Happy Wednesday! I’m back today with another addition to our Style Series. Since we’ve been showing so many casual outfits on the blog, we figured it was about time to showcase a dressier ensemble.
I really don’t have to dress up too often, usually only for date nights, drinks with girlfriends, or family dinners in the city. But when those occasions do come around, I often opt for similar outfits.
I usually reach for all of the black pieces in my closet because they just feel more pulled together, dressy, and classic. Plus I can then add a dramatic lip or, in this case, a pop of pattern.
I recently got this clutch from Ann Taylor and I’ve been loving it. I had been eyeing a few different leopard bags for some time, but I didn’t pull the trigger until this one was 50% off! That’s when I pounced. I guess the leopard print brought out my inner wild cat when it came time to buy! Looks like it’s currently out of stock, but I almost bought this one from Etsy if you want one for yourself.
This is the first time I’ve ever had a clutch that doesn’t have a handle, and I must admit it takes a little getting used to! But the little tuck under the arm isn’t so bad once you get used to it. And this purse can hold a lot! I’ll often move some items from my work bag to a smaller purse when I go out for the night, and this one can hold so much that I don’t have to be too choosy with everything I throw in there. Chapstick or lipstick? Throw in both!
I love the leopard because it goes with all the things! I just used it for a wedding and wore a bright blue dress, and it matched perfectly. Gotta love items in your closet that come in handy with just about any ensemble.
The top is actually new and I love it! I don’t often shop at Zara, but I popped in there one night after work and decided to look around. They have some items that are a bit too wild or fashion forward for me, but they also have some classic pieces with a bit of an edge…like this top. For work & everyday wear, I don’t often follow trends. Instead I just go with what I like. But for “going out” wear, I certainly don’t mind adding an edgier piece to my rotation. I’ve seen some fun necklines lately, so this black blouse was a fun way to dip my toe into that trend.
I may be hopping into Zara more often now. Plus their price point is unbelievable. I could barely believe that this top only cost $39!
For nights out, I’ll often wear black jeans or (non-gym) leggings. Bridget & I both have these black jeans with the holes at the knees and we love them. They’re high-waisted so they suck everything in and are so comfortable.
I just got these faux leather leggings from Athleta and they are fabulous! They’re comfortable but edgy all at the same time (and I’ve now said edgy far too many times during this post). I’ve worn those out on the town a few times and love them paired with a longer blouse to cover the booty!
The shoes are another inexpensive item (& they come in tons of colors). I bought them last year for a wedding that I was in, and they’re great! Comfortable (as comfy as heels can be), and a nice heel height. Not incredibly high. I have a similar pair in nude that I wear with dresses quite often. It’s good to have a few reliable pairs of heels for just about any dressier occasion.
It’s always fun to get dressed up and hit the town. But I must say…I often prefer my nights in with my husband by our side. Pajamas, champs, and Netflix are my kinda nights out these days.
A few weeks ago, we shared our big conundrum when it comes to our work wear. Finding flats that are both stylish AND comfortable. Neither of us have ever been able to find a pair that fits the bill. Either they’re cute and give you blisters like crazy. Or you can wear them all day long, but they’re not super trendy.
Well…we are so happy that we shared this with all of you because we received an influx of suggestions for flats to purchase. So many of you took time out of your day to email, message, or comment letting us know all about your favorite shoes and why you love them so much! We cannot thank you enough for giving us the inside scoop!
Today, we thought it would be fun to share some of those suggestions with all of you so we can all learn from each other. We don’t know about you, but we’re both 10x more likely to purchase something when it’s given a glowing review. And hearing all of your rave reviews on your favorite flats makes us want to scoop up every last pair of these shoes! Seriously…we want to make a closet full of flats that would make Carrie Bradshaw envious!
So let’s get right to the suggestions so we can all get shopping for those elusive comfy/cute/stylish/wear all day long flats! There was quite the range of recommendations too, so we decided to categorize them by price. Let’s start with the priciest and work our way down…
“TOMS flats. They were my favorite when I was teaching.”
“Yosi Samra foldable flats. They’re not cheap, but super comfy and cute. My fave are the nude patent leather ones!”
“These [Frye Oxford Loafers] are a game changer. I’ve been obsessed with oxfords lately—they’re a little bit masculine, but in an awesome way, and perfect for work. Super comfortable. Plus Frye has a year warrantee on their shoes which is amazing!”
“J.Crew’s Cece is a… style that is also comfy!”
“Michael Kors Loafers and Flats. I’m a teacher and I live in them. I have 4 pairs.”
“Vionics have some cute ones and I’m addicted to their slippers.”
“You HAVE to try these flats from Payless! For the price, who knows how long they’ll last (although I’ve worn them probably 15 times now with no wear yet), but they are by FAR the comfiest pair I’ve ever worn – I always get blisters from flats, but these are amazing!”
