe flats for happy hour, with wide-leg cream trousers for the office, with white ankle pants and heeled sandals for a date. All this and the top will still look good if you indulged a bit too much at last weekend’s barbecue or crab feast and will still look cool and stand out years from now.
  • Heritage Olive Leather Pencil Skirt – I’m a diehard fan of leather pencil skirts, and when they’re a neutral they’re far easier to style for the office, for warmer weather, and you’re less likely to tire from it. This olive is perfection – pair now with the silk safari blouse, a white or cream shirt, or even a striped tee and denim jacket. Come summer look chic with a simple black silk tank and strappy heels. Come fall style with a cream boyfriend blazer and snakeskin pumps or a black turtleneck and opaque tights.
  • Soft Leather Small Duffle – I’m a big fan of Banana’s leather bags. I own several of them and find them high quality and classic styles that transcend time. This bag is a perfect choice – the duffle is a popular bag silhouette now but it never goes out of style. No trendy hardware or logos, you can wear this bag for many years to come. Available in black and white.

Gap

  • Leather Slip On Sneakers – Similar to the silver leather Banana Republic ones I recently featured, but a much nicer price.
  • Linen Tee – A nice drape that gives a luxe feel and updates the basic tee shirt and shorts or jeans, this tee is the type you buy in bulk. This tee would look slouchy cool with the olive leather pencil skirt from Banana Republic!
  • Ballet-Neck Dress – This is the perfect travel dress. Pair with flat sandals, a wide-brimmed hat, and crossbody bag for daytime sightseeing and then switch out for heels or even pointed-toe flats or metallic sandals for evening. If it’s chilly, top with a denim jacket. Regular, petite, and tall and three basic colors.
  • V-neck Ramie Maxi Dress – It’s hard to find maxi dresses with straps wide enough for standard bras. This dress has it, plus it’s not made of jersey making it cooler on a humid day and easier to dress up. Change the look with the addition of a belt. And yep, pockets!
  • 1969 Sexy Boyfriend Denim Shorts – These come in a few washes and finishes and they’re all great, but I find these to be the most versatile. No butt cheeks falling out, no chance of looking painted on, and a cuffed edge that is relaxed but not messy. I always recommend going up a size in shorts and reviews seem to agree for this style. Tall, regular, and petites available.

Old Navy

  • Cami Jumpsuit – I know many of you can’t get on the jumpsuit train and that’s okay. This isn’t a trend for everyone. But if you’re okay with stripping down to your bra to take a leak and think jumpsuits are cute, this is a great one to try. Rayon is more figure flattering for jumpsuits than jersey, and this one gets reviews that it’s easy to slip on and off. While the black may be your first choice, the print is pretty fun, hides lumps and bumps, and would go with a great variety of shoes and accessories. Regular, tall, and petite options.
  • Patterned Soft Pants – Last summer I lived in my patterned pants from Karen Kane, and the year before that, another pair also from Karen Kane. A pair of lightweight loose pants are great for the summer – pair with a tank or tee for breezy style walking the boardwalk, sipping a glass of Vinho Verde on the back deck, visiting the farmers market. Dress up with a rayon or silk tank and a big bold necklace. Regular, tall, petite, and a few prints to choose from.
  • Poplin Cami Dress – Each summer I buy a couple sundresses from Old Navy and other discount retailers to wear as beach coverups, loungewear, and to throw on with a straw hat and sandals to putter around town. While a spaghetti strap isn’t the best for all (there are comfy strapless bras out there, I’m a 36DDD and have two: this one and this one – get professionally fitted to find the right one for you), this has adjustable straps and is a fabric that won’t cling in humidity or when wearing a damp swimsuit. Add a belt and this could work for casual weekend activities!
  • Eyelet Tee – I love tops that are as easy as a tee shirt yet look far more chic and pulled together. This eyelet tee is that. With a cami underneath, you can pair with twill cropped pants for a casual office environment, pair with a denim skirt for the weekend, or just style with your favorite linen pants or shorts for casual attire. Gets rave reviews, I think it would get a lot of wear all summer long.
  • Poplin V-neck Tank – This is one of those tops that looks so darn boring and ho-hum but once you own you wear the heck out of it. Wear untucked with skinny jeans, metallic sandals and a fun necklace. Tuck in to trousers for the office, or wear under a suit. Pair with denim shorts and flip flops and feel far more comfy than wearing jersey. Heck, pair with the olive leather skirt from Banana with a gold necklace and some nude pumps and blow people away with your simple elegant style!

My Beloved Banana Republic Slingbacks

A couple weeks ago, Banana Republic had 30% off everything in honor of their 30th anniversary. On a whim, I ordered the shoes to the left, in black as well as bronze.

I usually cannot wear slingbacks. As a child (and even a bit as an adult) I walked on my toes. This really built up my legs in weird ways – humongous calves and very thick ankles. My ankles are so thick, there is no dent in the back where the heel meets the leg – a necessary detail for successful slingback wearing. Straps never stayed up, so I stopped even trying.

The only reason I ordered these is because they looked to be crafted in a way that the strap would stay up without the need of a proper ankle/heel combo. Also I was desperate – my feet are swollen from pregnancy, my black sandals broke, my gold gladiator sandals are dangerous on slippery floors or in rain, and being pregnant makes anything with a high heel utter torture.

I ordered an 8; I was a 7.5 pre-pregnancy. They arrived and my feet slid in no problem. Buckling them was a different matter – having a baby in your stomach and trying to bend over to work a buckle on the outside of the shoe was the most intense yoga I have ever experienced. It took ten minutes to close one shoe before I had the brilliant idea to put them on already buckled (d’oh!).

Anyway, these shoes are divine! I am able to wear them all day without any pain. I got some Foot Petals so I wouldn’t slip and slide on the leather footbeds and wore them to work, to a wedding, to various social engagements. The heel is low enough that I am not dying, but high enough to feel feminine. They look great with pants as well as skirts; the bronze color was dressy enough to wear with an LBD and pearls for a wedding (didn’t want to look like Swollen Foot PRegnant Woman in old lady shoes).

Anyway… the shoes are back on the site and are on sale for $59.99! Not only that, if you spend $125 at Banana Republic you can get 15% off your order with the code FALLSALE. AND… today is 6% cash back with Ebates!

For those who don’t know, if you go to different online stores through Ebates, you receive cash back, like a rebate. Ebates is completely free and there are no strings. You can even make money off of referring your friends, and receive a $10 gift card just for signing up (I got one for Target). I have been using it for almost a year and have already gottn back almost $200 in checks mailed to my house. So I can vouch for it that it works, is worth it, is easy and fabulous.

If you would like to join Ebates, click this link. Then if youa re in need of some great slingbacks, head to Banana Republic! 🙂

What I Wore: Issa for Banana Republic

I’m not a fan of designer collaborations. I don’t understand clamoring for a cheaper version of a designer piece. I don’t want a glued-together pleather bag or ill-fitting polyester blouse no matter what name is on the label. However, once the Issa Collection came out for Banana Republic I was intrigued. Banana Republic already has good quality and fits me relatively well, and the pieces in the collection were things I would buy no matter the designer. I liked the kimono dresses, and felt this print was one I would wear now and five years from now, in spring and in winter. For those considering this dress, I chose a 14, and yes, they do run short (it’s veering on not work appropriate and I am 5’3″). However it’s made extremely well, a heavy matte jersey that feels good and is a style that I think would work if I gained or lost weight. And you know me, I waited until it was on sale, Banana Republic was having a big sale, and I had reward dollars!

