Search Results for: label/my closet

What I Wore: Statement Sweater

wardrobe oxygen what I wore gray poncho tunic sweater wardrobe oxygen what I wore Stella Dot pendant wardrobe oxygen what I wore MICHAEL Michael Kors poncho sweater
Sweater: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Twill Jeans: NYDJ | Boots: Ros Hommerson | Bag: Isabella Fiore via MYHABIT | Necklace: c/o Stella & Dot (similar) | Bracelet: Rebecca Minkoff (similar) | Ring: Vintage via Etsy (similar) | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I shared this MICHAEL Michael Kors ponch sweater and my love for it last week on Instagram. And when I wore it everyone I bumped into also shared their love for the sweater. Strangers, coworkers, even Karl remarked on how pretty and cozy it looked. It doesn’t do a damn for my figure but sometimes a piece makes such a statement and is so clearly cozy and awesome it just doesn’t matter!

Shop the Look:

What I Wore: Cozy Stripe

wardrobe oxygen what I wore kensie blanket sweater leather leggings wardrobe oxygen what I wore leather bag HYHABIT review wardrobe oxygen what I wore kensie striped sweater
Sweater: Kensie | Tee: Ann Taylor | Pants: Ann Taylor (old – similar petite/regular version, plus version) | Shoes: Jessica Simpson | Belt: Halogen | Bag: Chancebanda via MYHABIT | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

I love huge sweaters like this, so perfect to snuggle up in when the temperatures drop. This weekend I wore it as a cardigan with a simple tee and jeans, but tried wrapping and belting the sweater and found it looked more polished and appropriate for a casual day at the office or going out to brunch with my friends.  I love the color story and it has fun knit elbow pads for interest.

The bag is a recent MYHABIT score; I had some credit stored up and this bag went on mega sale making it only $19! The blue is no longer available but they do have it in brown and plum.  I don’t love the lining which is a plasticy feeling acetate, but the leather and color is great, I love that there’s short handles plus the adjustable crossbody/shoulder strap, an outside pocket for my SmarTrip card and phone, and plenty of interior pockets to keep me organized.

As for the tee, it’s on a mega sale right now – when I bought it, it was $24.99 and then 60% off that price.  I got it in the black and white and the navy and oatmeal colors – you know me, I can’t resist a good price on a great striped tee!

My Fantasy Fashion Closet

I hate it when I want clothes and can’t find them in stores.

Each season, I make a list of what I’d like to add to my wardrobe to make it complete and up-to-date with trends. While most of what I own is simple or weird enough to not be passé after a year, combining them with of-the-moment trends gives them a new life. Along with a few trendy pieces, I often need to replace wardrobe staples that no longer fit or wore out with use. Usually I only find a fraction of these pieces for my mind doesn’t seem to be on the same wavelength as mass retailers. These are the items I would love to have for this season but have yet to find.

Sequined Peplum Top
I tried one on yesterday at Nordstrom Rack; it was from Alive + Olivia, was gold, but it was wrong. Not a true peplum, weird boxy shoulders that made me look like a linebacker, and unflattering neckline. That was the closest I have found.

I’d like it to have a round neckline – not a scoop, not a crew, just something that doesn’t make me have a log neck. Short puffed sleeves to balance out my thick arms and shoulders. A peplum that is obviously one, but doesn’t stick out like a shelf. I’d love it in peacock, teal… some sort of dark green with a blue in it. Could wear it with boyfriend jeans and stilettos, with black pants and pointed-toe pumps, or with a pencil skirt.

Olive Anorak-Style Jacket
Cotton, lightweight, looks good with the sleeves rolled up. I have one that has a belt, but there’s too many epaulets and straps and stuff. I want one with the bungee cord in the waist to cinch it. Something I can pair with my brown Karen Kane sequined skirt, a striped tee and booties for a hodgepodge that looks really good in my mind.

Black Wedge Booties
I know, there’s a kazillion black wedge booties on the market. Thing is, they all look wrong. I want ones that are loose at the top so they don’t look as though I replaced my feet with hooves – something that has space between shoe and ankle. I don’t want them super platform, or with a strange cut-out wedge. I don’t want them suede, or textured leather, or patent. Something very simple that I could wear with tights and a shift dress.

Black Photography Dress
My black shirtdress has become my photographer’s assistant uniform. It has deep pockets to hold batteries and memory cards, is full enough to let me get on the ground easily, is cotton which is comfortable and breathable at hot weddings and venues. I wear with a wide elastic belt and low shoes and I look cute, professional, appropriate. Well this dress has been laundered far too many times and I think only has one or two wearings left.

I ordered this dress from MICHAEL Michael Kors and while on paper it’s near perfect, on me it looks like a cheap flight attendant uniform. It’s very hard to find black dresses with pockets that actually can hold more than your hand and a lip gloss!

Black Photography Pants Ensemble
I know most photographers wear random black easy-care pants, flat comfortable shoes, and a faded black tee shirt or sweater. I just don’t feel good in that, I don’t feel myself. I’d love to find some Ponte separates – pants with a wider leg that have front and back pockets, a matching top that maybe has patch pockets on the front. Very clean lines, not too tight, plenty of stretch and places to store things. Oh, and if it could be machine washable!

Black Photography Shoes
Something closed toe with a slight wedge heel, comfortable, squishy, simple. Leather so I can polish them up when they get scuffed and they can handle some moisture.  Nothing dowdy, I’d like to also wear these shoes with jeans on weekends if I need to walk or stand for long periods of time. No flats, no separate heels that can sink in wet grass, no Mary Jane, but something that would also work with dresses.

White Cotton Shirt
I want this every year but I never find what I am looking for. Wrinkle-resistant (at least not the type to look crumpled after an hour) but not heavy or with a sheen. No boob pockets. Seaming so it doesn’t hang straight from the bustline. A collar that looks good regular or popped. No oxford, no voile, no mixed-media. Simple pearlized buttons. Looks good untucked, tucked in, or tied at the bottom and you can’t see the hooks of my bra through the fabric.

Black Leather Pleated Skirt
I thought I found the perfect leather skirt during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but when it arrived I saw it wasn’t. The leather was far too stiff for the pleating, the drop waist hit at a weird place, and it was tight in weird places but gaping a bit at the waist.

I want a slightly dropped waist so the bulk isn’t right on my tummy, and soft enough leather that the pleats move and don’t get stuck together. Hit above the knee.

Black Taffeta Party Skirt
I want a big black taffeta skirt that hits at the lower calf. Pockets, defined waistband, maybe even a slightly dropped waist like my Banana Republic skirt, though that’s not necessary if it’s not too full. I want to wear it with a heather gray v-neck tee and booties, or with a crisp white shirt and channel Carolina Herrera. I’d even pair with a cashmere or sequined tank and wear to a more formal event.

***

Retailers, am I asking too much? I feel that these things I could use in my closet are relatively basic and would look fabulous on multiple shapes of women who have varied lifestyles.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Shop My Closet!

Do you like what I wear?  Well now is your chance to buy some of it.  As I remove weight, I am posting my old, gently used clothing and accessories at Shop My Closet: Wardrobe Oxygen.  Some items aren’t even worn.  I try to give very clear descriptions of all items, links to this blog if I have worn them recently, and reasonable prices.  Shipping is $5.00 (US) for most items, and I will combine purchases for reduced shipping fees.

So check it out – you may find just what your wardrobe was looking for!

What’s In My Closet?

Having this blog, I often get comments that I have a small and boring collection of clothing, or people comment on how much clothing I have and ask where the heck do I keep it all. I think both groups of folks are correct – I have a pretty simple collection of clothing, but I feel as though I have a lot because I shop smart, stay on track, and take care of the quality items that I purchase.

