Tag Archives: style me challenge

winter/holiday style me challenge: week two

The Winter/Holiday Style Me Challenge continues even though I don’t have a lot to show for it this week. I’m currently on day two of a terrible cold that’s keeping me home from work and not providing me with enough energy for anything other than laying on the couch trying not to curse every time I have to swallow. Fun times.

winterday3

scarf / target; poncho and jeans / old navy maternity; booties / nordstrom; tee / borrowed maternity

The blanket scarf. In theory I love it, in reality it’s frustrating. This one at least as it’s not quite wide enough for how long it is. I tried tying it in the morning and later in the day I made an infinity scarf out if it by tying opposite corners. I love the pattern, but it just doesn’t seem to lay very well.

winterday4

sweater / gap; plaid shirt / old navy maternity; black pants / gap maternity; necklace / stella and dot; flats / nordstrom

This is one of those outfits that looked cuter in my head than it did when I actually put it on. But I’m constantly running so late these days there’s no time for outfit changes. I really wish Stella & Dot had not discontinued this necklace. It’s one of my favorites because it goes with everything and is nice and delicate when you just need a little something.

winterday5

scarf / nordstrom; sweater / old navy; jeans / old navy maternity; top / gap maternity; boots / dsw; necklace / s&d

This outfit was so cozy for a day of traveling up to Canada and hanging out with the husband. I’m not usually impressed with Old Navy quality (but the prices are hard to beat for my temporary wardrobe); this sweater though is incredibly thick and warm.

winterday8

scarf and booties / nordstrom; vest / destination maternity; top / old

Super simple and super comfortable Monday outfit. I’m torn on the scarf though. As you can see in the picture from Nordstrom, it lays nice and flat. On me if feels a little wild and unruly. Someone at work also asked if it was made of dead cat.

We were in Canada for days 6 and 7 and being out of my normal routine I forgot to take pictures. And yesterday, day 9, I wore yoga pants and didn’t get off the couch much.

As I do every challenge, I’m joining up with several of the other ladies to share out outfits on Wednesdays. It’s one of my favorite parts of the challenge. If you’re blogging about your outfits and want to share, link up on Alison or Carrie’s blogs – or both!

winter/holiday style me challenge: week one

The Winter/Holiday Style Me Challenge started this week and I’m excited to be joined by several ladies I know. My mom, my MIL, my BIL’s girlfriend and her mom are all joining in. It’s fun to see people you know in real life on the Facebook page every morning.

I bought a few things for the Winter/Holiday challenge. I needed a few more maternity tops as my regular tops that had worked for the first and second trimester are a little indecent now. I also needed another pair of winter shoes after wearing ballet flats in the rain one too many times this fall. Again I set a budget of $300 and am currently $5.48 over it. However, I have several pieces in transit to be returned. I’m not sure how much I’ll get back in rewards cards and how much in cash, but I estimate being under budget when it’s all said and done. All other items are linked to in my Fall capsule post.

(I have no picture of the new additions because I’m exhausted. The third trimester is kicking my butt and the thought of getting out all the clothes to take a photo of them and put them all back is more than I can handle right now. I really get why everyone talks aboutthe golden days of the second trimester now!)

Tops: Print SweaterBlack Poncho (maternity), Tan Wrap, Dressy Shirt (maternity; no longer available)
Holiday Wear: Teal Dress, Black Pants, Clutch, Statement Necklace
Accessories: Wedge Booties, Blanket Scarf, Faux Fur Scarf – cream + gray (old), Boot Socks, Leggings (maternity; probably will get more use post-baby, but this was my last shopping trip until the spring challenge so I wanted to include some postpartum loungewear)

The number one thing I love about the Winter/Holiday challenge is that Alison has published a full week of outfits. On Sunday I was able to organize my outfits for the entire week, one less thing to do every night.  I know she is offering this because of holiday travel, but I’m hoping that she continues to make it a feature of future challenges.

winterday1

scarf / boutique; sweater / gap maternity; jeans / old navy maternity; boots / dsw; earrings + necklace / stella and dot

