Tuesday, August 30, 2011

back to school

back to school

I apologize for the lack of posting lately, but as most of you already know, it is back to school time!  When I'm working in my classroom it's hard to find a good mix of fashionable yet functional.  Between the warm/humid climate of a classroom and still keeping it professional, I've been raiding my closet for some "oldie's but goodies."  It's here where I rediscovered my denim pencil skirt.  I seem to always forget about this versatile piece. Not too stuffy, yet polished enough to dress up a casual outfit...so that's just what I did!

Paired with a spunky pink striped top, turquoise belt, and nude t-strap sandals this outfit is definitely work-worthy!  I added the brown chain link necklace to add a tougher texture against the silky top. Don't forget my special favorites, librarian glasses, ...so appropriate *hehe*.  I also like the idea of pairing different shades of blue with denim, like with the belt in this outfit.  All rules are off in fashion lately, so I figure, why not!

Closet Tip:
A denim pencil skirt is a great item to have, especially for work.  It's an easy way to wear denim to work and still uphold a professional vibe.  You could dress it up with a blouse, tucked in of course, sweater, or blazer and heels or dress it down with a t-shirt and a scarf and sandals.  Either way, it's an item that should definitely be a part of your work wardrobe for all seasons!

(I found mine at J.Crew, but I know that Gap, Nordstrom, Ralph Lauren shops (Macy's), Victoria's Secret, LOFT, Anthropologie, and Old Navy all carry them.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Not Your Everyday "Mom" Outfit

I'm already laughing at the title of this post; it's inspired by one of my friends who made me promise not to wear my Bermuda shorts in public because she calls them "total MOM shorts!" HA. I did it anyway, in true Courtney fashion! I absolutely love the purple of these shorts- kind of a vibrant eggplant, for lack of a better color name- and since I LOVE to mix color, I decided to do it up.

I paired the J.Crew chino shorts (which are on sale right now!) with an airy pink top from Zara, tucked it in in the front to show off the neon belt. As an after thought I added the sweatshirt-like sweater to fight off the chill this morning. I topped it all off with a purple ring, some enamel bangles and a pair of gold flip flops.

Not a typical "mom" outfit, if you ask me! Bermudas do not need to be reserved for the golf course or playground; they can be treated just like a pair of pants or skirt with any outfit!

Closet tip:
When adding jewelry, you can always choose a color that picks up on one in your outfit already. Takes the guess work out of accessorizing!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

End of Summer Style Slump... (aka Mixing Prints)

This time of year is always met with some hesitation by me.  For one, because it means returning to the everyday routine of working (I do LOVE my summers off!), and also because I've already worn most of my cute and creative summer outfits; frankly, I am running out of options.  Not that I don't have enough to wear, because I certainly do (as my full closet and lack of space for my husband's duds will attest to), I'm just kinda in an end-of-summer-style-slump!  I've worn the bright colors and mixed them together, I've tried the maxi as many ways as possible, the nautical look is fun... for awhile, I can only wear my black skinny pants or skinny jeans with so many flowy tops.  I've even dipped into some wide-leg jean bohemian styles...what's left?  Well, I decided I had put off the new trend "mixing prints" for long enough.  Today was the day I would forge this new path.  Actually, I found out that mixing prints is not that bad if done right.  Here's what I came up with and a few other ideas to hopefully inspire you to look again in your own closet and try out something new... to get you through the end of summer, too, of course!

