Holiday Outfit - Dressy Casual - Jeans

There are times during the holidays that an event calls for a look that is more than casual but not overly dressy. This is what I call dressy casual. This is often the perfect choice for a holiday office party, a dinner and shopping date with your significant other, or a party in someone's home.

Here are some tips for putting together a dressy casual outfit for the holidays using pieces already in your closet. 

1. Pick a pair of nice dark wash jeans.

For this look I chose my Rock & Republic boot cut jeans. What makes these jeans a more dressy choice has to do with the cut and wash of the fabric. A boot cut jean is figure flattering on just about anyone, as is a dark wash. A dark wash also looks more polished than a lighter wash. I also feel a jean without tears or holes is more dressy than a distressed look. As you can see these are more fitted as well. A baggier jean gives a look a more casual vibe. Another option for this outfit would be a denim trouser. Here is a version of what I am thinking. Here is a pair from Target

Holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans
Holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans
Holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans

2. Select a blouse appropriate for the holidays.

My shiny cream colored blouse is Jaclyn Smith brand and I found it at a thrift store. A blouse like this can be worn out or tucked in. I chose to wear mine out to keep my look casual, but flirty. 

What exactly makes a blouse holiday worthy? I think the blouse needs to fit you well and serve as a back drop for fun jewelry or scarves. If you want to go with a holiday color like red, green or gold that's fine, but I would keep it a single color. If you don't have a blouse like this, a crisp white cotton blend would work as well. A longer tunic type blouse would also work. A button up or a blouse made from a shiny polyester blend gives a more dressy look. 

3. Choose a few awesome accessories. 

I decided to use burgundy for my accessory color and I chose to stay with that color for my necklace, bag and shoes. I feel that in this case, less is more. This would also work with a few layers of gold chains, a sparkly clutch and heels. I have styled this burgundy necklace from Charming Charlie before on the blog. You can see those posts here, here and here

holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans

This is a unique piece of wood and metal and makes the perfect statement against the creamy background of the top. You can see I also added my burgundy bracelet with the magnetic closure. 

Holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans

This burgundy clutch was a recent thrift store find and I find myself reaching for it again and again. I think burgundy and maroon are a great color to add to many outfits for fall and winter. Especially in the form of accessories. 

4. Grab your heels.

There is just something about a great pair of heels that takes any outfit up a notch. High heels tend to make us walk with better posture and stand up straighter. I don't wear heels very often, but when I do, I feel like I am dressed up. Heels are no brainers with skirts, dresses and dress pants, but they look fabulous with jeans and just look how much classier this outfit looks with them. 

Holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans

These berry colored shooties are Bandolino brand. Here is something with a lower block heel by Franco Sarto. Here is another pair with higher heels from Macy's.

Holiday outfit - dressy casual - jeans

This is an easy outfit to put together as it only has two pieces plus accessories. Once in a while a minimalist approach is the best approach, especially when the holidays can be hectic and fast paced. 

I hope you are enjoying this series on dressing for the holidays. Thanks for stopping by the blog. Be sure to check back on Thursday for an easy way to layer for a day at the mall. 

This post contains affiliate links. Some links provide shopping opportunities. If you click on a link I get a few cents. If you make a purchase through my blog, I get a little commission. All opinions are my own.

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull

Awesome Accessories - Arm Candy

This month's focus in my Awesome Accessories column is on bracelets, or what I like to call arm candy. I love to wear jewelry of all sorts. I do not have pierced ears and due to problems with wearing certain types of metals I can't wear clip ons either as they bother my ears. So many times, I will wear a necklace and bracelets. There are so many types, styles and colors of bracelets that if you are not typically a bracelet wearer just follow along and maybe by the end of this post you will be.

I thought I would arrange this post, by categories or types of bracelets. Bracelets seem to come in a variety of styles and are made out of every material imaginable from gold and silver, to plastic and fabric. Bracelets can be stiff and rigid or flexible and stretchy. As with anything fashion related, trying on different styles can help you decide what you like to wear best. 

