Monday, January 30, 2012

Wardrobe Essentials: the Sheath Dress

Photos: Katie Derus | Shirt: J.Crew (last seen here) | Dress: LOFT (similar in regular and petite sizing)| Shoes: F21 (similar here) | Necklace: Ann Taylor | Bracelets: Nordstrom, F21, Boutique | Watch: Dior

This schoolgirl-inspired look is brought to you tights-free by the insanely warm weather that continues to make my January days much less dreary and bleak. The tweed shift dress I'm wearing here was a LOFT purchase a year or two ago that has made appearances at a whole host of different places and occasions so far. It has been to work, to church, to cocktail parties, and to dinners out, all while looking totally appropriate for the occasion. A sheath dress is a wardrobe essential in my book, and this one has proven to be especially versatile.

Readers, do you have a workhorse sheath dress in your closet? If so, where did you find it?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Petite Work Attire: Texture in Black and Red

Photos: Katie Derus | Jacket: Ann Taylor (similar on sale here, similar in petite sizing here) | Skirt: Ann Taylor (somewhat similar here) | Shoes:Via Spiga | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (similar here)(Cranberry Morning After Mini last seen here)| Brooch: Boutique (similar here) | Bracelets: Nordstrom, J.Crew, F21, Boutique

When I need to dress conservatively, I like to add a little interest to my ensemble with colorful--but tasteful--shoes and accesories. I also try to mix subtle textures in monochromatic materials to create a look that draws the eye but doesn't stand out too much.

In this outfit, I spiced things up by adding these Via Spiga red snakeskin pumps, a red bag, fun bracelets, and a brooch to my black outfit. In the detail shots, you can also see that the jacket is a tweedy material trimmed with a little ribbed black ribbon, while the skirt has a tonal dot texture that both complements and contrasts with the jacket.

I've had a couple reader questions about my work style, so I was wondering if you all think it might be helpful to have me do a more in-depth post about the ways I spice up my conservative work wardrobe. What do you think, readers?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bright in the Sunlight

Photos: Katie Derus | Jacket: Aeropostale | Cardigan: Express (similar here) | Tee: F21 (last seen here)| Shoes: Charles Jourdan | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Sunglasses: Target | Bracelets: Express, Nordstrom, Tiffany | Watch: Borrowed

I couldn't believe it was warm enough to wear sandals this past weekend. Sandals. In Denver. In January. I was in heaven! There was still a little bit of chill in the air when the wind picked up, but a lightweight jacket took care of that. This is what I love about Denver--the moment I start feeling some winter blues creeping up on me, the weather changes suddenly and gives me a gorgeous spring day in the dead of winter to lift my spirits.

Bright colors have been consistently at the top of my winter love list this year. There's nothing like a jolt of bright pink, yellow, and cobalt blue to breathe some life into the shorter days and frozen nights of mid-winter. Oh, and there's no reason you need a January heat wave to put your brights to work. This look can be made cold-weather-appropriate and totally of-the-moment with some textured tights, some motorcycle boots, a bright scarf, and a leather jacket layered over the cardigan and cargo jacket pictured here.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Snapshots

[Photo 1] Bracelets (from left to right): Tiffany, Nordstrom, Express | Watch: Citizen Eco-Drive | [Photo 2] Cardigans: J.Crew (see previous Jenna's V-Neck Cardigan review), Express, F21 | [Photo 3] Bracelet: Express | Nails: CND Shellac in Asphault | [Photo 4] Shoes: L.A.M.B. | [Photo 5] Shirt: J.Crew | Vest: F21 | Jeans: Wet Seal | Boots: Vintage (last seen here)| Necklace: F21 | Bracelets: Express, Tiffany | Ring: Nordstrom (similar here)

My Instagram obsession continues! I've been heavily into cardigans and accessories lately, as you can see.

A couple things from this batch of photos I highly recommend: my Citizen Eco-Drive watch and Shellac manicures. Both of these greatly simplify my life! My watch is powered by light (any light, be it solar or electric) and never needs a new battery, and my Shellac manicure stays impeccable and chip-free for two weeks or more, so I never worry about my nails looking less-than-perfect.

