Wednesday, August 11, 2010

we leave tomorrow morning

For a 9-hour road trip up to visit Sam's parents for a week.

They live in Door County, Wisconsin - a beautiful place to spend any week :) Of course, it's especially nice because we get to be with family there. Looking forward to seeing you, David & Susan!!!

When we get back, I have about 2 days to get all our laundry caught up and all of my ducks in a row, because on the 23rd it's...

And I'm actually excited about it. We've had a wonderfully relaxing summer, and everyone's ready to get back into the swing of things. We're going to have a 4th grader, 3rd grader, kindergartener-slash-first-grader, and a preschooler in the line-up this year. Woo ee!

So, I'll be back to posting after we find a groove :)

Have a great couple of weeks!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Making Jeans and a Tee More Sophisticated

Mindy got me going, again :) I know Stay at Home Mom Style Week is over, but I couldn't resist! I had to put together a "jeans and tee shirt gal" styleboard :)

Let's take a look at some examples of how to make a simple tee shirt and jeans more sophisticated... and going a step further, making them signature. Specifically YOU. This is geared mostly toward ladies who are naturals - jeans and tee shirts on most days, but who also wish they could inject a little more umph or class. Here we go :)

I think the first step is to choose those jeans and tees wisely. When you're wearing them every day, these selections really make a difference. Not all jeans and tees are created equal. If you step up the "chic" factor a little by choosing jeans with a dark wash and a slightly dressier cut, and if you choose a tee or another knit top that flatters your face and body shape in a dark, solid color - I think you're well on your way!

Black doesn't look good on everyone, though. I know, every single women alive in NYC wears it almost daily, but it's just not the most flattering choice for every woman. Charcoal gray, navy blue, or chocolate brown might be better choices for you. (But look out - the navy gets tricky with dark wash jeans). Dark colors somehow seem more elegant, timeless, and sophisticated. Maybe they remind us of the little black dress (?). At any rate, gathering together a small collection of easy, flattering tops in your chosen dark solid will help give some direction to your closet, as well as give it a style boost.

As you choose your "go to" tops, though, be sure to remember your body shape and face shape. No kidding, if you spend a little time learning about your natural shapes and how to dress your body, you will save so much time and hassle in the long run! It might seem like a trip to Boring City to take measurements and read about Oblong vs. Oval, but believe me, it is truly worth it. Knowing both your body shape and your face shape really counts when choosing a day-to-day "uniform" that flatters you. When I have extra weight, for instance, I tend to stay away from tee shirts that aren't layered with another top like a cardigan or jacket. The close-fitting knit does absolutely nothing positive for me! I'm much better off with something light weight that has a high waistline. Then, I pair it with another light weight layering piece. Know your body, know your face, build up some style with solid colored tops that you feel great in.

Once you get your jeans and tops together, you can start thinking about accessories. Don't leave this part out! :) In fact, if you tend to be a totally jeans and tee shirt kind of girl, your accessories probably do tend to get overlooked - all the more reason to pay special attention to them if you want to add some sophisitication! The little things matter with a simple look. A good rule of thumb is to make choices that are just a notch or two higher up on the Chic Scale than you would naturally choose. For instance, you might naturally pull your hair back in a ponytail. Great! Now, kick it up a notch and choose a chic ponytail clip or side sweep the front of your hair. Possibly spritz a shine enhancer on your hair afterward or de-frizz with a serum. Or maybe you look fantastic in headbands. Choose simple, classic patterns like houndstooth or herringbone maybe, or just stick with a basic like faux tortoise shell or black. Just take things a teeny bit further than you naturally would. With earrings, go slightly bigger or dressier. "Diamond" studs are completely classic and always look great with simple clothing. A pendant can take things up one more notch.

Sunglasses, sunglasses, sunglasses! Even in winter! All you need is one pair in a color and shape that makes the most of your features. Here's another Chic Fashionista post - this time zeroing in on face shape and sunglasses! If you can avoid ultra-trendy styles (which, as a simple chic gal, you're likely to do anyway) you can get several years from one pair. Keep an eye on styles, though, and splurge every few years to keep your sunglasses looking fresh and current.

Lastly, you can wear flip flops and still look chic. But, as before, try kicking up the chic factor a notch by wearing a wedge version. They're just the tiniest bit dressier than your standard flip flop, but the small heel makes a difference. And tall girls can wear a little heel, by the way! I'm almost 5'8" - rock the wedge, ladies :) The wedge flip flops in my styleboard are from Old Navy and are less that $8.

Oh, wait! I thought of two more great ways to add some sophisitication and style to your basic tee, jeans, and flip flops look. The first is to always paint your toenails when you're wearing flip flops or open-toed shoes of any kind. You may not be comfortable with bold colors like my OPI Red, but take some time to browse through the classic OPI colors and choose one that you really love and feel like you're likely to love for quite a while (go to "try on this color" in that link). No need to own tons of colors - just pick one that looks good with a wide variety of clothing or shoe colors and that you feel really great in. The second is to choose a signature perfume and wear it every single day. Or at least every time you step out of the house. Sadly, I started getting migraines from any and all perfumes about 5 years ago, but before that I was a Chanel No. 5, red toe polish girl. You might be more of a romantic, flowery Simple Chic - more like Patou's Joy and a dark rose polish like OPI's Chicago Champagne Toast . The point is to find a signature polish color and a signature scent that are your own. Natural ladies don't usually like polish on their fingers, but you can still keep your fingernails trimmed and neatly filed. I don't wear nail polish on my hands, but I've been recently turned on to the wonders of buffing. More on that another time.

To recap, first of all not all jeans and tees are created equal. Make solid, stylish choices here that make the most of your coloring, body shape, and face shape. Then, don't forget your accessories! After a while, you'll feel naked without your earrings. Little touches like sunglasses and hair bands/pony covers can make a difference. Try a slightly dressier shoe - even just adding a wedge to your flip flop can add a little something to your look. And, lastly, go for some signature style with a perfume and polish that you wear all the time.

I think the resulting look stays true to the jeans-and-tee-shirt-natural side of things, but adds a few dashes of simple chic. Mindy, since you said your style quizzes came up part natural, part simple chic, and part preppy (which is a variation of classic, you know) - I had to put something together just for you and your unique combination. Just because it's fun. Hope you like them!

First - with a headband and an awesome preppy bag (I love this bag!) -

And with a little more color. Because this last board uses a scarf, we ditched the headband and switched to less glittery earrings. A sophisticated look is never over the top.

What do you think, Mindy? Too much?

Okay - time to do something responsible now and get off the 'puter :) Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!