1. The Tennis Bracelet 

The tennis bracelet is made up of a single row of small diamonds or gemstones. It originally got its name in 1987 during the U.S. Open. During a match, tennis star, Chris Evert asked the officials to stop the game because she had lost her diamond bracelet on the court. She was allowed time to search and ever since bracelets of this type are called tennis bracelets.

I do not own a real tennis bracelet, but here are a few choices:

2. The Simple Chain Bracelet

I am calling these simple chain because they are a single strand with some sort of clasp. Most of mine have a claw clasp that hooks into a link on the opposite end of the chain. These can be gold, silver or some variation of mixed non precious metals.

silver chain bracelets
gold chain bracelets

As you can see, these come in various styles. The thing I like about these is their simplicity. I'll often where one or two of these by themselves or pair them with a bangle in the same color. 

The only complaint I have about these is that it is hard to get them clasped by your self. Some clasps are easier to maneuver with one hand than others, so if you are trying these on at a store be sure to try the clasp. Another good reason to always try bracelets on, is that not everyone has the same size wrists. Better to try an item on and be sure it fits, than to purchase it, get it home and find out it doesn't.

3. Bangles

Bangles are simple bracelets made from metal, wood, plastic or other more rigid materials. These bracelets are typically without a clasp and just slip on or off over the hand to the wrist. 


4. Hinged Bangles

In addition to the regular bangles there are bracelets called hinged bangles. These are easier to put on and take off because one side of it has a hinge. When closed the bracelet looks like any other bangle. Hinged bangles come in a wide variety of styles, metals and colors.

hinged bangles
hinged bangle
hinged bangle
hinged bangles

5. Wrap Bracelets

Another type of bracelet that offers a different look and a different way to put on is the wrap bracelet. I have two types of these. The first is formed by putting beads on a wound metal wire. The wire has some amount of flexibility while still maintaining its original shape.

wire wrap bracelet
wire wrap braclet

The second type is made from various materials. It winds around your wrist then clasps with a magnet type clasp.

wrap bracelet
wrap bracelet

That is all I have time for in this post, but I will do another post in the future on more arm candy.

Have a great weekend!


Is it a Piece or an Accessory? The Kimono.

This month I am combining my Piece Perfect and Awesome Accessory columns to feature something that can be worn both as a clothing piece, but also as an accessory. The kimono was originally a traditional Japanese garment. The word kimono means thing to wear. Most traditional kimonos were floor length. While some Japanese wore kimonos on a daily basis, most were worn on special occasions. Today the kimono has wide following in the fashion industry, particularly this summer. You will see these lovely, drapes in most stores. They vary in length, cut, style and pattern, but most feature light weight sheer material, square sleeves and a more square or rectangular body.

The kimono I have on today, I have worn before on the blog. You can see that post here. What inspired me to do this particular post, was that I was seeing numerous other bloggers wearing their pretty kimonos with shorts and jeans for a more casual, summery look. 

kimonos in the summer

I apologize again for my terrible photography. I am not sure why these turned out so foggy. It was a very warm, humid day, so I am not sure if that had anything to do with it. My daughter said, my lens may have fogged up. Never thought about that! Live and learn.

This pretty kimono I found at a thrift store, along with the clutch and tee shirt. When I decided on doing this post, I shopped my closet and found all the pieces. If you are a clothes horse like me, you will always find outfits in your closet as long as you use a little creativity and thought. 

The shape of my kimono is a little different in that, it has a high-low hem. Mine is also a little longer than many of the versions in the stores right now. However, I am sure you can find one that will suit your style needs.

styling a kimono in the summer

I was babysitting my grand puppy again so I had to let her get in a pic!

styling a kimono for summer
styling a kimono for summer
styling a kimono for summer
Styling a kimono for summer

I kept my accessories simply with a few silver bangles and my small black clutch. 

What makes a kimono a clothing piece versus an accessory? I think it all depends on how you wear it. My outfit is complete without the kimono. A pair of jeans, tee shirt and tennis shoes is a great casual summer outfit. I added the kimono as an accessory. It brings color and fun to the outfit and adds a light weight layer of warmth for air conditioning. 