If you're interested in what I'm currently wishing and shopping for, you can "stalk" me and other fashion bloggers on CurrentlyObssesed. This site lets me and other bloggers make photo wishlists and shopping recommendations for our readers. I've been using it to check out the current obsessions of many of the bloggers on my Reading List. [Disclosure: CurrentlyObsessed is linked with affiliate program RewardStyle.]

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Pretending It's Spring: Red, White, and Blue-Striped Layers

Photos: Katie Derus | Blazer: BR (old, similar here) | Shirt: J.Crew (similar here) | Tee: F21 | Pants: Current/Elliott | Shoes: Aldo (similar here) | Necklace: Anthropologie (old) | Bracelets: Saks, Express, Ann Taylor, F21, Boutique

You might remember my post where I was super excited that Current/Elliott was on Gilt Groupe. Here is the debut (and review!) of what I bought: the Current/Elliot Captain Trouser in red (size 23). I was a little disappointed initially when I put them on as they felt pretty loose. Once I belted and pegged them, though, I decided liked the relaxed fit. I'll probably wear them as is for a while, and if I'm still feeling like the fit isn't right, I'll take them to the tailor or potentially try my luck at shrinking them in the dryer. For the time being, I'm happy to have this pop of color brightening my winter wardrobe and helping me keep believing that spring will come to Colorado soon.

P.S. My forlorn look out the window in these photos was because it was dumping snow right when my lovely photographer, Katie, and I finally made time for some pictures last weekend--Murphy's Law of Photo Shoots, I suppose. At least it made for the first good ski day I've had all season the next morning!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Casual Winter Chic: Black and Tan

Sweater: F21 | Jeans: Wet Seal | Boots: Nine West (old, similar here) | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Sunglasses: Prada | Mittens: Urban Outfitters (on sale!) | Necklace: BR | Bracelets: Nordstrom, Saks, F21, Ann Taylor

It was a chilly and snowy holiday weekend for me. I got to do a lot of relaxing and a little wandering in the woods to take these photos. While I took off my jacket for outfit photos, I was definitely wearing a big, cozy coat whever I was outside. The raspberry-colored Urban Outfitters mittens I'm wearing were also helpful in warding off the chill. Although they appear to be of the typical knitted variety, they actually have a super-soft, warm plush lining that's perfect for freezing temperatures.

Hope all of you are staying warm and cozy today!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chambray and Satin

Photos: Katie Derus | Jacket: H&M (similar here) | Shirt: H&M (similar here) | Skirt: H&M | Shoes: MICHAEL (similar here) | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Sunglasses: Prada | Necklace: Ann Taylor | Bracelets: J.Crew, Nordstrom, Express, Boutique

I recently wore this satin skirt with a leopard-print top for a New Year's party. It works well as a fancy piece, but I like that it can also be dressed down for a not-as-fancy dinner out or for daytime, like I did here with this chambray shirt.

I was going to tout the look of white or off-white pieces, like my jacket, for winter, but when I looked through these photos, I realized my legs were my whitest winter piece. I'm a fan of bare legs whenever possible, but I might consider some tights next time!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Changing Its Spots: Leopard Print as Work Attire

Photos: Katie Derus | Cardigan: LOFT | Dress: Ann Taylor | Tights: F21 | Shoes: Ann Taylor (similar here)(last seen here) | Belt: Urban Outfitters (similar here) | Necklace: Aldo | Bracelets: Express, Nordstrom, Boutique

It has been too cold and snowy outside for outdoor outfit photos lately, so I finally gave in and did some indoor photos. (Look, Ma! No sunglasses!)