If you go to this post, you can learn about my recent closet clean-out and see pictures of my closet. Though it is considered a walk-in closet, it is pretty small and I share it with my husband. I believe that my bar of clothing is shorter than most individuals have in a regular closet in their homes.

When my husband and I moved into this home ten years ago, we didn’t have this closet. Out house was build in the ‘40s and the bedroom closet seemed to be an afterthought – it was placed over the stairwell so it had a sloping side wall, making half of the hanger bar useless. my husband and I shared about four feet of closet space in our bedroom. We didn’t have a hallway closet, or our guest bedroom’s equally small closet (sloped wall was replaced by built-in deep shelves made from splintered scrap wood – not useable for clothing) was used for outerwear and out-of-season clothing that could not handle being packed into a box in the attic.

Due to such little closet space, I learned to make do with less. In fact, when I moved from my bachelorette pad to our nest, I had to get rid of several lawn and leaf bags full of clothing because I just didn’t have the room. After working so many years in apparel retail, I had amassed quite a collection of clothing and accessories. I went through cocktail dresses with the tags still on them, sparkly tops for a night out that were worn only once, dozens of pairs of jeans in my current size, a size bigger, and several sizes smaller just in case I lost the weight I had been carrying for more than two years.

I thought about my life – I am not one who attends cocktail parties on a regular basis, and I rarely go to flashy nightclubs. I needed clothing for work, and casual attire for the weekend. A handful of fun tops and versatile dresses would get me through any social event. I went through each item, deciding whether it was worthy to be in my closet, should be stored for the future, be donated, or be passed on to a friend. I ended up keeping about 25% of my original wardrobe.

Once I had my core wardrobe, I had to stick to it. No shopping sprees – where would I store my purchases? If I bought something new, it had to be for a good reason. Usually if I bought something new, it meant it was replacing something I already owned. Shoes had the same rules, as that I only had so much space on that single shelf above the hanger bar.

Off-season clothing was stored in plastic tubs in the attic, and I had one tub in the attic that held clothing that I kept for sentimental value – my denim jacket from high school, a sweatshirt with my sorority letters on the front, the Diane von Furstenberg wrap dresses I bought for a steal that weren’t my current size but were too nice to donate. Because I kept it to being in just one tub, I had to be picky with what was worthy of sentimental real estate.

I lived with this cramped clothing setup for ten years, and it was the best experience. Not having space made me care more about what I purchased. There wasn’t any dusty corner of a closet for bad purchases to hide, or the room to wade through too-small or dated pieces to find something to wear to work each morning. When I went into stores, I was constantly thinking, “Do I need this? Will it go with what I already own? Is it worthy of my precious closet space?” If I had any hesitation, I wouldn’t purchase.

Now I have a bigger closet – my daughter’s room is the old guest room, but we still have that sloping old bedroom closet which now holds our coats (and camping gear, and boxes of photographs we inherited from my father-in-law, and winter boots, and Christmas gifts I buy in advance, and the vacuum cleaner, and…). Though my new closet has more space, I try to stick to the habits I acquired over the past decade. What is currently in my closet:

Click on image to see it larger
Abbreviations: AT (Ann Taylor), ATL (Ann Taylor LOFT), S/S (short-sleeved), L/S (long-sleeved) NYDJ (Not Your Daughter’s Jeans),  BR (Banana Republic), B&W (black and white), Cardi (cardigan), LE (Lands End), LEC (Lands End Canvas), RL (Ralph Lauren)

As you can see, it’s not as much as you would think. Go ahead, go through the past couple of months of outfits I have worn on here, you will see that it’s the same darn things I am wearing over and over and OVER, just in different ways. The items in gray are out-of-season items that I still have in my closet because I think they could possibly be combined with other items to make them wintry. That which is in red are items I need to replace or remove from the closet – too big, worn out, etc.

As for shoes, I currently have:

Click on image to see it larger

Same rules apply – red means they need to be replaced (old, no longer fit, etc.), gray is out of season (I store all my shoes in my closet at all times – nowhere else to keep them). Pretty small collection, especially when you consider that three of the 11 current shoes are for dressy occasions.

I don’t have a specific clothing budget for each month, or each season. I have a budget for that which isn’t necessary for the family unit – clothes and beauty products for me, clothes for Emerson and my husband, home décor, dinners out, concerts, Starbucks runs, that sort of thing. Some months I find a show at the 9:30 Club more important than a new pair of shoes, sometimes the shoes win. Some months, there is no money for shoes or shows. I go with the flow, and know I have a base wardrobe that will cover any last-minute situation.

I don’t go to malls to shop because there is too much temptation. I will go into stores to try on, but rarely purchase same day. I will mull it over, and then either return to buy or look online to find it cheaper. I do a lot of online window shopping where I will find things that look good, put them in my virtual shopping cart, then close the shop’s site and think about it. If I can come back later and still find it as lovely and versatile and useful, then I may purchase if it fits into my current budget.

I stick to a pretty simple color palette, and purchase mainly solids so they are more timeless and mix and match with ease. Lately I have been on a stripes kick, which is a cheap and easy way to add some variety to the wardrobe. In the past I have had kicks for animal prints, pinstripes, polka-dots, leather, all things green… this is usually the way I add a fresh spin to my wardrobe basics. These little accent pieces can become wardrobe staples or can easily be replaced come the new season without losing too much money on the situation.

I carry with me a list of what I really need – right now it’s pencil skirts in black and denim in my new size, new tall boots in black, and I would like a crisp white shirt that looks great with the sleeves buttoned or rolled up. This way, if I get distracted by some expensive indulgence, I can think, “Do I really need this sequined miniskirt more than a black pencil skirt? Think how much mileage I got out of my current black pencil skirt – wouldn’t it feel good to have another great piece like that in my wardrobe?” It keeps me balanced and always on the hunt for the perfect blend of quality, price, and fit.

The Bowels of my Closet

I forgot about this jacket. I got it at Target in the Spring I believe. It’s a beige canvas, motocross inspired cut, brown stitching. I believe it was about $30.00.

Under it is a brown silk/cashmere shell from the Banana Republic outlet. My funky wood and glass necklace around my neck, no earrings or bracelet. Dirty vintage washed low rise bootcut jeans on from The Gap, and brown snakeskin pumps from Nine West.

The makeup is MAC’s Studio Tech for foundation, MAC stick concealer. A bit of Almay bronzer for blush and powder. Goldie’s Blosson lipgloss on the lips. Shadow is Fawn Pearl (The Body Shop) shadow on the lid, my brown brow powder (Maybelline) in the bcrease and along the lash line. Then of course MAC’s Zoom Lash mascara in black.

Hair is being difficult, yet I keep putting off a hair appointment. I swear, this time I mean it, I am going to call to make an appointment TODAY. This has gone on too long.

Spring has Sprung in my Closet

Spring has sprung here in DC! Hooray for bare legs, packing up the hats and mittens, and being able to expose elbows and toes! With each change of season, there’s usually a change of wardrobe. I’ve found that closet organization has been good physical therapy for me; the pinching of clips to hang skirts, holding the weight of a full hanger, folding scarves and jeans. With my arm, this process has been extremely slow, but that time is great for really thinking about what is in my closet, what I really need, and what I really need to remove from my collection.

