Style & the SAHM: The Quest Continues

two years later . . . .

It’s been almost two years since I wrote Style & the SAHM: A Quest, the beginning of an on-again, off-again series.  I’ve been less enthusiastic about my quest lately (gaining 20 pounds will do that to you).  Still, the quest continues.  Here are some lessons learned from the past fall and winter . . . which, in April, is helpful to no one in my hemisphere . . . you can bookmark this to read come October.  😉

1. If you try on a sweater at TJ Maxx

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and don’t buy it and then find yourself, thinking about it a lot, you should go back and buy it.  You’ll wear it a lot.  Especially, since you’ve been on the lookout for a flattering,  white, non-scratch, cableknit sweater for a long time.

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2. When in doubt, ditch the bootcut jeans and sneakers and go for skinny jeans (or LOFT curvy straight leg jeans) with boots, especially if you have a drapey top.  Also, those red bowling clown shoes were a mistake.

See example A

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vs. Examples B and C

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3. But bootcut jeans aren’t always a bad choice, if your top is more on the fitted side.  And even those red sneakers, well . . .

IMG_7660 IMG_76614. If you have a round face and broad shoulders to begin with, and then gain weight, you’ll wish you had bought more v-neck, drapey tops like this one from T.J. Maxx . . .

IMG_8211 IMG_8227and this one from Express (didn’t buy it but should have):

IMG_7639and fewer fitted crewnecks like these.  The pictures were taken when I bought them a year ago–they’re more snug now 😦

IMG_7579 IMG_76385. If you find yourself at a coffee shop wearing the same sweater as someone else, then later notice that she has taken off the sweater and is now wearing just the shirt underneath, take a good look at yourself, and ask

“Would I want be dressed like me?”

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Lesson learned: beware the siren song of the elastic waist.  When in doubt, wear jeans.  😉

Also, after two years, it was time for another closet purge.  It’s amazing how much piles up, even when I try to be pretty minimalist.

Most of these things I gave away, or am in the process of giving away.  A few I saved for a different season.  A very very few I couldn’t bear to part with and saved in hopes of losing weight.

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Now the extent of my wardrobe is this:

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and this:

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with one box in the closet of out-of-season or too-small things I’m hanging on to.

The battle against frumpiness and clutter takes constant vigilance.

Keep fighting the good fight

{And click over to Jenna’s blog for more five favorites posts.}

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Fall clothes, fat clothes

. . . leggings, parkas, and gosh darn you, LL Bean.

1. Anyone else enjoying the recent posts over at The Mom Edit (fka Ain’t No Mom Jeans), where Shana and her friend Sara tried on clothes at LOFT, Gap, and Target?

I jumped on that bandwagon and ordered the Gap plaid shirtdress (it was on sale).  It fit in with my recent criteria for fall clothes: stuff I can wear over leggings because my jeans felt too tight.

Blip blop bloop.  Super unflattering.

 

Gap plaid shirtdress 2

 

Gap plaid shirtdress 1 Gap plaid shirtdress 3

 

 

2. I also tried Gap’s u-neck marled sweater.  Booooring.  Nothing special.  Blah.  I ordered in a tall, so I could wear it with leggings.  Maybe it would look better in a normal length, but I’m not motivated to try.

gap marled u neck sweater

No thank you.

Gap marled u neck sweater

 

 

3. The one winner from that ordeal was Old Navy’s ponte knit leggings (now sold out in most sizes and colors).  They’re a nice, thick material, closer to pants than to tights.  They’re slightly baggy in the belly area so the wearer is less likely to encounter a, um, dromedary digit situation.  On the downside, they’re starting to pill just a bit after a few wearings.

 

4. I also made a ThredUP order, tried on a bunch of tunic tops and dresses, and kept one.  Then I read the fine print and learned that returns are free only if you order from their mobile app, rather than from their regular website.  $13.39 in return shipping out the window.  Ouch.

Anyway, I kept one dress.  Super boring in the pictures, but it’s fairly flattering and works well leggings.  Plus, only $6 (or $6 +$13.39, depending on how you look at it).

 

5. I also have this tunic, hand-me-down from a stylish friend, to complete my elastic-waisted repository.

style and the sahm

 

 

And in the midst of all this, I lost 3 or 4 pounds, making my jeans bearable again.  So, hooray for options!

This is an interpretive dance showing how much I love these jeans.

 

6. I’m still inclined to choose jackets over cardigans.  But my denim jacket looks dumb with my jeans.  And my navy blazer is a little too dressy for my liking some days.  (Oh, my troubled life.)  So I’m drooling over this jacket:

Women’s Quilted Jacket from Target

The moto jacket trend didn’t thrill me at first, but 3 years in, or however long it’s been, I’m starting to catch the bug.

