The Art of Nautical Style

Summer is the best time of year to dress with an ode to the water. Whether you live near the ocean, lakes, or are just a fan, it’s a fun style to incorporate into these hotter months. I have always enjoyed adding a little extra nautical flair to my summer wardrobe, but I have learned a lot through trial and error. Looking back there have many times I’ve gone way overboard (no pun intended) with the style, and now I like to add it in a little more subtly. As always, sometimes I throw out all the rules and go all out because life is too short. 🙂 See my tips below:

Color Palette: Adding a bit of nautical style to your everyday look has a lot to do with the color palette you use. You’ll see mainly primary colors (red, blue, yellow), white, and navy, but you’ll rarely see pink, purple, etc. This is a very classic approach to the style and can be done so pretty easily. I think a fool proof outfit without being too much is to start with navy and white with just a pop of one other color. The outfit above I kept to navy, white, and some brown leather detail, but I also have some red on the silk scarf. The striped shirt, gold buttons on the blazer, and boat shoes are all a nod to nautical style without screaming it.

Dress around one main piece: For this look, I wanted to showcase the striped dress (c/o L.L. Bean and on SALE right now) and accessorized around it. I still kept some nautical details, like the rope belt, but if I weren’t on a boat I would have swapped out boat shoes for leather wedges. I try to keep accessories simple because you can easily find a LOT of nautical style accessories and be tempted to wear them all at once. Stripes are always a great way to add in the nautical element but can be worn all year round.

Go old school: I have an affinity towards old school style nautical items, like the print on this dress, or 80’s/90’s Ralph Lauren nautical items that are loud and fun. (I’ve always wanted this Ralph Lauren dress and found it last summer on Poshmark for only $25!) I try to keep the rest of the outfit more subtle, like the rope bracelet and belt, but overall the print makes it a bolder choice and perfect for summer by the water.

 

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Old Chair, New Look

chair slip cover c/o comfort-works

I’ve always written off slip covers, assuming they look sloppy and are a short cut way to update furniture, but my mind has been changed completely in the past few years. Slipcovers have come a long way and look fantastic nowadays. The slipcover look is even in style – just look at fabric dining chairs from Pottery Barn and you’ll see what I mean.

I love furniture and design, and the weakest part of my decor has always been this chair I have in my back room. It’s very high quality, a nice size, and comfortable, so I didn’t want to replace it with another chair but I didn’t love the style. Behold, Comfort Works worked closely with me to design a slipcover that converted my chair to fit in with the decor in the rest of my home. htSpecial thanks to my cat, D.W. for modeling the before and after shot. 

The process was daunting to me. Comfort Works does a lot of slipcovers for chairs/couches they already have a pattern for – like IKEA or Pottery Barn – and this would be a custom project. It started out with them sending me 5 sample fabrics of my choice. I (of course) chose the stripes as it coordinates great with the other furniture in the room. The entire communication and help surpassed all my expectations as they worked closely with me to ensure I got the right fit. I sent in photos of my chair and they sent back photos like the one below, indicating what measurements I needed. I messed up a few and they caught it and emailed me about it right away. It made me feel great knowing they were double checking everything.

I can’t emphasize enough how painless the entire process was. I am extremely impressed by Comfort Works and Rachel and Sarah who I worked with. The cover fit perfectly and looks great. Taking my beige striped chair and using the new slipcover has brightened up my space. My favorite part of the chair is the pockets they added to the side. We always have random remotes laying around, and now we both know right where they’re at. There’s also a bigger pocket for catalogs/magazines as well.

There are even more options for pocket configurations, piping color, and bottom pleats. I like the corner pleats they put on mine.

Overall, I’m extremely satisfied with the ease of ordering a slipcover and that is thanks to the customer service Comfort Works provided. I’m now a believer in slipcovers – not only do they give my chair a whole new look but it’s nice knowing I can throw the cover in the washer if something were to happen.

Have you ever used a slip cover? What was your experience?