And how great is this bracelet? Wearing gold jewelery? No problem! Silver? No problem! Everything goes with this piece from Ruth Barzel, and I love that it’s rock and roll while still being elegant. I’ve been wearing this bracelet a ton lately (check my Instagram for proof), I like it mixed with other bracelets, but with such a bold dress, I felt it looked best all by itself.

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What I Wore: Cookie Exchange Party [Sponsored]

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Payless. All opinions are 100% mine.

IMG_2501 IMG_2643 IMG_2534 Shirt: c/o Foxcroft (plus option) | Skirt: Banana Republic (similar, plus option) | Bracelet: Had forever (similar) | Shoes: Klaudia Ombre Glitter Pump c/o Payless

For a cookie exchange at our friends’ house, the vibe is festive but not extremely formal. Continuing with the concept of having a festive or formalwear capsule wardrobe, I reused some pieces I’ve already worn on the blog to give a completely different look for this holiday get together. This is the same skirt I wore in this post, and the same fabulous shoes from Payless that I wore in this post. Adding a plaid shirt (last seen in this post) gives a more relaxed vibe, but the red threads through it makes it feel appropriate for the season and ties in the sparkly heels. A red lip and Santa hat is all that’s needed to complete the look! Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Payless ombre glitter pumps for the holidays Payless is a great resource for finding fabulous shoes for your formalwear capsule wardrobe. Payless does a fantastic job of offering current trends for less. These shoes are amazing; the ombre effect makes them unique and not too Wizard of Oz-looking. If heels aren’t your thing you’re in luck; Payless offers this same glorious ombre red glitter look in their Chelsea flat (the Chelsea flat also comes in a silver to gold ombre glitter that is gorgeous but unfortunately neither color were in my size at my nearby store). But such a shoe is exactly what can take basics in your wardrobe and make them holiday ready for very little cost.

IMG_2553 I’ve had a great time featuring Payless shoes this holiday season; I’ve been to two different Payless stores multiple times this winter and they’re well organized, the staff friendly, and the selection quite good offering everything from on-trend ankle strap heeled sandals to comfortable work pumps, wedding shoes to running shoes, adorable statement flats to cozy slippers. Payless continues to impress me with their quality especially considering their phenomenal low prices. In my previous Payless posts many have asked if these shoes are comfortable; these heels are a bit high for a long day on your feet but the Mira Pumps I wore in the last post are some of the most comfortable pumps I own with a flexible rubber sole, padded footbed, and wearable heel height. Payless will continue to be a destination where I find great prices on great shoes for me and my family! Get more style inspiration by following Payless on Pinterest!

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What I Wore: More of a Good Thing

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a Banana Republic Issa dress and LOFT croco frame clutch Wardrobe Oxygen featuring an Issa from Banana Republic dress and red croco framed clutch bag IMG_2233 Wardrobe Oxygen wearing an orange and purple Issa for banana republic dressDress: Issa for Banana Republic (XL) (similar, plus option) | Bag: LOFT (very old – similar) | Shoes: Nine West | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Earrings: Argento Vivo

I bought this Issa for Banana Republic dress many years ago when they had the collection and it has been by far one of my best purchases and completely worth paying full price.  The material, cut, pattern… I never tire or it.  Recently Adrien at Looks Good from the Back mentioned how she found an Issa dress on eBay and it inspired me to look for another dress from the Banana Republic Issa collection.  I didn’t want exactly the same, but a similar concept.  I found this one and it was sized by letters while my current dress is a 14.  I went with an XL figuring it’s easier to alter or cinch if too big rather than too small.  I like that it’s longer than my other dress, has fitted arms which looks more appropriate at the office, and has my favorite color of orange in the print.  Also the gently used eBay price was only a third of what I paid for my other Issa for Banana dress!

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My Wardrobe today – Thursday

Ponte collarless jacket – Banana Republic Outlet (similar)
Striped tee LOFT
Ponte bootcut pantsLOFT
Bag – Sabina (similar)
Pashmina – c/o Pashmina International
BootiesCole Haan “Air Talia”

Ugh, another rainy day in DC! My old raincoat from LOFT is now too big – totally swimming in it. I recently ordered this trench in black from Nordstrom and wish I ordered it a week sooner so I could wear it today!  Instead I made do with an umbrella and a cozy scarf!

My hair is finally getting used to the new cut (got last Wednesday) – this morning I let my hair air dry sans product, then did big sections with a curling iron, a bit of Elnett to set.  So far so good on this soggy yucky day!

Another busy work day, and heading into a busy evening!  I will be at Simply Soles in Georgetown from 6-8 for the Presenza media event.  Will you be there?

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What I Wore: Orange Topper

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing an orange Ann Taylor trench with black and white stripes Wardrobe Oxygen featuring an orange Ann Taylor trench and a black tote from Adora BagsTopper: Ann Taylor (LP) | Tee: J. Crew Factory (L) | Pants: Banana Republic (14 Short) | Bag: c/o Adora Bags | Shoes: Nine West

For decades my favorite color has been a bright orange with a lot of red in it.  Some call is blood orange, some call it sunset, this season Ann Taylor is calling it Fire Glow Orange and I’m loving it.  When I saw this topper I just couldn’t resist, and with some unseasonably warm weather this past weekend it was the perfect layering piece.  Even better to see it in petite sizes – no need to have the sleeves altered to the proper length!

Wardrobe Oxygen wearing Banana Republic pants and Ann Taylor topper with a J. Crew stripe teeWhile I styled it here with classic black and white, I think this orange color would look awesome paired with other colors and expect to wear it very soon with things like my citron skirt, berry ponte dress, or classic blue denim.

And I finally got around to getting my hair cut!  It’s a bit shorter than I was expecting but this length is really growing (har har) on me and I’m having fun styling it.  Still long enough to put into a ponytail but short enough that next day or slightly dirty hair looks purposeful!

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What I Wore: Weekend Denim

jagjeans1 shoebuy naturalizer jagjeans2
Jeans: Erin Cuffed Ankle Jean c/o Jag Jeans | Shirt: Banana Republic | Shoes Naturalizer ‘Dania’ c/o Shoebuy | Bag: Vintage Coach via eBay (similar) | Bracelets: Lifetherapy, had forever (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ba

I’ve been really feeling dark denim this spring, paired with more denim, with white, with unexpected items like a leather pencil skirt or brightly-printed midi.  I found this denim shirt on mega clearance at Banana Republic and love that it’s richly colored but as soft as a well-worn stonewashed version.  Jag Jeans sent me these cuffed skinny ankles and I am IN LOVE.  They are made from their Freedom Knit Denim, which looks like traditional jeans, but the inside looks more like loop terry and the denim stretches and moves with you for comfort and shape all day.  This is the third time I wore these without washing, which is a testament to the bounceback-ability of this stretchy denim.  They’re perfect for dashing about weekends running errands, which is what I did in this look.

Shoebuy is one of my favorite destinations for shoes; their selection is insane and their prices regularly beat those of department stores and mega-retailers.  I actually ordered these very Naturalizer sandals from another company and then found them for much less and with a larger size selection on Shoebuy.  Right now they’re having a great promo where you can get $20 off an order of $100, plus free shipping and returns with the code MAY100.  Along with Naturalizer, they have many other popular brands and great on-trend styles for the season!

