Spring is here. For women, that means endless options, but for guys, it pretty much just means switching out jeans and button downs for shorts and tees. If you're still rocking the same t-shirt from middle school that's, let's say, well loved, with a few holes here and there, it's probably time for an upgrade. Ditto for the pair of boat shoes you've worn every summer for the last few years. Trust me, your girl will notice if you give your closet a quick refresh.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. Clean out your closet of any and all clothes you don't wear. That polo your mom got you three Christmases ago? If it's still got the tags on, throw it in a pile to consign. No tags, off-brand? Toss it. Consignment stores usually look for certain labels. Round up all the maybe-I'll-wear-it-one-day, the two-sizes-too-small, the dad-bought-me-golf-shirts-even-though-I-don't-golf, and any other options lying around that you never wear, and toss or choose to consign them all. Clear them out of your closet so you can see what you need.
TRY IT ON. If it's too tight, falling off, ripe with holes or has pit stains, toss it. Unless you wear PJs to work or wear it to work out, nothing you wear in public should have pit stains or holes. Your favorite cargo shorts with ripped off edges? Time to go. You're an adult, and unfortunately, that means you've got to look the part.
GRAB A GIRL. Best friend, sister, mom or girlfriend; bring a female opinion. They can help you find things you might not pick out for yourself, plus they can tell you "hell no" to those cargo shorts I know you'd like to pick up (yeah, I see you rolling your eyes at me). Give them the low-down on what you're looking for ahead of time and set a time limit to help keep your shopping trip short and sweet. Trust me, it's much more enjoyable if you know it has an expiration.
MAKE A LIST AND LOOK AT EXAMPLES. If you need some inspiration, turn to Pinterest (or give me a call). Before you hit the stores, you need a clear idea of what you want to get. Make a list of the things now missing from your nice, clean closet. Think multi-season: shorts, lightweight pants, jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, sweaters and light jackets. Layering those options can take you from spring through fall, and pretty much all you'll need to buy for winter is a pair of boots, a few heavier sweaters and a nice jacket. Look up styles on Pinterest (might sound silly now but you'll thank me when you're standing in the store with a better idea of what works for your body type and what you like) and see what kinds of outfits you like and could rock. Be sure to pay attention to fit and cut, looking at things like what celebrities with similar body types wear. Got an athletic lower half? Take a look at people like Zac Efron, Tom Hardy, and Channing Tatum. Tall and slim? Tom Hiddleston, Adam Levine, Adrien Brody and Andrew Garfield might be more your speed. All over buff? Check out what the Hemsworth brothers wear on their days off. And if all else fails, you can't go wrong embodying the Ryans - Reynolds or Gosling.
HIT THE SHOPS. You've got your list of needs, celebrity style-mate, gal pal and credit card - you're ready to go. Find a place that will have multiple of your needs. Outlet malls with multiple shops clustered in one place are a good bet, but stores like Banana Republic, Gap, and Kohls also have large selections. Try finding whole outfits so you can envision how you'd wear each piece, instead of looking at them separately. Having trouble putting the puzzle together? Ask your gal for help. Fail safe options for every season include dark, slim cut jeans (they don't have to be skinny, but the new "straight slim" cut offered in most stores will flatter and elongate your legs without giving you the look of wearing your girlfriend's jeans), casual pants (these are amazingly comfortable), colored tees (I love a good v-neck, & JCrew does a fail-safe version), sneaker-style shoes (these from Kohl's are super versatile), and lightweight jackets (like this) and sweaters (like this and this - wear it open with a v-neck for a more casual vibe). For shorts, Banana Republic & JCrew Factory stores have some awesome options.
PUT IT ALL TOGETHER. When you get home with all your new swag, lay it all out on the bed. Put together outfits (or have your girl do it) and take pictures if you're afraid you won't be able to mentally match them up later. Realizing how many options you have, and the different combinations you can make will help you actually wear all those new clothes instead of leaving them in your closet with the tags on, a la Mom's last Christmas gift.
Ladies, keep a hand on your man, because he's going to be the talk of the town!
Spring is officially here! The clocks have sprung forward, the days are getting longer, the weather down here in Greenville has been beautiful. As we start breaking out our spring clothes, I started to think about the essentials. You know, those clothes that stay in your closet regardless of how many purge sessions you go through to thin it out. For me, only a handful of clothes survive that purge. Rarely the same things twice. Except for these few. So if you're looking to build up your wardrobe with timeless pieces for spring, here's a guide to the essentials.
White jeans are the ultimate spring staple. They're fresh, they're bright, but they're still keep your legs warm on those breezy spring days. Wear them with flats, wedges, heels, Converse... you can't go wrong in white jeans. And for anyone still holding onto the old "no white before Memorial Day" rule, I'm calling BS. It's time to let go of the past and embrace white jeans, because they're here to stay!