 

 

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Summer Pattern Mixing

Pattern mixing is a great way to maximize what you already have in your closet by putting things together you haven’t combined before. You’ll also look like a pro and that you know what you’re doing since pattern mixing is daunting for some! Now that we are mid-summer, I like to throw in some stripes with other patterns to mix things up and wear what I have in new ways. Below are my tips on how to do so seamlessly.

  1. Stripes are your friend. I think a easy way to start with pattern mixing is to use some striped pieces. I am not bold enough to wear stripes with stripes since it can often be too busy, but pairing it with another item that has a larger or more spaced out pattern works great. For this outfit, I would avoid doing a smaller, tiny pattern since the stripes on this skirt are already close together.

2. Mix texture with pattern. I think an interesting way to switch up your wardrobe is taking a patterned item, like this skirt, and pairing it with a coordinating item that has the same color palette but a different texture. This tank has a very subtle eyelet pattern that looks great when worn with the striped skirt. Find some clothing in your closet that has a textured pattern to it and try it with a bolder pattern for a eye-catching look.

 

3.  Have some fun. It’s easy to take a patterned piece, like these seersucker shorts, and go the easy route of wearing a solid color with it. It’s not wrong to do so, and is a refreshing look, but pairing it with this lobster motif makes the outfit pop a little more. Sometimes items like these shorts keep me stuck in repeating the same pieces with it, but with pattern mixing I can open up to more outfit choices. Something busy like the shorts looks great with something a little less busy to balance it out.

Keep in mind that style means something different to everyone and these are only my opinions. My main focus when creating an outfit is to look put-together, so I gravitate towards more conservative approach to pattern mixing that relies on subtlety rather than loud/bold.

Want more pattern mixing inspiration? Check out @respecttheshoes on Instagram – she is my favorite girl for pattern mixing. She keeps it fun and everything always looks well thought out.

New To Me Brands

I’ve had the opportunity to work with a few brands recently that I had never heard of and came to love. I more often than not say no to working with brands I’m unfamiliar with because I’m afraid I’ll be unhappy with the style and quality. I want to be authentic as I can be with my audience so I try to do my due diligence in researching brands and asking questions before committing to working with them. The following three brands are recent companies I’ve worked with and was very pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed!

1. SHIVER AND DUKE

This jewelry company surpassed my expectations! I loved so many styles but settled on these earrings because they go with a lot that I wear. Since receiving them three weeks ago, I’ve worn them numerous times and have received many compliments.

I’m not just impressed with the earrings I got, but the whole style of Shiver and Duke. It reminds me of what a seasoned world traveler would wear – eye catching and intriguing, but also high end. Each piece has a unique look that I don’t see many other places. In the accessory industry you often find jewelry companies copying each other and putting out similar products, but Shiver and Duke is a refreshing take in copycat world. I hope to have many Shiver and Duke pieces in my collection over the years. Check out their website just to see how beautiful and unique their pieces really are!

 

scalloped topstriped shirt with ruffle sleeve / braided sandal

2. The Brimm Boutique

At first glance, this brand seemed a little too boho for my style, but after going through their website I found quite a few pieces that looked like they would fit well in my style. Both tops I got are blue, striped, and have a unique detail to them. The shoes are a beautiful shade and are not like anything else I own.

The tops are lightweight, and at $35 a piece I’m not expecting them to be the best quality but I’ve worn them quite often lately and they’re holding up great through multiple washes and wear. I find myself reaching for them over and over again, hoping no one notices I keep rotating them so much! 🙂

When I got pregnant I quickly realized that having an entire closet full of button down shirts wasn’t the best for a changing body. These shirts are beautiful, forgiving, and have feminine details that I love.

arcade cuff bracelet

3. Les Georgettes

This company’s concept caught my eye immediately because it’s something I have not seen in jewelry before. They sell all types of jewelry, and make it so you can flip the leather insert to reveal a different color. I love how this changes up the look completely and feels like I’m getting two bracelets in one. Both the cuff and the leather are great quality, and look and feel high end.

