Death by Elocution-Inspired

The simplest outfits are often the best outfits. It’s hard to keep this in mind when whatever is trending is the opposite of simple, but when I look back at outfits that I’ve worn and felt really good in, the uncomplicated ones come to mind first.

That being said, Death by Elocution has been a major source of not just style inspiration, but wardrobe editing as of late. Her account is a great reminder that, if the cut is good on you and the fabric is high quality, you don’t need all of the bells and whistles of trend pieces.

Who or what is your style inspiration these days?

In Search of Style: Rediscovering Sources Inspiration

Just when I thought I was over FB for good, I joined the Classy Career Girl network and got involved in their private community page. The questions that my fellow female hustlers have been asking are getting my brain going on topics I love to think about like tips for being a successful woman in business, the challenges of starting a side hustle and work wardrobe inspiration.

Earlier this week, a fellow CCG (Classy Career Girl) asked where other group members go for fashion ideas and it got me thinking, where do go these days? I used to be a huge fan of Blair Eadie’s (if you don’t know Atlantic Pacific, you should) and for awhile I was really into Alexandra Pereira of Lovely Pepa, but in more recent months I’ve been in a real Death by Elocution phase (the looks they post are generally more neutral and minimalist in nature, but it reminds a magpie like myself to keep things simple). If I had to pick a person, I would definitely say Victoria Beckham—even her most casual looks are so well edited (and not impossible to replicate on the average budget).

For as long as I’ve had this blog, fashion has been a major component. I love style as a form of self-expression and I find searching for outfit inspiration to be downright therapeutic. The thing is, when I’m stressed and overworked, I find that that’s the first thing I let slip. I revert to all-black outfits that require little thought (and preferably even less dry cleaning) and provide little-to-no joy in wearing.

Blair Eadie of Atlantic Pacific

I used to spend hours poring over the looks of style bloggers, making notes on what I liked or didn’t like about the way they put things together, but it’s been ages since I truly followed any one person. Many times I just wait to see what Pinterest sends me as a suggestion and go down the rabbit hole from there.

Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that these bloggers I once loved had just gotten so extra, that all of their looks were like this one to the right (I love Blair’s style, but this ensemble makes her look like she’s going to play croquet in the early 1900s). I told myself that it was a waste of time to follow them because the looks they were posting were full of designer items that I couldn’t afford and didn’t have time to shop for knock-offs.

Now I see that the issue wasn’t the bloggers, it was me. I was in a place where spending my free time on fashion seemed frivolous and selfish. The thing is, it’s not, it’s actually something that really brings me joy.

Now I’m getting back to a place where I am once again indulging in my love of fashion. I am once again finding inspiration in the outfits that bloggers (old favorites and new ones) post.

I’m also taking the time to read the outfit credits. It turns out that Blair is indeed wearing items from previous seasons and that many of the new items were absolutely from brands I could afford like Zara, J. Crew, and Topshop (don’t I feel sheepish).

That being said, I’ll leave you with the very first look I ever pinned from Atlantic Pacific. Now I’m off in search of inspiration once again…

Vintage 2012 Blair Eadie

The first Atlantic-Pacific look I ever Pinned

 

 

Stilettos and Sweatpants

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V has the best taste, don’t you think?

I’ve been trying something new around the apartment. It started on Christmas morning when V gave me the most beautiful shoes – a pair of Valentino Garavani Rockstud Noir pumps, that I had never seen before, to be exact. While I used to spend all of my time pinning pairs of sexy shoes and studded attire, the majority of my boards these days are focused on interior decorating, career tips, and – when it comes to attire – work clothes and relaxed weekend wear. Leave it to V to discover them and deliver them under our Christmas tree when I least expect it.

The minute I opened the box I put them on. Since we had just woken up, I was relaxing in sweatpants. I wanted to share the shoes with my friend Steph, who I knew would appreciate my new footwear finery, and V helped me set the stage complete with “Naughty” box. I wore them around the apartment until it was time to leave for V’s parents’ house.