I could change this look and make the kimono an actual part of the my outfit by putting on black leggings and a black tank or tee, then I could layer the kimono over top and add a belt. This would make the kimono almost look like a dress and would be the focal point of the outfit. Add black heels or wedges and a silver layering of necklaces and voila a great look for a date night with the hubby. I would have put that outfit in this post too, but my time has been very limited lately, so I didn't get a chance to get my act together. Ha, ha.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you own a kimono? How do you like to wear it? I'd love to hear from you. I always appreciate when people comment and I always respond to your comments. You can always check back a day or two later to see what I've written.

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. 

Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style and Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge. Friday linking up with Nancy of Nancy's Fashion Style and Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots. 

Awesome Accessories - A Spring Bag

I love purses, just like many of you love shoes or jewelry. I love it all, really! I just have to try to curb my buying for two reasons. I don't have that much money and I don't have that much room. It is a good thing that I live in a small house and that our income is not that of a Hollywood star or NFL player. Ha, ha. 

A fun purse can make an outfit even more interesting. Last summer I did a whole post on styling an outfit around a bag. The idea was inspired by Janeane of Designing From my Closet. You can see my original post here and her original post here. The thought is, if we can plan an outfit around a jacket, a pair of shoes or a scarf, why not plan an outfit around a bag. There are so many colorful, interesting bags out there, so why not make one the focal point of your outfit. 

I would first like to show you the bag, then I'll show you the whole outfit. 

floral bag

Of all the places to find a bag, I got this cute little clutch on a Barnes and Nobel Bookstore clearance table. In all honesty I think it is supposed to be a case for writing instruments and other school type supplies, although B & N also sells Vera Bradley bags and wallets, so I guess this could have been an actual clutch. My thought is, there is plenty of room for a phone, wallet and a few other necessary items, so it makes a perfect spring bag. It even has a wristlet handle in case you need your hands free. Here is a look at the pretty pink lining.

floral bag

Obviously, there are plenty of colors to chose from to plan an outfit. I decided to use the green in keeping with the Greenery color from Pantone and add my favorite color purple. 

floral bag, easter outfit

I took these on Sunday, which was a beautiful day, but the wind was blowing, so my dress got a bit billowy. This is a maxi dress that I have styled before, in my Denim Days series last summer. The top and half of the skirt are lined. The sweater is a simple cardigan and the purple sash which matches perfectly was something I kept from one of my daughter's old pj's or bathrobes. 

floral bag, easter outfit

Sorry that my toes aren't painted yet! I thought these sandals were the perfect foot wear for this type of outfit. Plus they have a purple tinge to them!

floral bag, easter outfit

Here you can see the top of the dress without the sweater. I do have to wear a strapless bra with this one, although these days you could wear a natural colored bra with straps and no one would think twice. Or wear a bright colored bra and you'll be trending. I prefer the old fashioned no-bra strap look. 

floral bag, easter outfit

For my jewelry I threw on this three layered gold necklace with beads that border on purple. The three layers all connect in the back. It is an easy way to provide visual interest to an outfit and with all three strands connecting in the back you don't have to worry about each individual one sliding out of place. 

floral bag, easter outfit

Here is a quick close up of the sandals. These are your basic thongs, but I slip into them, then zip them up the back. Part of what drew me to them was the bling!

floral bag, easter outfit

I hope this inspires you to think about that fun bag that is in your closet. You know the one. You loved the colors and how it looked, but now you don't know what to do with it. Plan your outfit around it. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you.

Have a blessed Easter!

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own.

Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style.  Friday linking up with Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge, Nancy of Nancy's Fashion Style, Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots, JoLynne Shane in the Fashion Friday link up, and Laurie of Vanity and Me. Saturday linking up with Catherine of Not Dressed as Lamb. 

Awesome Accessories - The Statement Necklace - Long

Last month in my Awesome Accessory column I talked about the short statement necklace. You can see that post here. This month, I want to continue that thought, but look at what a longer statement necklace might look like. You might wonder what makes a necklace a statement piece. Obviously, it needs to make a statement! What that means for you, might be a little different than what it means for me. However, there should be something about the piece that makes it stand out and not get swallowed up by your outfit.