Shoebuy.com Free Shipping on all orders! Shop Jag Jeans now!

Fab, Festive, and Frugal with Payless [Sponsored]

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Payless. All opinions are 100% mine.

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Payless shoes and clutch for the holidays Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Payless shoes and clutch for the holidays Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Payless shoes and clutch for the holidaysSweater: Halogen (XL) (plus option) | Skirt: Banana Republic via Poshmark (14) (similar, plus option) | Necklace: Ann Taylor (similar) | Belt: Express (similar concept) | Bag: Meg Clutch c/o Payless Shoe Source | Shoes: Mira Metallic Point Pump c/o Payless

As I shared in this post, I believe in having an “fancy fashion emergency kit” so you can take pieces already in your closet and make them ready for dressy events. There’s no need to pay a lot of the accessories that will transform your wardrobe; Payless is one of my go-to locations for festive and formal shoes and accessories that are kind to the wallet.

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Payless shoes and clutch for the holidaysFor this look, I took the black cashmere sweater I wore in this post and paired it with a recent score from Poshmark – a new with tags black satin skirt from Banana Republic that was just $35. This belt I bought in 1998, and this necklace is older than Emerson. However, the look just wasn’t festive with basic black pumps and a leather bag. I went to my nearby Payless where I had a pretty hard time choosing which shoes would complete the look! The Madem Ghille Pump was Emerson’s favorite, and it did have a rock and roll vibe that I usually love. It would totally rock a simple not-so LBD, but felt it was too fussy for this outfit. The Lace Haylee Bow Slingback was another contender, but I had no idea what bag to put with the look. The Mira pump was a winner as it was super comfortable and I could see myself wearing again with everything from boyfriend jeans and a band tee to my black jumpsuit and a jet bead necklace. And when I saw there was a matching clutch for less than $10 (at time of purchase), I knew I found a winner. Add a holiday red lip and I’m ready to go!

This outfit is perfect for a formal holiday dinner at a relative’s or a New Year’s party at your friend’s house. Festive, dressy, but comfortable, warm, and sophisticated. And thanks to Payless I spent less than $70 on this look and have individual pieces I can mix and match for other events this holiday season and beyond.

For more stylish yet budget friendly fashion ideas, visit Payless on Pinterest

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Recent Fashion Purchases: Hits and Misses

A few things I have recently purchased or tried, and whether they are winners or losers for my closet:

best summer fashion buys 2015jpg

1. Vince Camuto One-button Blazer in Taffy Pink

I owned this same blazer in neon yellow when the neon trend was hot (I wish I never sold it, I’d likely still rock the heck out of it), so I know how it fits. I’m not usually a pastels kind of gal, but blush pink has grown on me, especially when paired with denim, navy, and black and white. The jacket is nice – it’s that kind of fabric you can wear to the office, but also style with boyfriend jeans. It has gold buttons at the cuffs and a single gold button in front.  I like rolling my sleeves for a more casual look and it worked even with the buttons (and the lining is the same color of pale pink).  The day I wrote this piece I wore it with the Caslon striped tee, my Jag Erin skinny cuffed jeans, and black pumps. I also wore it with boyfriend jeans, Converse Shorelines, and a white band tee and plan on wearing it to the work with gray or cream trousers.

2. Halogen Modal & Linen Tee in Black and White Stripe

I know, I know, all the stripes. It’s my weakness in life. I liked that this one had a subtle scoop neck, that it wasn’t going to be clingy and a slouchy lightweight fabric. I ordered the Large and it fits far more like an XL. It’s fine with skinny jeans or shorts, but a medium would likely be better if you want to wear untucked with looser bottoms or tucked in. Though it’s lightweight, it’s not sheer. Though it says hand wash and dry flat, I washed on the gentle cycle in a lingerie bag and line dried it hanging over two hangers and it turned out fine.

3., 4. Gap Muscle Tank in Gray Stripe and Red Floral

Last year I bought a muscle tank from Free People and I loved the cut, the fit, and the effect. I was thinking these would be similar. Notsomuch. These are true muscle tanks – the neck is high, the sleeves are cut where they’d likely flatter a very slim or very muscular arm, neither which I have. They look like Fruit of the Loom tee shirts with the sleeves cut off and hemmed.

5. Gap Stripe Fluid Tunic

I got this in the gray and white stripe and I like it. The sleeves are fitted but not too much, the body is wide and fluid inn a good way, the neck is flattering. It’s called a tunic but the large on me hit mid-fly on my jeans, nothing too long or too short. However, it just wasn’t unique enough for me to justify it. The top now is on big discount online and few sizes and colors are in stock, but I bet there would be a few on the sale rack at your closest location.

6. Old Navy Denim Pencil Skirt

Many of you recommended I try this skirt when I found the Madewell one (which I did return) fit strangely. I ordered this in the Gold Coast wash since I was looking for something more distressed or vintage looking. I have to agree, this is a great skirt. It has stretch so you get a better fit, and it’s a classic cut that will go with so many things. However the Gold Coast color is terrible. It looks really cheesy; a weird blue that I remember my dad’s gardening jeans from Sears were, and with bright gold stitching. I considered distressing the skirt to balance out the very crisp finish but didn’t think it was worth the effort and worried I’d end up ruining it. So instead I sent it back. However if you want a rinse/dark denim pencil skirt, I would totally recommend this one from Old Navy.

7. Old Navy Wrap-Front Jersey Top in Light Heather Gray

This looked cheap. I have a similar top from Two by Vince Camuto and this one may be a third of the price of that one but it LOOKS like it. This top doesn’t hang well, the armholes aren’t flattering, the neckline gapes, the fabric is a weird texture. Even if it was on sale for $5 I wouldn’t keep it because I just don’t think it’s worth it. I thought it could be a nice change from tee shirts, but it just isn’t worth it.

8. Banana Republic Striped Drapey Popover Blouse

This looked like something that I’d put on before I got my hair highlighted. It looked like a lady’s blouse from the ‘80s that I would have thrifted in college and knotted and paired with denim cutoffs and clunky Steve Madden slides. Fail.

9. Banana Republic Go-To Denim Shirt in Dark Denim

Reviews said this runs small so I got an XL. I’m glad I did because the arms (just like most everything from Banana recently) run narrow. The fabric of this shirt is soft enough that it drapes nicely, but has enough structure for a proper collar and clean cuffs that stay in place. This shirt actually shows the quality difference between Gap and Banana; I have two Gap denim shirts and while they’re great, this one was just made with more attention to detail, higher quality fabric and finishings.

Recent Purchases: Spring Clothing Shopping

Been doing a bit of shopping lately, a bit more misses than hits:

recent spring purchases clothing

1. Halogen Roll Sleeve Maxi Dress

This dress looked like perfection for spring through fall. I imagined it with my vintage brown leather belt and heeled sandals for the office, with my silver Birkenstocks for the weekend. I have pieces from Halogen in this fabric and knew it would be great for travel. Since it’s a maxi, I chose a petite. I went with XL since it’s not stretchy and I need room for “the girls.”

