Wrap It Up Wednesday, Sep 5 2012 

Fall is that great in-between season – it’s not too hot, not too cold. It’s the season of layers and a trench coat is the perfect fall topper. Trench coats are classically chic – they are timeless and make every outfit look polished, but there are always updated styles available each season. Mine is the classic trench color (tan) but has a full skirt, which allows for a lot of swing with each step. This makes it just a little bit girly without being too prim or prissy.

If you don’t have a trench coat and need a new fall piece, I would highly recommend purchasing a trench. You can find them everywhere now and at every price point. I did a quick search on ShopStyle and found a few that caught my eye:

 

Whatever your shape, trench coats are one of the most flattering pieces you can own. Find the right length for your height and then tie at the waist. A defined waist is the perfect definition of a female figure. You can also tie it in the back and leave it open for a more casual, but still body-skimming look.

Do you own a trench coat? Do you think it’s a piece that would enhance your wardrobe?

Images pulled from NeimanMarcus.com, SaksFifthAvenue.com and Nordstrom.com.

In Need of a Fall Bag Tuesday, Sep 4 2012 

Woohoo! Summer is over and fall is here! Wait….oh, it’s still triple-digits in North Texas so I guess, really, it’s still summer. Womp, womp.

Even though we’re still in the midst of sweltering heat, once we hit September, I start slowly transitioning to fall attire. That may not mean boots and sweaters yet, but anything that looks tropical and summer-y gets put away. I start wearing darker jewel tones and layering a bit more.

I thought about this as I got dressed this morning. Only later at work did it dawn on me that it’s time to put away my summer bag:

My mom bought this for me as a birthday gift and I have carried and loved it all summer. But the straw definitely screams summer – nothing transitional about this piece. So my dilemma now is what bag to carry for fall. I still have a great deep purple Michael Kors bag – the smaller version of this:

MICHAEL Michael Kors Hamilton Large Tote

But there is just nothing like buying a new purse. I love a more structured handbag for fall, but I’m not sure what color I want. Do I want to go with another bold color, like teal? Or should I go classic and choose a neutral, like gray or camel? And, let’s face it, purses are expensive now. Do I even want to spend the money?

I have just browsed briefly in a few stores for a new purse and haven’t found anything I love yet. I guess only time will tell.

Are you planning on buying a new bag for fall? Any certain styles or colors you’re lusting after?

Image of Michael Kors Hamilton Tote from michaelkors.com.

Teal-Blue-Green Tuesday, Aug 21 2012 

One of my favorite things about fall is the color palette, not just in fashion but in nature. I love the rich, deep, saturated hues. For fall fashion, oxblood is supposed to be THE color. Basically, it’s burgundy with a fancy new name. ;)

I’m still not sure how I feel about oxblood, but I am loving anything in the teal/blue-green/deep blue range. I clicked over to Nordstrom just now to see if they were showing anything in this color, and what do you know, they have a whole section devoted to blue dresses for fall. Sign me up! Besides being on the blue bandwagon, I love, love, love dresses. They are easy and versatile, and when you find the shape that fits your body best, they tend to be the most flattering piece in your closet. Browsing the blue dress section at Nordstrom, I found quite a few that would be a great fit for any closet. For the most part they are reasonably priced and would work well for work as well as church, cocktail parties or any other event where you want to look polished.

And if I had the funds and really started working my quality vs quantity view, I would love to add this to my closet:

These dresses can all be paired with tights and blazers for when the temps drop and would work with boots or pumps. I think gray is a great, unexpected neutral to pair with these.

What are your thoughts on the teal/blue/green color for fall? What’s your favorite fall color, either in nature or fashion?

All images from Nordstrom.com.

Capping It Off Thursday, Aug 16 2012 

The cap-toe pump is a hot shoe trend for fall. I’ve always been a fan of a closed-toe pump – they polish off every outfit and lend an air of sophistication. Adding the cap-toe gives a classic a fresh twist. I did a quick browse on Nordstrom.com (no surprise there) and found 3 in my price range that I would love to have:

This black and rose gold color combo adds a great metallic edge for day. Metallics have been big for a while now and this muted metallic paired with black keeps it from being club-ish. If that’s too far out of your comfort zone, they also have a black and pewter combo.

