Piece Perfect - The Utility Jacket

When I began thinking about this month's Piece Perfect column, I was thinking about showing a traditional jean jacket. I have shown a dark wash crop style denim jacket in a previous Piece Perfect column, which you can see here. I thought it would be fun to show a post with a more traditional cut and wash of denim jacket, but for lack of picture taking time, I will save that for another day. Today I am going to focus on the utility jacket. 

Looking for some definition for the utility jacket I was able to derive that our modern day utility jacket was modeled mainly after the Vietnam era military jacket. The color is most often olive green, but now can be seen in gray, black and even orange (see my Pantone Spring 2017 post on Flame.) These jackets are typically light weight with both buttons or snaps and a zipper, as well as multiple pockets. Most of them have elastic or a draw string to gather the waist more tightly against the body.

Today, utility jackets are all the rage. I like mine because it is roomy, which allows for a few layers underneath if it is cooler, but can also be worn as a light weight jacket over a tee or tank top. This is the look I came up with for my jacket.

Piece perfect column - utility jacket

If you follow my blog, you might remember this outfit from a post called Spring Trends 2017. I used these pieces for a flat lay. A flat lay is simply a picture of the clothing laying flat on the floor, folded, rather than on a person. See below.

Piece Perfect - Spring Trends 2017 - flat lay

I had another blogger tell me she would like to see the outfits from my flat lays on me, to get a better idea of proportions and fit. I liked the way this looked in the flat lay and I like it even better on me! 

Piece Perfect column - Utility jacket

As you can see I started with a pair of distress crop jeans, and a breton type tee.

Piece perfect column - utility jacket

Here's a closer look at the detail, both on the tee and the jacket. 

I thought the blush accessories looked perfect with this outfit. It keeps the outfit summery and fun. I also like the raw hem on the jeans. I kept the jewelry simple and gold to go with the gold sequins on my tee. 

If you've never considered a utility jacket you might want to invest in one. It gives an outfit a fun casual look and can be worn with so many colors. Do you like this outfit? Would you wear frayed hem jeans? I didn't used to think I ever would, but then here I am! Never say never!

Below I've provided some shopping options. This post contains affiliate links. If you do a little looking and/or buying through my blog, I make a little bit of money. I appreciate all of your support, especially your feedback. All opinions expressed are my own. 

Thanks for stopping by the blog and have a great weekend! 

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

Piece Perfect - Spring Transitions

There are numerous pieces we could talk about for the season of spring. Look at what is on the racks at your favorites stores. Light weight blouses, flowy fabrics, pastels, bright floral prints and a variety of hemlines on both pants and skirts. However, if you have ever spent time in the mid-west in the months of March, April and May you know that going from winter to spring is not always easy to style. 

Layering is essential for me, especially until the temperature hits the upper sixties or seventies. However, as the temps begin to climb into the forties and fifties, I do feel less of a need for heavy layers. I turn more towards lighter weight long sleeve tops and pack away my turtleneck sweaters. I wear pants that end at my ankle with shoes that are more open.  

I like a 3/4 length sleeve top for these transitional days. The first is a light weight tee with a pastel floral print. The second is a hooded pullover sweater. The tee I would wear under a cardi or jacket, which I'll show in a bit. The sweater is heavy enough that I can wear it alone or over a tank top or camisole.  Below each idea, I'll show a few alternatives.

These are two pairs of shoes that I consider transitional. They are both flats, but more importantly they are more open than the boots and oxfords I had been wearing in the winter months. 

spring transitional shoes - Piece Perfect

The reason I consider these transitional is that they are made of canvas. Canvas is perfect for summer months, but not so much for the cold snowy days of January. 

Piece perfect - transitional outfit winter to spring

Taking my 3/4 length sleeve tee, I added a pair of ankle jeans. This length of pant is great for spring. It still gives you full coverage on your legs, but allows your ankles to breath and feel the fresh, albeit often nippy, spring air. 

Since layering is still essential I added my fun patterned blazer. This is a lovely piece made with light weight fabric and fully lined. It is not heavy at all, but still adds a layer of warmth.

By the time I posted this the cute leopard print was sold out! Sorry!

Piece Perfect - spring transitional pieces

Here is another possibility, just by swapping out the jacket with a open front 3/4 length sleeve cardi. I found this light weight cardi at a thrift store this past weekend when I was visiting my mom in Buffalo, NY. Besides the weight I was drawn to the circular texturing. The circles are half cut open.

Piece Perfect - transitional spring pieces

Here is an easy work outfit. Light weight dress pants, 3/4 length sleeve pullover sweater, canvas sneaks and go!

These are just a few of the transitional pieces that can help you go from winter to spring with ease, comfort and style. 

