“Emergency” Items to Have In Your Closet

Long ago, I used to plan what I wore every day the night before. Hanging it up, making sure everything was ironed and ready to go. Those days are over, and although I will still hang up outfits from time to time, I usually pick what to wear the morning of.

There are a few key items I keep nearby my closet that have come in handy when I’m getting dressed for the day. Sometimes things don’t always go as planned and I really don’t have time to go with another option. Sure I could pick a different outfit completely, but we’ve all been in situations where we either don’t want to or don’t have the time to. It’s smart to invest now in the simple tools below that will make your life easier!

  1. Tide To Go Pen is something I keep both in my purse and in my closet. They are small and effective, and really save the day if I have one tiny mark on a white blouse and I really don’t want to change. I always make sure I have them in stock!
  2. Clothing Tape is something I bought when I was in a wedding last year and I wanted to make sure my bridesmaid dress stayed in place. Since having the entire pack left, I’ve used it on a few occasions where my neckline wouldn’t stay in place, strap is showing, etc. I never thought about keeping them around until they’ve saved the day a few times! these are the ones I use
  3. Safety Pins are another item I have always had around since high school. If something isn’t sitting right, a shirt seems too low, or something needing extra support to stay closed, the safety pin comes to the rescue! I have varying sizes from large to small.
  4. Lint Roller is used daily in my house since I have a cat, but other things can shed and you may not notice them until you’re completely dressed and almost out the door. Lint rollers are a must for everyone whether you own a pet or not.
  5. Static Guard only gets used in the colder months, but in Michigan that’s like half the year. Especially when dressing up for a nicer event, dresses can hold static and cling to your legs. Static guard fights against this and has earned its place in my closet.
  6. Mini Flat Iron is a newer item that I originally bought to help tame my baby hairs, but I’ve used it on more than one occasion to get out wrinkles last min when I’m already wearing an item. Think the bottom of skirts, shirts, etc.

The one item I do not have but am considering adding to the tools above is a mini clothing steamer. I’ve heard really good things about having one on hand since it is gentle on your clothes and works quickly.

 

What are some of your closet emergency items? I’d love to hear what you’d add to this list! 🙂

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The Great Pumpkin

blazer c/o talbots / pants c/o talbots / ankle boots c/o talbots

There’s a historic house in my area that I love visiting often as they have beautiful grounds to walk and wonderful settings to take photos at. Every Halloween season they invite kids to come carve pumpkins and they set their creations on the 1800’s stone fence. It makes for quite the perfect Halloween scene!

I recently wore this outfit from Talbots and the pieces are ones that I can wear year after year. Like most items from the brand, they are modern classics that earn their permanent place in your closet. The blazer is my favorite part of the outfit because the texture of the green has a little bit of navy underlying it, and the underside of the collar is lined with navy as well.

The inside of this blazer is super cute too! The blazer comes in other colors, and I think my next choice would be pink to bring a little more color into the cooler months.

I have these pants in three colors now and they are in heavy rotation in my closet. Years ago, I searched high and low for pants that looked like a riding pant, felt like a jegging, but were still real pants. I ended up buying a pair in camel and white, and now own the navy. They are unbelievably comfortable, and my favorite part is that they look high end! Pants are not always the most exciting purchases, but they are some of the most important. I just gave away a bunch of old pants that didn’t fit quite right but I liked the sale price, and it feels like such a waste. When I spend more on pants like these, they hold their value and  I save money over time not having to replace them.

These ankle boots are stunning in real life! I wanted something I could wear often that would transition well into cooler weather. These are the perfect shade of leather, and they are as soft and smooth as butter. The best part is they don’t need to be broken in as they are comfortable from the first time you slip them on.

Have you checked out the Talbot’s Friends & Family sale? They have 30% off your entire purchase and it’s a nice time to get a few pieces that you’ve been eyeing.