A few days later – after a week off from work spent mostly in sweats, jeans, and slouchy sweaters and tees – I was going through my clothes for my seasonal trip to the consignment shop when I came across the box for my Alexander McQueen booties. I slipped off my slipper socks and slipped on my stilettos and proceeded to wear them around the apartment for the rest of the morning – and it felt good. I stood straighter and there was a pep in my step (much to the chagrin of our downstairs neighbor, I’m sure). I walked out of the bedroom and V smiled and said, “so this is your new thing, stilettos and sweatpants?” And so I decided, yes, this will be my new thing.

Because getting dressed doesn’t have to about who is going to see you, it’s an outward reflection of how you want to feel. And I’ve got a closet full of shoes that are begging to make me feel fabulous. Cue the Kinky Boots soundtrack…

#stilettosandsweatpants

 

Making Monochrome Work for Me

Petite ladies like myself can really benefit from dressing in one color from head to toe.  When I initially purchased these Banana Republic pants I figured I’d style them à la Katharine Hepburn and pair them with a classic white button down. After trying them on I realized that the waist is far lower than the kind ol’ Kath wore and wearing them that way would elongate my waist and make me look boxy.

Then I remembered that I had this slim-fit, fine-rib wool turtleneck which is also from Banana Republic (albeit about 15 years ago – seriously, I’ve had it since High School). When I put them on together I had one of those fantastic a-ha/new favorite outfit moments. I’ve been trying to get back to a simpler style of dressing and this just felt so right.

The pants are nicely lined and a really great weight, so they are perfect for winter work wear in NYC. While I normally wear a 2P in Banana Republic pants, I needed to go a size up in these. The charcoal is sold out in petite, but some standard sizes are still available here or you can buy the petite in brown instead here.

What are your favorite winter wardrobe items and looks? Leave them in the comments.

Some prettier poses…

 

And then the outtakes

 

Date Night: Dinner and a Movie

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Waistcoat: Zara Muscle Tee: Madewell Pants: Gap Belt: Nanette Lepore

Bag: See by Chloe Sandals: Naturalizer Glasses: Chanel

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Last night V and I had a classic date night: dinner and a movie. It was beautiful out, high 70’s and sunny all day, so I took the opportunity to go sleeveless. I wanted to be comfortable enough for the movies, but dressed nicely enough for dinner. Plus, I’ve been dying to wear this waistcoat and I really like how it looks paired with the muscle tee.

For dinner we tried out a new restaurant in Malverne, Uva Rossa. The space is adorable, the regular menu is delicious, and the specials were excellent. We shared Stracciatella and prosciutto as an appetizer and then V had gnocchi in a meat sauce finished with a layer of mozzarella for a main course and I had Branzino with a bruschetta topping — both were perfectly prepared. V also had a delicious glass of sangria while I had a glass of sauvignon blanc. While we both passed on dessert (gotta leave room for popcorn at the movies), I did have a cup of coffee and our waitress (who was awesome the whole time) even brought me some freshly baked biscotti to dip in it. We will definitely be back.

After dinner we walked to a nearby theater that plays mostly independent films to see The Skeleton Twins. While we were both impressed with the performances (particularly Bill Hader, Ty Burrell, and Luke Wilson) we thought that the film could’ve been tightened up and the back story with the father could’ve been clarified to strengthen the plot on the whole. There are some really funny and beautiful moments though, so ultimately I’d say that it’s worth seeing.
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Outfit Post: Adventures in Conservative Crop Topping

Crop tops have been all the rage for awhile now and, while my first instinct was to groan at the thought of exposed, dangling belly-rings (sorry, my last mental image of this type of top is from the 90’s), my second thought was that this could really work in my favor. You see, at 5’1″ I am petite. When paired with high-waisted pants and skirts, a crop top can really add length to my little frame. And so I began to experiment…

Here I am in Montauk back in June. V and I went out late Friday night and stayed at a fabulous little place called Hartman’s Briney Breezes. The room and grounds were immaculate, the view was spectacular (an unobstructed view of the ocean, which was just across the street, no complaints here), and the location was great. While Montauk has gotten a bit more scene-y in the past few years, it still has a reputation for being laid-back, so I figured this was the perfect place to try out this trend.