Let me know what you think of this post. Did you find this helpful. I hope that when you look into your closet you can find inspiration for new outfits to put together a great spring look. Let me know your thoughts and ideas in the the comments section. Your comments help my blog grow. And if you are not a current subscriber, but would like to receive my emails once a week be sure to click on the subscribe button. I appreciate it.

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

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

Piece Perfect - The Basic Shift Dress

I have learned so much from other bloggers. One of the things I see repeatedly on other blogs is the clothing piece we refer to as a shift dress. A shift dress is basically a straight dress, that typically falls just above the knee. The dress is not fitted, allowing room to breath and hiding a boat load of flaws. However, I think today we have many dresses that would fall into the shift dress category albeit not adhering exactly to the true definition. 

I found this blue dress at my favorite thrift store and thought, why not give it a go. 

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

This is not the typical shift dress as it is more fitted through the waist. However, I can style it in similar ways to a true shift type dress, and the price was right. Ha, ha.

I want to show you two transitional outfits using this dress. These outfits can take you from the cold days of February to the warmer days of April.

Outfit 1 - Gray Days with a Pop of Color

Piece Perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

For this simple look, I added a pair of gray leggings, gray ankle boots and a gray open front fly away cardi. The awesome thing about a shift dress is that it is so easy to style around. From throwing on a sweater or jacket, to pairing it with tights or leggings, it can take on a completely different look. Also, with this particular shift being a solid color I have so many options of how to accessorize.

Piece perfect - shift dress from winter to spring

Because we are already thinking ahead to spring and because I wanted this outfit to be a transitional outfit from winter to spring I decided to add my Flame colored accessories. For more on the Spring 2017 Pantone color line up see my collaboration post with Liz of With Wonder and Whimsy, Pantone Sneak Peek. (If you click on her website it will take you to Liz's post. If you click on the sneak peek link it will take you to my post.)

I love how the orange really pops with the dark charcoal gray and the rich navy.

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

To add just a bit more color I added this Vera Wang floral deep tote bag. 

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

Outfit 2 - Greenery is on the Way

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

As the temperatures start to climb we will want to lose our heavy leggings and ankle boots for bare legs or (for me) nude support hose and fun flats. I decided to wear the shift like a jumper and styled my Greenery popover blouse underneath.

One of the nice features of this dress is the heavier knit fabric. It allows me to style something under it without showing off wrinkles or other flaws, such as my pudgy middle. The darker navy fabric helps hide the flaws as well. 

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

To add a touch of whimsical elegance I added this long statement necklace. The white flower reminds me of Snowdrop flowers which were always the first to appear after a long winter back in Buffalo, NY where I hail from.

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

I kept my other accessories simple using a cognac colored bag and flats. 

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

Here's the whole outfit.

Piece perfect - basic shift dress winter to spring

One of the things I liked about this dress is the pockets. They would come in handy for your phone or keys and so on.

This dress will probably show up again down the road when summer gets here. Do you own a shift dress? How do you style it?

I hope you enjoyed this post. Have a great weekend.

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

Wednesday linking up with Sara and Hannah of The Perfect Storm Blog. Thursday linking up with Nicole of High Latitude Style. Friday linking up with Nancy of Nancy's Fashion Style and Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge. 

Piece Perfect - The Cropped Denim Jacket

I don't know about you, but I am thankful, January is over. It means we are a little bit closer to spring and the days are starting to get just a smidge longer! Yay! When thinking spring I start to think about outfits that can transition me out of winter. I still want to layer pieces because it is still very cold, but I want to get away from some of my heavier sweaters, jackets and boots and start thinking about lighter layers and brighter colors. 

Today's Piece Perfect post centers around a cropped denim jacket. 

Piece perfect - cropped denim jacket

I have worn this jacket in a number of posts and I will be including pics from each of those. I found this cute jacket at a thrift store, but they are very popular right now and you can find them just about any where. This particular jacket is a medium wash, has a good amount of stretch and has just a little bit of distressing. 

It has taken me a little while to warm up to the idea of clothing with rips in them, but when I found this jacket I knew it was perfect for me. The distressing is minimal and the "wounds" are showing threads, not skin. That is just my personal preference and has nothing to do with whether the clothing is appropriate or not.

Piece Perfect - cropped denim jacket

For this post, I styled the denim jacket with my leopard print skirt, a gold button up blouse, black hose and black boots. I kept the accessories minimal with my gold woven clutch and my chunky pendant necklace. 

Piece perfect - cropped denim jacket

Now that I am looking at this picture, I am wondering if a black turtleneck would have been better. what do you think? I think the necklace would have popped more and black would have hidden my bulges. Ha, ha.

A medium or dark wash denim jacket is quite versatile. You can style it casually or dress it up. Here are a few of the other outfits I styled this jacket with in the past. 

Click  here  to see this post. 

Click here to see this post. 

See the full post for the above two looks  here.