Animal print has gone from being a trend to being a neutral. The colors on this shoe will go with everything in your wardrobe, and the exaggerated cap-toe makes it a little more fashion forward. The beauty of animal print? On a day when you’re running late or just can’t get creative, you can throw this on with any all-black outfit and it instantly takes your look up a notch.

A truly classic, neutral shoe that you will wear with everything for years to come. It’s striking, yet subtle. This is the shoe that will always fill in when you think: “I’m not sure what shoe to wear with this outfit.” They also offer it in black-on-black (the shoe is brushed leather and the cap-toe is patent) or white with a black cap-toe.

Will you be adding a cap-toe pump to your wardrobe for fall?

All images pulled from Nordstrom.com.

Quality vs. Quantity Wednesday, Aug 15 2012 

When I was starting my freshman year of high school, the style and trends of that time period looked straight out of Clueless. Of course I wanted to look cool as a freshman, so I found a cool backpack from Gadzooks. Anyone else remember Gadzooks? The backpack was completely clear, and for lack of a better word, plastic. My mom tried to talk me out of it, saying it was poor quality. But I insisted and she gave in. By the third day of school, both straps had broken on the backpack. Score one for Mom.

It was about that time that I started to actually understand what she meant when she insisted on buying quality clothes for me, instead of something cheap and trendy from Wet Seal or 579. I have maintained that mindset on purchasing quality anything, really, not just clothes, since then. I’m not a fan of fast fashion for this reason. I don’t shop at Forever 21 and can rarely muster up the courage to brave the crowds in H&M. Hence the name of this blog: Classically Chic. In my opinion, fast, cheap clothing is anything but classically chic.

The part of this equation that has always messed me up is the quantity part. I want to buy quality merchandise but I get a rush from buying multiple things. (For example, I purchased 3 belts today. Yes, 3. I might have a belt problem.) Anyway, wanting to buy a lot of top-of-the-line, really nice things isn’t always feasible since I don’t have a money tree in the backyard. As I’m getting older, however, I’m realizing that having a full closet doesn’t necessarily mean I have a great wardrobe. I’m truly starting to lean towards having a well-edited closet, with nicer, fewer pieces I can mix and match. I have no doubt getting to that place will be challenging for a couple of reasons: 1) old habits die hard, so I’m going to have to wean myself off of buying a lot of so-so pieces, and 2) I’m lazy and cleaning out my closet again doesn’t sound like fun.

So that’s my “quality vs. quantity” musing that has been running through my head as of late as I start thinking about fall purchases. What side of the argument do you fall on? Or, are you just a well-adjusted shopper who buys what she needs when she needs it? And if so, can you teach me how to be like that?

Seeing Spots Tuesday, Aug 14 2012 

As I mentioned yesterday, I love fall. Fall clothing is by far my favorite and if I lived in a cooler climate, I would dress for fall year-round. Since fall fashions are starting to drop in stores, I thought it would be fun to detail some of the fall trends. Every season is rife with new trends and it’s rare that any one person adopts all the trends. (And frankly, that should stay rare. :)) So I’m going to dedicate a post to each of the fall trends that I’m loving, one by one.

The first trend that I noticed recently, especially in my most recent JCrew catalog, was polka-dots. Polka-dots can look young and frilly, but JCrew is showing them in a fresh way. Their take is definitely classically chic. Here are a few pieces from JCrew that I would consider adding to my fall wardrobe:

This dress is what really caught my eye and made me think: “I need more polka dots in my wardrobe!” I love how it feels ladylike and polished, yet very current.

I’ve been obsessing over tie-neck blouses for sometime now. They give off a very chic, polished, woman-in-charge feel, but with a bit of softness. I think it’s a little reminiscent of the Mad Men-era wardrobe that’s been so hot the last few seasons.

