Tuesday, June 23, 2015

For the Love of Mules

I am without a doubt the worst shoe lover in the history of shoe lovers. With a best friend who has an affinity for finding the most fabulous shoes (and actually owns them), you would think even some of that sparkle would have rubbed off on me. Alas, no. I am cursed (or blessed?) with an ordinary shoe obsession. 

I covet the floral pumps, the bright coral wedges, and the weirdly shaped chunky heeled shoes. I always tell myself I am going to buy them. But then I see the black or nude version right next to it and end up with that in my closet instead. I have basically the same shoes in slightly varying shades of brown, black, and nude. It's a wonder that I ever stray at all from the norm. 

Now, it should be a shock to learn (or maybe not since I bought a cognac version) that I have fallen in love with the Mule. Yes, that's correct. Mule. I always thought this style of footwear was... frumpy. And definitely not me at all. But upon further inspection (thank you, Target, for inexpensive yet well made footwear) I realized mules are the best! While I did not step out of my safe shoe bubble, it is nice to try different styles once and a while. The mules, though blending in spectacularly with my other cognac shoes, are just wild enough to be noticed. It's a splendid shoe that can make any outfit work worthy and adds that classic twist.  

Get your pair here!

Monday, June 22, 2015

What I Wore: Clara Oswald

You have caught me. I couldn't not add in a Clara Oswald worthy outfit. Though, to be honest, there is probably more than one. Even though it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit at 10 o'clock in the evening I still get a kick out of layering. Wanting the collared look, I pulled a removable collar from one of my tops and safety pinned it around my neck. It's the perfect addition when jewelry isn't wanted. The first look is "teacher" Clara and the bottom look is "time traveler" Clara. The moto jacket makes all the difference. 

Summer may be wonderful, but autumn is better than all the rest. 

Jacket: Forever 21
Sweater: J. Crew Factory
Dress: Forever 21
Shoes: Target
Collar: Kohl's

Similar items:
Moto Jacket: Forever 21
Dress: Modcloth, Modcloth
Sweater: J. Crew Factory
Shoe: Amazon

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Capsule Wardrobe: The Beginning

Alas, the time has arrived to begin my journey into the capsule wardrobe. I'm still a bit nervous. I've pulled my pieces onto a bar that is usually reserved for dresses. The pieces don't even come close to filling the bar as the dresses did. Looking around at what was left behind is quite a chunk and this could prove quite difficult for me. I will, however, push on! 

I have chosen 30 pieces that I thought reflected my life the best. I have decided not to include any kind of accessories. My shoes are generally all the same with slight variations. I'm also not a huge accessory person (generally I let my clothes do the talking), so we will see if I need to get creative. Most of the 30 are tops. There are 13 shirts/blouses, 2 sweaters, 2 cardigans and 1 blazer. I chose 5 dresses that could easily be layered if necessary. As for bottoms I picked out 1 pair of shorts, 4 skirts, and 2 pairs of pants. My selection is mostly based on what I would wear for work, but also includes any off duty looks. 

My goal is to use each piece at least once. The bottoms will be what is used the most, but I hope to create new outfits that might never have existed without this narrowing of choices. While a true capsule wardrobe is not my end game, I hope it will bring to light pieces I don't need or want. I also hope it teaches me to use what I do have instead of buying more. When the time comes that I do need to buy, this challenge should prepare me to choose wisely those pieces that will enhance the rest of my wardrobe. 

Wish me luck! I've already created a new outfit to start off the challenge. Follow me on Instagram (@elledelfine) for daily updates! 

Headband: Target
Oxford shirt: Old Navy
Shorts: J. Crew Factory
Shoes: Payless

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Capsule Wardrobe

Nice and Simple

I first came across the "capsule wardrobe" idea a few years ago. While collecting inspiration from fashion magazines to put in my "Fashionista Files" I stumbled upon an article that with only 15 pieces created nearly 50 or so outfits. Intrigued, I ripped the article from the binding and placed it carefully inside the files. Occasionally I would reference it but only to gawk at how many Forever 21 pieces were used and how many I had seen in my store (I worked at a Forever 21 for a year so it was easy to spot items elsewhere). Eventually it was forgotten. Until now. 

Capsule wardrobes are popping up everywhere. "Organize your closet, organize your life" should be the slogan. The most important part in creating a capsule wardrobe is to have less. Less of everything! The majority seem to claim 35-45 pieces (tops, bottoms, dresses, outwear, and shoes). But other accessories don't necessarily count in those items. When I think of the capsule wardrobe I think of what the guests on What Not Wear had to do. Their entire closet was purged (unless by some miracle they actually owned something decent) and they started over with a smaller, but entirely more interesting and versatile closet. The reason this appeals to people is because it cuts down on the thinking of what to wear in the morning. You only have 15 tops, so how are you going to accessorize to make it different from yesterday? The digging stops and you won't find any unused (wasted) items. 