“These are my go to flats as well! I am in the trade show business which is standing hours and hours a day, for several days straight. You can usually wait until they go on sale + a coupon and get them for about $15-$18. I have owned at least half a dozen colors over the last 3 years. As I have found inevitable with all flats they do get gross and smelly eventually, but I would rather replace these than have stinky expensive flats.”
“The Audrey Brooke Lydia/ Newport Ballet Flats are my go to. It has a little hidden heel so it gives more support than those cute-but not so comfortable Steve Madden ones. Plus they have a rubber sole, so they feel more substantial and last forever.”
Can you believe these tassel flats are from Payless?!
We actually both decided to purchase some of these flats ourselves so we can give them a try. We’re both bought a pair of the $25 Payless ones (because you really can’t beat that price tag!) and then we’re each going to purchase 1 other pair that’s a bit pricier. Our plan is to then report back on the comfort & cuteness factor here on the blog in a few weeks!
We can’t thank you guys enough for taking time to share your favorite flats with us! And if you have any other shoes that you absolutely LOVE please do share! Sometimes it can be challenging ordering shoes online when you can’t try them on, so we love hearing recommendations from other girls just like us!
Hopefully together we can all find our favorite comfortable & cute pair of flats for work!
Last week, Bridget shared some insight into her day job as a high school teacher. Today, it’s my turn to dish the scoop on my “real job” outside of the blog and the clothing I choose to wear to work each day.
But in order to explain my work wear and current day job, we should dive a little into the history of my career. Ever since I was a little girl I always dreamed of being a TV journalist. I absolutely loved reading, writing, and English classes and idolized the newscasters I saw on TV. After studying broadcast journalism in college, I graduated and moved to small town in Wisconsin to become a news reporter.
I loved it, but eventually I was ready for a bigger city and more experience. At that time, Finn & I moved to St. Louis where I worked for Anheuser-Busch (yep…the beer company!) producing and hosting all of their internal videos. It was an awesome job! I was on-camera, writing scripts, and traveling all over the country to produce fun & entertaining videos. But my real goal was to find a TV job in Chicago to be closer to our families.
We moved back here in 2013 and I ended up working for a local channel producing a DIY show here in Chicago. Combining my love for DIY with my skills in TV was a match made in heaven, and I ended up producing 3 seasons of the show Weekend Workbench. But all good things must come to an end, and I was ready for a new challenge so I accepted a new job last fall.
Today, I work for a large startup in the healthcare industry producing lifestyle content that airs nationwide (think cooking shows, exercise videos, patient stories, doctor interviews, etc.) My office is located in the heart of Chicago, and I absolutely love what I do!
My office has a definite startup feel, and is very casual. The rules are no pajamas and you shouldn’t ever be able to go from work to the gym without changing. So yes…it’s incredibly laid back.
I typically dress for my day. So if I am out interviewing a doctor, I’ll dress up a bit more than I would if I’m just reviewing footage and writing scripts. But just because I can dress fairly casually, doesn’t mean that it comes easy for me! It can be hard getting dressed everyday and I’m still working on finding my work wear style.
My Go-To Work Wear
Overall, I aim to look pulled together and also comfortable when I head out to work each day. And like Bridget, I don’t want to spend a ton of money on a huge wardrobe so I look for quality pieces that I can wear during the week and on the weekends. Here are some of my staples…
I love a good blazer and own at least a half-dozen. I think my love for these jackets stems back to my news anchor days when I literally wore one on-air every.single.day. Today my blazer arsenal is much smaller, but I still love the feeling of putting on a blazer and feeling put together.
This structured blazer is my current favorite. It’s dressy, but has a bit of an edge to it so it certainly isn’t boring. I actually got this one on sale at an outlet store, but I’ve seen a lot of great structured blazers in-store recently (like this one). I also have a rotating collection of blouses (like this one from LOFT) that I wear underneath, mostly in blues, grays, and blacks.
Skinny Work Pants
I feel like we need to do an entire post about finding the perfect work pants because it is HARD! Some of the ones out there are a bit too frumpy, or if they’re the slim kind then they’re often cropped at the ankle (which isn’t great when the temp is in the single digits in Chicago). I recently picked up these work pants from Ann Taylor on sale for $25 and they’re amazing! Thick, appropriate for work, and they are skinny at the ankle. Yes, yes, yes!
I never wear heels to work and instead opt for boots or wedges. I have these TOMS in both black and gray and wear them constantly. They’re so comfortable and I have no problem on my commute to work (where I walk over a mile).
I have yet to find the perfect pair of flats that are both chic & comfortable. I find that I’ll often wear some and the soles break down or the backs give me blisters. But once winter is over, my goal is to find a great pair that I can wear to work and on the weekends! Any advice for finding good flats? Any brands you love?
Finally, my work wear look wouldn’t be complete without a big ass bag. I’ve always been a working girl with a big tote because I like to always be prepared and have things on-hand. This black bag was a steal from TJ Maxx and it holds everything from file folders, to my laptop, to my yoga clothes. They’ve got a good collection of work bags at good prices (like this one).