The arms were so tight I could hardly get it on, and the front placket bulged. However, the torso felt a bit too long, the waist was too big and the skirt was loose. The length was perfect, just like the model so I knew switching to Regular wouldn’t work. Sadly this was returned, but if you’re smaller busted or taller scoop this baby up; it’s very similar to dresses sold by brands like Vince for four times the price and the fabric is nice – feels and looks like silk yet is machine washable.

2. Madewell Raw Edge Denim Skirt

I swore I wouldn’t buy a denim skirt this season. I did denim skirts a decade ago, and did them five years before that and a decade before that. There’s a point when you just don’t want to do a trend again. But then I saw a woman around my age wearing one with a Breton tee and Chucks and Wayfarers and gosh she looked so casually cool and classic. I didn’t want it crisp, I wanted a casual version, and I wanted it to come down to my knees. This one from Madewell via Nordstrom looked perfect.

And it is almost perfect. So almost perfect I’m wondering if it’s worth alterations. For the problem with this skirt is that it’s completely straight and if you’re curvy like me, a straight skirt turns into a bell. From the front, it’s cute enough but the side and back view is dreadful. However, if the skirt was tapered about an inch on either side, it would be awesome. I love the soft denim, I love the raw edge and subtle distressing that looks authentic, not torn apart in a warehouse. And I tried it on with the striped tee in this post and my Converse Shorelines and I loved the concept on me.  I should have also checked it out on the Madewell site where it’s not pinned in back and looks more a-line.

So the skirt is sitting in a box in the corner of my room while I decide whether it’s worth additional alterations or if I find a better choice. If you’ve seen a similar skirt that’s more a true pencil, please let me know!

3. Gap White Linen Shirtdress

I’ve always wanted a dress like this – buttons all the way down, sleeves rolled, pockets, knee length, a self-belt that can be switched out for a different look. I’ve never bought one because white dresses are usually too sheer and they rarely end up looking good after a day of wear. But this dress got great reviews for opacity and wearability so I took a chance.

Again, I worked a hell of a long time trying to style this dress. Skinny belt, wide belt, raffia belt, braided belt, no belt, collar popped, cami underneath. It just isn’t flattering. The pockets are very bulky (why make the actual pocket of the same heavy linen? Use a lightweight cotton for gosh sakes!), there’s no loops for the belt so the belt slides around, and yes, it is too sheer to wear without a slip (though I have a cotton slip and that didn’t bother me).

4. Ann Taylor Stripe Shoulder Zip Cotton Top

I know, do I REALLY need another striped top? My gray striped J. Crew Factory tee now has a hole in it, and I wanted another gray stripe. I know, I know, but all my striped tops DO get regular wear!

This top is a heavy weight, the zipper detail adds a nice touch. It’s a structured top, too heavy to tuck in and far more substantial and less stretchy than a tee. I actually like that feature, it looks more polished when paired with jeans and can be worn in a Business Casual work environment. It was machine washed regular but line dried and turned out well. It’s not the best striped shirt I have ever had, but it’s a nice one that has already been worn a handful of times!

5. Gap Cinched Scoop Dress

I’ve worn the heck out of this dress from Lands’ End Canvas (RIP) and it got too worn out to look nice. This dress in navy looked like a great replacement. And it’s sooooo close. I ordered a petite because I feared the armholes would be too low and the skirt too long. And while neither of those were an issue with the petite, the problem was that the waist was at this weird point that isn’t empire and isn’t traditional. The elastic waist is begging to be covered with a belt, but is wider than all of my wide belts, and with the high waist, it just looked super wonky. I kept trying to make it work and realized that if a dress takes this much effort to style, it doesn’t belong in my wardrobe. But if I were taller and could carry off the regular, I think all the issues wouldn’t be issues. If you’re 5’6” or taller, don’t rule this one out as it’s that great fabric that can look good wrinkled or crinkled and will get softer with washings, it has pockets, is a classic style and quite comfortable. It could be dressed up or down and will dry quickly.

6. Banana Republic Brenna Slip-on Sneaker

I mentioned in this post that I purchased these shoes. I must say I really dig them. I have short toes,a high arch and a fat foot thanks to lots of padding on the ball from childhood toewalking, so slip-on shoes don’t usually work for me. However, I have had luck with Banana Republic in the past so I took a chance. Glad I did, these shoes are freaking awesome. The silver is shiny, but it’s clearly metal and not cheap. The fit is comfortable, and the leather has a bit of give. The perforations keep you cooler than a solid shoe, but you can slip a pair of peds underneath without them showing.

Wednesday, I created an outfit around these shoes and asked Karl how it looked. He agreed the shoes are badass, but do I NEED shoes like this? I have my silver Birkenstocks, I have my Converse Shorelines. I hate to admit it, he’s right, so the shoes are going back. But if you need such shoes in your wardrobe, these are even better in person! Do as I did, wait until Banana has one of their 40% off deals; while these are awesome I think the price is a bit cray for a trend piece.

Have you made any recent purchases? Anything we should check out? Anything we should avoid at all costs?

Recent Fashion Purchases: Hits and Misses

Here we are with another round of things Allie bought that she loved and she regretted. But thank goodness for free returns and a new office location not too far from a shopping mall, those regrets can be returned quite easily!

Halogen JacketHalogen Zip Pocket Open Jacket – Ivory Cloud

I ordered this in an XL Petite and think it fits great. The fabric is a crepe that dresses up nicely. It is fully lined, has a bit of give, and nice details like a seamed edge where a lapel usually would be a fully functioning zipper pockets. This looks a lot like a jacket from Rebecca Minkoff that I admired but didn’t come in my size. Regular and petite sizes, comes in a bunch of colors (and even a tweed option), and under $100. This is a jacket I will wear to work, but can also pair with a band tee and a pair of leather-front pants for a night out. Hit!

_12453450Vince Camuto Stretch Cotton One Button Blazer – White

I have this jacket in black (seen here) and pink (seen here) so when I decided this spring I needed a white blazer, I ordered this one in 14. It had to work, right? Wrong. Karl said I looked like a doctor, I thought I looked as though I was selling cosmetics door-to-door. The jacket that I love and regularly recommend looked frumpy, cheap, and boxy in white. I thought it was me, I was too heavy, too busty, too curvy in general for a white jacket. But I decided to try again with the Halogen one (it’s more of a winter white) and realized it’s not me, it’s the jacket. I still think this Vince Camuto blazer is amazing, but just not for me in white. Miss.

_12161072Wayf Blouson Midi Dress – Coral

I ordered this before I saw a ton of bloggers wearing it. I saw it as a perfect summer dress and something fun to wear to my friend’s wedding this May, styled with sandals and a turquoise necklace. I ordered it in XL, knowing Wayf to be a Juniors brand and to run a bit small in the bust.