Outfit #1 Lunch at Navy Beach
It was a bit chilly so I actually layered a Ralph Lauren Supply Company “Boyfriend” button-down over this look (not pictured). The outfit was super comfortable and I almost didn’t want to change for our evening out (almost). Crop top: River Island Maxi Skirt: MINT Shades: Ralph Lauren Sandals (not clearly pictured): Nine West

Outfit #2 Dinner at Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s Dock and out (The Harbor Raw Bar & Lounge, The Electric Eel at Ruschmeyer’s*, and The Surf Lodge)
I’ve never been one for dressing scantily-clad on my birthday (did I mention that that’s what this staycation was for?). Instead I usually opt for light-weight tunics or feminine separates. This year I decided to mix it up and go for a look that could probably be best described as Jenna Lyons-inspired (I dunno, you can see it, if you have something more clever feel free to leave it in the comments). I love every single item that went into this outfit and I was beyond comfortable. Every outfit should feel like this. The only bummer is that you can’t see how adorable this crop top truly is in this photo since I layered my favorite drape-y cardigan over it. Oh well, I’ll just have to wear it again… Tank: Nordstrom Pants: Banana Republic Petites Cardigan: All Saints Kicks: Converse Crossbody Bag: Tory Burch Specs: Chanel

*Fun fact: Ruschmeyer’s is an old summer camp that was turned into a hotel with cabin-inspired guestrooms.

Verdict: I “heart” crop tops.

Outfit Post: Shopping in NYC

There are some big doin’s in my life right now which require some serious apparel purchases. My mom and I went into Manhattan to look for a certain white dress and I wanted to be comfortable, but look put-together at the same time. This is the outfit I came up with and as soon as the weather is crisp again it’s going to be one of my favorites:

Flats are my new obsession – I can’t believe it myself.

Blazer: Zara (it’s navy with black leather trim, kind of hard to tell from the selfies) Sweater: J. Crew Tank: Vince Pants: J. Crew Flats: Chanel Scarf: Burberry Phone case: Kate Spade

Outfit Post: NOLA Night Out

Have you ever bought an item thinking, “I’ll wear this all the time!” and then it sits in your closet?  My cousin, Chelsea, and I were shopping at Bergdorf Goodman a few months back when I spotted this sparkly stunner on sale in the 5F section. Back in the college days this would’ve fallen into the “Going Out Tops” category and 21 year-old me decided that I had to have this fabulous Elizabeth and James top.

It’s called the “Maggie” top, but I prefer Magpie – so shiny!

Unfortunately, 31 year old me does not have quite as many opportunities to sport such an item (I mean, I could wear it on a random Wednesday, but the sequins might get stuck to my couch). When V and I decided to visit friends in New Orleans for New Year’s and I knew I’d finally get to bust this bad boy out.

I kept it simple with jeans and my favorite Guccis and the amazing Gucci Soho Leather Disco bag that V bought me for Christmas (lucky girl, right?). I’m also wearing these super-fun Elizabeth Cole Mohawk earrings that I’d scored from a Gilt sale awhile back, but the new layered hair makes them difficult to see (womp, womp). Maybe now that I broke the seal on this top I’ll be more adventurous with the styling.

Top: Elizabeth and James Jeans: American Eagle Heels: Gucci [Not pictured] Bag: Gucci Earrings: Elizabeth Cole

Outfit Post: Feeling ’50’s

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>The weather pretty much everywhere has been crazy lately so when I woke up to see that temps would be in the 80’s last Friday I decided to bust out a skirt. This skirt actually almost went out with the consignment items because I can never decided what to wear it with (I have a seriously problem with wanting things to match), but V encouraged me to hang onto it. 

One of my steadfast rules is: when in doubt, go with a plain white tee. The shoes and necklace are how this outfit really came together for me (back to that compulsion to coordinate) and now I kind of love it. Well played, V, well played.

