Old Navy Spring 2014 In Review

Plus a bit o’ Lands’ End and Athleta.

Girl 1 and I made a trip to Old Navy not long ago.  Here are some highlights.

The fit and flare jersey dress (first spotted on Ain’t No Mom Jeans):

Old Navy fit and flare dress

I think this will be my go-to summer day dress (the kind I was hoping to find at Boden).  Unfortunately, it is not very forgiving of the cortisol baby I’m carrying around in my midsection.  (The picture doesn’t show it, b/c I’m sucking in my gut with all my might. )  So I went up a size (XL), and found it more flattering in the midsection but too big in the top and armholes.

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So, I bought the XL and plan to have it taken in up top.  It’s counterintuitive to bother getting alterations on a cheap, Old Navy dress.  But I wouldn’t think twice about getting alterations for a pricey special occasion dress I’d only wear once, so why not drop $20 on something I probably will wear dozens of times?  That’s my thinking.

The black and white is cute, also, but washes me out, I think.

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This dress on the other hand:

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Hospital gown chic.  No thanks!

 These cotton sweaters are similar to the polka-dotted one I got from Old Navy over a year ago, which I’ve worn and worn and worn again.  So I have high hopes.  I went with the anchor print.

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I ordered a tall just for kicks, and wow, it’s tall.  Never mind.

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This sweater was blah and not flattering.  (Surprise!  It’s even blah and unflattering on the model.)

Old Navy v neck cable knit sweater, women's

A silky, drapey top paired with skinny jeans is a good look, generally, I think.  But I just wasn’t feeling it with this top:

Old Navy women's printed crepe top

This top is pretty.  I might have gotten it in white, but the back is very sheer (“slub knit” is always the tip-off, isn’t it?).

Old navy lace front slub knit top

I ordered this skirt online and I love it.  The stretchy panel on top is flattering.  The fabric is very lightweight, so I wouldn’t wear it without a slip or a shaper.  Still, it doesn’t cling the way I was expecting it to.  I might get wild and crazy and order it in a color other than dark blue.  That’s right; I just might!  (I also tried this similar skirt from Lands’ End, and the ON skirt won out.)

Old Navy fold over jersey knit skirt

Girl 1 found a dress she likes.  She’s worn it almost every day, usually along with this cardigan (unbuttoned and tied in front, ’cause that’s the way we roll).  I wouldn’t mind a bit more material up top on the dress.  She’d prefer wearing a strapless ball gown to preschool.  This is an acceptable compromise.

Old Navy girls' floral print maxi sun dress

Real quick, I love this cardigan from Lands’ End.  I had looked for something similar in cut to my old pink cardigan that I’m wearing to shreds.  I ordered the cardigan in a M.  It’s held up in the wash so far, ‘though I’ve laid it flat to dry.

Lands End womens cable knit v neck cardigan

I also am loving my puffer vest.  I’m tempted to buy more colors.  (You’re a minimalist, Laura, remember?  You’re a minimalist.  Come on.)  But, it’s back up to $35 after being on sale for under $20.  So maybe I’m not as tempted.

Lands End core down puffer vest

Aaaaand, I think this will be my skort for the summer (in a Tall).  The ones I wore last summer were just a bit too flowy for my tastes.  I’m hoping to recoup some $$ on eBay.

Okay, I hope you were edified . . .  or something . . . by all that.  Thanks for reading!

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Boden Spring 2014 Review

And other retail therapy hits and misses . . . .

It’s a funny thing, online shopping.  You see the picture of the model, and it gets you all optimistic.

Casual Weekend Dress

Then you try it on and try to convince yourself that you look at least like a more-fit version of yourself:

Boden casual weekend dress

Boden casual weekend dress

But then you look reality squarely in the face:

Boden casual weekend dress

Bleh.

Again, fantasy:

Reality:

Boden jersey dress

Boden jersey dress

Fantasy:

Amelie dress

Reality:

Boden Amelie dress 2014

Cut it out Laura

size 10 UK

This is turning into one of those I-hate-my-body rants, and that’s really not what I mean to do.