The trends this spring and summer are so refreshing; after seasons of bright and bold, fitted and funky there’s a move to subtleness, quality, detail, and drape. I saw it on the runways, I see it in the stores, and I feel it in my heart. I started gravitating toward simpler pieces and colors in 2013, but desire it even more in 2014, especially after my broken arm. After six weeks predominately in loungewear, I crave dressing, but simple, easy, yet elegant dressing. Here’s a peek into my Spring/Summer mindset:

For clothing, it’s not terribly different from the past, but now it feels more cohesive. I’m liking (1) midi-length skirts, but somehow they look more right on me when part of a dress. I have pretty much this same dress; last summer’s LOFT collection, and know it will get a ton more wear this year. (2) White feels really right this year, even before Memorial Day. I’ve been wearing white jeans, boyfriend jeans, and pants quite a lot already (if you’re new to white outside of summer, start simple by pairing it with black). Each season I end up having a signature color without even thinking about it and based upon my closet, this season it’s (3) orange-red.  I type this while wearing a linen sweatshirt of this color, and desire a shift dress like the one pictured.  I’m really digging classic trousers this spring, paired with everything, from blouses to sweaters to tee shirts; I’m on the hunt for the perfect pair in (4) navy.  I’m loving how there’s a trend towards draping and purposeful slouchiness this season and have been gobbling up things that are (5) off the shoulder; I’d pair a top like this with slim white jeans.  I also like the trend of purposeful draping, a top like this (6) can be worn with jeans for a night out, or slipped under a suit for the workweek.  I’m always happy when weathered, worn, and distressed denim (7) are on trend; they please my inner Lita Ford and love the contrast with more classic pieces.  And it wouldn’t be my wardrobe if it doesn’t have a few striped shirts (8) in it!

For accessories, I’m craving fewer pieces, fewer necklaces, and again am drawn to orange-red accents.  Thinking about my faves, I saw they are sort of lumped into three categories:

  • Vacation Inspired: I love white Panama hats and fedoras, I know they’ve been in style for a while and may be less trendy but I think they’re quite classic and these days I’m doing all I can to protect myself from the sun.  I love them with jeans and striped tees, I love them with sundresses, and I love that they hide bad hair days!  I’m also loving my new Converse Shorelines, which make Chucks finally comfortable for me.  With the elasticized back and lower profile, they’re comfy and easy to slip on and off.  Aviators are always my favorite, as are scarves.  Now that bandanas are back in style, I’ve been pulling out my collection of them and square scarves and using them to jazz up simple knits.
  • Bold Silver:  This is nothing new, silver is my signature metal and I’ve been wearing my big sterling cuff for 17 years.  Now I’ve added a pair of silver Birkenstocks to my wardrobe, increasing my silver.  I love mixing shiny silver with a more relaxed material; the bracelets from Lifetherapy are a fave of mine.  I have several of them and love looping one of their wrap bracelets (especially in this season’s signature color of orange!) over the cuff to switch it up. 
  • Classic Gold: When my arm was in a cast, I relied on a watch since pulling out my phone was more difficult.  I’ve come to really like the convenience and style, and adore my Citizen Ciena Eco-Drive.  I recently got this cuff from Rebecca Minkoff which is smaller than what I’ve been known to wear and I like it.  Again, been wearing a lot of square scarves, be they around my throat, tied in my hair, or hanging off my purse.  I got a pair of Nine West “Flax” pumps in Natural and they’re a great nude pump, a comfortable height and go with almost my entire wardrobe.

My makeup has also been influenced by my time with a cast; it’s hard to have precision with your non-dominant hand. While I spent much of the winter with bold lips and liquid liner, lately I’m more into a subtle smoky eye, bronzer over blush, and glossy lips in a more natural hue. Miracle Skin Transformer has become my go-to while dealing with a broken arm since it’s so easy and so many beauty products in one.  I’m a mascara junkie and I love Too Faced’s Better Than False Lashes enough to buy a second time. It’s not a product to use when you’re short on time, but they do make my lashes look lusher than any other brand.  I got the Urban Decay lipliner in Naked as a freebie with a Beauty.com order and I use it almost daily with a natural colored gloss (adoring NARS Viva).  And then the original Naked palette from Urban Decay is still a fave for a no-makeup makeup look, a soft smoky eye, or to even replace liner.


Has spring sprung in your closet?  What are you loving this season in regard to trends or new to you classics?

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Fall Fashion Additions to the Closet

When fall arrives in the stores I get excited. I want ALL THE BOOTS! ALL THE SWEATERS! ALL THE LEATHER JACKETS! But I wait. Fall doesn’t hit immediately in DC, it’s not unusual to be sweating in your Halloween costume and going coatless to your aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. However we do get cold spells from early September into December and some years it gets colder far faster than others (by the looks of the holly bushes in my neighborhood, this is going to be a very chilly winter).

So I’ve waited through the Labor Day sales, the back to school sales, and now that it’s October I feel I can properly assess what I currently have to wear, what holes in my wardrobe I need to fill, and what current trends I still love even after the launch of that gosh darn Pumpkin Spice Latte. And so below, is what I am craving for fall 2014:

fall fashion trends I like

Lace Overlay Skirt

This is one of those items that’s hot this fall but can easily be worn for years to come. Fall 2014 I want to pair such a skirt with plaid flannels and band tees, but it can be worn with a lovely cashmere or merino sweater and pumps for work or a networking event, or get glammed up with a silk blouse or velvet jacket and heels for a holiday party. I would like one in black that doesn’t have any current trend details like exposed zippers or a metallic finish, though I’ve got my eye on this navy one from Vince Camuto and considering I’m seriously enjoying navy with black it may be my choice this season.

Fisherman Sweater

This season they seem to just be called cable knit sweaters, but to me they are fisherman or Hemingway sweaters and I want to own one again. In high school I found one from Banana Republic at TJ Maxx and wore it to death. I even wore it through college until one time I couldn’t find it. Considering how terrible I was to clothing (can’t believe my old roommate Jenn still speaks to me after the time I splattered hot wax all over a top she let me borrow for an Adams Morgan bar crawl), losing a sweater was par for the course. Years later, I found the sweater hidden in my sister’s file cabinet, stained with Jungle Juice (tsk tsk little sister!). A bit of Clorox 2 and I wore that sweater again until it literally fell apart.

Okay, TL;DR point is I want another one. I just ordered this one and this one from Lands’ End because I want a true classic fit and style that will transcend this year’s trend. I’ll be wearing it with jeans, but I also can imagine it with a flippy black skirt and tights, paired with a denim skirt like I showed in this post, and I’d love with some skinny cords and boots.

Ripped Black Jeans

We all know by now that I regularly let my inner Lita Ford out to play in the closet, and Lita is loving the return of distressed denim. However I know this is a trend I won’t wear often and may not wear after this year, so instead of spending boo coo bucks on ripped black jeans, I’m going to self-distress last year’s Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans that have already gotten faded and beat up with wear. I’ll be wearing with sweater coats and booties for weekends.

Engineer Boots

I had a pair of engineer boots in the late ‘90s and loved them but they were cheap fake leather and eventually fell apart. With my wide calves, I can’t just go to any store and snag a pair so I’ve been searching on and off for almost a decade. This year the style of boot is more popular than ever, meaning more opportunities to find a pair that fits. I’ve been considering the Naturalizer Baldala, the DUO Morton, and the Frye Veronica Shortie; I’ll keep you posted if any work out and would love to hear if you have any other suggestions!

Pleated Leather Skirt

Glad to see this trend happening this year because I already own the skirt! I splurged on a pleated black leather skirt from Halogen a couple years ago and have already worn it twice this fall (you can see it one time here). Halogen has a similar skirt this year in regular and petite; if you do order know leather stretches so if it’s a tad snug when you buy, wear it around the house for a bit because it will grow (even though it’s lined) to fit your figure. How cute would this skirt look with a fisherman sweater?