That rich almost neon color that you see here and may have seen on a blog or two? That’s not the color in real life. The real life color is more muted and felt dated, especially in the crinkle fabric. The neckline is super low and wide; while my bra wasn’t on display, if I moved the wrong way half a breast would slip out. The lining felt too heavy; it took a summery dress and made it feel as heavy. The sleeves were weird; loose and flowing until the hem which was fitted on my arm. It just looked and felt cheap. Miss.

cn10559927Banana Republic Foulard Ruffle Tank – Preppy Navy

Never go clothes shopping in a dress. I went to Banana in one, and tried on this top in an XL with no pants and thought it was super cute. The print is far more colorful in person.  I envisioned it with my orange suede pumps (there’s plenty of orange-red in the print), untucked with dark straight ankle jeans, or tucked in with navy trousers for the office. I thought it would be fun with distressed denim shorts in the summer.  I bought it in an XL, the L was too tight on my bust. I got it home and this looks insane on me. A woman with curves like mine should not be wearing ruffles like this; they looked like straps for an apron. The XL is far too big, while it fits in the bust it’s gaping under the arms and tents out so much it looks like I’m expecting. The ruffles do not play nice when the top is tucked in. That being said, the print and the fabric is nice and this could be a great top for a woman with fewer curves. But for me? Fail.

cn10767114Banana Republic Colorblock Crepe Top

See how drapey and relaxed this top looks on the model? It doesn’t look like that in person. This is a heavy top, with longer sleeves than I expected. I got an XL, which again was too big. The burgundy color went down past the middle of my bust, taking the spotlight and making the cheery colors on the bottom an afterthought. The burgundy was as low as the sleeves were long, making a big rectangle of sad on the top of my body. Then having the fabric so heavy without flow? I looked made of Legos. Too bad the top doesn’t have more shape, less burgundy, or maybe was made into a dress so the other colors could have a chance against the rectangle of sad. Fail.

vince-camuto-rich-black-off-the-shoulder-blouse-black-product-0-878046616-normalVince Camuto Off the Shoulder Blouse – Black

I fell for the season’s trend of cold shoulders and off the shoulder tops and ordered this in black, envisioning it tucked into my Banana Republic Ryan pants and paired with a fabulous pair of shoes and a bright lip. I got an XL, partially because I worried it may be too small and partially because black was no longer left in L. Well the XL is too big; so big the straps were too wide-set to stay on my shoulders. There was so much volume it looked insane, and the top is too short to tuck in. The fabric is challis, so it has a nice drape, but that’s about all I can say positive about this top. It sells out pretty quickly, if you do decide to get it size down. I think I could have carried off a Medium in this top except I’d worry that my navel would be exposed when I raised my arm. Fail.

_11614778NIC+ZOE Drifty Wide Leg Linen Pants

Will you do me a favor? Will you please keep reminding me that I do not look good in thin drapey wide leg pants? Because I don’t, no matter how many times I try. I featured these pants in this post and sold them so well I ordered them before the post went live. Oh how summery and cool! Pair with a Breton tee and flat sandals, wear with a white tank and lots of beaded necklaces, knot my white linen shirt at the waist and wear with my silver Birkenstocks and silver choker. Oh I had great plans for these pants. Then they arrived and I put them on. They fit perfectly (I got Large Petite) in every way and even length. They look really nice in person, a little button at the elasticized waist was a nice touch. They have pockets, and they’re opaque. But dang if a pair of pants like this don’t emphasize all the negative and hide all the positive. And I am not a drapey linen kind of personality. If you are, these pants are quite nice. But if you’re not, let us remind each other of this every spring so we don’t make this mistake again. Fail.

20310_mBaublebar Aloha Bib

Can you believe I’ve never shopped at Baublebar before? Each year when I get my annual bonus at work, I buy myself a treat. Usually it’s a new purse. After two years of paying an insane amount of medical bills and depleting most of my savings, I decided to treat myself to a smaller accessory and sock away the rest. Many times I wished I had a necklace that wasn’t a color, wasn’t silver, wasn’t gold. Just something to add interest. I saw this necklace when crafting an advice post for the blog and never forgot it so I decided to have this be my annual accessory treat.

I’ve done Jewelmint (RIP) and Rocksbox and received accessories from popular costume jewelry brands like House of Harlow, Gorjana, Vince Camuto, Nadri, Natasha Couture. I’ve seen accessories from other brands of this pricepoint and I always feel they look so… juniors. Not bad, but not really something a 41 year old mom and business professional can rock with confidence. Baublebar is not juniors jewelry. Oh man, I am highly impressed and now understand all the hype. The Aloha Bib necklace was shipped connected to a cardboard card with twist ties, that card was wrapped in bubble wrap, then put in a heavy-duty Ziploc bag, then more bubble wrap, then plenty of crisp tissue and finally in a very large sturdy box. I also received a free necklace (that is also super nice), a black storage bag, and instructions on how to keep the necklaces nice. And the necklace is nice. It’s a good weight, the lucite balls are clear and shiny, the gold metal is well done, there’s a nice long chain to adjust the length, the closure is quality. The necklace is $42 but I don’t think it would be insane to sell this necklace for $68. All this, and you get points for each purchase on Baublebar to use toward future purchases, shipping is free, and they accept returns. This will not be the last time I shop Baublebar. Hit!

Have you made any recent fashion purchases worthy of a warning or deserving of a share to other readers?  Would love to read about it in the comments below!

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What I Wore: Stripes and Shine [Sponsored]

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a navy pinstripe pantsuit from Banana Republic with gold d'Orsay pumps from Paylessjacket | pants | shoes | sunglasses

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a navy pinstripe pantsuit from Banana Republic with gold d'Orsay pumps from Payless Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a navy pinstripe pantsuit from Banana Republic with gold d'Orsay pumps from Payless Wardrobe Oxygen featuring a navy pinstripe pantsuit from Banana Republic with gold d'Orsay pumps from PaylessBlazer: Banana Republic (14P) | Tee: rag & bone (L) | Pants: Banana Republic (14P) | Earrings: eBay | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Shoes: Michelle d’Orsay Pump c/o Payless ShoeSource

If you’ve been reading for a bit you know I’m a fan of Payless; I featured some of their great holiday shoes and accessories this winter and have rocked a few great pairs of their footwear for many years. Payless asked me to check out their spring offerings and yet again I was impressed by the style, the fit, and of course the great prices. If you follow me on Snapchat (wardrobeoxygen) or Instagram you know Emerson I visited our local Payless last week and we both found great shoes for the season.

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring gold metallic d'Orsay pumps from Payless ShowSourceOne of the pairs I picked up was these d’Orsay pumps in a soft gold metallic. I have a pair of silver pumps and find they’re incredibly versatile and a great way to glam up a simpler look. I’ve wanted a pair in gold but I didn’t want to spend an arm and a leg. Payless is one of my go-tos for achieving trendy footwear looks for less. Not only are they a fun color, but the d’Orsay cut-out side is sexy and more airy for spring and summer, and the shoe has a flexible rubber sole.

These shoes could be paired with jeans and a top for a night out, be paired with a dress of most any color or style for a wedding or dressy occasion, or add a fun touch to work looks. I styled these with cream trousers and a silk blouse, with black ankle pants and a silk tee, bootcut jeans and a crisp white shirt, straight ankle jeans and a Breton tee, a pencil skirt with denim jacket, and this look on the blog. Pretty impressive versatility for less than $30!

This post was sponsored by Payless, but all thoughts and decisions regarding content are my own.

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What I Wore: Stripes and More Stripes

Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" totesweater | pants | bag | shoes

Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" tote Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" tote Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" tote Wardrobe Oxygen, over 40 curvy fashion blogger featuring a J. Crew cashmere sweater, Banana Republic pants, and a Dagne Dover 15" toteSweater: J. Crew (XL) | Pants: Banana Republic (14P) | Shoes: Ivanka Trump | Necklace: bellezamia | Watch: Citizen| Tennis bracelet: gift (similar) | Bracelet: Gorjana (similar) | Bag: 15″ Tote c/o Dagne Dover

What’s better than a striped top?  A striped top with striped pants!  #Stripes4Lyfe! This is the cashmere sweater I mentioned in Friday’s post and the pants from this post.  If you follow me on Snapchat you know I wore this look last Tuesday to work.  Whenever I can’t figure out what shoes to wear with a look I always go to leopard and it rarely steers me wrong!