I guess my points here are (a) online shopping is a tricky mind game and (b) it’s best done with free shipping and returns and (c) none of these dresses was really flattering to me.

By the way, the dresses were all US size 10 Long, which matched my measurements on Boden’s size chart, so they run pretty true to size.

Fortunately, there are lots of polka-dotted shirts in the world (currently $15 at Ann Taylor, only size M left; I got a L.):

 

And stripes (Boden’s short sleeve Breton; with my wide shoulders I found this top most comfortable in a US 12, tho according to the size chart I’m a [perfect?] 10):

 

Because I clearly needed more dots and stripes:

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And I think I’ll catch the tail end of the puffer vest trend, before it’s gone.  Lands’ End has down vests for $20 — $15 right now, with a promo code that ends 2/26/14.  

Lands End Core Down Vest

As the number of my long-sleeved shirts recently has expanded from 2 to 6, I think I feel my late winter/ early spring uniform taking shape.

But for now I need to get out of my pajamas.  😉

How about you?  Any retail therapy hits or misses?

Battle of the Blazers (and Cardigans) {7QT}


— 1 —

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been on the lookout for a navy blazer for this year’s fall/winter momiform.  I have a navy corduroy blazer that I turned to often last year.  I would grab it and go whenever I needed to throw on a jacket, just like I would have worn a windbreaker in years past.

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^^ The poor picture quality above disguises the fact that . . .

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^^ it is faded and just looks . . . sloppy.

 I bought it second-hand for $12 and wore it a lot so I feel ready to trade up.

Requirements:

  • Navy blue (my new, go-to neutral)
  • Stretchy enough to avoid rips when I wrangle the kids
  • Gold buttons

So here’s how it went:

— 2 —

Up until taking photos for this post, I thought this blazer was the one:

Banana Republic Faux Double-Breasted Blazer       (no longer available)

I bought it in a Tall and ordered a size up, because I thought I wanted an oversized “boyfriend” fit.  (I’ve been smitten with the idea ever since I saw how Mary could turn an everyday outfit into a date night outfit just by throwing on her blazer here.)

I don’t know if it’s the double row of buttons or my broad shoulders or what, but I don’t think this works for me.

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although it did pass the stretch and reach test:

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and the karate chop test:

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— 3 —

Another blazer I tried is this one from Forever 21 (or “Love 21;” is there a difference?):

Nautical Button Blazer from Forever 21

It’s not terrible but not great either:

Nautical Button Blazer from Forever 21

Nautical Button Blazer from Forever 21

and its 2% spandex content is not enough to pass my flexibility  standards.

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— 4 —

I like this Anne Klein blazer from Lord & Taylor:

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but it also doesn’t pass the stretch test, and is best for those with this type of lifestyle:

and anyway it’s no longer available so who cares.

— 5 —

The winner is this knit number from Lands’ End:

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It’s hard to see here (it was dark out by this point in our photo shoot), but it’s the same one that Erika has here.

No gold buttons.  Boo!  But maybe I’ll sew some on?

Aaaand it’s no longer available.  I bought it on super-duper clearance.  But these are similar and Lands’ End is running a 30% off promotion through August 26:

— 6 —

I’m procrastinating on more important priorities as I write this, so I put together a little collection of other blazers that seem to have mom-friendly stretch potential (click on the image to go to the Polyvore page with links to each item):

Potentially mom-friendly blazers

Potentially mom-friendly blazers

— 7 —

Finally, I found a cardigan I really like: the American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan (not to be confused with the “Lightweight Boyfriend Cardigan,” which I don’t like so much).

American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan

American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan

American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan

American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan

American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan

American Eagle Solid Boyfriend Cardigan

Tee hee, the names of those cardigans gave me this visual like:

“Solid boyfriend”

“Lightweight boyfriend”

Heh heh . . . ahem.

Anyway, American Eagle is running a 40% + free shipping promotion through Labor Day, so I thought I’d share.

Have a good weekend! Thank you, Jen at Conversion Diary, for hosting today’s link up!