Cabin Style

Colder weather is here, and nothing sounds better than staying in a cozy cabin. This past weekend I spent a night at one in northern Michigan, which is already experiencing some snow. Cabin style needs to find the balance of being both cute and comfortable, so here are my four main staples for your next cabin trip:

Boots

If you decide to go on a walk outside, you need to be prepared for all kinds of weather. If you’re trying to pack less, I think Bean Boots are the best all around footwear for cold, rain, snow, etc. I have the thinsulate version, when paired with thick socks are perfect for the elements.

Fleece

I definitely grew up with fleeces, but they’ve seemed to have popped up as a huge trend over the past 5 years. From Patagonia to L.L. Bean, fleece pullovers and zip ups are perfect for cooler weather. They make for a great casual style as opposed to wearing a hoodie. The L.L. Bean version is my favorite!

Jeggings

No need for sweat pants when you have a pair of pants just as comfortable and look a lot better. Jeggings, or in this case Uniqlo’s legging pant, are perfect for cabin style because they’re so comfortable while still looking put together. I own them in indigo and white and wear them all the time. The best part about them is the top of the pants look like real pants with belt loops and a button.

Flannel

Can’t have a cabin style post without mentioning the staple of every cold weather casual wardrobe. The flannel shirt is the warmest base layer around and looks great layered under vests and sweaters. I can never have enough! My favorite flannels come from L.L. Bean, Land’s End, and Uniqlo.

Marriage & Monograms

I love a well placed monogram, in fact there are very few monograms I don’t like. I think initials are a simple and elegant way to personalize everyday items and I’m completely on board with it. Let’s first talk about the proper way to monogram:

via the knot

A single monogram is pretty straight forward. My married name is Robin Ashley Crabb, so if the initials are all the same size straight across, I do RAC. If the middle initial is bigger, it would be RCA.

via the knot

When you’re married, you can do a “couple’s monogram”, where the woman’s initial goes first – last name in the middle – and man’s initial last. I have a couple’s monogram on various things, including on a decal above my bed.

Before marriage, I monogrammed way too many things that soon became my “old monogram”. My maiden name is VanNieulande, so RVA was on so many things! Sidenote: my original IG name was @vannieulande, and when I got married I failed to get a version of my new name, so hence my IG name @robinvancrabb. I had a hard time changing my last name when I got married. My maiden name felt like a big part of my identity and it took me awhile to slowly ease into my new last name. My instagram handle is a fond reminder that I’m still a VanNieulande. 🙂

I kept most of my old monogrammed items (minus things that I no longer use), and think they are kind of a fun way to remember that time of my life. I still have a few things that have RVA on them and wear/use them proudly. Since getting married, I started monogramming things with my new initials or a couple’s monogram. I think it’s important to do what feels right when it comes to changing your last name and monogram. It took me awhile to fully go by my married name, but I am now embracing my new last name while keeping my old identity.

Why I’m Wearing Headbands Again

No headband blog post can be written without mentioning the queen of headband style – the character of Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl. When it was airing in the 2008ish era, headbands were everywhere and I wore them all the time. I don’t know why exactly I stopped. I know stores like J. Crew stopped carrying as many of them, and people weren’t wearing them as much as they were. I started to style my hair a little differently and didn’t feel like I needed a headband. I usually just wear it down and do a severe part to the side, and when I did try to wear a headband it gave me a headache after awhile. I ended up taking off the headband anyway so I started to forgo them altogether.

I always admired the style through the years, and recently was inspired to start wearing them again. I heard this style (shown above) from Nordstrom was known for no “headband headaches”. I like that it was a slimmer style vs. the super thick Blair Waldorf ones, and the tortoise shell look would go with almost everything in my fall/winter wardrobe. So I gave it a try and I’m in love!

abby/sydney/carly

These ladies above wear headbands and I think it looks so polished and preppy. I used to think it was a younger style, but I really believe any age can wear a headband. Plus, they are great for second day hair and taming those strays. After having my daughter, I have TONS of the infamous baby hairs around my face that often comes with postpartum side effects. My headband has kept my hair out of my face and helped me style my hair during this period of waiting for them to grow out.

Do you wear headbands? Would you try wearing them again?