A few of you sent me emails and comments after last week’s What’s In My Bag to see how the 15″ Dagne Dover tote looks near my body, if it’s too big, and if it fits over my shoulder.  As you can see it’s not too big and fits quite comfortably over the shoulder even when full.

Many of you have also reached out complaining how the current delicate necklace trend isn’t kind to those of us who are larger or curvy.  So many of the popular brands only carry 16″ chains; some carry 18″ but it’s still too short for many.  My solution? Etsy! This necklace is from Etsy seller bellezamia, the quality is excellent, the price cheaper than a lot of the trendy brands, and I could choose my chain length (this is 20″).  Etsy is also my go-to for on-trend rings in sizes larger than 7 or 8.  A variety of sizes and you get to support a small business or independent artisan?  Win/win!

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What I Wore: The Old Reliable

Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle booties

sweater | jeans | booties | bag | sunglasses

Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle booties Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle booties Banana Republic Sandhurst Hobo Bag - Wardrobe Oxygen Wardrobe Oxygen wearing Clarks Spye Astro ankle booties in sand suede Wardrobe Oxygen, an over 40 fashion blog featuring a Lands' End cableknit sweater, JAG Jeans, and Clarks ankle bootiesSweater: Lands’ End (L) (similar) | Jeans: c/o JAG Jeans (12) | Booties: Spye Astro Boot c/o Clarks | Bag: Banana Republic (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bracelets: Gorjana (similar), c/o Joseph Nogucci | Watch: Citizen | Necklace: Stella & Dot

This past weekend I spent a lot of time running errands and catching up from spending the previous weekend in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. This sweater I purchased last year on clearance and it’s still a favorite. I featured these jeans in this post and they’re a weekend fave; the embroidery makes them stand out and more fun than basic boyfriend jeans. Speaking of faves, I bought this bag from Banana Republic almost a decade ago (I mention it in 2010 about how it was such a good buy). I saw it in the store and fell in love hard but couldn’t afford it. I went on eBay and found it new for a fraction of the retail price, though it was way more than I would usually spend on a bag. I splurged, and am so glad I did as it’s still a favorite bag. It taught me to buy quality, not quantity, and to wait for the right thing instead of making do.  And yes, if you read the post I linked to about it, it has been cleaned!

I can’t believe I haven’t featured these shoes on the blog until now. Clarks sent me their Spye Astro ankle booties in Sand Suede several weeks ago but I couldn’t wear them because of my broken foot. If you follow me on Instagram you know I have worn them several times in the past couple of weeks. I’ve paired with a striped knit dress, grey skinny jeans, and often with boyfriend jeans. Clarks is known for quality and comfort and these adorable booties do not disappoint.

What I Wore: Zenni… and a Giveaway! [Sponsored]

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Banana Republic, and Nic + Zoeshirt | skirt | glasses

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Banana Republic, and Nic + Zoe Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Banana Republic, and Nic + ZoeShirt: Banana Republic (this year’s version) | Skirt: Nic + Zoe | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: Love,Cortnie (similar) Necklace: Belleza Mia Jewelry | Bracelets: Gorjana, Rebecca Minkoff (similar), c/o Pura Vida, c/o Joseph Nogucci | Glasses: #206416 c/o Zenni Optical

It’s hard for me to accept compliments, and hard for me to compliment myself.  I was raised to be demure so I don’t look like a show-off.  But looking back at my 40+ years, I’m pretty proud of the woman I have become and the life I have created for myself.  Success is different for everyone; once I stopped trying to fit someone else’s idea of success is when I began to soar.

After college I walked into an Express store to shop away my feelings and left with a job application.  I was working at a place that was exhausting mentally and physically and though I hadn’t even thought about changing jobs, when the manager told me they were hiring I said I was interested.   Two interviews later, I was a management trainee at the Laurel Mall Express.  I had worked retail before and always loved how fast-paced and unexpected it was.  The sales goals excited me and challenged me to constantly improve.  As I moved into management, then merchandising, then training, I most loved mentoring a shy teenager into an educated and excited selling machine.  I moved up the ranks, changed stores and companies, and received many awards for my leadership.

When Karl and I got engaged I began questioning my life in retail.  I loved it, I succeeded in it, but the hours were tough.  At the time Karl worked nights and we could easily go a whole week without seeing one another.  But I was an English major who wrote her papers on a Brother word processor and hardly knew how to use a computer, how could I get an office job?  My best friend helped me create a resume in Microsoft Word and showed me how to focus on the positive skills I had.  I went on some pretty demoralizing interviews, but found a company who appreciated leadership skills over MS Office skills and gave me a chance as well as an opportunity to learn a whole new world.

That was 2004.  Now in 2016, I’m the one helping friends build their resumes as well as build websites, social media platforms, and blogs.  I have a technical job, and manage a team of very well educated intelligent people, helping them grow within the company.  I taught myself HTML to make a “bio” on The Knot, and then learned more coding to design a blog to my liking.  I watched YouTube and Lynda.com videos, borrowed books from the library, and made Google my BFF.  I taught myself MS Office, multiple Adobe products, social media, blogging, business writing, and more.  The primary technology I use at work I taught myself out without training, just trial and error and now teach it to others both inside and outside my company.  On my flight to LA the other week, the man next to me asked what I did and when he heard asked if I went to school for computer science.  “No, I was an English major, I’m completely self taught.”  I built myself and my life and I use what I have learned to help others, mentor others, influence others, and inspire others.

zenni opticalI think of the strong female leaders that helped me get to where I am today.  Barbara, the manager at the shop I worked at in college who taught me you’re only as strong as your staff and how to do business travel right.  Beth, my regional visual manager at Express who taught me to dress for not the job you have but the one you want and you can never be overdressed or over educated, especially in the workplace.  Nancy, my coworker at that first office job who taught me you’re never too old to start over or learn something new, and that you can be soft and sweet but still be a badass and lead a team of self-proclaimed tough guys.

Being a woman leader isn’t about a corner office or an impressive title on a business card.  Women leaders are everywhere, in every situation in life.  They’re not just in office buildings and Capitol Hill.  They see the big picture for success – for themselves or others – and have the courage and strength to get the job done. Zenni Optical recognizes the positive impact strong women make in our lives and honors their strength through the gift of stylish and affordable eyewear so that everyone can see and appreciate these achievements and talents clearly.

Wardrobe Oxygen featuring Zenni Optical, Nic + Zoe, and Banana RepublicZenni Optical is the pioneer in online prescription eyewear business; since 2003 they’ve helped people find fashionable glasses and sunglasses for $50 or less – price includes single-vision prescription lenses. With their curated collections and literally thousands of frames to choose from, Zenni offers the most options for affordable premium prescription eyewear for women, men and kids.  I’ve been using Zenni Optical for a long while (see this post where I’m wearing another style of their frames), and am honored to partner with them for this post and provide this fabulous giveaway!