Chunky Gold Watch

I have a chunky silver watch that Fossil sent me and while it’s very pretty, I never wear it. My silver cuff is my go-to when wearing silver, and it’s too big to be paired with a watch. However, all my gold bracelets are small. I have the Citizen Ciena and it’s a beautiful classic watch, but lately I’ve desired something more chunky. I like the Slim Runway from Michael Kors because the tortoiseshell keeps it from being too much gold, it’s a bit unusual, and very different looking from my Citizen.

Buffalo Plaid Shirt

In 6th grade, my friends and I all had different colored Buffalo plaid flannels; I remember we all had bandanas the same color as our shirts and tied them around one knee and felt terribly cool as we sauntered around the playground. While I won’t be wearing a bandana around my knee any time soon, I wouldn’t mind sauntering around this fall in Buffalo plaid. I already have this shirt from Gap and have worn it over a tee or tank with jeans and shorts and tucked in with my leather pleated skirt. I love the juxtaposition of plaid flannel with something more elegant like lace or leather, and the boldness of Buffalo plaid. Don’t be shocked if before the season is through I’ve purchased another flannel in a different color (such as this one from J. Crew).

Wool Fedora

This summer I wore my J. Crew Factory Panama hat quite frequently and I see a black wool fedora to be the fall and winter equivalent. I like wearing hats in winter and know this will get much use for the walk to work as well as weekends when I just don’t feel like doing my hair. I love the colored wool fedoras (the burgundy ones are gorgeous), but black is more me and more likely to be worn more than one year. Considering this one from Catarzi and lusting for this one from rag & bone.

Fringe Bag

Lita’s here and she needs a new bag for her next metal concert. I’ve always loved leather fringe, but feel it can look very costumey. You can’t imagine (or maybe you can since you read this blog) how many times I have ALMOST bought a black fringy hobo bag. One of the things I like best about my Isabella Fiore bag is the fringy tassels hanging off the side. But this season I’ve seen a lot of small fringe bags, clutches and small crossbodies that won’t overpower me with Lita-ness, but let a little bit of her shine. I’ve been looking at this one from Rebecca Minkoff and this one from Steve Madden.

Wrap Coat

The bathrobe-inspired coats this year are totally making me drool. I’ve always loved this style of coat and am thrilled they are back in vogue. While I’m usually a black or color gal, the idea of one of these coats in a neutral like cream, tan, or gray makes me swoon. This is the kind of coat that works with jeans, work attire, and can glam up with a dress for a night at the theater or a holiday party. I’m really loving this wrap coat from Lauren Ralph Lauren in cream, and this cashmere wrap coat from Trina Turk is drool-worthy (I love the light gray).  And while not really the same style, this wrap coat/cape hybrid from Ann Taylor is really calling to me…

So now that the fall and winter trends are out and about, which ones are you considering for your wardrobe?

My Must-Have Shoes for Fall and Winter

In the warmer months I get creative with my shoes. Yellow wedge sandals? Why not? Silver Birkenstocks? An unexpected staple! But come fall and winter, my shoe collection gets far simpler and more utilitarian. This is my current cold weather shoe wardrobe for 2014/2015:

 

must have shoes fall winter

1. Sneakers. Now that I’m walking almost every morning, my sneakers have become some of my favorite shoes. These aren’t the exact ones I have but a similar style and price to my discontinued and nicely discounted New Balances via 6pm. New Balance fits my chubby feet and short toes.

2. Brown Riding Boots. Pictured are the DUO Santanas, the very boots I have (seen here and here). As a petite woman, I love how these boots are a bit shorter, elongating my leg and ending at a comfortable height. As a woman with large calves, shins, and ankles I love how these boots fit comfortably (you order DUO boots by the centimeter so they’re a great choice for narrow, average, or wide calves and the customer reviews help you narrow down the styles best for your specific leg shape). I wear these over skinny jeans or with tights and skirts or dresses.

3. Black Heeled Booties. For many years I have worn the Cole Haan Air Talia bootie (discontinued, very similar and cheaper option) and while I still have and love (in fact just got back from the cobbler for a reheeling), the round toe looked weird with fuller trousers. I just picked up the ‘Coolen’ from Jessica Simpson and love the pointed toe, sleek heel, and the wider top that is more comfortable with my thicker ankles and shins. I wear under jeans and trousers, but also over skinny jeans and with tights and dresses.

4. Statement Heels. Last winter I picked up a pair of silver pumps from Nine West (no longer available, similar concept) and was surprised by how much wear I got with them. They add some fun to dark jeans, jazz up an LBD, and look cool peeking out of black trousers for an evening out. The closed toe is more comfortable on frigid nights but the pointed toe, high heel, and silver color makes them dressy enough for most affairs on my social calendar.

5. Wedges. A wedge is far easier to wear for long periods of time; these are my go-to when I know I’ll be on my feet but still want a bit of lift. The booties I have are the Nine West ‘Lottie’ which are discontinued (and not as tall as the one pictured), but this one from Anne Klein is similar in style. I wear with black tights and dresses, but have also worn under fuller trousers where the wedge isn’t as prominently on display.

6. Leopard Pumps. I have more than one pair of leopard pumps, but the ones featured are the Nine West ‘Ugogirl’ which are my newest leopard purchase and my current fave. A leopard shoe is extremely versatile and adds interest to an outfit of neutrals (which I often wear in the winter; hello black with more black and maybe a splash of denim). I like that these have a chunkier heel giving me more support, but a pointed toe which elongates my short frame.

7. Stylish Waterproof Boots. SOREL sent me these boots in September (review here) and they’re a great option for folks like me who have all her pants hemmed for heels. These can tuck under trousers or be laced up over skinny jeans and the grippy sole makes me feel more secure on slick DC sidewalks.

8. Casual Winter Boots. I picked these Treton boots up last winter on clearance at 6pm and they’re one of the best winter purchases I have made. Lined with shearling, the boots are super cozy and comfy. The wide opening makes them easy to slip on over thick socks and when still half-asleep letting Cindy out in the morning. I keep these at the backdoor to go to the compost and let out Cindy; slip leggings inside them and my track or snow pants over them for snow shoveling or sledding, and often slip them over skinny jeans to walk Cindy or a quick run to the grocery store or Starbucks. Previously I had a pair of duck boots (RIP), and even earlier (and likely somewhere in my attic or at the bottom of my office closet) I wore Tims.  Winter happens and function trumps fashion when it comes to weather.

9. Classic Black Pumps. I wear these almost year-round with skirts, dresses, and trousers. Come the coldest months I switch out to booties, but these still hold a place in my closet for the occasional client meeting or day wedding.  My personal favorites are MICHAEL Michael Kors ‘Flex’ and Nine West ‘Flax’.

10. Tall Black Boots I actually have two pairs; a black flat riding boot I bought two years ago from DUO Boots (very similar, same retailer), and a sleeker heeled boot with an almond toe that I got at Wide Widths almost a decade ago (same style, same retailer).  I wear riding boots over jeggings, leggings, skinny jeans several days a week come winter.  I use a protective spray on them so they keep me dry and salt doesn’t eat away the finish.  Tall boots are warmer than trousers alone; I usually add warmth with a pair of knee-high wool or cashmere socks (and sometimes a sock liner for extra tootsie insulation).  Heeled boots are worn with tights to make dresses bearable past Thanksgiving.