Summer mom uniform with skort

Wow!  Just published this without realizing it.  Sneaky Polyvore.  But I’ll let it stay.  This is pretty much how my summer mom uniform has shaped up.  I am loving my skort from Athleta.  More later . . .
Summer mom uniform with skort

Lands End evening top
landsend.com

Mossimo top
target.com

Loft top
loft.com

Wherever Skort
athleta.gap.com

Boden
bodenusa.com

Birkenstock shoes
nordstrom.com

Chain jewelry
target.com

Nina earrings
zappos.com

Gold disc necklace
target.com

H m scarve
$7.82 – hm.com

Wherever Skort | Athleta
athleta.gap.com

What I Wore Sunday (Not Enough)

Here’s what I wore to Mass today:

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Shoes and shirt from Lands’ End.  Skirt is thrifted *nannynannybooboo*

Girl 1 brushed my skirt up somewhere in the course of getting her sweater off and on and off and then on again, and . . . I’m pretty sure the folks behind us got a glimpse of What Panties I Wore Sunday (no pictures, you’re welcome).   I had intended to put on a certain undergarment that would have prevented my exposure being quite so . . . complete . . . but I forget in our rush to get out the door.  Clearly some of the time I spent making up my face would have been better spent, uh, elsewhere.

But anyway, I was thrilled when I found this skirt at Goodwill because I could use it to imitate this look,  which I found on Pinterest a while ago:

and also this:

Thanks to the ladies at Fine Linen and Purple for hosting the WIWS link up!

 

What I Wore Sunday: Polyester Is Underrated

Happy Sunday to you all!

After a tiring series of weeks, topped off by a minor kitchen fire this past Wednesday, Pat and I had a lovely one-night getaway at a B&B last night.  My generous, loving in-laws took care of the girls.

I wish I got a better shot of the mountains, but here I am in front of them, in my Mass garb (this dress is an old favorite; no wrinkles ever):

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Shoes are from Lands’ End (40% sale going on now).

And here’s the cool, historic inn where we had brunch (plus a husband-thumb photobomb):

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Here’s a charming farmhouse we passed by on the way.  Check out the cliff to the side and the river behind.  My iPhone photography doesn’t do it justice, but I had to try:

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Thanks to all of you who participated in my pantyhose poll last week.  I’m glad I discovered the poll app; it’s just too much fun.  Out of 46 votes,

  • 21 (46%) said that flesh-toned pantyhose are occasional necessary evils.
  • 19 (42%) said they are totally fine.  (The 3  people who voted “other” (13%) seemed to be in the “totally fine” camp, so I’m including them in here.)  Two of the “other” responders pointed out that Princess Kate wears them regularly, which I was happy to be reminded about.
  • The smallest group, 6 (13%) said they are never a good idea.

Whew!  I’m sure y’all are glad to have that issue decisively settled, as I am. 😉

Thanks to Mandi at Messy Wife, Blessed Life for guest-hosting today, and congrats to Emily of Fine Linen and Purple on her wedding yesterday! And because this post is about weekend happenings, I’m joining Mary at Atelier for her weekend diaries link up.

Style & the SAHM: Spring/Summer Uniform, Part 2

Last week’s post on my online shopping wins and losses was well received, so I’m doing another this week.

First, here’s an outfit that I’ve worn several times over the past few weeks:

Variation 2 (top from J Crew Factory)

Variation 1 (top from J Crew Factory)

Variation 1 (top from Lands' End)

Variation 2 (top from Lands’ End) (mirror smudges from Girls 1 & 2)

(Blatantly copying the lovely Erika; who wouldn’t? )

I am LOVING my leopard scarf, which I found for cheap at Walmart.  (Woot!)

I’ll do another outfit post as soon as I can . . . .  My photographer, you see: he has his faults . . . but over enthusiasm isn’t one of them.

Yeah, you.

Yeah, you.

And my selfies in the mirror are awful.

Does iPhone’s camera have a self-timer?  Can I get a tripod for it?  These are all things I need to look into.

Anyhoo, here are some winners and losers:

Definite a winner.  Very comfy, perfect length, perfect rise.