Where as a short statement necklace is worn closer to the face and usually includes an element of striking color or style, a longer statement necklace can be colorful, but it is often more about texture and design. Let me show you a few of my own necklaces that I would classify as long statement pieces.

long statement necklaces

This particular necklace makes a statement, not by its bold color, but by the combination of texture, note the faceting on the beads, and the shape. If you look at the larger metal links they are not perfect circles. They are somewhat squashed looking. In addition, the necklace is not designed to be symmetrical, so some of the bigger beads are higher and some are lower. It is not the same on both sides. I also like this necklace, because it isn't a bold color and will go with many outfits, both dressy and casual. 

longer statement necklaces

This piece is not fancy and doesn't show much flare, but I feel it makes a statement because of it's odd shape and unique color. Cut from an agate you can find these almost anywhere. My daughter got me this for Christmas a couple years ago. It is trimmed all the way around with tiny faux diamonds, which add another element of texture and bling. Here is a close up. 

long statement necklaces

I love the little streak of light blue and the hole in the middle. It is just a very unique piece.

long statement necklaces

This piece makes me think of something out of a fairy tale. The color of the beads as well as the filagree on the pendant give it a feel of richness and value, while the additional silver chains make it feel more delicate and feminine. 

long statement necklaces

Of course I had to throw in a fringe necklace. I love these because they are simply so much fun and they are fun to touch! I chose this one over my other fringe necklaces, not because any one of them couldn't have been a statement piece, but because this particular one seems to stand out above the rest. I just love the look of this elegant necklace. The color is demure and the gold chain and cap on the fringe give it a posh feel. I also feel a little retro when I wear it. 

long statement necklaces

You have probably seen this necklace in several of my more recent blog and Instagram posts. My other daughter got this for me this past Christmas from Charming Charlie. I think what makes this necklace a statement piece is the contrast of the berry wooden shapes and the gold chain and links. It really stands out.

long statement necklaces

This unique piece I picked up at a thrift store. I instantly fell in love with it when I saw it. It is in a class all by itself with the rope like chains, metallic flower and the dark beads embellished with gold colored floral caps. Once again, the color is more muted, so can be worn with many different outfits. Here is a close up of the flower and beads. 

long statement necklaces

I hope you enjoyed this post on the long statement necklace. Do you like longer or shorter statement pieces? I'd love to know your thoughts. Just leave a comment below. 

Have a great weekend. 

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a shopping link below I get a few cents. If you purchase something through one of the links, I get a little bit more. All opinions are my own.

Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style, Ada of Elegance and Mommyhood and Laurie of Vanity and Me. Friday linking up with Jo-Lynne Shane in the Fashion Friday link up, Jennie of A Pocketful of Polka Dots, Nancy of Nancy's Fashion Style and Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge.  

Awesome Accessories - The Statement Necklace

Accessories are the fashion flare on our outfits. An accessory can do more to pull an outfit together and give it a bit of sass than spending a mint on certain labels or brands. I am not against brands. Being a thrift shopper, I have actually found my hands going towards high end labels at my favorite second hand stores, because I have been educated by following other bloggers as to what is a good quality, well made piece. However, I have oodles of clothes that are not high end. After all, when I do shop at regular retail stores I usually find myself back at Kohl's, Penney's or Christopher and Banks. What I have found, however, is that my cheaper selections can actually look more high end by pairing them with great accessories. 

Today I want to take a look at statement necklaces. This will be an ongoing series over the course of several accessory posts to show you what is available in the necklace category and how one statement piece differs from another. There are so many options available, sometimes it is hard to know what piece to wear with what outfit. 

For this post I will be looking at short statement necklaces that are made with beads and metal. 

awesome accessory - short bead and metal statement necklace

A statement piece does what it says. It makes a statement. Often the statement is bold, an exclamation of "Look at me! Aren't I pretty?" Statement pieces can also be unique, whether it be the arrangement of the materials involved or the colors. 

