What I Wore: Zenni

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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!

A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I love all the colored frames! I refuse to buy black frames, because it feels like it would be a missed opportunity to add some unique style and color. I think I would pick these purple ones (#788417) but I also love the cat-eye tortoiseshell ones! The ones you are wearing look so good- but sadly, sold out now!

  2. Hijust a quick question. How do you tie the front of your cambry shirt without it’s back looking so lumpy or should I say bulky..

  3. I’m finally to the point where readers just won’t cut it..I’d love the Stone Rectangle Eyeglasses in blue

  4. I loved reading about you! I love Zenni—super affordable and great quality. I would love a pair with a pop of color like #104517!!

  5. I loved this post! I would choose Vintage Square Keyhole Eyeglasses 208916. I also worked in retail as a manager and loved the fast pace and “something different every day” but found I aged out around 30 or so—just too physical and demanding emotionally. I also transitioned to a white collar office job that I love–I always like reading about your adventures in retail it brings me back!

  6. Love the blog! While I’ve ordered from Zenni for my husband in the past I’ve never ordered anything for myself. After wearing glasses for almost 40 years I would hope that I can figure out by now what styles might look good. lol! I’ve been wanting blue glasses for the longest and #195316 look sharp! #125416, #196716, and #531216 are cool, too! 🙂

  7. I love this skirt on you but has the hem come down in parts? 🙁
    I feel like sometimes it’s hard for women to be proud of their own success – there’s always a “yes, but”. Not sure if this stems from lingering sexism in the workplace (the number of people that assume I’m my boss’s PA when I answer his phone line!) or our own tendency to downplay our own achievements. Either way you’re a badass and you should be really proud of what you’ve achieved both here and in your day job!!

  8. Three cheers to you and being who you are! I must have been drunk when I got my last pair of prescription sunglasses (shown in my profile picture…). They’re totally the wrong shape for my face, and I’ve been planning to get a pair of aviator sunglasses once my insurance is up for a new pair. I love Zenni’s “sleek aviator sunglasses” in tortoise shell as well as the “square eyeglasses” in tortoiseshell – for when my regular glasses are up for renewal too!

  9. I needed to read this today. I DO have a degree in computer science but that was 25 years ago and I’ve been a SAHM for 14 of those. Thanks for the inspiration & motivation to re-learn my rusty skills & refresh my resume. Going to check out Lynda.com tonight.

  10. Which frame would I pick — #292916 looks cute and accomodates progressive lenses. I just noticed they claim to be men’s glasses? I was searching women’s. Well, something like them would look cute!

  11. I have been looking at your “loveCortnie” bags for quite a long time. I finally purchased one, and I love it. What a great bag. Thank you for turning me on to it.

  12. I think my current prescription sunglasses are older than my eyeballs but, sweetbloggermomma, choosing only one will be an effort! (Don’t hold me to it, but I’m thinking Acetate Full-Rim Frame 301117 in purple 🙂 )

    Love this post Allie ~ strong women unite <3

  13. This is one of those times when I’m glad a sponsored post sent me to a great new source. I’m really having fun looking around the site and now want to update my glasses style. Really liking the Oval Eyeglasses 7805416, but it’s hard to decide!

  14. I have brushstroke skirt envy. And I have a hankering for red frames to go with my imaginary skirt – #105418, please!

  15. I’ve been needing a new pair of glasses like forever, so this would be perfect for me. Thank you, Zenni Optical and Allie.

  16. My to do list is getting forgotten as I play around on the Zenni site. And it keeps reminding me that eyeglass stores at the mall are so overpriced.

  17. Allison, you are an inspiration for all the great work you are doing to mentor young and and old (me, 63) to the power of a positive attitude and perception. Thank you, Mary

  18. That was an inspirational post! I have found a group of supportive women at work. It’s been wonderful to help each grow in our careers, offer advice, act as sounding boards, and all-around support system. I’ve never had that before and it’s amazing. I love that your blog is supportive of women. It seems like that should be a no-brainer but sadly, it’s not. Also, I’ve been wearing Zenni glasses for the last few years. I love them! It’s an affordable way to take a risk with frames. I would enjoy a backup pair of aviator sunglasses.

    1. Also, I finally pulled the trigger on ordering that denim shirt. It was on sale $10 off and eligible for a 30% off code. I have a couple of long skirts that I can style the way you’ve demonstrated. I’m excited!

  19. I’ve been enjoying glasses from Zenni for a few years now. I am constantly receiving compliments for my glasses and am known for having “funky” frames. I think my next pair might be 184634 in green.

  20. Oh gosh I need new glasses! I can’t wear my contacts any more due to allergies. This would be awesome. You look great BTW and are so inspirational.

  21. I’m looking at the cat-eye frames for a new pair of prescription sunnies. I wear glasses daily–it took two laser surgeries to get me to a point where I could see with only thin lenses–so I’d love to update my glasses wardrobe!

  22. As someone with a small face, I think the Kids’ Square Eyeglasses 7806825 in tortoiseshell might work out for me! (Hope springs eternal :))

  23. Loved reading this post and hearing more about your personal “backstory.” I love the 111716 style in blue. I think they would make awesome sunglasses!

  24. Lovely homage to strong ladies!
    As for the specs, I like the vintage cat eye glasses in tortoise shell.

  25. I would go with something with color! I just had an eye exam and am looking to get a pair of glasses to wear when I do computer work.

  26. Hard to pick out a frame without trying on, but I liked ##184625 in tortiseshell. Love that skirt on you. That’s a powerful look!

  27. I have been absolutely *IN LOVE* with the idea of a pair of emerald-green frames for the longest time now (think Sally Jesse’s glasses, only green). It’s been such a touch task to find a pair in that color that is both affordable and complimentary to my face.
    Zenni has a number of frames on their site that look like they might fit the bill — I’d be excited to try some on! Style #s 121924, 206024, 449224, and 4414024 in particular caught my eye!

  28. As a successful woman myself the role of mentoring the next generation of powerful women falls to us. I am so pleased that you are taking up the moniker with aplomb.

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