I got them in Eucalyptus (a grayish blue).  Very pricey, but Boden was running a 20%, free shipping, free returns deal.  They are 98% cotton, 2% spandex.  The tag says not to put them in the dryer, to which I say, “Pfft.”  If they shrink up, I want my money back.

I ordered the same shorts in terracotta, but they are still backordered.  Good thing too: in the meantime I found some Tommy Hilfiger shorts in almost the same color (the same as this pair, I think) for $4.  They are big and need to be taken in, but still, that’s only $14 for a nice pair of shorts.

For only $10 (or less with the current 20% off promotion), you could buy these from J.C. Penney:

I tried them and they’re cute.   The rise is not too high, not too low.  However, the tie is sewn on in front, so you can’t use other belts.  Also, I’m not crazy about the patch pockets, so they’re going back.  (Note that they run a little smaller than Boden.)

I am keeping this basic pencil skirt from JC Penney, modeled here by moi:

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I’m moving from black to navy as my go-to neutral, plus my black pencil skirt is showing signs of age, so I was in the market for a basic navy blue skirt.

I am returning this one from Boden:

Boden Everyday Mini (order in long if you want it, well   . . . longer)

I ordered it in a Long length, which makes it hit right at the top of the knee for me.  It’s lovely and would be versatile if you wear skirts for casual wear.  I’d rather have a skirt I can dress up more, though, so I’m sticking with the non-denim variety.

Here are a few more lovelies that are going back:

J Crew Factory Flutter Pocket Skirt.  You don’t need a pink skirt, Laura.  Put down the pink skirt and back away slowly.

Boden printed cardigan.  Scratchy + I don’t need it + really friggin’ expensive = what was I thinking?

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Oh how I love, love this beautiful cardigan but I just. don’t. need it.

You see, we only have one tree in our back yard:

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And we can’t even get it to grow peaches, much less money.

I’ll write later, in more detail, on how I’ve dealt with this depressing topic.

For now here are fun striped outfits I found on Pinterest:

Can’t find the original source.

And some vintage summerwear for good measure (check out the terracotta shorts on the left!):

Life Magazine, 1950, via Yeh Yeh Grace

Style & the SAHM: Spring/Summer Uniform, Part 1

**Update: Some of these images are no longer showing up.  I will try to fix this ASAP.**

 

Warm weather is finally (finally!) here.  Like Lisa, I’ve tried to put some thought into the clothing I buy this summer, so I don’t run to the nearest store (LOFT) in desperation, on 50% off day (like I did last year) and buy everything in sight (resulting in about 50% duds).

A few weeks ago, the only warm weather clothes I had that (a) fit and (b) were not detestable were these:

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Five shirts, one pair of shorts, one pair of crops.  And even this includes a recent purchase.  AND three of the shirts are on their last leg.

That’s all.

Here are some outfits I like that I found on Pinterest:

via.                                                         But as soon as it’s warm enough for shorts, it’s too hot for a scarf and sweater. So sad.

via

Forget the shorts, I want that tank! (But apparently it’s no longer available.) 😦

Clearly, my most pressing issue is . . .  just how often can I wear striped shirts before it gets ridiculous?  Can I alternate stripes with polka dots and make that my uniform???

I’m still not sure.

But I’ve been online shopping like a mad woman.

And this is just a small small fraction of it.

And this is just a small small fraction of it.

I’ve only had 1 winner for every 9 or so losers.  Such is one’s lot who lives far far away  from decent shopping.   Thankfully I have free return shipping for most orders.  Here are some winners from my online shopping extravaganza so far:

The shoes: Lands’ End Espadrilles.                                          They also come in polka dot!

Plus a rare thrift store win:

Similar. Dockers via Goodwill.

Pat said, “I like those shorts.”  Really?  Boring navy blue shorts??  Maybe because they are a size-that-shall-not-be-mentioned and I don’t look like a stuffed sausage in them.

Anyway, some losers so far:

Boden pretty ruffle tee.   The dark pink color is lovely. Neckline is just right BUT runs small. I’ll try it a size up.

Boden stitch detail top. Lovely, perfect neckline, lovely fit. BUT 100% high-maintenance viscose. Never mind.

