The temperatures dropped here in Chicago and it is beginning to feel like fall! Although there will be a few more hot days next week, the cool air has me excited for ankle boots, tweed, and all the other wonderful bits of cool weather fashion. Summer is my least favorite season to dress for which is why it has been a little sparse on the blog in the last couple months, but there will be plenty hitting your RSS feed in the next weeks and months.
(I know that some of my readers reside in warmer climates, so if you are looking at your weather report and only seeing hot days for the foreseeable future, don't hesitate to send me your questions about warm weather outfits. There are tons of ways to contact me and I would love to hear from you, even if it's about summer style!)
I can barely believe that this blog will turn three years old on October 1st (which also happens to be my half birthday)! I'm looking forward to another season of style with all of you!
It is easy to find yourself wearing the same pair of shoes every day solely (pun intended) because they coordinate (or at the very least, don't clash) with many of your outfits. Chances are that your default shoes are not your favorite shoes and they may not even be your most comfortable shoes. Instead you wear them because when you slip them on as you rush out the door you can be reasonably confident that they work with your overall look. But there is a big difference between your shoes complementing your outfit and just being passable. Instead of a default shoe, you need to find a signature shoe. Signature shoes should reflect a bit of your style personality, whether through the color or style, and be comfortable enough to take you through all the events and errands that the day can throw at you.
A shoe with personality is not going to be a good match to everything in your closet, but that is actually a good thing. First, it can inspire you to put together pieces in new combinations which is great for getting out of a style rut. Second, it forces you to wear some of the other footwear that has been collecting dust in the back of your closet. If your signature shoe doesn't work with a particular dress, then perhaps that will give you an excuse to wear the pumps you bought for a wedding and only wore once. Third, interesting shoes make for a more interesting outfit which is an easy way to give yourself a style boost. A pair of black pumps everyday may be appropriate at work, but that doesn't mean they are the only appropriate option and they certainly aren't the most exciting option.
The pointy flats in the photo are simple and sleek, with an appealing pop of bright blue contrasted against the navy. I like them because they are a modern and stylish twist on a sensible shoe that can be worn to the office or with jeans and a blazer for a casual dinner with friends. They are slightly less versatile than a pair of completely navy shoes because the lighter blue clashes with some colors, but a signature shoe should improve an outfit, not merely be an okay addition to the outfit. This doesn't mean that you will need to buy a new pair of shoes for every clothing combination you can dream up. If there are certain colors that you like to wear a lot, look for a shoe that works with that palette. Just because something isn't neutral doesn't mean that it won't be a good fit in your wardrobe.
Looking for some inspiration for your own pair of signature shoes? Check out these links for some of my favorite options that are available now:
Boden Darcie Point in tan leather with rose gold accents $138
Pikolinos Lille Bootie in black $180
Lands' End Blaine Open Toe Flats $34.99
Banana Republic Avila Pump with tassel in gunmental $128
Lately my Twitter feed has been full to the brim with bloggers tweeting about everything related to back-to-school. Growing up on Long Island, school didn't start until after Labor Day, so in my mind back-to-school shopping is synonymous with Labor Day weekend sales. My clothes continue to mostly fit from year to year (I think that my last growth spurt was close to 15 years ago) and I don't need the perfect outfit for first-day-of-school pics or yearbook portraits. As a result, I can't get excited about the back-to-school shopping season anymore. However, I can get excited for great deals and I have a couple of those to share with you all.
The back-to-school shopping craze is focused pretty heavily on fall fashion, but there's still about 6 weeks left of warm weather to dress for. Plus, August is the month that I most find myself spending time at the beach. Luckily for me, swim wear is marked down to a fraction of the cost that it premiered at (back when it was still below freezing in Chicago and I had no plans whatsoever of going swimming). Thanks to the additional discount on Lands' End clearance items last week, I picked up a pair of swimsuit bottoms for $18.39 (although there were also options for under $10) and a lovely, nautical-inspired cover-up for $19.99. (Click on any of the images in this post to reach the product information for the item.)
In case cheap swimwear was not enough to put me in a good mood, I stumbled across some other great items while trying to meet the minimum for free shipping. The first item I found was a pair of athletic shorts. I had never tried Lands' Ends activewear, but they arrived yesterday and are a great fit! Plus they have an interior drawstring, which I like in my running shorts. My second find seems absolutely ridiculous considering that I am currently sitting in air conditioning. However, I was only a couple dollars away from free shipping and a pair of fleece gloves for $3.19 (after the additional discount) was hard to pass up. At least now I know I am set for the cool weather, whenever it decides to arrive!
Have you found any great sales on summer (or winter) pieces? Let me know in the comments!
I hope that everyone has been enjoying their summer reading lists as much as I have! Over on the bread and flowers side of the blog, there are new book-related essays about footnotes in fictional works and judging a book's content by the width of its spine. Soon I will be posting blurbs about the books I have read these past few months, but if you need something to read before then, check out my nonfiction picks as well as some of my paperback favorites.
Hot sweaty days do not lend themselves well to a full face of makeup. I love seeing the bright lipstick and eyeshadow colors make an appearance during the summer months, but I don't dare put them on unless I know I will be spending my time in air conditioned comfort. My makeup routine is pretty basic (except for special occasions or the couple days after my Birchbox arrives), but I have streamlined it down further to only three products until after Labor Day.
Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream: My fair skin easily burns, so sunscreen on my face is a must. I imagine I am in good company when I say that I am not fond of the smell of sunscreen or its greasy residue. That is why I was so excited to find that Maybelline's BB cream is rated at SPF 30!
Benefit BeneBalm: I am a huge fan of tinted lip balms and have mentioned my love of BeneBalm previously on the blog. It adds a shiny tint to the lips that is perfect for a natural look and keeps your lips feeling oh-so-soft. It costs about 3x more than I normally spend on a lip balm, but I'm on my second tube and have never regretted the cost.
Mally Mascara: While I like what is inside the tube, the real reason that Mally is my summertime go-to mascara is because the tube itself is wonderful. The silver glitter detail adds a bit of glamour to my morning and makes the quick swipe of mascara across my eyelashes feel like something special. The polka dots on the BeneBalm tube inspire the same reaction and it starts the day off on a positive note. The Mally mascara arrived in a Birchbox a few months ago, but as far as I can tell, this tube design is no longer available. However, I know that there are plenty of other brightly colored tubes of mascara out there, so it shouldn't be too hard to find one to brighten up your morning!