A cozy outfit for day one. I forgot about this gray faux fur infinity scarf that I purchased a few years ago at a local boutique owned by a friend of a friend. It worked better with my neutral sweater than the cream colored one I purchased for the challenge. Knowing I’d be too warm to wear the scarf all day (it’s really heavy), I added a necklace. And for good measure, I changed out my daily studs for a little sparkle.

winterday2

tunic, leggings, boots, scarf / nordstom; socks / loft; vest / destination maternity

After not finding a maternity tunic I loved enough to invest in, I pulled an old tunic from the closet and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was just long enough for the bump and to be decent with leggings. Probably will only get another week or two out of it, but will be great postpartum. I wore boot socks for the first time today and loved them! Wish I had jumped on this trend a long time ago. My boots are pretty high so they didn’t show a ton, but a little of the chevron pattern peaked out. With the exception of the socks, I owned everything in this outfit prior to the challenge but likely never would have put it together. It is totally possible to shop your closet.

As I do every challenge, I’m joining up with several of the other ladies to share out outfits on Wednesdays. It’s one of my favorite parts of the challenge. If you’re blogging about your outfits and want to share, link up on Alison or Carrie’s blogs – or both!

maternity wardrobe essentials

The winter/holiday style challenge is just getting started and I’m excited to be back next Wednesday with the usual ladies, and I’m sure a few new faces, sharing our wardrobe additions and first few days of outfits. Today I want to talk about the few items I’ve found to be essential for dressing the bump.

bellyband

The Belly Band. I had no idea such a thing existed until a girlfriend sent me one as a gift in my first trimester. She sent me black and after wearing it for a day I immediately went to Target and picked up white as well. I have been very happy with the Target option, but you can also find the  brand name BellaBand on Amazon.

In the first and early second trimesters I used them almost daily in order to continue wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes. Just unbutton/unzip your pants and secure with the band. Around week twenty when I switched to maternity pants, I wore them to keep pants snug. Everything was a little big at first but the bands are perfect for keeping your pants up where they belong. I’m still using them now in the third trimester, usually on the second day of wearing a pair of jeans or leggings, when they are a little stretched out. I hear they are great postpartum for keeping your maternity pants on and then allowing a little extra room in your normal jeans eventually.

The band looks just like an additional layer and since my style is fairly layered they have fit in really well. It’s difficult to see in the photo on the right, but I’m wearing the black one. I wash them every few weeks. They don’t touch you skin at all, but they do get stretched out and a wash and dry every so often helps with that.

matjeans

Inexpensive Jeans. I wear jeans and sometimes leggings to work every day now. Lucky for me, my client is very casual and I decided not to purchase business casual maternity wear. When it came to buying a few pairs of maternity jeans, I decided to go the cheaper route. There are great designer denim maternity options out there, but I could not justify spending $150+ on a pair of jeans I’m going to wear for six months. Aside from the expense, I wanted more variety.

I ended up purchasing three pairs of maternity jeans from Old Navy as part of the Fall challenge – gray, skinny dark wash, and a more relaxed darker wash. So far I’ve been really happy with them. The maternity jeans from ON don’t come in length options so I did have the gray and skinny ones altered for about $10 each in order to wear with flats. After talking to a few friends about their preferences, I went with full panel for all of my jeans. I’m not sure how the other styles fit. I can usually get two wears out of each wash, but after that they loosen up a bit and I am more comfortable if they are washed at this point.

Originally I wore my normal leggings, but they are not working anymore. As part of shopping for the Winter/Holiday challenge I picked up some inexpensive maternity leggings from Old Navy. They are not great quality, but are good enough and will be perfect for hanging around the house with a newborn in February.

versatiledress

A Versatile Dress. I own one maternity dress and I’ve made it work for every event I’ve encountered so far. By changing the accessories, I wore it to a summer wedding, work on a very cold day, and last week for Thanksgiving in Palm Springs. I’ll probably end up wearing it to my shower next month as well.