The Wool Fedora

wool fedora in navy – gap

Wool fedoras are certainly trendy as you can find them anywhere (even Forever21), and while I usually try to avoid trends, there is something classic about this one. It’s a very Americana western style that I think paired with the right clothes can be very Ralph Lauren – esque. As a fan of hats, I wanted to try this style and am happy I did.

My inspiration for the style originally comes from my dear friend, Carolyn. Carolyn moved from Michigan to Australia a few years back for med school, and she has the best life. She hikes, travels, swims in waterfalls, all while enduring the everyday stresses of med school. Her and her Australian boyfriend (who is silver medal Olympic rower!) wear these Akubra hats that are very authentic to the Australian outback lifestyle. She looks effortlessly iconic every time she wears one, and I adore her style! The style of her hat is slightly different from what I’m wearing, as mine is a wool fedora and hers is the real deal Akubra Australian version.

In order to stay true to my classic/preppy style, and not super bohemian, I pair the hair with more of a preppy-western style like how Ralph Lauren does it (see previous blog post 🙂  ). I like it with short booties, chambray, leather details, and other pieces that are more Americana by nature. The hat needs to compliment what I’m already wearing, not be the centerpiece. Time will tell, but I truly believe this could be a piece I wear for years to come.

Have you ever worn a wool fedora? Would you try this trend?

L.L. Bean Fit Guide

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of L.L. Bean. I’ve had the privilege and honor of working with the company many times, and have come to know and love the products they offer. These items are all what I consider to be staples I’ll own long-term both in style and quality. I’ve never been unhappy with a single thing from L.L. Bean and continue to buy from them for both myself and my family members (my dad is a big fan as well!).

I get a lot of questions regarding the fit of some of their main pieces that they offer year after year. Not having a store nearby to try on their clothes can make ordering tricky, but their reviews help a ton. I’m fortunate to have a store 20 minutes from my house that opened in 2016, but it wasn’t always that way. Here are some of my observations from wearing L.L. Bean for many years.

Fisherman Sweater

I own the iconic fisherman sweater in the original style (cream) and the washed version (blue). It’s the same exact sweater, but the fabric was dyed different. Before purchasing, I was told to size up two sizes. Since I’m normally an extra small, I opted for the medium. The washed blue version I have in a size small. It may be hard to tell in photos, but the medium is definitely more of a relaxed fit that’s best for layering. Many people like fisherman style sweaters to appear more oversized, and I feel like the medium does the trick without being too baggy. The small is the perfect sized sweater for me! I like it slightly more fitted because I often wear this sweater without layering. I enjoy having two of the sweater in two different sizes, but if I were to buy one more I’d get a small.

Final consensus: Size up one size.

 

Wicked Good Moccasins

The Wicked Good Moccasin is broken up into a few styles, the two above being the most popular. The top is technically the Wicked Good CAMP Moccasin while the bottom is the Wicked Good Moccasin. Same slipper, the difference being the shearling placement on the sides. I owned the top style for 3 straight years before I retired them, but I loved them so much I knew I needed a replacement. I love the look of both, but wanted to try the bottom one with more shearling. When I got them, my heel slipped out of them when I walked. I go up and down stairs a lot holding a baby so this was a problem for me.

I’m a 7.5 and I’ve always gotten an 8 in these slippers so I took them to the store to see if it was the style or the size that was giving me issues. The salesperson told me “slipping out” of the back of the bottom style is common no matter the size. I exchanged them for the top pair and ended up getting a size 7 instead. You truly break these slippers in as they form to your foot so I am glad I sized down!

Final Consensus: Top style worked better for me, and half sizes should size down!

 

Outwear

The Ultralight Down Jacket (left) is super warm, and I reach for it constantly from November to March. The Quilted Riding Jacket is also a favorite of mine that’s perfect for cooler temperatures. My experience with both L.L. Bean women’s outwear is that they are true to size. Most people size up, but I got my regular extra small and found plenty of room for layering and still being able to zip and button up the coat.

Final Consensus: L.L. Bean outwear is true to size!