11. Slippers with a Rubber Sole. My shearling mocs from Lands’ End are what I put on as soon as I get home from work, have at the side of my bed when I go to sleep, and the first thing I put on when I wake. I like having a rubber sole so I can step out to the recycling bin or mailbox but also to not slip and slide on our hardwood floors and stairs. To keep down utility bills, I wear a cap and these slippers all winter long when indoors and these are uber comfortable.

What are your must-have shoes for fall and winter?

Scrimp or Splurge – What’s Your Number?

scrimp or splurge

Tuesday’s post about white tee shirts got me thinking. I believe we all have a number, that price we won’t cross for certain items for our closet. I often read interviews with style icons and they’ll say how they scrimp for X but splurge for Y, and often I feel the complete opposite about those items. That our numbers are personal based upon our age, our figure, our lifestyle, our budget. They are as unique as our personal styles.

While I wouldn’t have spent over $30 for a tee shirt two years ago (maybe $45 if striped or embellished), I now obviously will drop $80 for a plain white v-neck to stop the hunt and finally be satisfied. I couldn’t imagine spending more than $75 on a pair of jeans (but owned over a dozen pairs), but now don’t even blink at a $100 pricetag; though I now only own a handful of pairs.

On the other hand, some things I won’t pay as much for now that I used to. I can recall putting designer wool and leather coats on layaway because I considered them a worthy investment; now I buy my coats on clearance in the spring and don’t care the label inside as long as I like how it looks on me. Most of my makeup bag contents are from CVS, and I’ve learned some natural budget-friendly products like witch hazel, coconut oil, and jojoba oil do just as well as the high-end skincare lines.

The part missing from the tee shirt conversation was lifestyle and budget. What are the white tee shirts worn for, and how much can you spend on clothing in general? For some people $150 is a drop in the bucket, for others it’s the food budget for a month. For some, a white tee shirt is a piece of fashion as important as an It Bag or designer jeans while others just see it as what they slip on under their sweaters or wear on weekends with shorts.

So I ask you, what are your numbers? What’s the max you’d pay for a pair of jeans? A winter coat? A pair of tall boots? A handbag?  A dress to wear to a wedding or gala event? Where do you scrimp and where do you splurge? I know there’s such a variety of people who read this blog, this conversation would be interesting to highlight your unique lives and personal styles, but also help me know what to share on Wardrobe Oxygen in the future!

Weekend Sale Shopping

Sales, sales, everywhere is sales… yes I am changing the lyrics to this song (which is a cover of this original) but there’s some insanely good sales going on this weekend that I just HAD to share with you.

Old Navy – 25% Off

At Old Navy, get 25% off your entire purchase with the code TREAT. Code is valid until the end of the 18th. A few restrictions: not valid on Everyday Steals, Hot Deals, Clearance (anything ending in $0.97 or $0.99) or Today Only Deals.  I think this top is an office attire staple and I love the variety of colors available; this chunky turtleneck would look great with skinny jeans or ponte pants for the weekend; I love the leather-look pockets on this dress (and love that it comes in regular, tall, and petite!).

Banana Republic – Up to $50 off Full Priced Items

Up to $50 off full price dresses, jackets, sweaters, and more. Note this doesn’t include their Monogram collection or leather jackets. No code necessary, deal through October 18.  I love their Gemma Wrap Dress and this print is something that would look great all seasons of the year; this lace pullover is fantastic – wear over a white shirt for the office and a camisole for a night out!  Other favorites on promotion:

Ann Taylor – 50% Off Tops, Shoes and Accessories

I know, right? 50% off? Get thee shopping, pronto with code STYLE50, this deal ends October 20th.  I think this bird print shirt is amazing, this faux leather pocket cape looks even better in person, and their buttoned-up boiled wool cape is so awesome, I wish I could justify the purchase (for the record, I’ve tried it on, it fits great, I am a Large Petite).

LOFT – 40% Off Tops and Sweaters

No specific date that this is to end and no code needed. Do note it’s not valid on Lou & Grey merchandise, but it IS valid on in-store purchases as well as online.  It does feel that LOFT is constantly having deals, but they’re also constantly getting in new merchandise that doesn’t seem to last long online.  So if you see it and love it, get it while you can!  I’m loving this belted cardigan, and think this variation on the chambray shirt would look modern and fresh with jeans or a midi skirt.  Some other pieces I like that are on promotion:

Lands’ End – 25 to 30% Off

Lands’ End is my go-to for quality yet reasonably priced winter weather gear. They have two promotions going on right now. Get 30% off select “fall essentials” (not sure exactly what that is but seems like a lot) with code LEAF, PIN 9223 through October 20th. But you can also get 25% off all full-priced merchandise with code MAPLE and PIN 1610 through October 21st. I love my packable down vest so much, I’m seriously considering this packable down jacket from Lands’ End and can’t decide between the polka dots or basic black. I’ve also had this Sport Knit skirt in black in my shopping cart for a while and may pull the trigger now that it’s 30% off.  These and a few other pieces I’m admiring:

Madewell – 30% Off Sale Merchandise

Madewell continues to impress, and a 30% off sale prices makes it easy to buy some fab fall and winter fashion. Use code PICKMEUP, which is valid through October 20th.  I love the classic look of their Otis boot, the unique color and slouchy coolness of their Firelight Pullover, and the perfect color and shape of their Berliner Satchel.

J. Crew – 30% Off Sweaters and Outerwear

Code SHOPFALL will give you 30% off at J. Crew through the 19th of October.  Their Majesty Peacoat truly is perfection and a classic piece that will be chic for years to come; their Jackie Cardigan is always a popular piece and nice to get on sale; and I am loving the pale lavender shade and the cool size zips of this lambswool sweater.

J. Crew Factory – 40-50% off Outerwear and an Additional 30% Off Clearance Merchandise

One of my favorite stores for great style at great prices; 30% off clearance makes it even nicer! Use code YAY30 through the October 19th to save.  As for the deal on outwear and cold-weather accessories, no code is needed.  Some of my favorites like this camo tee (imagine it with something dressy like a sequined or lace pencil skirt or under a denim jacket), this adorable flared leather skirt in black or brown, and this pleated maxi which I own and adore.  As for outerwear, I love the color and details of this coat, find this long hooded belted puffer to be something any city commuter would love, and think the price is nice on these leather tech gloves.

Any sales I missed?  Share them in the comments!

Updating The Closet for Spring with Boden

I’m all for a wardrobe of workhorses; pieces that fit, flatter, are versatile and relatively timeless. However, I also find it important to update your closet each season with a couple new trends, fun colors or prints to add your personal style and keep your closet from being boring. Boden is one of my favorite places to go for pieces that infuse fun into a wardrobe without causing one to look like a fashion victim. Great colors, cheery prints, some of the best striped tops (and y’all know I love me some striped tops), but made with such quality and attention to detail that their fun pieces end up being wardrobe workhorses too.

One piece I have loved from Boden for a long time is their Ravello Top, a blouse that’s a classic yet makes a statement. A machine washable silk blend makes it a piece that can dress up and down with ease; traditional enough to be a blouse under your interview suit but can also dress down with jeans or get festive with a full midi skirt and heels. While the solids are great, I was immediately drawn to the Blue/Red Paintbox Floral print and knew it would be a great closet addition for spring. Thanks to Boden’s phenomenal phone customer service, I went with a size 12 and think it fits quite nicely.

This print is bold enough to hold its own with dark denim; I added leopard haircalf flats and a simple black leather clutch for a great outfit to grab cocktails with my girls or to go to game night at a friend’s house.