A good maxi dress is irreplaceable in your closet. You can throw a jean jacket over it for a chilly morning, wear it as is for casual Friday, or pair it with wedges for a night on the town. Dressed up or down, a maxi dress will become your new favorite staple. Heads up though. I would go for two different lengths in order to wear wedges or flats. For me, heels add anywhere from 4-5 inches, so I need a much longer dress for a night out or a wedding than I do for casual, day-to-day wear. Look for maxis that brush the toes of your shoes when you're wearing your heels. If the dress pools on the ground when you wear flats, it's probably too long on you.
Flare jeans are the ultimate in versatile clothing. You can pair them with literally anything and it looks hip and fashionable. Cute graphic tee? Plain tee? Silk top? All guaranteed to look adorable. Throw on these jeans with your favorite wedges and a fringe vest for a hippie feel, or skip the fringe and grab a blazer for a more polished look. Either way, chic, easy, and comfortable. Plus, for us short girls, they elongate our legs when paired with heels. I'd call that a win!
Now that spring is here, it's time to show off those legs (make sure you shave first)! All winter our legs have been neglected, hiding under our long pants. Post-shave, exfoliate and rub some lotion on your stems, then show 'em off baby! Keep one or two flirty dresses in your closet for those days when you need an extra push to feel sexy. Rock your dress with heels, wedges, sandals or sneakers, depending on the day. You can go super sweet, or edgy by throwing on your leather jacket on cooler nights. Whatever the occasion, a good go-to flirty dress is sure to make you feel your best!
A Trusty Jacket
Whether you lean toward leather or jean, bright and colorful or dark and reserved, every girl needs a good, reliable jacket for spring. Throw it over your shoulder for a day at the ball park, pack it in your bag as you head out to the winery, slip it on as the sun goes down. Spring is known for unreliable temperatures, so a jacket you love is extra important. Of course, if you want more than one, I'm not going to stop you! But make sure you pick out a jacket you love and wear it in, so you're ready to take it everywhere.
Did I leave anything out? Let me know in the comments!
Shopping as a young professional is tough. It seems like so many stores have two ends of the spectrum, teen and matron, and nothing in between. Even the ones that do (think Gap, Old Navy, Loft) mean braving the mall, lines, and almost certain traffic. Let's face it. You just can't do the mall on your lunch break.
So we turn to our trusty friend, the internet. A world of clothes, all at our fingertips. But where do you start? Do you go traditional (again, Gap, Old Navy, Loft)? Do you go edgy (Express, H&M, Urban Outfitters)? Or do you go off the beaten path and try a boutique?
Let me tell you. There are TONS of options for online boutiques. Some have niches, but most are a compilation of all the cute clothes you see on everyone else, the one that makes that girl you'd love to hate look like she spent an hour getting ready, even though she claims she rolled out of bed and threw on the first thing she saw.
So I'm here to guide you through the treacherous terrain of online shopping. Here are a few of my favorite boutiques &what you can expect. Happy shopping!
Red Dress Boutique
Red Dress Boutique is one of my favorite go-to's. They have a mix of southern staples and on-trend looks, including rompers, dresses, skirts and more. They also have super cute shoes, scarves, hats and accessories. Lately, they've been rocking a hippie, seventies theme that I'm really into; flare jeans, crop tops and off-the-shoulder everything. Fit is pretty true to size. They have free shipping for orders $50 or more, and free returns within 7 days. The best part for those of you in Greenville? Their warehouse is in Atlanta, so stuff comes super quickly!
The Mint Julep Boutique
More Southern than anything else, The Mint Julep Boutique will help you wear your Southern belle-ness on your sleeve. Literally. They've got tons of cute dresses, tops and sweaters for every season. I particularly love their selection of maxi dresses in the summer. Check out their shoe selection too, which usually boasts some pretty killer wedges for summer. I'm not as big of a fan of their boots, but then, I'm pretty picky about my winter footwear. Fit runs slightly large, so definitely double check their conversion charts for sizing. With their special perks, you get $10 off your first order, and they have free shipping for orders of $100 or more.
Although they have brick-and-mortar retail stores, sometimes shopping online offers a larger variety, since not all stores get the same stock and often they don't get restock. Plus, free shipping to all brick-and-mortar locations is a huge bonus. It's like buying in-store, but without leaving your couch. I'm especially partial to their jewelry, which is always funky and different (unless all your friends shop at the same store, then you might all end up with the same necklace). They've got an awesome "planet necklace" that goes with literally everything - it can take jeans and a tee from laid back to fun night out. They get a mix of stuff I'd wear in a heartbeat and stuff I'd never wear in a million years, but they're always a solid choice if you're not quite sure what you're looking for. Clothes fit true to size, with the exception of bottoms, which run small. Like I said before, they ship free to their stores, so if there's one near you (Greenville ladies, Augusta St right by the Panera), definitely worth it.