Here’s the outfit breakdown:

T-shirt: Theory – I own far too many white t-shirts and yet I feel like I never have enough. I’d never thought of wearing this one tucked in before because it has a high-low hem and button details along either side in the back, but it’s suddenly much more versatile in my mind.

Skirt: Club Monaco – This skirt is almost a decade old. I bought it when I got my first job out of college thinking that it was a great “business casual” piece and I totally planned on wearing it with a very structured “shell” with a portrait neckline from Ann Taylor LOFT. My how things change…

Necklace: Old Navy – Up until a few months ago I didn’t even realize that Old Navy sold jewelry. Then my sister’s friend Melissa showed up to a family function wearing a pretty peach statement necklace and I knew my jewelry armoire was destined to get much more crowded.

Belt:
Anthropologie – To be honest, this skirt is too big in the waist. If I take the belt off it drops to my hips and looks kind of terrible (very Oz, behind the curtain info here, I know). While this belt does not match as well as I would like it too (who knew this matching thing was so crippling), I think it certainly goes. Just, please, don’t tell me that I can “pull it off”/”get away” with it because that drives me nuts.

Shoes: Cole Haan – I have always loved the look of an oxford, but the last time I remember them being in I was wearing bowling shirts and very pronounced pinstripes (Junior High fashion in the 90’s, what can I say?). Needless to say, I am a much bigger fan of the current interpretation. Wearing these oxfords with a circle skirt or pleated cropped pants (yes, pleated, I have narrow hips, it’s allowed) makes me feel like a young Hayley Mills.

Outfit Post: Vampire Weekend

Friday night we went to see Vampire Weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We had a delicious dinner at Flatbush Farm and then headed over (way too early, we got there before the first of two opening acts went on) to the venue.

The Barclays Center is a nice enough venue (cleanest bathrooms I’ve ever seen), but I found all of the concessions to be extremely overpriced ($9.50 for a domestic draft? That better be super-sized), so I suggest you do the majority of your eating and drinking before you get there.

Vampire Weekend was clearly stoked to be there, but the effects on the new album didn’t sound great on the sound system (any base whatsoever was crazy muffled like you blew a speaker in your ’98 Honda Civic) and the stage was set like Scarface meets a Tommy Bahama ad (faux-marble columns, an over-sized mirror and a loud floral backdrop). Thankfully they placed “Diane Young” early in their set which made me very happy (if you haven’t heard this infectious tune yet you can check out the delightfully bizarre music video here).

Here’s the outfit breakdown:

Dress: Wyatt –  Bought this dress on Bluefly because it struck me as something Debbie Harry would wear. It has long sleeves, but it’s lightweight so it’s perfect for when you’re in between seasons.

Belt: Linea Pele – This belt is a consignment shop find. My What Not to Wear education has taught me that a waist-cinching belt is essential in any wardrobe, so when I saw this one I scooped it right up.

Bag: Pietro Alessandro – This bag is from an online flash-sale (ideeli if I’m not mistaken). This bag is great not only because it’s metallic and therefor versatile, but because it can also be a shoulder bag or a clutch or a cross-body. Foley & Corinna originated this style, but any incarnation you can get of it is a worthwhile investment.

Vest: J. Crew –  I have never been big on the jean jacket or the jean skirt; they were always items I bought because I thought you should have them, but this vest is just so fun and 80’s and versatile that I had to have it. It adds just the right amount of warmth and I know I’ll be wearing it year round.

Shoes: Cole Haan – Flat boots just feel so right in Brooklyn. This was the first time that I wore these boots; as per the salesgirl from the Cole Haan outlet I sprayed the sh*t out of these boots with leather protector and they came out of the concert unscathed.

Scarf: H&M – Chilly weather makes me happy because I love soup and cozy accessories and there are few accessories that I love as much as the scarf. H&M offers a great selection in a variety of colors and textures for about $12. Scarves keep you warm and complete your look; get used to seeing a lot of them here at KimboNotKimmy.