Boden pocket Breton. (I bought it in Navy.) The placing of the top stripe makes *ahem* the girls look droopy.

Lands’ End cropped chinos. Either these run small or . . . (duh duh DUHN) I’m a size bigger than I think I am.  But anyway, the rise is a little high.

  • Shorts/crops in neutral colors 
  • Tank tops (preferably polka dotted!)
  • Skinny belts (I’m thinking leopard and bright pink)
  • Comfy, every day sandals

By the way, you should always check retailmenot.com before ordering anything online, to make sure you’re getting all the available discount codes!

What about you?  Do you have a warm weather uniform put together yet?

Style and the Stay-at-Home Mom: Building the Uniform, Part 2

Before I go further with this series (you can read the first two posts here and here), I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the man who is my inspiration, both in fashion and in life: my husband. Patrick has perfected the art of the fool-proof everyday uniform, as shown in his fall/winter work wardrobe:

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Sweater: Lands’ End (no longer available in Tall)
Jeans: Old Navy
Shoes: New Balance

Same style, same color, different sweater

Same style, same color, different sweater

Same style sweater, different color

Same style sweater, different color

3 sweaters, 2 looks.

But don’t worry, sometimes he cuts loose and does something a little different:

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(Clearly, I’m fortunate to have a husband who doesn’t take himself too seriously and sometimes lets me have fun at his expense.)

So back to my fall/winter uniform:

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My current line-up includes both new and old purchases. I must admit, I’ve been buying things here and there before doing a complete closet clean-out and reassessment. But it worked out okay (with they exception of a few flubs, described below).

For example, this outfit has a Gap Outlet cardigan from 2009. I pair it with a new, striped tee (a (rare) Old Navy clearance rack purchase of recent months) and a skinny belt.

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This next outfit has another cardigan from the same Gap Outlet shopping trip of 2009. I pair it with a floral tank I bought from Lands’ End last summer (no longer available).

Until recently I wouldn’t think of combining a print with argyle, but I like how they go together (also seen with a polka dot skirt one recent Sunday):

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One of these days I’ll clean that mirror.

Here’s yet another sweater from that same fateful Gap Outlet trip of 2009. I pair it with a scarf I found at a yard sale.

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But with jeans.

One of my favorite recent purchases is this sweater (which I wore in this What I Wore Sunday post):

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I’m trying to accessorize more when I go out, but I’m not quite sure what to do with this one. This necklace (discussed in this post) would be good in a different color, but I see red + green and think Christmas tree:

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These earrings look the part, I think, but, I dunno, would you wear them to story time at the library? (And would you trust your toddler not to rip through your earlobes with them?)

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So I’m on the lookout for a scarf or necklace to wear with the polka-dot sweater.

Next in my current line-up, I have a cable knit white cotton sweater:

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This, however, is next in line for the give-away pile. You see, I bought this sweater at a consignment store recently. I wish I had Mary with me because I ignored the fact that it didn’t fit quiiiiiiiite right.

I just love the look of a white cable knit sweater. So crisp.

So Brideshead:

Alright, maybe fictional, effeminate Oxford boys of the 1930s are not the best fashion inspiration. But Kate is!

But mine just doesn’t fit exactly right. And one thing I’ve learned is that fit is everything. If you don’t have fit, you don’t have style. My white sweater would be better a bit longer and preferably a little fitted at the waist. And maybe a v-neck would be better?

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Not quite the right fit.

Also it could use some accessorizing. Since becoming a Color Me Beautiful aficionado, I’m convinced that white and black wash me out and it’s better to wear color near my face.

I thought perhaps a collared shirt underneath would work, like this:

But no.

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Sarah Vickers I am not.

I have a hard time with collared shirts under sweaters. I don’t know what it is.

I also tried it with scarf, but nope. Maybe I’ll try tying the scarf a different way, or a different scarf.

Maybe if I'll try tying the scarf differently.

Maybe if I’ll try tying the scarf differently.