The key is that I picked something I loved so I haven’t gotten sick of it. I don’t think it’s possible for me to get sick of black and white stripes and there are countless ways to style them. It’s also really comfortable and has fit well in all stages of pregnancy.

layers

Lots of Layers. This is a two-fold one. First, by wearing lots of layers I can mix and match pieces more and in the end I think I actually buy fewer items. Second, for the first time in my life, I’ve been the hot person in meetings. However, it’s barely been out of the 30s the last month in Seattle outside. Layers have been key to me being somewhat comfortable throughout the day.

On any given day I tend to wear socks and boots (either ankle or tall), jeans or leggings, a tank top or belly band, a shirt, a cardigan, a scarf, and a necklace. I occasionally swap in other pieces like a puffer vest. The scarves and cardigans are easy to take on and off during the day as I am warm or cold. Adding a necklace means I still have something of interest on once I’ve stripped down to the basics. On a side note, scarves are a great way to inexpensively dress up your wardrobe and/or bring in some seasonal/trendy elements.

The Winter/Holiday challenge will be the last style challenge for women until April 2015, when it’s time for spring. There’s still time to get your shopping list and shop your closet or stores this weekend before the first outfit is sent out on Sunday night.

making the most of your clothes spending (and the winter challenge!)

I know it seems like we just finished the fall challenge, but I am excited to report that the winter challenge is open for registration today! According to Alison, it will build on fall to add a little more warmth but take advantage of what we already own. It’s been cold here in Seattle and I’m looking forward to adding a few more layers. Holiday outfit ideas are also included, which I’ll be holding on to for next year while I live it up in my $30 Target maternity dress this year.

Winter/Holiday Style Challenge Banner

It’s no secret that I love numbers. I probably spend more time strategizing on the best way to maximize my dollars during these challenges than I actually spend on shopping for clothes. It’s totally part of the fun for me, but since I know most people aren’t quite as nerdy, I thought I’d share the ways in which I make the most of my money.

Create a capsule wardrobe. I have spent by far the least amount of money on clothes in the last year (compared to years before) and look much more pulled together while feeling like my options are ten fold what they used to be. Obviously I find Alison’s challenges the easiest way for me to create seasonal wardrobes, but others prefer to create them themselves. You can read about why I love capsule wardrobes in this post.

Set a budget. It doesn’t matter if you need to or not, or if the amount available is $100 or $1000. I guarantee that you will make better choices if you set a budget and commit to sticking to it. Come up with a number before the challenge starts and write it down. Once you have that number, weigh each potential purchase against it to determine if it’s worth it. The extra step of really thinking about an item makes it much harder to impulse buy and end up with pieces you might regret.

I did not set a budget for Spring and bought several ‘extra’ items that don’t get worn often. I did set one for both Summer and Fall and it really forced me to think about my purchases before spending the money. I noticed a big difference in how quickly I bought items (much more slowly) and in how many items I bought that don’t get regularly worn (none).

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 6.58.34 PM

Shop through Ebates. There really isn’t a reason not to use Ebates, which is a website that gives you cash back for shopping online. It’s free to create an account and takes approximately ten seconds to use prior to making an online purchase. For example, Nordstrom is 6% right now, meaning that if you click the “Start Shopping Now” link prior to making your purchase at Nordstrom, your Ebates account will be credited with 6% of your purchase. They pay out via Paypal once per quarter and almost every store I regularly shop at is included. This isn’t for just clothes, they have stores of all types, including Target!

I’ve earned $485 since opening my account in 2008. That’s not a ton of money, but it is $70 a year for virtually no effort.

Typically I forget to use Ebates at the beginning of my shopping adventure and remember right before I’m about to hit submit. I simply close the window, reopen, go to Ebates, look for my store, launch the store through Ebates, and go back to my cart. As long as you’re on the same computer, your saved items will still be sitting in the cart, waiting for you to buy them and earn yourself a few percentage points back.

Be loyal and earn points. If you are comfortable with credit cards, opening them with stores you shop at often is a great way to add more to your budget amount. Most retailers offer cards that earn rewards back on the purchases you make. I don’t open the Visa or MC credit cards, just the cards that are only used at that store. My budget amount each season is what I plan to spend in cash; I add any rewards I might have from stores on top of that. To make this effective and actually earn decent rewards, you have to be loyal to one or two brands (or do a lot of shopping I suppose if you want to be loyal to more than one or two).