Now I want to hear…what is your office dress code like? Are you more casual like my office or are you super dressy? Hopefully we can all learn some fashion tips from one another as we try to look polished for work each day!
As you guys know, both Casey and I have jobs outside of the DIY Playbook. I am a high school special education teacher and really love what I do. My class schedule looks slightly different from two years ago when I wrote this day in the life post but overall my days are still just as hectic from 7:00am-4:00pm.
I teach workplace skills in the morning and finish my afternoon co-teaching government and economics at the same high school where Casey and I attended just over ten years ago. I work at a high school of almost 4,000 students, so the campus is pretty big. I don’t teach in the same classroom two periods in a row, which means I’m always on the move… literally.
I share this information with you not to tell you all about my day job, but to show you that I can relate to a lot of you when it comes to buying “work clothes” because that’s what you’ll find me wearing Monday through Friday. I wish I could rock holey jeans, a tee. and converse everyday but that is far from my reality. And I don’t know if you guys feel the same way about finding work wear but as far as I’m concerned… the STRUGGLE IS REAL!
Work to Weekend Wear
I have a small closet and limited storage space at home so I really try to purchase work wear that I can wear on the weekends too. I know that’s not always the reality for every single piece of clothing, but I really try my best to only choose items that are versatile… and affordable.
Casey and I were recently chatting about this strategy and realized that we’re probably not alone in the pursuit to find clothing that can double as work wear and weekend wear, all on a budget. So we decided that we are going to start to weave in some “Work to Weekend” posts on Wednesdays so we can highlight pieces in our closets that do double duty for us.
Plus when we turn to Pinterest or even the blogosphere, we don’t see a ton of realistic work fashion finds (not everyone wears heels & a power suit everyday!) so we figured, maybe starting the conversation will teach us all something together! <— we can use all the tips we can get from the amazing community of working women tuning in!
But before we dive into Work to Weekend gear, we figured we should each share a little information about our current work routines so that you can learn what factors go into each our of work wardrobe choices.
Comfy Shoes are a Must!
Like I said before, I work in a high school Monday through Friday. There isn’t necessarily a strict dress code for teachers but looking professional, dressing modestly, and being comfortable are all important factors. I dress professionally Monday through Thursday and love Fridays because we can wear nice jeans and school spirit gear… with gym shoes!
From Monday through Thursday I try to look professional and feel comfortable. I work in a large school and do not have my own classroom but instead walk to a new room all 8 hours of the day. I recently tracked my steps and figured that I walk almost three miles within the building each day, which means comfy shoes are a must!
The first 3-4 years of teaching I wore heels every single day (ouch!) but have changed my ways a bit since then. I still wear heels on extra special days but usually wear wedges or flats in honor of comfort… and making it to my next class on time!
My Color Scheme
Sometimes I’ll wear skirts or dresses but in the winter I always pair these staples with tights because it’s just too darn cold without them. In the warmer months I don’t mind wearing dresses or skirts without the tights but that usually means that the skirt/dress must be knee-length so I feel comfortable and professional.
I mostly wear neutral colors because I feel most “me” in them and they are far more versatile. I’ve found that I can pair neutrals with a ton of different outfits for work or the weekend, which has been key in keeping my small closet contained.
And last but finally not least, I usually accessorize very simply. You know I love my statement necklaces so I will wear those quite a bit. I’ll wear stud earrings and a watch too but that’s about the extent of my jewelry at work.
But even on days I don’t wear any jewelry, you’ll always find me with a bag. Since I travel from classroom to classroom, I need to carry around a bag with me. I keep my lunch in there, my laptop, graded student work, and a whole slew of supplies. <— I can never have enough pens or pencils in my bag. If I had a dollar for every time a student asked for a pen, I’d probably be rich by now!
Thoseare pretty much the basics when it comes to choosing my work week wardrobe! I can’t wait to dive into more detail as we roll out the work to weekend series (not every Wednesday, just as we see fit). I feel like a lot of us are in the same boat and could use each other as we all try to build versatile closets that don’t break the bank.
What are your tips?
What do you guys think? Are there certain work to weekend topics or wardrobe items you want us to tackle first? Next Wednesday Casey will dive into her work wardrobe guidelines to give us all a little background on her work environment. Then you guys will have a better idea of each our workplaces so that we can kick-off our first work to weekend post soon!
In the meantime, what factors go into choosing your work wardrobe? We’d love to hear what you do for a living (#GIRLBOSS) and what wardrobe challenges you face!
For last week’s style series, we chatted all about our favorite athleisure wear. Those items were some of our favorite for both lounging around the house and in less frequent cases…actually working out!
Today, we wanted to chat a little bit about how we each workout and share a few of our healthy-living goals for 2017.
Today’s Fashion Staple: Fitness Accessories
Plus, since we didn’t have much time to chat about our workout accessories (water bottles, shoes, bags, etc) last week, we figured today’s post would be a good chance to dive into those tidbits too. It’s quite the agenda for this style series, so let’s get right to it!
I’m actually a big fan of working out, specifically because I just feel so good afterwards! I feel like I sleep better and have much more energy when I stick to a workout routine.