I paired my new Zara striped top with my J.Crew leopard print scarf.
They both have the same tones of black and neutral beiges so I decided to give them a try together!

c/o Anthropologie Issue Seven 2011
This look uses a polka dot top to accent the floral skirt.  

c/o Anthropologie Issue 08 2011
This look is a tricky one! Three patterns in one outfit...hmm.  Not sure if I could pull this off, but an inspiration photo, nonetheless!  I definitely like their use of green stripes with the printed jacket; and pairing green with purple is always a good mix.  I guess it could be done!

c/o shopbop.com

This look may seem complicated, but I have found that pairing a striped shirt with another print is the easiest way to make this trend work.  Make sure to stick to the same color palette with simple extras and you're good to go!
c/o Anthropologie Issue 08 2011
Another polka dot top with a printed skirt.  It seems like they used the green in both prints to tie it together.  Very eye-catching!
c/o J's Everyday Fashion Blog
Yet another striped shirt mixed with a print!  I immediately noticed how she used the pinks in both pieces to tie it all together.
c/o instyle.com
Another look that uses a striped shirt...I see a pattern!

Apparently, all you need is a striped shirt or a polka dot print! After fervent searching for other examples, almost every one I came up with involved a striped top with a printed bottom or some sort of polka dots.  Now go grab that top of yours, find a bottom that has the same color tones and pair them together!  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Living Out of a Suitcase

Sorry I have no recent closet fixes to share!  I haven't been around to get in anyone's closets lately. I was hoping to carve out time when we were in Vancouver to get into Marianna's closet, but that never happened.  Guess that's life when you have 3 kids and another family staying with you!

Needless to say, I did have to live out of a suitcase packed for two that whole week.  Packing for a trip like that took a lot of thought...and strategic planning.  I had no idea what to expect, weather-wise, and really didn't know our itinerary other than maybe a dinner out and some sightseeing.  With this in mind, I tried to stick to separates that I knew would interchange with each other to create new outfits along the way.  I tended to stick with a nautical/safari theme...lots of stripes and jungle greens.  The bottoms were the most important part.  I went with a pair of skinny jeans, a cargo skirt, turquoise chino shorts, black skinnies, a long black maxi skirt, leggings, and a black maxi dress.  For the tops, I mixed in button downs, t-shirts, tank tops, 3/4 sleeve tops, two cardigans, a cargo jacket, and a shawl collar terry "sweatshirt".  I only had room for a couple of shoes; running shoes, gold t-strap flip flops, hot pink flip flops, and gold sperry topsiders.  I made sure to bring two scarves (leopard and bright pink) and a ton of jewelry to play up any outfit.

All in all, I felt confident in what I wore and loved that I had choices...no laundry necessary!

Plane Ride Attire

The leopard print scarf that I found at J.Crew.  I also wore it on the plane.  So versatile!

Leggings and my dressy "sweatshirt" for our morning walk.

I love my maxi dress with my denim shirt.  So easy and comfortable.

Not the best picture, but I love the color combination of turquoise and navy.

One of my favorite outfits. Nautical themed with fun accents: fuschia belt, strandes of pearls, and gold sperrys.

Good thing I brought those yoga pants and a t-shirt for our mountain climb!

Still smiling after the climb, and managed to clean it up for Whistler.

Closet Tip:
When packing, pick your bottoms first. Center the rest of your outfits around them to save from over-packing items you won't wear.  I used to tend to pack around a central color, such as black or brown, but now that anything goes, I look for a few bright accent pieces that will go with anything instead.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Fall Favorites for Any Closet...including mine!

Fall Favorites

My husband and daughter and I are vacationing in Vancouver this week and the crisp, cool air has me longing for some fresh new finds for fall.  Here are the items that I am coveting to add to my closet and what I am imagining them with...

I LOVE this new shade of red that is popping up everywhere...in pants, shirts, and especially outerwear. What an easy way to make a statement in a standout shade that pairs with almost everything.

A silk shirt with a mandarin collar...in any color.  In this deep purple hue it would make a black pencil skirt or jeans the perfect backdrop.  I would love to pair this top with the red pants above to do some colorblocking.  And pair it with the nude heels I have below? Hot!

A bow blouse.  In a solid or print, channel the 70's vibe with a pair of high-waisted flare jeans and platforms.

Platform loafers. They are everywhere!  I like the nude hue only because it is a perfect neutral to pair with any outfit, but any shade would work!