I would say that 90% of my shopping is done with one of the Gap brands (Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy, Piperlime, and Athleta) or Nordstrom. Occasionally something will intrigue me enough at another store to make a purchase that won’t earn me points, but not often. I have coerced encouraged Greg to do most of his shopping with these two brands as well, using my credit cards. He has no interest in playing the rewards game so I benefit from his points. I haven’t bought a ton for the martian yet, but what little I have bought has all been sale clothes from Gap and Old Navy. There’s no shame in earning rewards off your unborn child’s wardrobe!

I’m not sure I’ll use it all, but I currently have $60 to Gap brands and $40 to Nordstrom. That increases my $300 budget by 33%, just for having shopped these brands previously. Other benefits of being loyal often include free shipping and sale days only for card members.

Know your stores. If you regularly shop at a few stores, you will learn their routines which will save you money over time. For example, I know that it is foolish to ever buy anything full price at a Gap brand store. At a minimum you should get 30% off because they are constantly running 30%+ off sales online. If there’s not some sort of deal, wait a day and there will be. Nordstrom, on the flip side, has major sales once or twice a year and other than that it’s very hit or miss when or if an item will go on sale. If you miss the big sales, you might as well buy an item regular price before it sells out.

During the spring challenge I bought a few pairs of jeans from Loft. They have an incredibly high minimum for free shipping, which I didn’t meet. Then I didn’t like the jeans and found that they don’t have free returns. I ended up spending nearly $20 to receive and send back two pairs of jeans. Lesson learned: pay attention to store policies, especially if they are stores you don’t frequent. And also, never pay for shipping. In this day and age, that’s just insulting!

Have any tips for maximizing your clothing budget? 

fall style me challenge: week four

And just like that, we’re at the Fall Style Me Challenge final outfit post. I’m a little sad that this will be my last outfit post for a while. I’ve decided not to do the Build Your Basics challenge. Not because it’s for over 40, I think basics are great at any age. But the reality is, six months pregnant is not the time to buy a wardrobe of basics. This is the first challenge my mom has signed up for and I wanted to do it with her but it just doesn’t make sense. Regular registration is open through the 6th if you are interested in joining. I’ll be back for the Winter/Holiday Challenge to spruce up my maternity wardrobe. Most of my pre-maternity clothes are not going to fit in another week or two and it will be a good time to pick up a few more items to make it through the third trimester. Today I’m sharing days 17 through 21. I don’t lose steam on the challenge at any point during the three weeks, but I definitely lose steam on taking photos.

fallday17_18

scarves, leggings, necklace, boots and booties / nordstrom; jeans and cardigan / old navy maternity; white long sleeve tee / gap maternity; gray long sleeve tee / borrowed (maternity); pink vest / old navy

I’m hoping that because I’ve clearly developed a uniform (I do have twelve years of Catholic schooling, it comes naturally), once I am deep in mommy mode I will manage to still get dressed and not rely on yoga pants. It is so easy to throw on pants, boots, a few layers, and a scarf. Especially when all your clothes coordinate and a pop of color is all you need to take an outfit to the next level.

fallday20

boots, scarf, tunic / nordstrom; belt / target; jeans / old navy maternity

I participated on day 19, but I can’t find a picture. It was a basic Friday outfit of jeans, gray pullover sweater with a navy checked shirt, and leopard flats. Another ‘fancy sweatshirt’ day. These days were good as they made me dig into my closet and look for alternatives. This sweater was a tunic pre-belly. I don’t wear it much because it never comes out of the wash looking very good and I hate spending money on dry cleaning. I can’t get enough leopard + gray with a splash of turquoise.

fallday21

sweater / gap; dress and tights / old navy maternity; scarf and boots / nordstrom; necklace / stella and dot