But that doesn’t mean that I’m incredibly devoted to getting to the gym everyday. I’d say I average about 3-4 times per week. I specifically LOVE group fitness classes. Maybe because I grew up as a dancer and enjoyed going to dance class everyday? That then continued in college when I was on the pom squad at Notre Dame. There’s just something about being in a room full of other people that motivates you to try your best (or maybe it’s just the competitive side in me. ha!)
My favorite workout class is called Body Pump. Any other body pump lovers out there? It has quite the cult following across the country. Essentially it’s a 60-minute strength class using a bar bell. It’s choreographed to music, with each music track targeting a specific muscle group. By the end you leave with a full-body workout. I started incorporating this class into my workout routine 1x per week last August, and have noticed a change in my body. I feel so much stronger and have developed some lean muscles that I didn’t have before.
I also enjoy doing yoga. It’s wonderful when I want to clear my head and stretch out sore muscles. They offer a yoga class 1x per week at my work, so I usually stay and do that on Tuesday nights.
So essentially my workout routine consists of a mixture of group fitness classes, cardio on the stair master at the gym, and then occasional BBG workouts at home.
Now onto my favorite fitness accessories that are really beneficial to my workout routine…
I’m a big H2O lover. While Bridget has a hard time drinking enough water, I drink so much water it’s kinda crazy. I ALWAYS have a water bottle with me, and I recently got 2 S’well water bottles for Christmas.
I keep this gold one in my gym bag and I use it for workouts. I have the larger size (in marble…so gorgeous), that I keep at my desk at work. I fill that bad boy up 2-3x during the workday. The best part about these water bottles is that they don’t “sweat.” I hate when watery residue is left all over your desk, so these have been great. They also keep liquids cold for 24 hours, and hot for 12 hours. And it really does work!
I also got this new workout bag for Christmas and I’m obsessed. It’s sleek and has so many pockets and compartments. There’s even a little shoe compartment inside to keep your gym shoes from dirtying up anything else in your bag. Before this I just had a tote that I’d throw my workout clothes in, but now I love having everything organized so I can bring my gym bag to work everyday. This makes me much more likely to stop at the gym on my way home!
Another “new to me” accessory is this new twisty hair tie! I had seen them before and was always so fascinated as to what it was, so I picked up a 3-pack at Sephora in January.
I’m the kinda gal who always has a hair tie on her wrist, and this would often leave a big mark on my skin. Ouch. These are great because they lightly stay on your wrist and then when you use it for a pony tail it doesn’t crease your hair! This has been a game changer for me as I love putting my hair up at night, but then would have to completely re-do my hair the next day. Now I can go another day in between washes and my hair is feeling a lot healthier because of it!
Unlike Casey, I’m not as committed to regular gym visits BUT I’m REALLY trying to be better this year.
Growing up I was involved in lots of sports and was very active. Even in college when I was no longer in organized sports, I would visit the gym regularly on campus and was committed to an active and healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately though, I have gotten away from these routine gym visits over the last few years and NEED TO CHANGE that.
It’s not like I sit around and have lazy days because actually I’m always on the move, partly because I’m busy but partly because I like to “putz” around the house. I’m not one who enjoys sitting down and relaxing because I’m a busy-body. I know that being on the move is a good thing but not regularly stretching or getting my heart rate up (the way “formal” exercise does) is not the routine I want to get into as I enter my 30’s at the end of this year!!! #howdidthathappen
So I have been hitting the gym fairly regularly after work to walk/jog on the treadmill. It’s been a sloooowwww stat but I keep reminding myself that just being on the treadmill for any amount of time is more than I used to be.
It hasn’t been easy because I don’t love working out, but I do feel better when I leave so I try to focus on that as motivation to stick with it! Any other tips for me?! Or better yet, does anyone have any suggestions on running workouts to help build endurance over time (for beginners)? I need all the help I can get!
My new gray gym shoes have also been a motivator to get my butt to the gym after work. They’re incredibly comfortable (no breaking in time at all) and are pretty fashionable too.
Just to make sure we’re all starting today’s post on the same page, let’s first start by defining what the heck “Athleisure” is. For most of you this is probably old news, but for the few who are scratching their heads thinking that “these ladies have lost their minds… again”, we want to prove that this ONE time we actually haven’t because Athleisure is a real thing.
Athleisure is technically defined as “a trend in fashion in which clothing designed for workouts and other athletic activities is worn in other settings, such as during work, casual or social occasions”. <— Thanks Wikipedia!
In other words, it’s athletic wear (like yoga pants, tanks, or sweatshirts) that can be worn well beyond the gym (like when you’re running errands, bumming on the weekend, or just because you feel like it). We love athleisure wear because it’s so comfy AND so versatile. And since this type of clothing is very popular now, it’s easy to find a few affordable pieces. You’d be surprised how quickly these pieces creep into your everyday routine.