I am in love with this shade of bright purple/pink...I've heard it's called "Dahlia".  Whatever the name, this standout shade can make an outfit.  I am thinking these pants with a navy striped boatneck (thank you Atlantic-Pacific.blogspot.com for that idea!) or just a plain black turtleneck.

I just bought this!  I love the way a leopard print scarf pulls an outfit together. Anything leopard print, for that matter, is on my list of fall must-haves.  A belt.  A scarf.  A headband. A shoe. You name it, it will complete your outfit for you!

Per my earlier post, a leather jacket.  The quintessential cold weather cool coat.  Now worn with everything from cocktail dresses to jeans.  It's an easy way to take a cool outfit and give it a tough girl spin.
These are the items on my fall must-have list.  After all the trends came down the runway, these are the ones I think will best complement my closet and have the most staying power.  I'm sticking to it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Short and Sweet & To Be Continued...

Today Kennedy and I went over to Kelly's to hang out with her boys and attempt to tackle her closet.  I knew going in, that my friend Kelly has a lot of clothes.  I consider her to be way "trendier" than I am, to which she stopped me and said, " Really? No way!  I always think you are!"  After laughing about how we both get inspiration from each other, it was time to step into her closet.  Oh my lord! Does that girl have a closet! (Complete with a washer AND dryer inside...jealous, anyone?!)  Between the plethora of shoes lining the top shelves and the racks of dresses, shirts, pants, skirts, and more, I knew this was going to take a while!  Of course, as life would have it, the kids, however, were not so excited about our diverted attention.  We didn't get as much done as we hoped, but I was still able to put together a few outfits for a quick post of her closet. In other words, this post will have to be a sneak peak for what will come next time when there are babysitters and lots more time! 

The first outfit I put together was with this great printed maxi dress that Kel had bought from Forever 21.  I wanted to make it a comfortable outfit that she could wear to school in the fall. (Kelly is also a first grade teacher)
To do this, I paired the dress with a green chunky sweater (I added a color to give the look a little kick and some contrast), a wide brown belt, her brown flat boots, and a pendant necklace to show off the vneck.

Here is the outfit in action!
The lighting wasn't as good as I hoped and our time was extremely limited, but still a cute one we both thought!
I found another maxi!  Kelly had a loose fitting lacey top that she said she barely wears anymore.  I fixed that and paired it over the maxi dress.  Another outfit to transition into fall.

The belt I paired with this dress is so cool!  It's made of colorful beads woven together and is one big stretchy loop.
I loved the concept and so I used a plain black cowlneck dress as a backdrop for the belt and threw in a red necklace to play with the neckline.
This was a quick throw together.  As we were cleaning out and sorting through things I found this ribbed white tank dress that she wanted to give away.  At the same time, I stumbled upon this Forever 21 strappy number that desperately needed something underneath it to make it wearable.  Voila!  Throw the two together and she can finally cut the tags off of that dress!
 Another dress with the tags attached...they won't be there for long anymore!  I paired the olive shirt dress with a brown belt, stacked heel boots and a beaded necklace.  Perfect teaching outfit for this Fall.

Kelly pulled out this leather skirt for me to find a way to wear it.  This was the last outfit we had time for.  By now all 3 kids were practically screaming for our attention!
I found a great pink ruffled dress from Target (some of you may remember when they had this), tucked it in to the skirt, a chunky throw to keep it interesting, and a chain necklace that used to be a belt!
I forgot to include these shoes with the above outfit, but couldn't leave them out!
They are from the Vera Wang label for Kohl's and are absolutely awesome!  Plus, they're on sale right now for less than $50...if you're in the market for nude heels like I am, go try them on!

Kelly had a great idea for storing her necklaces.
She uses her husband's tie rack for all her chunky chains...what a smart idea!

All in all, considering the limited time we had and the amount of constant distractions, I think it went okay!  Kelly definitely has some new outfits to go with, and a cleaner closet...well, at least the areas I got to!  Be sure to stay tuned for the next episode!