Not Your Basic (Free People Long Beach) Tank

I’ve been a hardcore fan of Free People’s clothing for many years now and I’ve seen this super popular tank around for ages. I never thought it would work for me as I’m curvier and so many of the reviewers that love it have more slender body types. Since I mainly shop online I finally got the chance to try it on recently and I was happy to find out I was WRONG!

I don’t want to be overly dramatic, but wow. I love this tank! The cut of this shirt really sets it apart from your standard “wife beater” (ugh, hate that term) tank. At only $20 (full priced) it’s by far one of the more affordable FP pieces – plus it comes in a plethora of colors. I might just have to get the “petal pink” next.

I love versatility and this tank can be styled in so many ways. I like it worn casually with a pendant necklace, tied in a knot to show a little more of the wearer’s shape, or tucked into a maxi skirt (stay tuned for an upcoming post). Great style is all about the details – and wearing clothes with confidence of course!

My necklace is from Forever 21, but it’s no longer available. I found a few affordable options here, here, and here. I rarely wear shorts as they just never seem to be comfortable, but these (slightly darker wash than what I’m wearing) and these (love the color and distressing!) are an exception. They are stretchy and so very comfy! I wouldn’t mind adding this black pair to my closet. FYI www.AE.com currently has a BOGO 50% off deal going on for shorts!

These booties are by Sam Edelman from a few years back and no longer available, but here’s an affordable look-a-like option and here’s a super high quality pair for 60-70% off! Frye makes awesome footwear that really lasts.

The clutch came with my reversible faux leather tote from Nordies and it’s the perfect size for a phone, money, a key, and some lipstick. I have had the tote for a couple of years now and it’s held up amazingly well. It comes in tons of colors and is not very pricy. I highly recommend it!

I used to be a lot more hesitant to show my arms or even a peek of my stomach but as I get older I care less and less. I am what I am and hiding under clothes is silly. Here they are world 😉

I met up with my friend Sarah in Solana Beach this past weekend and it was so dead (possibly due to the thick marine layer or the Del Mar fair) that we ended up spending most of our time “scouting locations” and shooting these pics. There are so many lovely homes and backdrops in North County San Diego that I can spend a whole day just driving or biking around and enjoying the scenery. Does that mean I’m getting old? Ha!

What’s your favorite low budget weekend activity? I’m always looking for new ideas.

Thanks for visiting!! Xoxo, Kate

Photo credit: Sarah Jordan

Spring Fling Dress, Part Deux

This pretty little number is one of the three versions (same cut, different colors/patterns) of this Sanctuary dress that I currently own. I posted about one of the other ones here. There are so many different versions available and almost all of them are on sale!

I also own the midnight garden color, which is perfect for Independence Day and it’s on sale (also available here). I really love it in the sun bleached tile, cameo pink sprout, and bluebelle as well. I haven’t seen one I don’t like! There are almost too many too choose from 😉 The shape, dual layers, and pleating at the bust and on the back are my favorite features.

Owning 3 versions of the same dress might sound like overkill, but the fit is so comfortable and flattering – plus I was able to snag them for much, much less than the original price.

I mentioned this bag (on sale for $30 right now!) in a recent post and I still love it! It really does go with just about anything and the multicolored tassel detail gives it a little something extra. Plus it can be worn in multiple ways due to the adjustable strap.

I’ve mentioned this in previous posts, but Shoptagr.com is my secret weapon for snagging the stuff I want at deep discounts. Just install a button on your web toolbar, save items that catch your eye, and they’ll alert you when they go on sale in your size. Could it get any easier?

I’ve saved massive amounts of money using this free service. Now I just can’t justify paying full price for anything. I usually will add items to my list and then when I get an alert I will have had enough time to decide if I really want it. Then I can delete it or take the plunge. It’s a good system! A cooling off period is never a bad idea when one has a budget to stick to.

These shoeties are from my recent shopping bonanza at DSW over Memorial Day weekend. I was blown away by the deals and this pair is a particular favorite. They are crazy comfortable, even at a heel height of 3.5″. I was SO tempted to buy them in grey as well, but I came to my senses. I might snap them up at some point down the line – even at full price they are only $65. Say what?!

This bracelet (also available in other colors) is a recent impulse buy and I’ve found myself wearing it a lot. I usually stick to pretty understated jewelry and let my clothes and shoes do the talking.

Speaking of accessories, this yarn belt came with a different dress, but I loved how it looked with this dress. It brought out the colors in the dress and accentuated the waist, which is always a good thing! I can see this being an easy DIY project. Just braid 2-3 pieces of yarn together and boom – you’ve got a belt.

This necklace is from INC’s Mix and Match Charm Necklace Collection from Macy’s (on sale!). You can use the chain over and over and just swap out the pendant for some variety. Once again, I love versatility! How do you get the most bang for your buck when shopping?

Thanks for stopping by! Much love, Kate

Photo credit: Sarah Jordan

Midi T-Shirt Dress

Even though I have tons of dresses (I’m not gonna lie, I have a dress obsession), I still like to feel like my clothes are versatile. While the material of this dress is pretty thin and the overall vibe is pretty casual, I wanted to see if I could make it a bit fancier by adding some dressier accessories. I’m pretty happy with the result!

This clutch is an old buy from Loft and no longer available, but here’s a similar option that’s 50% off and available in 4 colors! This one is also really nice and likely higher quality (also on sale!). The collar necklace is also old, but here’s a look-a-like option that’s on sale. And here’s the gold plated (i.e. pricey) dup.