The one thing we like to keep in mind when buying athleisure is to limit our collection to a few versatile pieces that we really love. We have found that we typically reach for out favorite pieces over and over again so instead of buying 42 different athleisure looks, we keep it simple by buying just a few key pieces that are quality, neutral colors, and looks we really love.
I could kiss whomever came up with this whole athleisure thing! Clothing that is comfortable & cute, plus it can be worn to workout or to just lounge around?! Yes, please!
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I must admit…I own a lot of athleisure. But honestly, I don’t feel bad about it because I wear these clothes constantly.
First of all, I do wear my workout gear to actually workout! I belong to a gym in our neighborhood and I find that I’m much more excited to get a workout in when I’m wearing cute active gear. And then once I’m actually working out, I find that I have a much better workout when I’m wearing the right clothing. I know it may seem crazy to spend a lot of money on leggings, but I’ve found that higher quality ones are well worth the price! They suck everything in, don’t roll down, and don’t require you to pull them up every 15-seconds <– literally the worst thing ever.
These new capri ones are my current favorite! I love the detailing (a little bit scandalous…but still gym appropriate) and they are incredibly comfortable. I’ve bought cheaper leggings in the past, and have always been disappointed when they would pill and fall apart quickly.
This my first time buying leggings from Zella and I think they just might be my new fav brand.
Now let’s discuss my new zip-up. Man, it’s another obsession of mine. You know I love me some gray, and this sweatshirt is a new staple in my closet.
I often throw the zip up on over a tank when on my way to workout class, and then after the warm-up I’ll take it off.
But I also wear this hoodie constantly when at home. It is pretty much the best thing to throw on when our condo gets chilly. And the thumb holes on the sleeves make it ever better.
All in all, I’m all aboard the athleisure train and I don’t plan to hop off any time soon!
For those of you thinking that you love the leisure part of these outfits without the “ath”-letic part… you are my people! I’m sending you an air high-five from behind my computer right now.
In honor of full disclosure, when I wear outfits like this I barely wear them to the gym (am I horrible for even admitting that?!). Before recently, I barely went to the gym and when I did, wore super old and ugly “gym clothes”. Now that I’ve been going to the gym more often (cue the confetti emoji but don’t get too excited because it’s only January) I still tend to wear running shorts and old t-shirts. I like to save my athleisure looks for weekend errands, relaxing, and really any activities that involve no sweating. #isitjustme? <—- after reading Casey’s portion of this blog post, I kinda feel like it IS just me and I need to get my act together!
This is probably one of the main reasons why I’m the WORST person to give athleisure advice. The fact is that I like to have one or two of these outfits… tops… in my closet because I’ve found that since I don’t wear them to the gym and get them all sweaty, I grab the same outfit over and over again.
I’ve had these black “yoga”-like leggings in my closet for a long time. They have little zippers on the side, which makes me think they’re probably less yoga and more leggings. But either way I like this particular pair because I can wear them with athleisure gear (they’re stretchy just like yoga pants) or dress them up a bit with booties or boots and a long sweater. No one can ever tell the difference.
I recently bought this classic grey hoodie and am pretty obsessed with it! I’m not a huge fan of a traditional hoodie because I feel like it is heavy and constricting on my neck. Instead I love cowl neck sweatshirts because they’re way less restricting and a bit more fashionable in my eyes. You wouldn’t believe how many people comment on the neck of this sweatshirt!
But the neck isn’t even my favorite part of this piece. See that zipper across the front? It unzips to create a huge compartment behind the pockets to hold all of your essentials. It’s almost like a kangaroo’s pouch and it’s a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I wore this outfit on the plane traveling to Mexico and kept my phone, headphones, and passport in that little kangaroo pouch and it allowed me to keep my belongings safe while being hands free. And because there’s extra room in that area of the sweatshirt, you could hardly even see the treasures I had tucked in there. Honestly, I think I want to travel in this convenient sweatshirt all. the. time. because it’s pretty life changing. Or at least I’ll run more errands with it on the weekends so I don’t have to deal with a purse. <— that counts as “running” right?!
On cold days, this outfit pairs well with my winter coat or this Northface vest I’ve had for the past few years. I love how the cowl neck adds a bit of fun to the front of the vest without bringing the bulk of a hood.
I may not hit the gym as often as I should, but I promise you I get plenty of wear out of my few athleisure pieces. I usually wear them until they are old and ragged and then splurge on a new quality piece.
Regardless of how you use your athleisure gear, here are some of the quality pieces we’re currently loving. The best part is that only a few pieces in your wardrobe can make a huge impact.
If you would’ve told us a few years ago that we would eventually share personal information about each of our bodies (i.e. the good, the bad and the ugly) on the internet, we would have been convinced that you had lost your mind. But you would’ve been right.
Today we’re pretty sure it’s US who have lost our minds because we are going to do just that. Today we are baring all (not in photos… thank goodness) and sharing the vulnerable information behind our bodies’ imperfections. <— just typing that out makes us extra nervous to press publish.