Giveaway

One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will receive a Zenni Optical gift card for one pair of glasses up to $150. To enter, please use the widget below.  If for any reason you cannot access the widget, you can enter by leaving a comment below with what style of frames from Zenni Optical you would get if you win.

Zenni Optical Giveaway

When commenting, there’s no need to register with Disqus or associate your comment with a social media platform. In the comment field, there will be a field below that says ‘Name’ and above says, “Or Sign In with Disqus.” Click in the ‘Name’ field and it will expand. Below it there’s a check box that says, “I’d rather post as a guest.” If you click that, you will only need to enter a name and email address. This email address must be valid to be entered into the giveaway. Good luck!

Spring Shoe Trends: Style Like a Pump, Looks Like a Sneaker

When writing this post, I could NOT get this jingle out of my head, but with the revised lyrics, “style like a pump, looks like a sneaker.” For it’s true, this spring sneakers have become THE hot shoe and their purpose goes way past the gym or tennis court.

The street sneaker trend started last year with the return of Vans and Chucks and variations of these shoes in fun textures and fabrics. Well the trend has only improved, offering more silhouettes, fabrications, and options to fit most any foot or personal style. While high-tops, lace-ups, and slip-ons are all en vogue, I am only featuring lower-profile shoes in this post because I find them more flattering and more versatile. A low shoe that can be worn without socks (or with Peds or socks like these which hide from view) can be paired with ankle pants, flared jeans (which are also back in style this spring), wide-leg trousers, midi skirts, pencil skirts (yes, seriously!), sundresses, and shorts of every length. This is a great shoe choice for travel as you can spend all day on your feet but still look on trend and style it with most everything in your suitcase.

This is not your gardening sneaker, and this is not your Keds or Tretorns of yore. This is a shoe that can easily replace your sandals on weekends, but also your heels for a night out or your slingbacks with a summer dress. Treat them as well as you would your leather pumps, and realize to have the style and comfort you deserve, you’ll likely have to pay more than expected for athletic shoes. Choosing a unique material, pattern, or metallic is actually more versatile than a neutral; let your shoes this spring be an accent piece like a statement necklace or a colorful silk scarf. Don’t match, complement or contrast with purpose.

2015 spring shoe trends

Consider this your cue to drop the beat-up elastic-backed ballet flats or the frumpy “comfort sandal” for an upgrade that’s high on style but still comfortable. A few styles I’ve been admiring, and how to style them for spring:

1. Aerin ‘Liza’ Slip-on: While available in stone and white calf leather, I chose to feature these shoes in Azalea Multi because it’s proof of what I wrote earlier about a unique pattern can be more versatile than a neutral. Pair with jeans and a Breton tee for the weekend, or style with a midi-length boho sundress for the farmer’s market. Style with white jeans and a silk tank for drinks with the girls, or gray ankle pants and a crisp white shirt for a more relaxed workplace. The perforations keep you cool on a warm day and the ultra-slim profile makes these more like a loafer than a clunky sneaker. Aerin (as in Lauder, granddaughter of Esteé ) makes beautiful footwear that is classic with a touch of elegance and this slip-on is a perfect example of her aesthetic.

2. Chico’s ‘Agatha’ Champagne Sneaker Flats: Sometimes a lace-up is a necessity, and sometimes it’s a sartorial preference. I fell for this lace-up “sneaker flat” because it has such a great sole for pounding the pavement, but an elegant low profile that would look great dressed up. Pair with a tee shirt dress and denim jacket for a day at the museums, style with a midi skirt and a large-brimmed sunhat for an afternoon at the winery or flea market, with ankle jeans and a tee shirt for running errands, with wide-leg ivory trousers and a silk blouse for a creative or more casual workplace. This shoe can easily hide a pair of Peds for additional comfort.

3. bernie mev. ‘Verona’ Slip-on Sneaker: I bought a pair of bernie mev. shoes last spring and adore them. Super cushy insoles, and the body of the shoe is made of elastic strips woven together in a basket pattern. This makes the shoe stretch and give with your foot and movement, but also provides support and a bit of ventilation. I had a hard time choosing which color of this shoe to put in the collage as there are so many great options. While the Leopard and the Black Patent/Silver combos are pretty awesome, the Pewter (pictured) is a good basic that would look great with a black midi skirt or white boyfriend jeans and be comfortable enough for all the sight-seeing on your spring and summer calendar.

4. Rachel Zoe ‘Chandler’ Pointy-toe Sneaker: One of the best variations on last year’s sneaker trend is this year’s elongated, slim, and pointy-toe versions. A big problem with sneakers is that they can make a foot look blocky, which is tough to carry off if you’re petite or have larger legs and ankles. The slimmer and longer toeboxes on sneakers work like pointed-toe pumps and flats to elongate the leg and balance the figure. Available in black leather and ivory (which is more like a champagne) metallic, this pointed-toe sneaker will look amazing paired with any pant or skirt in your wardrobe. This is a statement shoe that will dress up a simple look of boyfriend jeans and a band tee, or look at home peeking out of tropical wool trousers or paired with a shirtdress.

5. Boden Slip-on Trainer: Boden is my go-to when trying to find casual shoes that look great with dresses or a more feminine wardrobe. Available in five different fun prints, this slip-on has a slim profile that will look great with casual cuffed ankle jeans or paired with a floral circle skirt. The Black and White Spot Pony is a brilliant choice; a calfhair finish adds interest, the brown trim ensures the shoe will go with most everything in your wardrobe, and the green elastic adds a bit of whimsy and humor to what could become your go-to shoe for the next two seasons.

6. Dr. Scholl’s ‘Sterling’ Sneaker: The bowling-inspired sneakers are coming back in style (the ‘90s are back baby, whether you like it or not), and it’s a great trend if you need a supportive comfortable shoe that still has style. The retro mix of cream and black will look great with denim or paired with a striped knit dress and can even be styled nicely with cream wide-leg trousers. This is a shoe that can accommodate an orthotic and sock without sacrificing style.

7. Nine West ‘Banter’ Perforated Suede Slip-on: The low profile and choice of suede upper makes this sneaker downright elegant. This is a sneaker you could pair with a silk midi skirt or shirt dress without looking confused, but it can also pair nicely with your favorite denim, shorts, or cotton dress. Pair with a black pantsuit to add a modern touch.

8. Trouvé ‘Evans’ Leather Slip-on: Available in black and a very pale gray, this streamlined leather sneaker is downright elegant in its minimalism. This is a shoe that can replace your Keds, your loafers, and your ballet flats! Gray (pictured above) is more wearable than true white, looking great with everything from a pastel pleated maxi skirt to a pair of khaki Bermudas. The black version is crisp and modern and would look great with everything from a modern art-inspired printed shift dress to vintage denim and a slouchy knit top.

9. Via Spiga ‘Gingi’ Leather Slip-on Sneaker: Available in four leather and suede options, this slip-on sneaker is a great alternative to canvas versions. While the other options available are quite lovely (I’m partial to the black leather), the Red Pepper Suede is my favorite because it’s that perfect pop of red that goes with most everything. Like a bold lip or glossy tomato nails, a hint of red is an elegant addition to a wardrobe of neutrals, a denim-based ensemble, or a look incorporating leopard or another animal print.