See the full post for the above two looks here.

As you can see I styled this jacket in a number of different ways. Which one is your favorite? Here are all four looks side by side. 

Each piece that I have selected over the last few months in these Piece Perfect posts is meant to serve as a source of inspiration. The reason I like the cropped denim jacket as opposed to a normal length denim jacket is that it gives the wearer a plethora of ways to style it. If you prefer a light wash or a darker wash you can still style it in many unique and fun ways. 

I hope you enjoyed this post. Tell me in the comments section which outfit you liked the best, or tell me how you like to wear a denim jacket. I appreciate all of your comments. I currently don't have a way of letting you know that I responded to your comments, but I do try to respond to everyone, just check back on the original post to see my reply. 

Be sure to check back next Tuesday for the start of my Romance is in the Air series. I'll be styling lace and velvet and other pretty things. Have a great weekend.

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull. Make up Rachel Christensen.

Shopping Options:

Cropped Denim Jackets

Macy's - $49.99 (on sale now)

JC Penney - $34.99 (on sale now)

Forever 21 - $29.90



Piece Perfect - The Navy Blazer

Today's Perfect Piece is going to be spread out over two months, because I found so many ways to style this fitted navy blazer by Ralph Lauren. Today's post will feature wearing the blazer with a dress and a skirt. Next month I will look at styling it with casual and dressy pants. 

Navy is one of those colors that can be worn with just about any other color. If you look up navy blue on the internet it shows a range of blue from what I would term royal blue to what I would call true navy. For the sake of ease I am referring to this blazer as navy, even thought it is a bit lighter than true navy.

The term blazer refers to a jacket that resembles a suit coat, but more casual. For more info on the origin of blazers see the Wikipedia article here

The three above pictures give you an overview of the fit of the blazer. Blazers can be fitted, flowy or boxy. I like a fitted blazer best because it cinches in at the waist giving me that girlish figure. Ha, ha. This blazer has a breast pocket on one side with the Ralph Lauren initials, two front flap pockets and two buttons. You can also see the split in the lower back allowing movement and flexibility. 

piece perfect - navy blazer

This blazer is also fully lined which means the lining not only covers the entire body, but the sleeves as well. The silky lining not only adds a layer of warmth, but makes it easier to slip into and out of, especially if you have long sleeve layers underneath. 

Piece Perfect - navy blazer outfit

Here is the first outfit with the blazer. I just threw it on over a striped tee shirt dress, then paired it with my navy Keds. Not to get to matchy, I carried my Lush Meadow tote bag. I accessorized with blue beads and a blue bangle. 

Piece Perfect - navy blazer outfit

Note the line where the sleeve hits my hand. It is just longer than my wrist, which is where I like most of my jackets to hit. This allows you to show just a little bit of sleeve if you have a top that you want to stick out or if you want your bracelets to show. Some people wear their sleeves longer and some shorter. I'm sure there is a standard, but in the fashion world it's more about personal preference. I also like that the initials are not overwhelming. If you look up Ralph Lauren jackets you will see that many of them have his crest on the pocket in gold. I got this at a thrift store and I am not a huge brand buyer, especially if it is advertised on the pocket, but I like the fit and look so well, that it didn't bother me that the RL was on the pocket.

Piece Perfect - navy blazer outfit

Here is the blazer paired with a skirt and sweater. The skirt has a navy, red and cream pattern, so I chose a creamy sweater with Joy printed on it. I kept my accessories in the gold/pewter line to go with the lettering on the sweater.

This will be a fun sweater to use again at the holidays. 

Here are the two looks side by side:

So what do you think of this blazer? Do you wear a blazer? How do you style it? I'd love to have your input. Just leave a comment in the comments section below.

Next month in this Piece Perfect column, I'll show you the outfits I put together pairing the blazer with a pair of dress pants and a pair of snakeskin jeans. 

Thanks so much for your support. Be sure to like and share on my Facebook page. You can also see what I've been pinning on Pinterest, and peek at some of my other outfits on Instagram. 

Have a lovely weekend!

Photo credit, Rebecca Trumbull.

Shopping for Blazers:

Ralph Lauren version - Black - Dillards - $198.00

Other brands:

JC Penney - $34.99

Target - $29.99

There are a number of navy blazers available including Ralph Lauren on Poshmark, ModCloth and eBay.

Piece Perfect - Basic Cardigan

I'm pretty sure most of us have, what I would term, a basic cardigan. What makes it a cardigan is that it serves the function of a sweater and usually has long sleeves, along with a button up or zip up front. In today's fashion world, cardigans are anything but basic. There are sleeveless, short sleeve, 3/4 sleeve and long sleeved versions. There are buttons, snaps, toggles and zippers. There are also versions that have no closures, such as tie front and fly away. They vary in length from short to long and anything in between. However, I think a wardrobe is incomplete without the basic cardi.