You guys overwhelmingly shared how much you enjoy us sharing the DIY Playbook Style Series every Wednesday (thank you!! we are so grateful for your kind, supportive words). Some of you mentioned that you like these weekly posts because you like seeing what we wear, while others mentioned the affordable price of our clothes as your favorite part. And then there were a group of readers that said that they liked this series because we were “just like you”, dressing just like you would.
Those comments were some of the biggest compliments we could get here on the DIY Playbook because that’s what we strive for… showing you that we ARE just like you! And we want to make sure we stay that way by being REAL and transparent and a little vulnerable (as scary as that is), especially through the DIY Playbook Series.
Real Talk: We each have imperfections on our bodies that we consciously try to hide when choosing clothes. But let’s be real…. don’t we all?! Skinny or curvy or somewhere in between, we all have parts of our bodies that aren’t our favorite. And guess what? THAT’S OKAY! It’s normal!!!
We hope to use this platform to reassure everyone that we feel the exact same way. But instead of focusing on these imperfections, we try to choose clothing that masks our insecurities while making our “strengths” stand out!
If you have a body similar to Bridget’s, you can use her sizing tips every week or the tricks she uses to show off her assets. Or if your body is more similar to Casey’s, you can take her word for fit tips, size guides, and styling tips. And if your body really isn’t similar to either of ours, well heck… at least you can rest assured that we’re not perfect and that’s perfectly okay with us.
Typical Size: M/L, Size 8
Less than Perfect: Everyone has parts of their body that they don’t love, and I’m no different. As a typical “apple” shape, I am not the biggest fan of my midsection. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never ever have washboard abs, and if I’m ever carrying extra weight…it’s going right to my tummy! I also have wide shoulder and chest areas, so I’m not the biggest fan of structured dresses that are tight against those parts of my body. I wear a 36C (sometimes D), and don’t love having a larger chest (especially when working out without a proper sports bra #ouch)
Favorite Assets: I’ve been so fortunate to get long, (fairly) muscular legs from my mom. I was a dancer my entire life, and I also do a fair amount of squats and lunges at the gym, but mostly they’re all genetics. They’re by far my favorite asset, and they’re something I don’t mind showing off! Short shorts, skirts, leggings, skinny jeans…those are my favorite because I can showcase my legs.
Casey’s Shopping Guide
Shorter Hemlines: Because my legs are my favorite asset, I’m not afraid to show some skin! Short shorts, dresses, and skirts are all a part of my wardrobe. But if I’m showing a lot of leg, I’ll often cover up on top so things aren’t too revealing all over.
Skinny Jeans & Leggings: When it comes to leggings, I know there are definitely 2 kinds of women. Ones who don’t consider leggings to be “real pants” and others who wear leggings or athleisure all the time. I’m definitely in the latter group! I love me some leggings or skinny jeans! While I won’t wear leggings to work, I do wear them on the weekends and at night all the time.
Flowy Tops: Because my tummy isn’t the most flattering part of my body, I tend to wear flowy tops that drape nicely over that area. It makes me feel much more comfortable, and I love the look of tighter pants with a looser top. It creates a good balance for me.
V-Necks: Because of my larger chest, high necklines do not look great on me. While Bridget can pull off super cute button downs (all buttoned up), that just does not work for my body. Instead, I find that v-necks are much more flattering as they make my shoulders look more narrow.
Typical Size: XS-S & Size 0-2
Less than Perfect: I have no butt, well technically it’s back there but it’s flat as a pancake. I don’t have hardly any boobs either (I wear a 34A maybe a 34B if the bra has got some extra padding ;). I also have a really long torso, which isn’t necessarily a negative but it does make finding shirts a bit more tedious. And like Casey, the extra weight that I hold goes straight to my midsection. But probably what I’m most conscious about when choosing my outfits is my extra pale skin. I don’t think I personally look very good when I show a lot of extra skin because I’m so pale, so I typically try to choose outfits that are modest and cover my skin when possible. It’s weird though because often I’ll see other pale people and think they’re gorgeous pale! So I think it’s just a personal thing for me about showing too much skin.
Favorite Assets: I know that I’m considered skinny and I’m very grateful for my genes because it is not thanks to my diet that I have this body type. But more important than skinny, I’m very thankful to be HEALTHY. When I think of people who don’t have their health I’m reminded how minor these “body imperfections” really are. I vowed a few years ago to choose to focus on how thankful I am for a healthy body rather than focusing on its imperfections. And to do this, I strategically buy clothing that helps mask those areas while making me feel a whole lot more comfortable in my own skin. As long as I’m healthy, I’m happy!
Bridget’s Shopping Guide:
Longer shirts: I don’t love X-long shirts but I try to buy clothing that is a bit longer on the average person so that it fits me just right.
High Necklines: I don’t love showing my chest area (except for v-neck t-shirts) so I typically opt for a high neck cut with sleeves. I’ll opt for a collar any day… peter pan collars are my favorite.
Cover up: I’m very modest when it comes to clothing and don’t like to show a lot of skin, mostly because of my super pale complexion. If I show my arms, I typically won’t show my legs in that same outfit. But if I show my legs, I’ll try to cover up my arms. Too much skin is never a good idea for me.