I also suddenly have this intense desire for a military-inspired parka.  With a fur-trimmed hood, if you please.  This is another trend that I wasn’t into until now that it’s probably over.  But it’s not over enough that the J. Crew ones aren’t still expensive on eBay.  Actually, this is a fairly affordable option:

Sebby Sherpa Hood Parka from Nordstrom Rach

 

But my incredibly blah, shapeless, styleless parka from 6+ years ago just will. not. die.  So I have no good excuse to buy another.

Me in that parka, circa 2008

Me in that parka, circa 2008

Die, LL Bean parka, die!

*Ahem*

What are you wearing these days?

{Linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for 7 quick takes.}

 

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!

My Minimalistic Fall/ Winter Mom Uniform

Don’t get too excited. It’s shockingly similar to last year’s.

— 1 —

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My “inspiration” was this outfit I saw on Pinterest (can’t find the original source):

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To be honest, I usually wear this cardigan with a knit top, because I hate ironing the chambray one, and it’s less comfortable.

— 2 —

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— 3 —

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Old Navy has redeemed itself with this sweater.

— 4 —

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I have a few other cotton tops that I also wear with this cardigan . . .

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Like this (you’ve seen this outfit before).

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Cotton Lands’ End sweater I picked up at a consignment shop recently. Not my favorite ever, but good enough to keep for this season at least.

— 7 —

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This sweater/scarf combo is an old reliable for me. It probably looks better with the wider legged jeans, come to think of it.

I have two pairs of jeans that I wear regularly: Loft curvy straight leg jeans (I grin every time I write this . . . curvy straight . . . hah!) (currently 50% off), and an old pair of Levi bootcut/ trouser leg jeans. I also have two other pairs as backup.

Throughout the Fall, I wore these outfits with the stretchy cotton Lands’ End blazer I wrote about earlier.

I had some trouble getting a good shot of the blazer in action.

But I tried valiantly . . . .

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So that’s it. Three sweaters, three cardigans, a few knit tops, two jeans, two pairs of boots, one pair of Sperry’s (really looking forward to replacing the latter). Pretty much what I wear every single day. I do have a heavier sweater for really cold outings, plus a law school hoodie for those days that just call for a sweatshirt.

It works pretty well for me. The thing no one tells you about minimalism though . . . it gets boooring. Especially when half of your sweaters are from 2009. Here’s hoping for a new year filled with many new sweaters . . . well, two or three anyway.

Polka Dot “It” Sweater, Take Two {WIWS}

Here we are, Palm Sunday.  Before reading this, I hope you’ve read Rosie’s Lenten reflection over at FL&P, gone to Mass, said your prayers, etc., because I’ve got nothing but frivolity for you here.  This is what I wore today:

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I had an “Aha!” moment this week.  I”m sure y’all read the Dressing For Your Body Type series Emily at FL&P did a few weeks ago.  I read it and smiled and nodded my head.  It all makes sense, right?  Well, understanding the theory and putting into practice are two different things.

Earlier this week I was wondering how I could reproduce this outfit:

And then I realized: look how bulky the cardigan is around this lady’s waist!  She practically has rolls!  You don’t notice it at first because she’s a size 0, 18 year-old fashion model, but this sort of thing would not do me any favors.

Hence I went for this look instead:

Ta da!

No Gucci scarf around my bag but oh well.

No Gucci scarf around my bag but oh well.

In other news, I’ll do my usual Meal Plan Monday post and then take a break from blogging the rest of the week.  Have a blessed Holy Week.




					

What I Wore Sunday: The Polka Dot “It” Sweater

So this is what I wore to Mass today:

Someone was good at Mass AND at the grocery store and got some MnMs.  I was good too but only got a bag of dates.

Someone was good at Mass AND at the grocery store and got some MnMs. I was good too but only got a bag of dates!

Someone was good at Mass AND at the grocery store and got some MnMs. I was good too but only got a bag of dates!

The sweater was an impulse buy at Old Navy a few months ago.  Turns out I inadvertently found the “it” sweater of the season, at least in the < $50 range.  This is new for me.  Usually, my impulse buys turn out to be “not it” items.  But, at least according to Pinterest, I lucked out this time:

From hello-gorgeous-blog.blogspot.com

I like the look of a button down underneath it, but it doesn’t work for me.  I probably would need a size up for that to work.

Zooey Deschanel from “New Girl”

And check out the lovely Erika, in her WIWS post for today.  (I promise I didn’t see her post until after I had selected my own outfit!)

Anyway, My Lenten contribution to the blogosphere will be a two-part (possibly three-part) series on cooking Good Enough Fish.  First part is coming tomorrow  here.  Check it out!  Unless of course you know how to cook Really Good Fish, in which case I have nothing to offer you.  😉

For more Sunday finery, check out the link-up at Fine Linen and Purple.  Thanks, Kendra and Emily, for hosting!  Happy Mardi Gras everyone!