Inspired by this post, I ordered the ‘Brenna’ Slip-on sneaker from Banana Republic in Super Silver. Last summer I wore the heck out of my shiny silver Birkenstocks but wish I had something more substantial to wear for Casual Fridays and crowd situations where I wanted my toes protected. I’ll be sure to report back in a future post on what I think of them – they’ll either be featured in an upcoming post or rated a “fail” in a shopping recap!

Shop the Looks Featured in this Post:

My Wardrobe Today – Wednesday

OxfordLands End Canvas
Skirt Calvin Klein (similar)
Scarf (as cummerbund) – H&M (no longer available – similar)
Shoes Payless
Bag – Banana Republic “Sandhurst Hobo” (no longer available – similar)
Watch Orient
Thread braceletsTreasure Tower
Silver cuff

Don’t you hate those folks who tell you on Thursday, “Today’s my Friday”? Yeah me too. Well today is my Thursday, hate me all you want! This weekend is the annual Girls Getaway Weekend where my mom, sister, Emerson and I head to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. I couldn’t be more excited. Not really sure exactly why but I have been feeling very tense and stressed. I have this feeling in my stomach as though I am going to say or do the wrong thing, accidentally hurt someone or end up in a sobbing mess in a bathroom stall over nothing important. Please tell me I am not the only one who gets this way when life gets too hectic… but I am looking forward to a weekend away from computers and with some of my favorite people on the planet.

Now if I can just get myself together before we leave… tomorrow after work I am going to the Swapaholics Sip & Swap and I know I won’t get home until late and then we are leaving bright and early on Friday. Between now and then I need to do laundry, pack for me and Emerson, write my article for Savings.com (and some other goodies such as a giveaway that is coming down the pike!), tie up loose ends at work and hit CVS or Target for some last-minute vaca essentials. However, it’s all so worth it because the Sip & Swap is going to be a blast (let me know if you’re going!) and I know the beach is JUST what the doctor ordered (speaking of which, been watching past episodes of the new Doctor Who and I think I’m getting a bit addicted…).

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Friday: Working for the Weekend

Shirt: Lands’ End Canvas
Jeans: Jag (similar)
Bracelets: Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, Lauren Ralph Lauren, c/o Soft Surroundings
Shoes: Halogen (similar)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Bag: Banana Republic (similar)

I really should have had my husband get a shot of my travel mug – it’s for Saturn of Bowie.  My dad got it when he bought his 1994 Saturn, which I inherited when he passed in 1998 and drove into the ground until 2002 or so when I took over the loan on my mom’s ’99 Saturn, which I drove into the ground and replaced this past Easter with my Kia Soul.  The more I have the Kia, the more I like it.  I no longer feel like a hamster in a track suit – it’s great for carrying a ton of stuff, is good on gas (went to SC, KY, and DE with us this summer), and is roomy and comfortable.  And it’s my first non-inherited car!

This week has been busy. So busy, I haven’t done laundry in quite a while. I started trying to pull together fancy-shmancy outfits, thought maybe I’d go all kitchen sink today… but then realized I just want to get through today so I can enjoy the weekend. So I went to closet basics.

Last night I went back to Weight Watchers… for the first time in three months! Ack! We’re doing a wellness challenge at work so I figured it was time to get back on the Weight Watchers bandwagon. I was surprised I only gained 1.6 pounds in the past three months but no gain is a good gain. We’re moving offices soon and I am excited because the new one has a gym in it – a few of my coworkers and I have already decided to make good use of it, coming in early a couple days or using our lunch hours when we don’t have client meetings later in the afternoon.

Tomorrow we’re going to see Band of Horses and My Morning Jacket at Merriweather and I couldn’t be more psyched. Favorite band, and also get to spend time with some of my favorite people! What are your weekend plans?

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Distraction

Kimono Jacket: Tildon | Tee: Old Navy | Jeans: c/o Liverpool Jeans Company | Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar) | Navy bracelets: c/o lifetherapy | Silver cuff, necklaces: random mix I’ve had forever | Earrings: Nordstrom (similar) | Bag: Banana Republic via eBay (similar) | Cute child: Mah Bellay

Part of me thought about having the blog silent today out of respect for the tragedy that happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. But then this morning as I was getting overwhelmed by more news on Twitter, I went to my Feedly app to distract myself with lovely blogs by talented writers and stylish women and men. And I realized, we all have different ways to cope with a situation, and sometimes we just need a distraction. Maybe it’s a reality TV show on Bravo, possibly a pedicure and latte, or maybe it’s visiting blogs on a lunch hour and distancing yourself from the news for just a little bit.

When I bought this tunic/jacket/thingie I felt very Stevie Nicks in it, but when I saw pictures of when I wore it this past weekend, I felt a bit more old school Carney Wilson. However, it’s so darn fun to wear, Karl told me I look sexy in it, and it’s free and breezy and flowing and dramatic when I move. This top is actually one big rectangle with a slit down the middle and four holes to thread the belt. It’s really getting my sewing juices flowing, thinking I could make something similar. I’m also thinking I may try this with a leather belt for a different look. The belt holes are a bit high so the belt can ride up to right below my bust (as you see in these pictures), so by making it myself I can have the belt at my natural waist for less riding. However I don’t have the skill to recreate the cool beading!

Oh these shoes… when I got on my ankle bootie kick, I set up an eBay alert to let me know when Miss Sixty Jaiden boots in my size were up for bid. I broke the heel on my first pair, found my second pair on Gilt (thank you Fi for the head’s up!), but they got beat up pretty quickly with winter wear. I found my third pair for a song on eBay and set up an alert to let me know if another pair in my size went up for bid. Day after I set up the alert, these came up for an insanely low price, brand new. I thought they would be great for spring. Nope, they looked atrocious, like horse’s hooves or bandaged feed. So they sat in a box waiting for me to get around to putting them back on eBay. This weekend I decided to try them with this outfit since black shoes looked too severe… and I kind of liked it. And they’re just as comfortable as the black ones (though a slightly different heel and shape). So comfortable, when I went to my cousin’s this weekend, I ended up taking a pretty long walk in them and didn’t have unhappy feet. Talk about shopping your closet!

And the key necklace?  I don’t know why I didn’t think about it before, but it’s the key to the cedar chest in our bedroom.  This weekend I thought… hey that would make a pretty badass necklace and I’d always know where to find it!

I remember when I was little, we went to a yard sale and I found this hot pink and white acrylic ribbed turtleneck sweater and I felt in love HARD. If I recall correctly, my mom tried to dissuade me from getting it but I felt I needed it in my life and I can remember wearing it a lot. In my child brain, I felt it was so beautiful and cool, but likely it was itchy and stained or ill-fitting. My friend Jazz gave me a box of her daughter’s clothing that she outgrew and in that box I found this sweater and just by looking at it I bet it was to her daughter what that pink and white sweater was to me. A couple of the crystal buttons are missing and it’s more worn looking than anything else in the box, obviously loved. I just opened the box last week, realizing Emerson is finally the size for the clothes, and didn’t put out this sweater since it’s getting warmer. Yesterday during her supposed nap, Emerson rooted through her closet and found this sweater and put it in her drawer because she found it, “magical.” And though it will likely be warm today, she wanted to wear it, and I have a feeling it will be worn quite a lot in the coming months, even during blistering hot days. And like my mom, I won’t have much control over the situation, and like my mom I will realize it doesn’t really matter what she wears as long as she is happy.

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