Flowing: I try to steer clear from tight shirts unless I’m pairing them with high-waisted pants. This helps me hide the mid section just a tad and makes me feel a whole lot more comfortable in my skin.
Sorry for getting a little a lot personal today, we just figured we needed to start 2017 Style Series with some REAL TALK. We’re obviously not perfect but that shouldn’t keep us (or anyone) from loving the bodies we have. Most importantly, we’re both very grateful for our health. We’re also very grateful for this platform, which allows us to share that imperfect is NORMAL and totally okay!
We hope this information helps you relate to our weekly fashion posts a bit more and helps you make more intentional decisions when purchasing clothes. But above all, we hope it makes you step back and love your body just a bit more… imperfections and all.
Coming back from Mexico this past weekend quickly reminded us how COLD Chicago winters can be. Escaping that cold for the week was amazing (full recap Tuesday!) but being greeted by 10 degree temps when we returned… not as amazing. We’re definitely not complaining because we feel extremely grateful for the chance to getaway and even more grateful to call Chicago home sweet home (cold temps and all), but we don’t want to give anyone the false impression that we LOVE the cold.
Quite the contrary actually. We love the pretty white snow and really love seeing 4 different seasons per year, but super cold temps are not our jam… especially since Casey walks to work everyday (rain, shine, or deep freeze!). Because we wear our winter coats everyday for months and want to stay as warm as possible, we don’t feel as bad splurging on this winter staple. We both have black puffy coats for our everyday wear, and Casey has a wool winter coat that dresses up just about any outfit!
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Like I mentioned in one of our recent Happy Hour posts, my sisters VERY generously got me this North Face Parka for my birthday in October. This coat runs around $299, which is WAYYYYY more than I have ever spent on any piece of clothing. I try to stick around $100 for my winter coat ($150 tops) but honestly this coat has sold me on splurging every once in a while because it is SO WARM and I’ve been living in it all season so far.
When I spend the typical $100-ish on a winter coat, that coat usually lasts me that season and then I buy a new one the next year. But since this one was more expensive and is so much better quality than the coats I usually have, I don’t anticipate buying a new one for a few seasons. Lately I’ve been trying to do exactly this…quality over quantity.
And so far, I’m a huge fan because not only do I love the products I wear MORE but I also have less stuff, which is the ultimate goal. <— We have a lot to catch up on in this department but the short and sweet version is that I recently watched the Minimalist on Netflix and it really made a huge impact on me.
This year I’m trying to purchase quality items (even if they cost a bit more) so I don’t have to buy that same item three times over because the first 3 weren’t as great of quality. I promise we’ll dive into a whole post (or a few posts) on this topic soon but it’s already shaping up to be a consistent theme in our household, and I see this coat as a great example of that.
If you too are looking to invest in a quality coat so you can stay warm while practically living in it, I do recommend buying one over the next month or so. I highly recommend mine, however the main goal is that you find one that you’re obsessed with and one you feel is good quality. Now that it’s after the holidays, I’ve noticed SO many coats are on sale, which helps if the coat you have your eye on is a “splurge.”
I completely agree with Bridget’s new approach to her wardrobe. Quality over quantity all the way. And my new dressy coat is a perfect example of that.
I purchased this coat from J. Crew for 50% off on Black Friday…and it was still a large chunk of change for me. However, it was well worth it and made me question why I hadn’t invested in a nice quality coat sooner. Whenever I’d have to dress up for work or an event at night, I’d find myself donning my large puffy coat. This new wool coat instantly makes me feel more put together for those dressy occasions.
The gray color is on brand with my wardrobe, and the coat is so soft. The cherry on top is the gold zipper that adds the perfect touch of trendy…without taking away from the classic look.
Fit Tip: Size down on this one or else it may look a bit boxy on you! I got 1 size down from my normal size and it’s perfect, even with bulky layers underneath!
Since the coat doesn’t have a hood, I’ve been wearing this coat with a scarf, gloves, and a headband or hat on chilly days.
Then on those brutally cold days (Polar Vortex Alert!) I wear my puffy coat and hood. I got it a few years back from Nordstrom Rack and it has been a staple ever since. It’s Michael Kors brand, but I’m not so sure they make it anymore. With both my wool coat and my puffy black one, I’m ready for just about anything that the Chicago winter brings.
During the month of December our wardrobe can usually be described 2 ways. Either FESTIVE or COMFORTABLE.
Today we’re showcasing some of our favorite purchases that fit one or both of those categories! We’ve got ugly sweaters for Christmas parties, slippers that you’ll wear all winter long, and even cute pjs for Christmas morning and beyond.
Ugly Christmas Sweater
Casey: As a kid, I remember my mom wearing a seasonal sweater or sweatshirt for just about every holiday. Man how I wish I still had some of those today because they were so over-the-top and ridiculously festive!