 

Sweater Fleece

I love L.L. Bean’s Sweater Fleeces! They are the perfect pullover for cool summer evenings or chilly days throughout the year. I love the weight and texture to them and find myself reaching for them a lot. I own one in the “sienna clay” color in a size small, and the one above in a size extra small. I like both sizes, but prefer them to be slightly oversized. This isn’t an item you want super fitted anyway since you’ll find yourself layering it!

Final Consensus: Size up for comfort.

Bean Boots

There are two questions here – what shoe size to get and what height to get?

Shoe sizing for Bean Boots is to size down, and recommends a whole size and half for half sizes like myself. I own several pairs (I’m embarrassed to say just how many), and all but one are size 7 boots when my regular size is 7.5. I’ve always found them comfortable, plenty of room for thick socks, and even the only shoe I could wear with my swollen pregnant feet at the end of my pregnancy. When the red pair went on sale, the store only had a size 6 which is what they reccomend for a size 7.5 such as myself. The size 6 felt great! I haven’t worn them with super thick socks yet, but they felt more like how my regular shoes feel and less like a boot. I’d still order just a half size down to stay on the safe side, but if you live in a mild area and aren’t wearing thick socks I’d definitely go one and a half sizes down!

What height to get – the 6″ or 8″? I own two pairs of the 8″ Bean Boots and have always loved that height. I tuck my pants into them easily, they feel more like a boot, and they’re super photogenic. I recently got the red pair of the 6″ Bean Boots and I don’t mind the height but it doesn’t feel as natural to me. It’s like wearing high top sneakers or short booties. I don’t mind them at all and enjoy wearing them, but I would only recommend them if you plan on wearing your pants over them vs tucking them in. Some people factor their height into this as well – a shorter person may look more proportionate in a 6″, a taller person in an 8″. I don’t put much stake into this and believe it has more to do with how you wear the boot in your everyday life.

Final consensus: Unless you live in a mild climate, size one half size down. I prefer 8″ in style over the 6″.

 

Most Underrated Item

To end this post on L.L. Bean, I want to share what I believe is the most underrated item they sell: The Gumshoe! I wear these things ALL the time. I will slip them on if I’m running outside real quick, or they’re perfect for running errands on a rainy day. While most people love the regular Bean Boot, I don’t see too many sporting the gumshoe. They’re quite practical for everyday life!

Please feel free to leave questions in the comments if you have any more!

Five Fall Staples You’ll Own for Decades

As I turn 28 last week, I can actually look back at some pieces that I bought when I was 18 and still wear today. Some are shirts, sweaters, a pair of shoes, etc., but I’m sort of proud in a way that I made a good choice back then in both style and quality and can still enjoy these items over the years.

Here are five fall staples you can own for decades because they won’t go out of style and with a little care should last.

1. Quilted Riding Jackets are the first item that comes to mind. I have owned one since 2009 and I still wear it today – in fact I wore it last week. I’ve added a few more colors to my collection, but they are something I have already been wearing for 9 years and am confident I’ll wear for years to come.

 

2. Riding Boots are another item I’ve owned for almost a decade, as I remember receiving them years ago from my mom for my birthday. They are real leather, and with a little bit of TLC each year, they have held up wonderful. Leather riding boots will never ever go out of style. They’ve been around for centuries and aren’t going anywhere. Overall, they’re a sound investment.

3. Your favorite jeans are a personal decision, but I’ve always found it cool to find someone who has an old pair of jeans that still fit. I have one pair of Ralph Lauren ones that are my go-to, but I think Levi’s would wear well over time. I would go for a slim fit medium wash with no holes for a style that will age well over time.

4. A Neutral Watch is a must in the accessories department. Whether it’s a leather or a metal strap, I always think neutral tones are a necessity for at least one watch in your closet. It’s something you’ll wear year after year and your children will want to wear someday. Again, go as classic as possible, nothing too large or small.

5. Cream Fisherman Sweaters are another timeless piece in any wardrobe. I like them slightly oversized and highly recommend the one from L.L. Bean. I have had it for a few years, and I’m always impressed with the quality. This is an item I’d love to pass down someday!

 

Do you own any of these staples? What would you consider a fall staple you’ll own for decades?

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