Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Necessary Luxury: Designer Sunglasses

Necessary | Luxury

I have purchased a new pair of designer sunglasses once a year since college, and it’s one of my favorite things to do. Everyone needs to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes, and there is a big difference in quality between the cheap frames + lenses and the statement designer frames with UV blocking lenses. My favorite pairs of sunnies feel heavy and substantial, and have stood the test of time (through many accidental falls from the top of my head). Ranging from $100-$400, and often going on sale, sunglasses are a great way to enter into the world of designer goods. Also, you can (and should) wear them every day, which drastically decreases their cost per wear. If you add up the amount of cheap sunglasses I bought and broke throughout my first three years of college, I could have purchased at least a pair of Ray-Bans that I'd still be wearing today.

Department stores are the best (Nordstrom! Dillards! Neimans!). They have so many different pairs to try on in order to find your perfect pair. After I’ve tried on a bunch and found one or two that I love, I always search online to see if they are on sale anywhere. Black Friday is a GREAT time to buy sunglasses (especially from department stores), and I’ve had a lot of luck finding great ones (including these and these) at Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth. Some of the styles that I'm loving right now are in the image at the top of this post.

DOs & DON'Ts
While trying them on, do take pictures of yourself on your phone (#selfie), just to make sure you can picture how they actually look on you (and if they photograph well). I find it impossible to look at myself in the mirror when I have a pair of dark sunglasses on inside, so the pictures help. When choosing your first pair, start with the basics: a pair of aviators, black cat eye frames or classic tortoise-shell will always look chic. Once you’ve checked those off the list, mix it up with something bold, or a twist on a classic. Try to stay away from white frames, as they often look cheap no matter how expensive they are. Also, always carry them around in their case so they don’t get scratched (don’t just throw them in your bag, naked!), and try your best not to lose them. Keeping track of them gets easier if you make it a habit to wear them everyday. Once you walk outside, it will become instinctual to put them on, so you'll notice right away if you've left them sitting on the table at the restaurant. After a year or two, you’ll have the start to an awesome collection. xx

New Series: Necessary Luxuries

The only thing I don't LOVE about fashion blogs is the materialism. Lately, it seems like every blogger sends the message of NEW NEW NEW BUY BUY BUY! which feels tiring instead of aspirational. You don't really have to have a new handbag and a $1000 pair of shoes in every outfit to be happy, but that has become the new normal. I am sensitive to this because I had all of my clothes stolen about 4 years ago, which forced me to change my mindset. Now I am all about filling my closet with essential items that I'll be able to wear and wear and wear. Those items are something you might call a...
I think other bloggers have addressed this issue before with posts around "investment pieces", but that's not really what I am going for. Some things are definitely an investment (example: a designer handbag), but my favorite black cardigan that I completely wore out was $20 on sale, and my best flats ever are from Target. It's more about spending & investing where it matters. In my opinion, that includes: designer sunglasses, leather handbags, a beautiful & well-made coat. Things that don't last for more than one season shouldn't be a big investment: flats, cardigans, a white t-shirt. Your closet needs both types of items, but you shouldn't feel like you are breaking the bank every time you need something new.

To me, it's the mix between the necessary items you need to have as your base and the luxury items that aren't critical (you can still be clothed even if you don't have a statement scarf), that help launch you into the realm of style. A necessary item may be an investment, but may not be, and the same for a luxury item. A beautiful piece of costume jewelry that makes your outfit come together may have only cost you $15 at a vintage shop or on sale at Nordstrom Rack, but it would be considered a luxury item compared to your favorite pair of jeans.

I'm really passionate about this idea (as you can tell from my blog name!), so I thought it would be fun to create a series where I go through all of the items that I consider essential to a great closet and wardrobe. I'll start today with a post in a few hours, so come back if you are interested. And as always, let me know in the comments if you have any questions or suggestions. I hope you will love it! xx

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sweater & Leather

I am writing this on an airplane as I head back to Baltimore from a weekend at home, so I thought it was only fitting to share my favorite sweater to wear while traveling. It isn't so warm that it's stifling, but it can become a full blanket if needed for a chilly flight. Plus it's Thanksgiving week! And Thanksgiving always reminds me of cozy sweaters.

Here are those leather leggings and Vince booties again.. I can't get enough of them! Plus I find a lot of satisfaction when I can find new ways to wear things that are already in my closet. The sweater and t-shirt were both from TJ Maxx a couple of years ago, and while I would usually wear this with riding boots or loafers, it feels completely fresh paired with all that leather.

One of my favorite things so far about committing to this blog is giving myself an excuse to come up with new outfits all the time. I've been keeping a notebook next to my bed because I've been thinking of new ideas in the middle of the night! It's amazing to start a new project and feel inspired, so thank you for continuing to follow along.

Calvin Klein Sweater (I bought a size large for an oversized look.. similar here) | Long Sleeve Tee (no tag but similar here) | J Brand Leather Leggings via The Real Real (last seen here) | Vince Booties via The Real Real | Chanel Boy Bag

What are your plans for Thanksgiving? I'll be heading to Texas tomorrow to spend five days with my boyfriend's family, which is sure to be a great time. Also happening tomorrow? I'll be sharing my favorite item to look for on Black Friday, so be sure to check back. xx

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Hallway Update: Progress & Plans

The hallway - the first thing you notice when you walk up the stairs to our part of the house, plus we spend all of our time here in the morning getting ready. It needs to be pretty AND functional, but the progress has been slow. You can check out this post for what it looked like before, and while these are definitely not the FINAL pictures of the hallway, I’ve made some progress and I'd love to share my future plans with you. Since we’ve last talked about it, I’ve added a rug…