I don’t know when or how the “ugly Christmas sweater” trend started, but I think it’s such a fun addition to any wardrobe. With an ugly sweater day at work (and no ugly sweater of my own) I decided to purchase this reindeer sweater from Target in early December. I’m so happy that I did, because now I can partake in those cheesy Christmas activities!
My super cool reindeer number will now be a part of my December wardrobe, and I’ll be busting him out each year for our annual cookie day (where ugly sweaters are encouraged) and any other holiday party that calls for such an over-the-top look! You really only need 1 sweater, and I’m so happy that I now have one in my wardrobe (even if it’s so ugly that it’s kinda cute!).
The Comfiest Slippers & Pajamas
While my ugly sweater is comfy, it isn’t nearly as comfy as my new slippers! I love putting slippers on when I’m home during the winter months, because our place can get a little drafty.
I scooped up these slippers from J. Crew Factory for 50% off on Black Friday and I’m so happy that I did! They’re literally a DREAM to put on. Soooo soft. Plus, I love that the bottoms have grips so I’m not slipping and sliding all over our hardwood floors.
And you really can’t beat the gold moccasin look. Instead of being frumpy (like some of my past slippers), they’re actually really cute & trendy.
Bridget: I don’t usually have a coordinated pajama set throughout the year, as I’m a sweats-and-a-t-shirt-to-bed kinda girl. But something about the holidays always has me excited to pick up a pair of actual pajama pants. This year I opted for a pair that were more “winter-y” and not super “Christmas-y”. I figured choosing a pair that I could wear well beyond December 25th would give me the most bang for my buck! Like Casey, I bought this pair at J. Crew Factory on Black Friday. They were such a great price and worth every penny because they’re SO darn soft.
I don’t wear the long sweater (in the picture above) to bed, but I do have it on in the house whenever it’s a bit chilly. It is BY FAR the. softest. sweater. I have ever had. It’s from Madewell so the price was steep, but I scored it on sale so I don’t feel as guilty about the splurge. Not only do I love how soft and warm this combo is, I really love that I can wear it long after Christmas!
We’ve had so much fun dipping our toes in the waters of “fashion” every Wednesday here on the blog, but this week we’re changing things up a bit! Instead of us awkwardly posing on the streets of Chicago, we had our husbands do all of the “modeling.”
Today’s Wardrobe Staple: Men’s Sport Coat, 2 ways
Chances are you may be buying gifts for a few men on your holiday list, so we figured we’d let them share their go-to looks for the holiday season in hopes that you may come away with some ideas for your boys. Plus, if these two like a certain item then you know it’s gotta be good. In fact when they find an item they love, they’ll often buy 5 more of that item (in ever color) to round out their wardrobe. <— being a guy seems so much easier, doesn’t it?!
Plus, we really just wanted to see them squirm in front of the camera. And in the end our plan kinda backfired because they both loved getting silly and posing away for the camera.
We also hopped in a few of the shots, because we hardly ever get a chance for some nice photos with our husbands…so why the heck not?!
I recently have gotten more into men’s fashion to elevate my work attire and showcase a more professional & classic look. I really enjoy the business casual look as it is simple but always appropriate. And to me, the sport coat is the most important piece. I have only recently added this layer to the wardrobe but I can already tell I have been missing out! I shop almost exclusively at Express due to the tall and slim nature of the clothes. While this may not be for everyone, I think most men would be surprised at how well these “slim” clothes fit. (Trust me I am not slim by any measure, but Express plays confidence building mind games!)
I love this specific blazer due to the soft and breathable fabric, as well as the small textured fabric. And the red lining on the inside and built-in pocket square adds serious style points too. I have actually ordered three other sport coats from Express, as I truly love these and recommend them for all men looking to take their look up a few notches.
Similar to Mr. Finn, I too see the many benefits of having a sport coat in my style rotation. The beauty of the sport coat is its versatility. Finn’s professional and classy approach sets the bar extremely high. However, that isn’t the only possible route for this item of clothing. When you step out of the house sporting a t-shirt and jeans, sometimes you just need a little bit extra….a cherry on top, if you will.
Enter the wild card. For some reason, something so simple as a sport coat can add such a stylish look to a very basic outfit. Call it distinguished, call it trendy, but overall, I call it simple.
As fun as it is to mix and match button downs to wear under a sport coat, sometimes the real fun is finding the right t-shirt. Whether I’m sporting a Cubby Blue Tee or one of my favorite vintage “go-to’s”, the sport coat is always welcoming and accommodating to the new undergarment. When it comes to my outfit selections, it’s not always about how good the design is, but rather, how good the fit is. Finn isn’t the only one with an (unhealthy) obsession towards Express. Their selection provides form-fitting options that not only make you look good heading out for the night, but more importantly, make you feel good too.
For even more insight from these two, make sure you tune in tomorrow! Finn & Matt are taking over the blog once more to share their top 10-ish items from 2016 as a gift guide for those “hard-to-buy-for” men in our lives. If you’re still stumped on gift ideas, you don’t want to miss this post (and their advice)!
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