I especially love that this skirt is A-line. The full skirt has definitely taken a back seat in recent years to the tailored pencil skirt. While I love the polish and style of a pencil skirt, it’s not the best fit for everyone. I have a small waist and curvy hips, so I’ve never found a pencil skirt I feel comfortable in. And I’m not interested in accentuating my “junk in the trunk” a la Kim Kardashian.

If the tiny polka-dots still feel a little too prim and proper for you, JCrew also offers an exaggerated style.

Whenever I get around to shopping for fall, I will definitely be trying on some of these items. Hopefully, at least one sticks and I can add some spots to my closet. What do you think of the polka-dot trend?

All images pulled from JCrew.com.

 

Trying (and Failing) to Get Out of My Comfort Zone Monday, Aug 13 2012 

Fall is my favorite time of year, so with fall fashions hitting stores, I have an overwhelming urge to shop. Add that to the fact that I don’t like 50% of what’s in my closet anymore and I feel like my debit card is burning a hole in my wallet. So today I decided to take a lunch break and do some quick shopping. I was indecisive about where I wanted to go and convinced myself that I should go somewhere other than my standby stores (i.e. Banana Republic, Ann Taylor & Ann Taylor Loft, Nordstrom). So I drove to Dillard’s. I’ve had some luck with the Antonio Melani line at Dillard’s in the past and was actually wearing a dress from there today.

Sorry, I know it’s not the best picture – blame my phone. Anyway, I love this dress. It’s flattering and the color is great, so I was hoping to find another gem at Dillard’s today.

I browsed the Antonio Melani section for a bit and went to the dressing room with about 6 or 7 items. And….no luck. It was pretty disappointing. I wasn’t in love with anything I picked up in the first place and nothing fit right. I always try to be honest with myself when shopping and pick up my size. I wish I could say I breeze in and pick up a bunch of size 4′s that fit perfecty, but that’s just not my life. And I’m always working on accepting my body for what it is. So I tried on several dresses and a pair of pants in my size and nothing fit. Mostly they were too big, but not in the “ooooh, I’ve lost weight, I need to go down a size” way. They just weren’t right for my body and just overwhelmed my 5’2″ frame.

So it was a bust and I was disappointed. On the bright side, I guess my bank account is happy.

Although I will certainly continue to frequent my favorite clothing stores, I don’t want this to deter me from getting out of my comfort zone and trying new stores.

What are your favorite places to shop? Do you often deviate and try new stores or do you stick to the tried-and-true that work for you?

To Sparkle or Not to Sparkle? Monday, Aug 6 2012 

I had a conversation with with my best friend this weekend about a sequin top for a night on the town and whether it was age-appropriate. My answer to her was yes. Sequins have always been acceptable at night. Her question formed around the fact that her friends were going to a fun restaurant, but nothing super glitzy and glam. Designers have really improved sequins over the years and made them more subtle and more wearable. My friend was pairing hers with jeans, so my answer was still a yes.

I think an even bigger conundrum with sequins is whether to wear them during the day, specifically at work. First, you have to gauge the actual dress code at your office (actual meaning what people really wear as opposed to what’s written in the formal handbook). If your office environment is uber-conservative or dressier than business casual, I think sequins are a no-go. But if you work in a creative environment or some place that’s more business casual, I think you can pull off the look. I did a quick browse on ShopStyle.com and found some sequin tops that I think are work-appropriate.

I think this last one is probably the most versatile because it’s not covered in sequins and upon a zoom-in, they look more like beads than sparkly, shiny sequins. The key to any of these tops is layering – wear them under a blazer or cardigan so that they don’t scream for attention. Keep your bottom and top layer on the simpler side to tone down the sequins. And keep jewelry to a minimum.

Sequins are a great way to add some pop and texture to your outfit. Plus, when paired well, it’s a subtle way to stand out.

What do you think? Would you dare wear sequins to work?