The above necklace is more simple, but simplicity can also be a statement. The uniqueness of this piece is found in its shell, stone, metal and wood beads and in the rawhide used to hang it around the neck. 

awesome accessory - short statement necklaces made with beads and metal

Sometimes during the heat of the summer I will get a rash wherever I have metal against my skin. I have a nickel allergy, so usually stick to silver or gold, but I love cheap costume jewelry. Having a rawhide chain rather than a metal one, can alleviate some of those issues. 

awesome accessory - short statement necklace with beads and metal

Isn't this one fun? I love all the silver circles, the way it dangles and the way it shimmers. This piece can be worn with just about any color and really dresses up and outfit. 

awesome accessory - short statement necklace beads with metal

Most of these statement necklaces have an adjustable clasp in the back so you can make the necklace a little bit longer or shorter depending on your outfit and your preference. 

awesome accessory - short statement necklace with bead and metal

I have this necklace in two or three different colors. I know! I have a jewelry fetish, just like some people have purse and/or shoe fetishes. Ha, ha. I just love the way the beads cascade downward, reminiscent of a waterfall. 

awesome accessory - short statement necklace with beads and metal

I love everything about this one. The color of the beads, the strings of bling, and the chains all give it a more expensive feel. It almost looks like something a princess would wear! Here is a pic from when I wore this for a recent blog post. You can see the whole post here.  

statement necklace

Finally, this last one is just layers of fun. I love the color, the differing sizes of beads and even the way it feels when I run my fingers over it. 

awesome accessory - short statement necklace with beads and metal

What sorts of short statement necklaces do you have? Do you have just one special piece that you love to wear for special occasions or are you like me and have hooks full? I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments. 

Adding a special statement piece can serve so many functions for your outfit. It can add color, pizzazz and texture. It can draw attention away from problem areas and put the focus on your neck and face. A lovely statement necklace can make you feel and look more confident and vibrant. 

Thanks for hanging out on the blog today. I appreciate all your support. Check back next week for more fashion fun. Have a great weekend. 

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull.

Shopping for Statements:

Black multi - Venus - $19.00

Sage - Modcloth - $5.99

Blue - Chico's - $34.99

Crystal - Francesca's - $20.98

Light pink - Charming Charlie - $10.00

Linking up with Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge , Nancy of Nancy's Fashion Style, Laurie of Vanity and Me





Awesome Accessories - The Pashmina Scarf

Since the weather here in the Midwest is beginning to cool down considerably, I thought I would take another look at scarves, but focus on a heavier, longer variety of scarf that we refer to as the pashmina. The original pashmina was type of cashmere wool woven into a garment meant to be worn as a shawl. Today we have a variety of pashmina colors and prints as varied as the flowers and plants in creation. Many of the scarves or shawls that we now term pashmina, are made from a variety of fabrics and realize different weights and textures, thus, not true pashminas. However, there are many stores that sell real wool/silk blend pashminas for very reasonable prices. 

Today's post will look at a variety of ways to wear these longer, rectangular shaped scarves.

pashmina scarf

This scarf, while having the shape of a pashmina is not made from the soft, silky cashmere wool. It doesn't feel scratchy so I do not think it has any wool in it. It is probably a blend of man made materials. A thrift store find, I thought I could use it like a blanket scarf, but then as I did more research realized a true blanket scarf is square not rectangular. I am learning new things all the time!

1. The shawl - 

pashmina scarf

2. The simple flip over one shoulder - 

pashmina scarf

3. Flip ends to the back then pull ends to the front - here the ends are the focal point of what hangs in the front - 

pashmina scarf

4. Flip ends to back, but leave front loose. Pull front down into more of a long bib, then bring just the fringy ends to the front - the messy look.

pashmina scarf

5. Triangular bib - similar to above, but make the bib more triangular and tucks the ends under the bib. 

pashmina scarf

6. Left long and belted - 

pashmina scarf

Here is a look at all of them:

I hope this post inspires you to dig that pashmina out of your closet and start wearing it. I have quite a few in different colors. It is the perfect toasty addition to any outfit or just wear one with your coat to keep your neck warm. The pashmina is not only stylin' it's practical.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend. 

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull.

If your are looking for a true pashmina check out The Pashmina Store.

This store is only a recommendation that I found while perusing on line. I have never bought anything from them, but might some time in the future!