And day 21. I love this outfit. It’s perfect for date night or the office. It was nice to wear something a little fancier than jeans to work for the first time in weeks. I’m glad I went with my scarf and necklace look as it was too hot in a few conference rooms for the leopard. I had a blast with the Fall challenge. Again, the Facebook page was a source of outfit inspiration and a positive gathering of women all encouraging each other. Fashion can seem silly and frivolous, but the good vibes that every lady who participates puts out is about so much more than clothes and trends. I’m always thankful to be involved in this group. This challenge was extra fun as my brother-in-law’s girlfriend, Kelly, participated. She has an edgier style than me and had different weather for most of the challenge as we live on opposite coasts. She also does not have a bowling ball popping out of her midline. It was fun every morning to see how we took the same inspiration email and interpreted it in our own ways.

If I was able to find a link, most items are referenced in this post. Curious to see other outfits? Check out the ladies below or Alison’s link-up.  
Deena | Christy | Jordan | Carrie C. | Shaunacey | Danielle | Beth | Joy | Sarah |
Leslie | Katie | Jennifer | Carrie M. | Lisa | Sheila | Lauren | Anna | Alison

fall style me challenge: week three

I can’t believe the Fall Style Me Challenge is into the last week. If you’re looking for more style or want to jump on board, Alison just announced the next challenge. Build Your Wardrobe Basics will specifically geared to women over 40. It will be open to anyone, but focus on classic styles that will work year round, with less of a focus on trends. Registration opens this Friday, I’ll be sure to include a link for anyone interested.

Today I’m sharing days 10 through 16. Please excuse the photography. It’s been stormy here plus the sun is rising later every day. Selfies in poor lighting never make for the best photos and I’m having a hell of a time getting my iPhone to focus well.

fallday10

jeans and top / old navy maternity; scarf and flats / nordstrom; cardigan / gap; necklace / stella&dot

Today called for a plaid scarf, but the orange shirt made that tricky. My colorful one was too much and my b+w one screamed Halloween. I decided to go with my usual pop of color look and leave the shirt be. I added a gray scarf and sweater in different shades for a monochromatic look and topped that off my Kimberly necklace. Also, worst shoe choice ever because it poured buckets today and I had nice wet feet all afternoon.

fallday11_12

scarves and leopard flats / nordstrom; shirts / borrowed (maternity); striped sweater / forever 21; jeans / old navy maternity; puffer vest / motherhood maternity; boots / dsw

The Nordstrom infinity scarf is my favorite fall purchase. I kind of want to go crazy and buy more colors, but I’ll stick with my gray and turquoise for now. Also, I’m thinking an alternative name for my blog could be “Scarves and Stripes” because that seems to be about all I wear. (I also get very patriotic when inebriated, so it would work really well.)

fallday13

puffer vest / motherhood maternity; buffalo plaid shirt and jeans / old navy maternity; rain bots and booties / nordstrom

Day thirteen, worn two ways. First we were off to an MLS soccer match in the rain so I went with my Hunters. Later that evening we headed out for an Oktoberfest party with friends. I rolled up the jeans a bit and wore my booties. I like the buffalo plaid with the gray and white, it feels a little more subdued. Please excuse the fact that I did not check my hair or if I had a decent picture before moving on…

fallday14

jacket and leopard flats / nordstrom; belt / target; top / gap; jeans / old navy maternity

Great outfit for errand running day! I didn’t get a detailed photo so instead I’m sharing one of the two fall nail colors I picked up. I’m avoiding nail salons for the duration of my pregnancy but still want to be festive. This is “good as gold” by Essie. It’s definitely metallic and really fun.

fallday15

sweater / gap; scarf and booties / nordstrom; necklace / stella and dot; jeans and navy top / old navy maternity

Easy outfit for a(nother) rainy Monday. I love this colorful scarf for brightening up basics. I’ve noticed that with pregnancy I tend to run warmer than normal. Typically I would never need to take a scarf off midday, but lately I’ve been in conference rooms overheating and needing to de-robe. I’m wearing necklaces under my scarves so I have some detail when I start to strip down. At one point today the scarf and sweater came off – what am I going to do when the heat actually turns on in the building?!

fallday16

scarf / gift; necklace / stella and dot; leopard flats / nordstrom; gray sweater / gap maternity; jeans / old navy maternity

I’ve been monitoring my own fashion long enough now to call this a “me outfit”. Neutral basics with a pop of color and pattern mixing with stripes. This combo is easy to pick out, goes on quick, and looks cute and pulled together. I could also probably make fifty different outfits from my closet by following this pattern.