The top is perfect for the warming temps; while it looks great under a blazer or cardigan it looks professional on its own. For this look I paired it with white linen pants and used a hot pink skinny belt to switch up the blouse’s silhouette.

Expect to see a few more pieces from Boden on the blog this season; I think the line fits my curves nicely as well as my personal style and I found a lot of pieces that will nicely update my wardrobe this season but likely be favorites for many seasons to come!

This post was sponsored by Boden through their partnership with POPSUGAR. While I was compensated by POPSUGAR to write a post about Boden, all opinions are my own.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Alison and the Big Closet Cleanout

I have a Thanksgiving weekend tradition where I do a major closet cleanout. Literally my entire closet is emptied, wiped down, and I start from scratch. There’s things I’m wearing all the time which go back in, but anything that hasn’t been worn in a few months gets tried on, analyzed, and thrown into a pile – Keep, Store, Repair, or Done. I take the keeps and put them carefully back into the closet – I separate dresses, jackets, pants and skirts, blouses and other tops. Shoes are properly labeled and back in their boxes, purses are hung with out of season and currently not wearing styles stored in old pillowcases and dust bags. I also gut the drawers, wash my makeup brushes and re-analyze my makeup stash, and if time, organize my jewelry armoire. The “Done” clothes, I photograph the pieces in great condition and list on eBay or create a Shop My Closet blog or add to a community swap event; the rest I donate.

This year it didn’t happen.

Emerson will be five next month (when the heck did THAT happen?) and the idea of holing myself up in my bedroom for five hours straight for two days is crazy. She’d either want to jump on the bed and change the music to Katy Perry and build a blanket fort, or else try on all my stuff and play queen and princess. But really… I don’t see her as much as I would like and if I have two days away from work I want to spend it with her, not my clothes.

So I washed my makeup brushes and edited my makeup stash, I bought a new closet organizer and a few more huggable-style hangers, and that’s it. I have clothes all over the floor of my closet, my storage box in there still has oxfords from the summer that need to be ironed along with all the shoes I leave around the house that go there until I put them in their boxes, the belts that fall off the belt rack, and a few pairs of Karl’s shoes and likely a doll or stuffed animal.

Life happens, and life is more important than your wardrobe.

Clothing can be a suit of armor to help you feel strong in a difficult situation. Clothing can help express who you are inside. Clothing is a way to show respect at a religious, celebratory, or serious situation. Clothing can be fun, clothing can be art, but clothing should not cause you stress or take away from living your life. Though I write about fashion on a daily basis, please know that I believe, and I hope you believe that living your life trumps dressing for it. My goal with this blog is to make fashion less frustrating, overwhelming, and exclusionary. I hope Wardrobe Oxygen helps you find your personal style, simplifies fashion for you, and shows you that no matter your age, lifestyle, figure, or budget you can enjoy fashion and you deserve to look fabulous.

So I kick sweaters to the side to get to more sweaters that likely should be replaced with new sweaters without pulls and pills… but right now what is important is spending quality time with my family, taking a breath to actually enjoy the holiday season, get our tree this weekend and take Emerson to see The Nutcracker. As long as I’m not going to the office naked, it will all be fine. And if you are in a similar boat as I… you too will be fine. The closet can wait, the memories cannot.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The FoMO Closet

When I used to regularly perform closet makeovers, the most common issue I saw was women stockpiling clothing. They’d find a sweater they liked, and would purchase two in black, three in other colors, and often have a few still with tags on stored carefully for the time when the ones in rotation needed to be retired. They’d have ten pairs of jeans, all the same cut from the same designer. The entire closet would be the same exact silhouette of jacket, just in different prints and fabrics. Most of the time, such closets were often full of garments with tags still on and dust on the shoulders.

While buying in multiples can be quite sensible, a lot of times such stockpiling and over-buying is a waste of money and a killer of personal style. Women often do this because they find themselves hard to fit and shopping a stressful and unpleasant experience. By purchasing multiples, they feel they can shop less often and have a wardrobe full of pieces that fit and flatter. They fear that if they return to the mall they won’t have such success, so they stock it up.

FoMO, or Fear of Missing Out is a hot phrase these days, and usually used for people who seem to have a Smartphone surgically attached to their hand. But it can also be used for many clothing shoppers. Fear that your favorite company will discontinue that cut of jeans, that your signature lipstick color will be retired, that you will no longer be able to find that certain style of sweater that you love so much. Such fear, that you hoard pieces, even if they aren’t in your favorite color or quite the right fit, just because anything similar may end up no longer in existence.

Wikipedia’s Definition of FoMO

The thing is… fashion is fluid. What seems to be a “classic” in 1993 isn’t in 2003 or 2013. Not only that, your body is also fluid. No matter how many hours you put in at the gym, age and life experiences will change your figure. Finally… YOU are always changing. With life events, education, experience and exposure to new things your brain and personality and soul will change. When you force yourself into a very specific wardrobe and stockpile pieces, you’re actually making fashion more complicated and frustrating.

When I started this blog, almost my whole wardrobe was from Ann Taylor, J. Crew, and Banana Republic. I bought v-neck merino sweaters and wide-leg lined trousers with tab waistbands by the truckload because I felt they were classic, versatile, and flattering. Eight years later, I don’t own either type of garment because they just aren’t right. While such pieces can still fit and flatter, they seem too old, too dowdy for my current self. If I had stayed the same size, I likely would have stuck with those pieces instead of spending money on more and therefore missed out on truly honing my personal style.

Carolina Herrera is known for her crisp white shirts, but the details change to stay current and flattering.

Now I know many of you will bring up style icons who have uniforms – Carolina Herrera and her white shirts, Michael Kors and his black blazers with jeans and a crew tee shirt. The thing is that even these individuals with signature uniforms change it up with the years. The cut is slightly different, the wash on the denim may change or even the length to adjust the break. Classic pieces change ever so slightly from season to season – a turtleneck may be a bit taller or looser, a cuff may be more pronounced, a pencil skirt a tad more tapered, a heel width more narrow or the shape more curved.

Shopping is scary, no matter your age or figure. But insulating yourself with a bulging wardrobe of dated “classics” and not-quite-right-but-better-than-nothings isn’t any better of an existence. It’s more stylish to wear the same great outfit every day for a year than have months worth of ensembles that aren’t quite right and don’t give the right message.

I’m not saying purge your entire wardrobe, but realize you may have a FoMO closet. Take a serious look at your wardrobe – do you really need all of it? Does all of it fit and flatter the current you? What small steps and simple garments can take your current closet and make it feel fresh and stylish? Try on what you own, and stand in front of a full-length mirror with good lighting and be honest with yourself and your shopping habits. You may realize that some things are discontinued because they honestly aren’t that flattering or appropriate any more.

You can’t know who you are or what you want if you’re hidden under a FoMO wardrobe. Be it a closet full of tweed blazers and knee-length skirts or sequined cocktail dresses and leather leggings, shopping in such a manner will not help your style, your sanity, or your soul. It’s scary to let go, but you can’t fly if you never leave the nest.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The Multiple Personality Closet

The ever-inspiring Une femme d’un certain age wrote a post on her blog about the two personalities in her closet. I think this is something many women deal with and find to be a fault as they seek out their personal style. The thing is, we women are complex creatures. We are not robots, we do not feel the same every day, look the same every day, or want the same things every day. While it is important to find your personal style, it is also important to realize that your style should support all aspects of your personality, and to do that rarely can you have one “personality” in your closet.