If you take a peek at their website you’ll see the hundreds of options available for bracelets, such as cuff thickness, design, metal, and leather colors. I love following them on Instagram just to see what other people have created.  Again it’s a great concept that I thought was very unique and done well!

Have you heard of any of these brands? Which one is your favorite?

What to Wear When You Know You’re Getting Engaged

Six years ago Joe asked me to marry him! We had been dating for awhile, had discussed wanting to get married, and he even had me pick out a ring. I knew the engagement was coming eventually, but he had told me the ring was taking a long time and I assumed we’d be getting engaged sometime at the end of summer. So although I knew it was coming, I was completely caught off guard when he asked me to marry him in May! To prove I was surprised you can see the photo where I had blue nail polish on at the end of this post. I like the color but it’s not something I’d choose if I knew I was getting engaged. 😉

I love when engagements are surprises, but if you have a feeling you’re getting engaged and need to pick out an outfit, I’ve got you covered.

Consider the venue:
Do you know where you’re getting engaged at? Try to dress with that in mind so you are not extremely under or over dressed for the occasion. You probably won’t be wearing a formal gown to a beach, jeans to a fancy restaurant, etc. You’ll also want to bring a few items in case of emergencies, like a tide-to-go pen, safety pens, oil-blotting facial tissue, etc.

Comfort and style:
I’m always happier when I’m comfortable, so while I don’t suggest getting engaged in sweat pants, you might not want to be breaking in your new shoes that day. We have a tendency to want to wear what we have that’s brand new, but don’t sacrifice style for comfort when you can have both. Wearing what you feel best in is key, and that should be something you’ve worn before.

Go simple and classic:
This is a moment you’ll look back on for a long time, so if you happen to know you’re getting engaged, I’d wear something that photographs well that you love. I’d stay away from something really trendy that will look completely dated in a few years, or something with a busy pattern that might not photograph well.

Don’t sweat the small stuff:
This is a special moment for the two of you, so if your hair isn’t perfect, your outfit gets ruined somehow, or something else doesn’t go the way you wanted it to, that is completely O.K. Everyone’s engagement story is different and those details make yours unique.

Have you been engaged? What were you wearing for that moment?

Best Legging Pants

Just as a disclaimer – this is NOT a sponsored post, in fact, I really hate dealing with this company and they have horrible exchange policies so be mindful of that. I wouldn’t’ have done a blog post on this if I didn’t like the pants so much!

Uniqlo Legging Pant

I’ve always had a hard time with finding great fitting pants. I want something that I can tuck into boots easily, but most leggings are too tight and look like leggings. I’m not at the point where I’m OK wearing straight up leggings as pants. It has to have some detail to make them look like real pants. 🙂 Behold, these legging pants are much nicer than any legging or “jegging” I have ever met!

Jackie Greaney told me about these pants when I was pregnant because they make a maternity version of them and she’s worn the regular version and told me to try it. I ended up getting a white pair and loved them during my pregnancy so much so that I wanted to try the regular legging pant version afterwards. I got the white pair and the dark denim and love them both. They are a thicker material than most leggings, and while they have an elastic waist, it’s not shown that way. It has a button, belt holes, etc., all without the zipper. They are super comfortable and flattering. I got them two weeks ago and have worn each pair 3x’s each.

For sizing, I would go one size up just to be safe since they’re return policy isn’t generous. I am usually a small but they felt a tad tight so I went up to a medium and they are perfect. They go on sale a lot so if you aren’t in any rush you could wait for them to be $20 each, but even at $29 they are a great deal.

If you are like me and struggle with finding pants that look fitted, maybe give these a try. Check out all the variety of legging pants and let me know what you think!

What to Wear When You’re Pregnant

This is a post I’ve wanted to do for awhile and the main reason behind it is my own experience with the frustrations of dressing while you’re pregnant. When I first started to need maternity clothes (end of first trimester), I got extremely discouraged by the lack of styles available and also information I could find online on how to dress. Like many other women, honing my personal style isn’t just about looking great but about feeling great. Pregnancy attire can take a lot of that away from you, especially if your style isn’t quite maternity friendly (like having an entire closet of button down shirts that you like to tuck into pants…). I searched high and low for tips and tricks and came up short. It wasn’t until I found a mom whose style I liked and looked at her pregnancy outfits that I found some encouragement and inspiration that I can keep my personal style during the pregnancy with just a little bit of effort.