If I was able to find a link, most items are referenced in this post. Curious to see other outfits? Check out the ladies below or Alison’s link-up.  
Deena | Christy | Jordan | Carrie C. | Shaunacey | Danielle | Beth | Joy | Sarah |
Leslie | Katie | Jennifer | Carrie M. | Lisa | Sheila | Lauren | Anna | Alison

fall style me challenge: week two

We’re already midway through week two of the Fall Style Me Challenge and I’m sharing days 3 through 9. Still loving getting dressed for work in less than five minutes because someone else is telling me what to wear.

fallday3

shirt / old navy; skinny jeans / old navy maternity; tank / gap maternity; scarf and booties / nordstrom

I have fallen for buffalo plaid big time this fall. When I put this shirt on though it was a little too red for my comfort zone. To neutralize, I added a gray tank and a black scarf with small gold stars. Prior to the challenges, I never would have gone gray since there isn’t gray in the shirt. I’ve learned though that complimenting can be more visually interesting than matching.  I probably wouldn’t have done a patterned scarf with plaid either, even though this one is quite basic.

fallday4

sweater and shirt / gap; tank / target maternity; jeans / old navy maternity; necklace / etsy; flats and jacket / nordstrom

Today was fancy sweatshirt day, but I didn’t pick up a fancy sweatshirt. (Seems less flattering on a maternity figure and doesn’t seem very conducive to nursing so would have been a rather short lived item.) Instead, I pulled out a few items from the spring challenge and topped them with a camel jacket from last year and a fancy necklace. I love that I’m building a wardrobe that can be leveraged year round.

fallday567

tan cardigan, gray jeans, skinny jeans / old navy maternity; both scarves, pink necklace, striped TOMS, and leopard flats / nordstrom; gray sweater and blue cardigan / gap maternity; nude belt / target; b+w tank / borrowed (maternity)

Days 5, 6, and 7 corresponded with my school days and I don’t have extra close up photos for any of these days. Typically I would have skipped the challenge and gone with yoga pants, which are actually a better fit for our school days. However, I haven’t purchased any maternity workout gear and my collection of lululemon is starting to get a little too tight for a full day of wear. I swapped shoes on most days to be more classroom appropriate, otherwise the challenge worked just fine. Love that you can dress each daily outfit template up or down.

fallday8

jacket / old navy; plaid shirt and booties / nordstrom; jeans / old navy maternity

Easy outfit for a rainy Monday. Since there isn’t a lot of detail here, I thought I’d share my arm decor. I picked up the watch on sale this summer and I love it. It goes with pretty much everything and the little pop of pink is fun. Greg surprised me with the new bangles as a gift for finishing school. I was so not expecting anything and am just grateful that we worked together to make the last nine months feasible. But new jewelry is always appreciated. 🙂

fallday9

cardigan, boots, scarf, and leggings / nordstrom; black tee / maternity (borrowed); leopard belt / target

This might be my favorite outfit so far. It’s really simple but I received many compliments at work and felt like this would be something I would have worn pre-pregnancy, compared to my very casual maternity wardrobe. This might end up being my go-to date night / dinner out outfit for the rest of the pregnancy. I couldn’t resist a pop of color with my scarf once I realized it is actually getting a little chilly in the mornings now.

If I was able to find a link, most items are referenced in this post. Curious to see other outfits? Check out the ladies below or Alison’s link-up.  
Deena | Christy | Jordan | Carrie C. | Shaunacey | Danielle | Beth | Joy | Sarah |
Leslie | Katie | Jennifer | Carrie M. | Lisa | Sheila | Lana | Lauren | Anna | Alison