Leopard print has become so ubiquitous that even conservative fashion giant Ann Taylor has gotten in on the trend. If you had asked me not too long ago if the words "work-appropriate" would ever describe a garment made from this of-the-moment print, I would have looked at you like you just suggested I wear red patent leather go-go boots to a funeral. I would have missed the mark, though, as animal prints have become totally acceptable as work attire, even in my conservative field. They're especially easy to wear when in more muted colors, like the dress I'm wearing in the photos above. As always, the standard caveat applies: try to stick to one of these pieces per outfit, and make sure it's a color that won't make you look like you're channeling Peg Bundy. (Okay, maybe a teeny bit of Peg Bundy is okay--bright, coral-colored nails are always a "do" in my book.)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday Snapshots

[Photo 1] Cardigan: Express (old, similar here) | Shirt: H&M | Jeans: Wet Seal | Shoes: Aldo (similar here) | [Photo 2] Necklace: F21 | [Photo 3] Shoes: Charles Jourdan | [Photo 4] Bag: Tory Burch | [Photo 5] Coat: Zara | Sunglasses: Prada | Mittens: Target

Just sharing a few photos from the last week from my Instagram feed. Thanks to Jean of Extra Petite for suggesting the pink gingham shirt in Photo 1 and to Ullr (the Norse god of snow) for finally bringing some new snow to the mountains of Colorado!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Night to Day: Petite Fashion Challenge #12

I have been following the Petite Fashion Challenge--a fun styling competition for petite bloggers--for a while now, and I always wanted to participate. Now that I have my own blog, I decided to jump in and be a part of Challenge #12. For my first Petite Fashion Challenge, we were given this prompt by the lovely Khatu: "Restyle a glamorous look that you would typically wear for a night-out-on-the-town into daytime casual wear." Here are my looks, beginning with the "night out" ensemble.

Photos: Katie Derus | [Night] Cardigan: Arden B (old) | Skirt: F21 | Tights: Betsey Johnson (similar here) | Shoes: Nine West | Bag: Rebecca Minkoff | Necklace: Amrita Singh (similar here) | Bracelets: J.Crew, Ann Taylor, Nordstrom | [Day] Sweater: Kimchi Blue | Tank: J.Crew | Shoes: Aldo (similar here) | Sunglasses: Prada | Necklace: DIY (chains: F21, beads: vintage)

I chose to restyle the look I had worn for my birthday dinner with my girlfriends a couple weeks ago: a fun, poufy tulle skirt with a cashmere cardigan tucked in, textured tights, my lace-overlay heels, a dressy statement necklace, and my favorite oversized black patent clutch. For my day look, I opted to keep the skirt and tights since making a fancy tulle skirt daytime-appropriate seemed like a good styling challenge.

To make it work during the day, I took off my dressier cashmere cardigan and put on a roomy, loose-knit sweater over a ribbed tank. This sweater is one of my favorite weekend-wear items, and I thought it toned down the skirt nicely. Sunglasses are a must during the day, so out came my Prada shades. I also swapped my high heels for a pair of flat glitter loafers that maintain the festive feel of the skirt while allowing for easy errand-running. Finally, instead of my pearl bib necklace, I decided on a DIY chain-and-bead necklace I recently made to toughen up the look.

I can't wait to check out the other bloggers' entries! You can find them on Khatu's blog.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Orange Crush: Jenna's V-Neck Cardigan at J.Crew

Photos: Katie Derus| Cardigan: J.Crew | Tank: J.Crew | Skirt: F21 | Shoes: Ann Taylor (similar here) | Belt: Urban Outfitters | Sunglasses: Van Heusen | Necklace: Ann Taylor | Bracelets: J.Crew, Nordstrom, Ann Taylor, F21

I am constantly in search of the perfect fitted cardigan--a piece that can be elusive for petite shoppers. Often I find that sleeves are too long, that the overall length looks matronly or baby-ish, and that there's too much room along the sides, especially in the waist area. Imagine my delight when I tried on this gorgeous, bright orange sweater (Jenna's V-Neck Cardigan) from the J.Crew sale rack a few weeks ago! As I beamed at the sales associate ringing me up, he told me that this fabulous find was going to cost me a mere $18 (plus tax). Needless to say, I was thrilled.

I rushed home to see if I could scoop up a few more colors online, but I was disappointed to see they weren't marked down nearly as much on J.Crew's website. I resisted ordering any more and decided to be content with the orange one I picked up. On my next trip to the mall, I stopped into J.Crew and glanced through the sale items--lo and behold, a few more colors of Jenna's V-Neck Cardigan were on the same great markdown as the orange one had been. I grabbed one in Henna and one in Gray. Love them both, and as of this weekend, I noted that the J.Crew near me had a number of them in stock in small sizes (hint, hint!).