Une Femme has a very defined personal style – she knows herself, her life, her tastes and yet she admits, “There are two women sharing space in my closet. Both are actually me, which used to cause no end of consternation as I stumbled and bumped along toward that milepost known as Signature Style™. But I’m learning to make peace with this split style personality, and find balance and harmony between the two. Les deux femmes have arrived at a mutual understanding, and even step out together on a regular basis.”

I too have multiple personalities in my closet, and I find that with the beginning of each season those personalities become more defined, change rank, and sometimes move out to make room for a new tenant. However over the past decade, there are a few women who have kept residence in the penthouse suites of my wardrobe:

Rock-n-Roll Mama
This lady loves the color black, bold silver hardware, lots of leather, and tee shirts with the necks cut out. She’s heavy handed with the kohl liner and loves a shoe that can double as a weapon. She doesn’t feel that one can wear too many accessories and an exposed bra strap from time to time can be kinda sexy. She’ll mix a girly skirt with an old tank top and a leather jacket and finds her hair often looks best the morning after a late night out on the town.

Hippie Chick
This is the girl who attends music festivals and loves spinning to feel her skirts float around her ankles. She loves tie dye, batik prints, and patchwork. She finds cool accessories at festivals, craft shows, and on trips around the world – nothing is better than a garment or accessory with a story. She wears white cotton voile tunics with cutoff denim shorts, maxi dresses with flat sandals, an arm full of bangles, a cross body bag decorated with embroidery and/or fringe, and loves her hair best when it air dried and decided to do what makes it happy.

Madame Manager
This woman feels power with her pointed-toe pumps, pencil skirts, and silk blouses. She finds strength in classic pieces with a bold touch. She’ll wear jeans, but they will be paired with a blazer and heels. While she loves strong colors, she balances them with classic silhouettes and steers clear of prints (unless they are of the leopard variety). On weekends she likes Breton stripes, merino crew and boatneck sweaters in dark neutrals, dark crisp jeans, and heels. She loves a statement accessory, be it a bag in a bold color or a large sterling silver cuff. She feels best with sleek hair with lots of shine and control.

All three like the power and versatility of black and dark denim, how accessories can transform wardrobe staples into an intriguing ensemble, aviator sunglasses, and a fun shoe. All three have an aversion to pastels, feminine floral prints, and anything that binds or constricts the body. All three find her breasts to be one of her best assets and prefers hair that is long.

Thank you to Une Femme for this exercise, I found by defining the personalities in my closet, it made it clearer what my personal style is, and what pieces do not belong in my closet. This season, I plan on reminding myself of my three personalities to stay on track and not be swayed by trends. Now I ask you readers, do you find multiple personalities in your closet? Have you taken the time to define them, and have you found benefit in such and exercise? Who are the women in your wardrobe?

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Fashion Fantasy Closet Update

An update to this post about my fantasy fashion closet:

Wow, you all are AMAZING! Thanks to helpful comments, emails, and messages on my comment form I have already found some fabulous options for those pieces I desire in my closet… and some pieces I already own!

Sequined Peplum Top
I am still on this hunt for this. Will find one but its sleeveless, another and it doesn’t come in my size, another and the peplum seems to start up at my ribcage and make it look like a maternity top. Figuring I will have more luck as the season progresses and people start planning for holiday parties.

Olive Anorak-Style Jacket
So many of you suggested Kohl’s and I stopped by my local location and yes, this is the place to go for such a jacket. Unfortunately none of them were quite right for me – either a detail in the wrong place to emphasize the negative, or a strange fit on some part of me. However, just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t work for you – Kohl’s is a great source for such fashion with variety, decent style, and great prices! I will continue to look, and use reader Laurel’s suggestion of checking thrift stores, though the more I think about it, the less I think this type of jacket works with my winter wardrobe and maybe it’s fate telling me to hold off until spring.

Black Wedge Booties
Still searching!

Black Photography Dress
I ordered this dress from Lands’ End but can’t tell if it has pockets. If so, I am willing to alter it, change the color of the buttons to make it my new photography dress. If not, thanks to reader Bridget’s suggestion I may again try eShakti. I didn’t have the best experience with them, but if I use true measurements this time I may have success.

Black Photography Pants Ensemble
No luck so far on separates, but I did get this sweater from Ann Taylor which looks cute with my skinny black ponte pants and tall boots or with a regular-fit pant and flat shoes. Plenty of room for memory cards, a couple AA batteries and business cards!

Black Photography Shoes
Reader KP suggested this bootie from Franco Sarto, and I will have to try it to see how it works with my thicker ankles. But it’s a good idea to wear with pants. Reader Kiki Bee suggested the “Air Talia Lace” from Cole Haan, which could also be good but is sold out (though I may check my nearby Nordstrom Rack).  However, with her suggestion I found these Cole Haan wedges. I have two pairs of Cole Haan Air Talia shoes – high-heeled booties which are pretty comfy for such height and style, and sandals which I often wear for photography shoots in the summer.

White Cotton Shirt
Reader Sarah suggested Ann Taylor and a tailor; I have had success with Ann Taylor before with their silk shirts but haven’t bought any cotton ones. Will have to check out this season. Reader Nobodyssister suggested the Coldwater Creek No Iron collection. My last experience with Coldwater Creek was lackluster but I am willing to try again, especially with a positive review from a fellow busty lady! Reader KP reminded me of Eddie Bauer’s great shirts – I had one back when I worked retail and loved it – will have to go check them out again!

Pleated Leather Skirt
Reader Dawn informed me about Make Your Own Jeans.com, a site where you can… make your own jeans! Choose your style, your fabric, give them your measurements and you can get a custom pair of jeans at a reasonable price. While they carry jeans, they also have other custom pieces… such as pleated leather skirts! And for only $110! I haven’t tried out the site yet, but this gets me very excited!

Black Taffeta Party Skirt
I got this one off eBay (the circular style). I must admit I was nervous dropping the cash, but two of you said you bought one of these skirts and was pleased. While the “taffeta” is more like the acetate that one uses to line a skirt, it is quite perfect in style and looks more expensive once properly steamed and pressed. Since I was unfamiliar with the brand, I sized up with a 14 and it fits comfortably. Smooth waistband, not too full, hits below the knee and has pockets!

***

So thank you THANK YOU for all of your suggestions! I’m getting there and with your help think I will be able to fill the holes currently in my closet!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

The Current State of the Closet

Every so often I like to give you a peek into my closet to see what I am working with, how I organize it. A lot has changed since the last time I did a detailed collection post – biggest thing is I have lost weight. Returning to a comfortable size, I am able to find more clothing that fits and flatters, and have begun to have fun with fashion again. While wearing bright colors fits my personality, it does mean a bit larger of a collection to have reasonable pairings and not look as though I am wearing the same ensemble every day.

My current closet:

The left side has skirts and dresses (the far corner has out of season dresses and some pieces that don’t yet fit but shouldn’t be stored in the attic):

The right side holds sweaters, shirts, and jackets:

As you can see in previous posts and the edges of these photos, I store purses and shoes on the shelves above my 2/3 of the closet, I have a canvas organizer to store my smaller bags and scarves, and then two racks to hold my belts.

As for my non-hanging clothing, I store them in three drawers in my bureau:

The first has my knits. I fold the tees in half, then the sleeves across the front. This makes the best use of the size of the drawer and it’s easy to flip through to find the tee I want. These are all “nicer” tees – ones I would wear to work or the weekend. I’d love to store all my sweaters in here, but there’s no room, so cardigans and novelty sweaters are in the closet.

The second holds my jeans and my bulky sweaters.

The bottom drawer is for my bum-around and workout clothes – yoga pants, hoodies, tee shirts, and then my super basic tanks (which do get weekend and work play but usually as a bottom layer).