Goals:

  • Incorporate your regular wardrobe as long as possible.
  • Ability to keep your personal style and feel “put together”.
  • Strategically purchase items that will stretch your current wardrobe and save you money.

Go-To Retailers

  • Old Navy
  • Gap
  • Target
  • Uniqlo

A quick note on retailers: very FEW brands do maternity and do it well, and less places are carrying maternity in-store for you to try on. I had good luck shopping the sales at Old Navy and Gap, getting basics at Target (t-shirts, etc), and then maternity leggings at Uniqlo. It’s key to get things that you’ll wear over and over again, and maybe only an item or two for a special occasion. I bought a dress for Christmas and then one for my baby shower, but I only wore those items once. I avoided maternity only stores because they tended to be pricey and I’d rather spend my money on clothes I can wear after the baby.

Bottoms

Bottom pieces are going to be the first things you notice you need “maternity” versions of. I definitely wore leggings throughout my pregnancy more than any other time in my life, but it really felt nice to have “real” pants as options. There are three main types of pants – side panel, demi, and over the belly. I found all three of these from the Gap website and ordered one of each to see what I liked and returned the rest. I found the demi to be most comfortable for me.

  • Over the belly pants and leggings look really strange, but they are great for the end of the second trimester and the whole third trimester. I found they didn’t fit as well for me before that.
  • I also bought non-maternity leggings a size or two bigger than normal and was able to wear them almost right up to the end.
  • I avoided skirts completely once my “bump” appeared because I thought it looked unflattering where the top of the skirt hit.

Dresses

Dresses are fantastic for warm weather pregnancies, and although I was pregnant in mostly the winter I did buy a few that I wore quite a bit. I definitely didn’t wear dresses as much as a summer pregnancy would because most cold days you are looking to wear pants.

  • Buy ones that can be styled a few ways. I got a plain navy dress and I wore it a lot because it could be dressed up and down for different occasions (pictured below on the left).
  • Empire waist dresses work great, even if they aren’t maternity. The photo above was one of my favorite dresses that had a forgiving waist that allowed me to wear it 6 months pregnant to a wedding. I was so happy it fit!
  • If you’re looking to accentuate your “bump”, a belt can turn your dress into a nice maternity look.

Tops:

This is very important since it will have to fit over your growing belly for as long as possible. Look for basics that can be layered under other pieces. I bought maternity gray and white t-shirts, as well as maternity gray and white turtlenecks and used them non-stop to layer under other pieces that weren’t maternity. I’m also a big fan of button down shirts and found ones I liked from Old Navy and also larger sizes of Ralph Lauren button downs that I received second hand.

  • If you don’t own them already, purchase a few long cardigans in neutral colors that will go with your wardrobe. I had a navy, gray, and green one that I wore up until the day I gave birth. I can also still wear them after since they just go over the arms and drape around you.
  • I wasn’t into showing off my bump, so I found capes and wraps to be nice for my style and kept me warm in the colder months.
  • I found oversized sweaters at the thrift store that I loved alongside borrowing my husband’s sweaters at the end of my pregnancy.

Outwear:

If you happen to be pregnant during a time where you’ll need to wear outwear, it can be frustrating figuring out how to stay warm when you’ve got a bump to cover. Until later in your pregnancy, you can get away with wearing jackets and being able to zip them up, but a time comes when you won’t be able to. I was pregnant from June – late February so I got the brunt of winter and bought a maternity coat. If you aren’t going to be big during the majority of winter, you can get away with not buying one.