So, a better-fitting white sweater is also on my look-for list. In the mean time, I still wear the sweater because . . . well, I still kind of like it. My new rule for buying clothes, whether at a thrift store or elsewhere, is to buy something only if I’m 100% satisfied. In a world of unlimited wants and limited resources, though, my rule for keeping things once I’ve already purchased them is maybe . . . 75% satisfaction. 😉

I learned a few things just as I was taking pictures for this post. For example, I have worn this combination a few times. But after taking a picture I mended my ways. Meh.

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Belting it didn’t help much:

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I bought the striped shirt from a thrift store a few months ago (duh duh DUN), and it has now received what most of my thrift store purchases have received (i.e. the boot). The cardigan was a Target purchase and, like most things I’ve bought there, it hasn’t kept its shape. For some reason, though, it looks okay with the chambray shirt, so I’m keeping it around for a while longer.

But with jeans.

But with jeans.

Sometimes I wear the chambray shirt (another recent Old Navy clearance find) on its own with this scarf:

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I also have a heavy wool sweater for very cold days, like this past Thanksgiving:

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Just recently, when I should have known better, I bought a $9 striped, dolman sleeve top from what is truly the dregs of the retail market: Ross . . . in the junior’s department {hanging head in shame}. I don’t have a great picture, but you get the idea here:

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When I bought it, I didn’t notice the tag saying “HAND WASH ONLY.” Right, like that’s gonna happen. I machine washed it in cold water, hung it to dry, and it didn’t fit as well afterward. Now, a couple more cold-water washes and drip-dries later, it’s pilling, it has threads coming off, and it’s lost even more shape. $9 down the drain.

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Well, there you have it: my everyday uniform for the colder months.

Except that I haven’t discussed, you know, the entire lower half of each outfit. That is a post in itself, (make that two posts or three) for next time . . . .

What I Wore Sunday (and Saturday), The Scarlet and the Black

This is what I wore to Mass this morning:

Coat: Esprit (do they even exist anymore?)Dress: LOFT (thrifted)Boots: Naturalizer

Coat: Esprit (do they even exist anymore?)
Dress: LOFT (thrifted)
Boots: Naturalizer

I’m trying out the pigeon-toed stance that so many people seem to use.  I don’t get it.

I was excited to see Jen Fulwiler’s article in the National Catholic Register of this past Wednesday.  She writes about how putting on Sunday best helps her be in the right mindset.  She gave a shout-out to the What I Wore Sunday link-up, which is pretty exciting.  Yay to Kendra and Emily of Fine Linen & Purple for coming up with such a great idea! (Jen’s link explains why my blog had so many hits that day.  I knew even my mom couldn’t be reading and re-reading my posts that often.  😉

Jennifer’s article made me think that maybe I haven’t been selecting my Mass outfits so well.  For instance, I really like the way this outfit looks, but it is not well-suited for attending Mass with young children.  My blouse kept coming untucked (even though I’m not nursing anymore), the belt kept sliding around, etc.  It wasn’t immodest, and I don’t know that my fidgeting with clothes distracted anyone else, but it distracted me.

So, today I kept it simple with a dress that is comfy yet looks nice and always feels appropriate.  Even then, it tends to slide down a bit in the front.  *Sigh* Sometimes  I envy men and how simple getting dressed is for them.

On a happier note, Pat and I went out with friends last night for dinner and a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was the first time we had had a real night out in a long time, and I’m very grateful to my in-laws for taking the girls for the late afternoon and evening.  They even brought them back to our house to put them to bed.  Both of Pat’s parents were snoozing on our couch when we came back around 1:00 am.  Very sweet.

This is what I wore out:

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Dress from Lands’ End

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Jacket (at least 6.5 years old!) from Old Navy

It was fun to be able to wear a necklace again!

Girl 1 opened the first door of our Advent calendar today (gift from my mom and day), and Pat is getting down our Advent wreath and Christmas decorations from the attic now.  Girl 1 is soooo excited that Christmas is coming, even though she doesn’t understand it all yet.  Enjoy your first Sunday of Advent everyone!

For more Sunday finery, check out the link-up at Fine Linen and Purple.  Thanks as always to Kendra and Emily for hosting the fun!