Against my better judgement (I know my closet is overstuffed and I love it) I am going to try pulling my favorite and best pieces and go through a month without shopping or using any other pieces. By any stretch of the imagination I am in no way a minimalist. However, I do believe this will help get rid of those "maybe, probably not" pieces I'm too afraid to ditch. And I'll become more creative with my outfits (I'm starting to fall into a slump here!). 

This week I will pick my pieces. Starting next Sunday I will embark on this most likely treacherous journey. Stay tuned for updates! Check out Instagram (@elledelfine) for daily posts!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Borrowed from the Boys

The menswear trend has been around for quite some time now. For me (and probably most others), it was Diane Keaton's Annie Hall that brought to life what I could do with pieces borrowed from the men. And every Autumn there is always a beautiful article about how to incorporate some menswear pieces into your daily life in every fashion magazine. But Autumn only comes once a year! Summer is in full swing here in the Midwest and it is sweltering. Menswear doesn't have to be stuffy, it can be breezy and easy! Take it to the office and then out to play on the weekends! The pieces are so versatile you will wonder why you didn't hop on this train earlier. I mean, what is more comfortable than a pair of tailored shorts and an Oxford shirt? 

Ease into the trend. You will most likely already have pieces to work with that you never even considered (and don't forget to consider his pieces)! I started by borrowing pieces from significant others. I would belt an over sized plaid shirt and create a dress. I would steal his henley tops to tuck into a fit-and-flare skirt. A men's Express polo looks great with a corner tucked into a pencil skirt. Eventually I stopped borrowing his items and accrued a few of my own. Oxford shirts in crisp whites and blues started to pop into my closet. Camels and navy blues were becoming abundant. Over sized watches and shiny loafers looked perfect with my more girly pieces. I still borrow items from his side of the closet, but I feel like they enhance instead of make my outfits now. Take away the tie I borrowed and my outfit would steal be considered menswear-inspired. But the tie makes it fun and really brings it home. This is one of the easier trends to try. Have fun and take it easy. It's not supposed to feel too overdone. 

Shirt: Gap
Skirt: J. Crew
Shoes: Modcloth
Tie: Target? 

The Look for Less: Jamie Chung

I think we can call it now, Jamie Chung is a style goddess. You don't have to take my word for it, just check out her Instagram (@jamiejchung) for her fashion updates. Her penchant for cool, breezy outfits is the most perfect inspiration for summer dressing. It is then no surprise that I found her looking effortlessly ace in People StyleWatch's July edition.

There are a number of reasons why I love this look. But here are just a few for you. This outfit is the perfect mix of neutrals. The printed skirt ensures the ensemble is anything but boring. Maybe Jamie is meeting some girlfriends for brunch. Or she could be running errands. Or she could just be out enjoying a beautiful day. This outfit is wonderfully put together for any of these options (and more!).

It has the best mixture of laid back and girly. The cut and length of the jacket and the a-line cut of the skirt and that fun print show off curves. The basic white cotton tee and metallic ballet flats give the look a more approachable and down-to-earth feel. It is the do anything, go anywhere look! 

As I was drooling over the outfit, I realized I basically already had each piece to recreate the look. Coveting an outfit in a magazine or online and then realizing you can model the look is one of the greatest feelings (hello savings!). So, off I went to search through my wardrobe. I debated whether a similar colored cardigan would look better, but the outfit needed the structure only a blazer or jacket could give. I own one white cotton tee (I know, I need more basics) and my trusty, well-worn silver flats finished the outfit. But to complete the look I needed a long silver necklace. As I have gone towards shorter lengths in all my necklaces I thought this part would elude me. Then I remembered I have a T-Rex necklace that would be a charming addition. 

As all these pieces are old, I have found you some items you can purchase now: 
Jacket: H&M
Tee: Target
Skirt: Forever 21, Forever 21
Shoes: Payless, DSW
Necklace: Charming Charlie

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Try This: Muted Pinks

Do your neutrals need a boost? Are you finding your nudes and whites to be lacking? Try adding some muted pink hues into your wardrobe! A muted pink will soften your look while creating a flattering silhouette. Whether you are going for a modern, girly, or preppy look, a light pretty pink will work wonders. The softness of the color will give you a beautiful glow, making it one of the best summer colors. Are you nervous about trying something new? Try new trends in this color - it won't feel as scary or intimidating! So, go ahead and try it! 

From left to right:
Dress: Forever 21
Jacket: H&M
Cross-body bag: Charming Charlie
Pumps: DSW, DSW
Collared Shirt: ASOS
Skirt: Kohl's
Necklace: Forever 21
Shirt Dress: H&M
Belt: ASOS