  • I enjoyed wearing vests as a light layer, especially since I don’t zip them up even when I’m not pregnant.
  • I did buy a maternity coat and was glad I did. If I was spending less than a month in the winter being pregnant, I wouldn’t have bought one, but with the timing of mine it was worth it. There were several horrible snow storms that I was so glad I could zip my parka all the way up over the bump.
  • There are maternity coats that have a panel in front that you do without after the pregnancy meaning it turns into a non-maternity coat afterward. I didn’t like how this style looked, and also didn’t need another non-maternity coat. I found my maternity parka inexpensively during Old Navy’s online Black Friday sale.

Shoes:

Summer pregnancies are nicer in this case because you can wear sandals towards the end if your feet swell. I didn’t have swelling in my feet until the last two months, but it was very painful and left me with very little to wear. Thankfully all my boots were a half size larger (I always size up to accommodate thick socks), and my mom is a half size larger and let me borrow a few pairs to get me through the end.

  • Consider getting a pair or two of really comfortable shoes for the end of your pregnancy if you find you can’t fit into any of your current pairs. If you’re looking to save money, just buy inexpensive shoes and add comfortable insoles to them.

Workout Clothes:

If you weren’t working out before your pregnancy, doctors advise you don’t start anything new afterward, however you should be doing some sort of physical activity. I did not enjoy being pregnant, but I had a fairly easy delivery and I credit it to all my time spent in the gym! With that being said, it’s frustrating to not only have to compensate your normal wardrobe but then your workout clothes too. I got VERY lucky because Lucy Activewear got absorbed by The North Face and I was able to pick up maternity workout clothes for a fifth of the price it normally was.

  • If you workout a lot (few times a week), the Bao Bei band is for you! I had a friend recommend it and I LOVED it. I was so worried my abs would split or I’d be putting too much pressure on my body with the added weight of the bump, and this thing is like a sports bra for your belly. It’s not cheap, but it was worth every penny for me. If you don’t workout as often or are doing low impact activity, feel free to skip this!
  • Tops are fairly easy to buy until the third trimester. I would buy looser, larger tops, and only at the end did I pick up a few maternity tops. I bought these at Old Navy and Gap and found most of it during their Christmas sales.
  • Bottoms are a little tougher, but you’ll find your leggings should work for a lot longer than your non-maternity wardrobe. Near the end, only leggings that had a really low band would work other than maternity workout pants. Maternity workout leggings usually come with REALLY high bands that go over the bump and ones that sit right under. I found I liked the ones that went over the bump for support.
  • Shoes weren’t a problem for me, but if your feet are swelling I’d just pick up a cheap pair to get you through the end. My tennis shoes were some of the most comfortable things I’d wear during the whole pregnancy.

My friend Katrina is due in September! She is going to be one stylish pregnant lady!

Other:

Rings: My wedding ring stopped fitting near the end and only recently (4 weeks post partum) does it fit again. I had another ring that was always bigger on me that I’d wear, but also had a silicone ring that I normally wear to the gym that I would wear as well. Feel free to skip a ring if you’d like, or wear it around your neck. Never force a ring that doesn’t fit!

Swim: I bought a maternity swimsuit during an Old Navy holiday sale for $10 and I’m glad I did. I had access to an indoor pool year round at my gym and used it a few times both for leisure and aqua classes. I couldn’t believe how nice it felt to swim while pregnant – you feel like your old self again! Although I only wore it a few times, I thought it was worth it since I didn’t pay a lot and it felt so nice to take pressure off my joints during the end.

Overall tips:

  • Stay optimistic! You’ll get discouraged from time to time being able to wear less of your closet but don’t give up. Looking “put-together” when you don’t feel like it will lift your spirits and make you feel like your old self.
  • Get creative with wearing items a few ways. I utilized Pinterest a lot to search an item and see how many different ways it could be styled.
  • Buy items you’ll wear a lot, with a few exceptions (special events).
  • Buy second hand, or find a friend who had been pregnant that can loan you a few things. You’ll be surprised how many women are willing to share their maternity clothes with you. I was very fortunate to have a few friends and family members who loaned me items that got me through my pregnancy!

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