All images pulled from ShopStyle.com and confirmed on the specific retailer’s website.

 

Can We? Monday, Jul 16 2012 

I read an interesting article today about whether women can “have it all.” It seems to have become a hot topic over the last few years as we strive to move up the ladder, raise a family and still make time for ourselves. I believe that part of the heat fanning the flames of this conversation is that as women, we tend to scrutinize and judge other women’s choices. At the root of it, I think that judging comes from a deep-rooted insecurity that the other woman we are judging is doing something we haven’t achieved. And frankly, I’m not sure that there is a definite answer to whether we can have it all. I think it really depends on each woman’s definition of having it all. I also think there is a natural ebb and flow – there are times in our lives when we feel like we’ve got control of everything and are knocking things out of the park left and right, and there will inevitably be a time where we feel like we’ve dropped all of our balls and have no way to grab them again.

For me, the concept of “having it all” implies perfection, which is impossible to achieve:

  • A happy, healthy marriage (CHECK!)
  • A job that I love that gives me a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment everyday (still not sure what that job is for me or what that feels like)
  • Raising perfectly groomed, healthy kids (this one doesn’t count yet since we have not started procreating yet)
  • A home that is perfectly decorated and could be photographed for a magazine in a heartbeat (yeah, right)
  • Living a completely healthy lifestyle with a perfect body – working out regularly at 5 a.m., never indulging in processed foods and enjoying all treats in moderation (NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN)

I also think that as women, we are our harshest critics, and the negative poison of “comparison to others” is more prevalent than it’s ever been, thanks to social media and the internet. When I have negative days and beat myself up for where I should be in my life, I try to think of what I would want to teach my daughter, should I have one someday. I would want her to believe in herself, be confident and proud and positive. So when I’m having a particularly negative day, I try to make a conscious decision to focus on the great things in my life and be grateful for what I have and who I am. It’s not always easy and sometimes nothing pulls me out of that funk, but it’s important to try.

Today I am grateful that my husband and I and our families have never experienced true poverty. I am proud of myself for making healthy eating a priority for us most of the time. Knowing I would be home later tonight that usual, I cooked tonight’s dinner last night and it was delicious. Plus, I baked some homemade cookies. The sense of accomplishment I felt from planning ahead and spending a few hours in the kitchen yesterday afternoon allowed me to come home from a long day, heat up a yummy dinner and catch up on some tv this evening.

I may never have it all by my definition, but I know I have more than enough.

What are your thoughts on this hot topic? Do you think women can have it all? What’s your definition of having it all?

It’s Time to Shop! Wednesday, Jul 11 2012 

It’s no secret that Nordstrom is my favorite store. Besides carrying great merchandise in a wide and varied price range, the service is unbeatable. Their big anniversary sale starts on July 20, but if you’re a cardholder, you can get early access online or in stores, starting today! I logged on earlier and made some necessary purchases:

Enzo Angiolini “Demario” pump

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I needed new peep-toe black pumps, and I’m hoping these do the trick. I was looking for a 3″ heel with a small platform and I like that the shoe is a brushed leather, not patent. I love a good patent shoe, but my closed-toe black pumps are patent, so I decided I needed to vary it up a bit. Plus, they were on sale for $59.90, down from about $90!

Zella “Booty” pants

I have previously professed my love for these work-out pants and I’m trying to slowly increase my stash so I can get rid of my old, cheap work-out pants. These were on sale for $39.90, down from around $62.

Zella “Pop Statement” tank

My collection of work-out tops is embarrassing – mostly old sorority shirts from college. Since I love the Zella pants, I decided to give this top a try. I like the black and white with just a pop of color and the style would be flattering on anyone. This was on sale for $37.90, down from about $65.

I’m excited for my new purchases to come in! If you’re a Nordstrom cardholder, get online and treat yourself to some discounted goodies. If you’re not a cardholder, pop into your nearest Nordy’s on the 20th and start shopping!

Images from nordstrom.com.

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