Today I am styling a brown cardigan two ways. I will not admit to the number of basic cardis that I have, just as I will not admit to the actual number of sweaters that are residing on various shelves throughout my home. Just don't ask my hubby. Ha, ha. For me, brown is a fairly basic fall color, so that is what I chose for my outfits.

1. A Casual Look -

basic cardigan

For this basic look I styled the brown cardi over a Spicy Mustard tee. You'll see this top again in the Pantone Fall 2016 color line up when I feature it in a few weeks. I added my comfy boyfriend jeans. 

basic cardigan

My accessories included a large multi colored tote which pulls together the browns and the yellows. I also wore a bead and antler necklace that I found on clearance at Cabela's. In keeping with the natural theme I added a simple wood bracelet. To finish off the look I wore my leopard print flats.

basic cardigan
leopard print shoes

2. A Dressed Up Look - 

basic cardigan outfit

For this look I kept the same Spicy Mustard tee and basic brown cardigan. Instead of boyfriend jeans I wore eggplant colored hose and a leopard print skirt

basic cardigan outfit

In choosing my accessories I went for the purple, gold and brown. My jewelry was mainly gold with a few clear beads. My ankle boots were brown and the small clutch pulled in the purple of my hose. 

basic cardigan outfit
basic cardigan outfit

Here's the two looks side by side.

Yes, the vine is trying to eat me! 

So there you have it, my take on styling a basic cardigan. I think a cardi is a great piece to invest in, whether you have a couple or one in many different colors. They are versatile and an easy addition to any outfit casual or dressy. 

I hope you enjoyed this piece perfect edition. Let me know what color cardi's you have in your closet. I love to have your feedback. Have a great weekend.

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull. Make up Rachel Christensen.

Shopping for Cardigans:

JCrew Factory - $32.50

Target - $15.99

Christopher and Banks - $24.00

H&M - $14.99

Saturday linking up with Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb in the Saturday Share Link Up.

Piece Perfect

I am playing with some new ideas on my blog. I feel the need to do a little more intentional posting about fashion related subjects. After all, there is so much more to fashion than just showing a picture of an outfit. Since I am truly a writer first and fashion blogger second, I thought why not put a little more emphasis on writing about fashion. I have no idea who will be interested, but the point is to use the ability I have been given, and if I can use that on an area other people are interested in, win, win! 

My intention, then, is to begin a series of monthly columns, if you will, on different fashion related topics. The first Thursday of the month I will focus on clothing pieces. 

Clothing is like a puzzle. Each outfit is a finished picture made up of a few, or many complementary pieces. An outfit is not as locked in as a puzzle, where the pieces have to go together in an exact way to make the intended picture. We have more freedom with our outfits to throw pieces together that, a few years ago, might have been considered taboo. Pairing a pair of jeans with a dress for instance (see my post of that here). We also can pair colors in an array as varied as the wildflowers along the highway (see my take here). The point is up to us. What am I trying to say with the outfit I put on this morning? If it is a jeans and sweatshirt sort of day, I am probably feeling a need for comfort. If I am wearing something I usually don't wear, I may be feeling bold or daring. This, of course, can transcend our closets and seep into our make up and accessories. I never wear red lipstick. The day I do, I will be saying, "Look at me! I have made a change and I am proud of it!" Ha, ha.

Photo credit  Rebecca Trumbull.

Photo credit Rebecca Trumbull.

Clothing is part of our language. It enables us to speak without using words. Perhaps that is why I like bright colors and fun textures. It speaks volumes about the person I am on the inside, not just the woman on the outside. Colors speak to the deep inner joy I have found in my relationship with Christ. I expect that heaven will be filled with colors I can't even imagine. Color is such a powerful form of expression. On a drab, gray, winter day I often reach for bright pink or blue to chase the blahs away. Think of your favorite place to vacation or your favorite local coffee shop or restaurant. I bet one of the reasons they appeal to you has to do with color: the blues of the ocean on a sunny day, the oranges of a log fire on a cool fall evening, the calming greens of the coffee shop walls or the dark wood of that Irish pub. Color can speak volumes. Textures can also add a dimension to our clothing language. When I am feeling girly, I reach for ruffles or lace. When I am feeling cold and want comfort I reach for a heavy cable knit or a soft cashmere sweater.

Piece Perfect will focus on different pieces in our wardrobes that can be foundational for building a great outfit. I will try to have an outfit post to go with the piece I have selected. Occasionally,  I might show pictures of the piece along with possible complementary items and accessories. I hope that you will enjoy reading this new portion of my blog and that you will come back each month as I feature a different clothing piece. The first piece I will be styling next month will be a pleated skirt. Be sure to check back the first Thursday of next month.

Leave me a comment below about the colorful places you like to visit! Until next time.