A breakdown of my wardrobe:

Click to see larger.  Red means it needs to be replaced (too big, not good condition, etc.), gray means it is out of season (in the closet either because I think I may be able to make it work for cold weather or because it’s too delicate to go in the attic).AT-Ann Taylor, CK-Calvin Klein, S/S-Short sleeved, Slv-sleeve, ON-Old Navy, NYDJ-Not Your Daughter’s Jeans, B&W-Black and white

Things I am looking for to complete the collection for spring:

  • White jeans – the Kut from Kloth ones are too big
  • Tan shoes – I don’t want “nude” but not brown; something more like beige or tan, possibly with a wood heel
  • Another pair of pants – Thinking maybe navy, or possibly white if a heavyweight fabric
  • New knits – many of my knits are getting too worn or too big to be work-appropriate
  • Solid-colored dress – I’d love something with a feminine silhouette in a cheery color like magenta, purple, or even orange. Something I could wear to work but also dress up for a wedding or date night
  • Jeans – I am always on the search for jeans that fit and flatter! I only have one pair right now in indigo that fits properly and even they are getting to look a bit worn.

I don’t think I have had a closet this big since back when I worked retail, however everything in this closet are things I do actually wear regularly (except a couple jackets and dresses). It may not be the right collection for all, but it is one of the hardest working collection of clothes I have had in a long time!

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

Current State of the Closet

A couple of months ago, a tree came through our closet. Since then, I have had my wardrobe in cardboard boxes around my bedroom, on a rolling rack in hour home office, and I have had a hard time finding anything. The roof was repaired, the skylight replaced with drywall, and I have been able to slowly get everything back in there. As a reminder, this is my last closet post… and here’s the current state of the closet:

I got some of those removeable hooks to hang the most regularly used bags right next to the closet door.  You can see I have a new box on the floor for my clothes that need to be repaired/dry cleaned/ironed.  The box is collapsable yet really sturdy – the Junque Trunk from Scout by Bungalow.  They have a huge variety of prints and sizes for any situation or location.

While everything is not nicely organized, at least everything is back into one place. 

The shoes I wear most often are in this storage shelving, the out of season and special occasion shoes are to the left.

I used to keep all my clutches in one of the drawers of this closet organizer, but having them out of sight made them out of mind.  I now have a few out on this shelf and find I use them more often.

I obviously still need to organize my larger bags – a few of these are still stained and damaged from the hurricane but I have yet to find a place I trust to do the repairs (and find a place that makes the repair cost worth it).  The cognac Junior Drake has white stuff on the other side – it seems baked into the finish and I can’t get it off without taking off the color.  The black J. Crew bag has the same white stuff all over it, and the white Banana Republic bag has gray streaks and a place where the finish scraped off. 

I also need to get a better storage system for my belts.  The large ring holds a lot of belts, but it sucks to have to yank off 10 belts to get to the one you want.  The classic belt/tie holder to the right I thought would work for smaller belts, but it can’t handle belt buckles.  I need to take a trip to The Container Store and find some better storage systems!

Obviously there is much more that needs to be done – proper organization and protection of my collection, I need some more slimline hangers, and need to get the damaged bags repaired.  But it is so wonderful to have everything back in one place, easy to find and easy to access!

Note: The Junque Trunk from Scout by Bungalow was sent to me as a gift from that company, I was able to choose the style and print of box and how I wanted to use it in my life.

Follow Me | Twitter | Facebook

My Recent Purchases (and some fab weekend sales)

I’m trying to be extremely careful with what I purchase this fall; this year has taught me I can live on less and there’s some pretty spectacular items already in my closet. But I do see some holes, and I’m trying to purchase higher quality and more timeless pieces to fit those wardrobe gaps. Some of the things I have purchased recently, and if applicable, the deals going on at those stores:

Ann Taylor Cashmere Poncho
If you follow me on Facebook (and you should, lots of conversations going on there and different content), you know I recently purchased this cashmere poncho from Ann Taylor. I got the Dark Sky (a rich navy) in L/XL and I love it so much I wish it was already cold enough to wear it. The neckline is big so you can have it off the shoulder, boatneck, or ruched as seen on the model. It’s elegant to wear to work with a crisp white shirt and gray trousers, or on the weekend with a long-sleeved striped tee, jeans, and tall boots. While it’s not cheap, it’s a piece that won’t go out of style and will work no matter my size or personal style.

Ann Taylor this weekend is offering 50% off full price dresses and skirts, an additional 40% off sale items, and buy one get one 50% off select camis and tanks (no coupon needed).

LOFT Snow Leopard Print Car Coat

From LOFT I purchased their Snow Leopard Print Car Coat; it arrived Friday evening and it’s amazing.  The texture is fuzzy, like felted wool and faux fur blended together and tightly woven so it will provide warmth the cooler days of fall and less blustery days of winter.  I bought a Large Petite and it fits perfectly, nips in at the back right where it should, shoulders at the right place, sleeves right length, can comfortably button over a lightweight sweatshirt but also looks smart unbuttoned.  It looks smart with trousers and jeans, but I also thought it worked with a dress.  The pictures make it look just cream, gray, and black but there’s a hint of blue in the print that makes me love it even more.

LOFT is having 40% off all merchandise with the code FALLSTYLE but don’t delay because this fab deal ends September 13.

gap real straight jeans

I love the Real Straight jeans from Gap; my legs are too thick to carry off skinny jeans and most boyfriend jeans are too narrow.  The Gap Real Straight jeans work well with my curves, having enough room for my booty, no gaping at the waist, no suffocated calves or thighs, and a fuller leg opening to balance my large ankles.  The 32 Short fits me best; the length works with sneakers and low heels but I’ll also roll the hem (see in this Instagram photo) to give a boyfriend jean effect.  I bought the medium wash, but also snagged the destructed (seen on Instagram) which was on sale.

Gap is having 30% off everything with the code HAPPY and if you have GAPCASH right now it is being redeemed.  I just bought two plaid shirts (this one and this one) and a henley (I know, I know, totally channeling my ’90s self this fall) and thanks to GAPCASH and rewards from my Banana Republic Visa I only paid $20 for all three!

Isabella Fiore Galiana HoboI didn’t NEED another black leather bag (I have this one from Rough & Tumble that I love), but with MYHABIT’s Labor Day sale and some MYHABIT credits burning a hole in my virtual wallet, I got this bag from Isabella Fiore for only $42.  And OMIGOD it’s gorgeous!  The leather is thick but it slouches perfectly.  It smells divine, the print is pretty cool, and while it’s super big (like fit my lunch and laptop and commuter shoes in it along with all my purse stuff big), it doesn’t look ridiculous with my 5’3″ frame.  And strangers stop me to ask about it.  It’s hard to use any other bag in my closet now that this baby has entered my life.

I’ve also bought some things that went immediately back.  Some wide leg pants from Nordstrom that made me look pregnant and 5″ shorter than my 5’3″ self, the LOFT camo sweater I mentioned in my last sale post (super gorgeous but not needed and not really my style in real life), and an incredibly disappointing cape (but returning it meant I could get the leopard car coat), but I’m really loving the fall trends in general. What have you purchased for fall?

New Clothes at Allie’s Closet!

Stop by there are some really great pieces; I also am selling some unused beauty products that I had in my possession for more than 50% off the current price at stores and some jewelry!

Available are items from Banana Republic, Benefit, Pureology, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft and more!

If you have any questions, be sure to email me first. My goal is to send things out as soon as possible – usually if you order one day I will mail it out on the next business day!

Visit Allie’s Closet!