Spool No.72 is a recent find of mine. They specialize in vintage-y clothes with a boho-chic emphasis. Right now, they have some really awesome sales on winter clothes, meaning cheap sweaters, hats and boots. The vintage feel is a reflection of Spool's humble beginnings - a local farmer's market where the Spool girls would sell their hand-made clothing, vintage boots and jewelry designs. I've only just bought my first item from them, but it's already on the list of boutiques to check when I need something new. Shipping takes a little longer since Spool No.72 is based in Washington state, but so far I've been very happy. They offer free shipping on orders $150 or more and returns or exchanges within the first 30 days, although no free shipping on returns. Definitely a boutique worth keeping your eye on!
Okay, I know this is technically not a "boutique," in that they specialize in shoes and bags, with clothes as almost an afterthought. But if you need cute shoes for cheap, this is the place to go. Plus, their clothes have gotten increasingly cute (although I have yet to buy anything) and their bags are sturdy, well-made and right on trend. If you join the VIP club, you'll be charged $39.95 a month unless you choose to buy something within the first 5 days of the month. There's always the option to skip a month (an option I exercise regularly), or a credit will show up in your account. This is where I get almost all of my shoes. They're comfortable, cute, and hold up well. I've gotten sandals, wedges and boots and been happy with everything! Shoes run a little small, but you can't beat the price. Shipping is quick, usually mine arrive within 2-3 days after ordering. If you're a shoe fanatic, or just need a new pair of shoes and don't want to pay department store prices, this is the place for you.
Shoot the Moon LA
I'd be remiss if I left this little boutique off the list. Run entirely online, Shoot the Moon LA carries closet staples along with trendy pieces like rompers, maxis and joggers. But my favorite part is their jewelry of the month club - the owner, Carrie, handpicks three pieces of jewelry each month for you. You can pay by the month or purchase a block of months at once. Their jewelry is super-cute, on trend and sure to make any outfit. They also sell customizable necklaces and bracelets which make for super-cute wedding presents (new initials, anyone?), graduation presents, birthday presents and just because presents. Right now, they're in the midst of clearing out inventory, so tops are $9. Can't beat that! Clothes fit true to size. Shipping is a flat $4.95 fee anywhere in the US, and they offer free shipping on orders $75 or more.
Did I miss any? Let me know your favorites in the comments.
I've done it. I've finally found the world's. best. jeans.
And the best part? They're not designer and they're not expensive. That's right. They're from Gap.
Now, if you're anything like me, trying to find jeans that fit is something akin to sticking sharp needles in your eyes - hell on Earth. If they fit in the thighs, they're too big in the waist, leaving a nice gap so you can show everyone your thong-of-the-day. But if they fit in the waist, they're too small in the thighs, sucking in your legs until they feel like sausages. Or maybe they fit in the waist and the thighs (miracle of miracles), but then they're 6 inches too long (or too short, pick your poison).
Enter the 1969 Resolution pull-on seamed legging jeans. They've got an elastic waistband instead of a button and zipper, so you avoid the awful puckering of jeans that are too big or too small. It also keeps your pants from gapping in the back. They come in regular, tall and petite so no matter how short or tall you are, they've got a size for you. I was skeptical of pants called "leggings" at first - they're usually not so forgiving to those of us with athletic thighs. But magically, these somehow seem to slim my thighs rather than magnify them. So of course, I bought them in 3 colors. What's a girl to do?
Try them yourself and let me know what you think. They've become my go-to pants for the season!
Now that I'm back from my Thanksgiving cruise to Cozumel, I'm settling happily into the season of chunky sweaters, steaming mugs of cider and tea, and crackling fires. After the rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (or Cyber Week) sales, I've noticed a few trends that I'm really loving for this colder weather!
1. Flare Jeans are BACK!
If you're like me, and have, let's call them, athletic, thighs, then you can join me in my ecstasy! I love a good flare jean because it slims your upper leg, and for shorties like myself, gives us a long, lean look when worn with heels. I've been pairing mine with heels and a poncho for work, the perfect combination of chic and comfy. Other ways to wear them include belted with a button down, snuggled into a sweater with a flannel shirt peeking out and plenty of jewelry, or cozied up in a blanket scarf that's belted over a button down or oversized shirt.
2. Blanket scarves
If you didn't hop on this train last season, get on now and be prepared to never get off. It's literally like wearing your most comfortable blanket around with you all the time. Order an infinity version and snuggle into it's soft, blankety goodness, or stick with the traditional version that also serves as a cape, shawl, actual blanket and infinitely more possibilities. Personally, I prefer a nice blanket scarf to a jacket since I can wear it in a more traditional style during the day and then pull it over my shoulders as it gets cold. Plus, then I don't have to worry about finding a place for my jacket when I'm walking around from inside to out!
3. Muted colored denim
A couple years ago, it was all about bright red denim. Then it was about patterns. Finally, this year it's something I can get behind - muted colored denim. With a short, athletic body type, I'm supremely aware of how my legs look. But I'm loving the color this season, and especially the pull-on legging jeans from Gap! (For more, see my post on the World's Best Jeans)
What's your favorite trend this winter? Share in the comments!
"You can never be over-dressed or under-educated" Oscar Wilde