This dress is perfect for the summer months; it’s very lightweight, but not sheer, and it dries super fast. The material has an almost faux suede-like quality to it – it feels really nice to the touch.

Forever 21 is so dangerous! The prices can’t be beat of course, but have you seen their selection of summer dresses lately? I had to force myself to close my browser before I bought the whole lot. In case you’re in the market here are the ones that I would buy, if I could: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

A midi dress can sometimes be hard to pull off, especially when one is “vertically challenged,” but I do think that they can work for everyone. The key is to hem it if needed so it doesn’t go lower than mid calf and wear some shoes that offer a little extra height. Bonus leg lengthening points if the shoe is nude like these block heel pumps.

FYI In case you’re wondering what that line across my bust is I wore this dress to the dentist’s office before snapping these pics and I didn’t notice it until I started writing this post. Whoops! I’m not gonna say it’s slobber, but I won’t say it’s not either. Haha, it could have just been a mark from my crossbody bag too 😉

Thanks for stopping by! Have a fab day!

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Wedding Season

 

This time of year many of us find ourselves with at least one wedding invitation and then we have to figure out what to wear. Considering that weddings can run the gamut from super casual to black tie, it can sometimes be tricky to chose the right wedding attire.

I recently “rediscovered” this pink maxi dress in my closet and realized it would be a great summer wedding-attending dress. While this dress is no longer available, I’ve listed a few similar options here (on sale!), here (super affordable!) here, and here (obsessed with this one and it has sleeves!).

IMO these heels are the perfect shoes for any formal-ish event. I can’t believe how comfortable they are! Plus, they are very affordable! Kelly & Katie is a new brand to me, but I’m so keeping it in mind for the future. The 3 inch heel and wider toe strap help the comfort factor a lot. They’re not real leather, but for the price I’m okay with that.

The pearl bracelet I’m wearing is from J.Crew, I bought it for my own wedding. But I found a very similar one that’s majorly on sale!  The clutch actually came free with some Victoria’s Secret lotions. It’s pretty darn cute for a freebie! I also love this trio of pouches that could easily double as clutches and this oversized clutch, which comes in 3 colors – both currently on sale! For a really dressy occasion I would carry this minaudière or this sparkly clutch. I love rose gold.

Not all invites will specify a dress code and when that happens you can usually get an idea of what’s most appropriate by taking the venue, style of invitation, and time of day into account.

For example, for a church wedding you’ll want to make sure you cover your shoulders and keep hemlines appropriate for a place of worship. This one would be a great choice. Also, if it’s a daytime wedding it’s usually a good idea to avoid wearing black and go for brighter colors instead.

I spotted this purple maxi dress, which is quite similar to the dress I’m wearing in this post. Here’s an adorable cocktail length option. And how cute is this black and white number for daytime weddings and beyond? I love a dress that can be worn for many different occasions.

Even when an invite does offer a dress code they can sometimes be hard to decipher. Here are some tips on the different terms you might encounter in order of dressiest to most casual:

White tie: floor length gown

Black tie: floor length gown or dressy knee length cocktail dress

Formal: long gown or dressy cocktail dress (keep in mind separates can work here too, as long as they’re not too casual)

Semi-formal: cocktail dress

Casual: this could be anything from BBQ attire to a cute summer dress, depending on the couple

When in doubt I say it’s better to err on the side of fancier than risk being too casual.

A knee-length cocktail dress is almost always a safe bet. My go-to place for wedding appropriate dresses is White House Black Market. They have a ton of classy options and the website even has a section for “wedding guest dresses (FYI they are all on sale right now!).”

If you have any other wardrobe related quandaries let me know in the comments. Hugs, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Going Gray/Old Navy Sale Alert

I love these pumps! I haven’t worn this kind of shoe much since I started working from home, but I’ve been catching myself finding excuses to wear these. They’re so cute! I can tell these are quality shoes too. They’re a little pricey, but I got them for over $100 off – woot (thanks DSW)!

I love the d’Orsay cut (which means the arch is exposed on one or both sides and has a low cut vamp, i.e. they show more toe), the half suede, half leather, and the height. I have a wide foot so I’ll need to break them in a bit before they are fully comfy, but I’m ok with that. They still are quite comfortable.

These jeans/jeggings are from Old Navy and a part of the “Rockstar” line. They are a few years old, but I’ve listed a few options that are currently available here: 1, 2 – I’m seriously considering buying these!, 3.

FYI Old Navy is offering 30% off today only, no code needed (the discount is applied automatically at checkout – free shipping on $50)! I really like the cut of this line, just beware that the fit can vary a lot from pair to pair, depending on the materials used and amount of lycra/spandex. Most are super stretchy so while these are a 12, I need a 10 or maybe even an 8 in certain colors.

I love a mid rise jean! I’m short waisted so you might not think they’d work for me, but they’re awesome for eliminating the dreaded muffin top! What do you like best, a low, mid, or high rise jean?

This is a tad embarrassing, but this is the 3rd (yep, third!) Vince Camuto Ayla bag I’ve bought (I already have the crossbody and satchel – both currently on sale!). I broke down and got the tote version when I spotted it on sale for over $200 off. At that price I couldn’t resist. There’s something about the braiding and overall style of the Ayla bags that I’m obsessed with. Obvi, right?! I love that this version is large enough to stow a pair of heels!

This top is an old find from Anthropologie. I shopped there a lot back when I worked downtown and they have an awesome selection of work appropriate and more casual pieces that have a lot of personality. I’ve listed some great options that are currently available here, here, and here.

Tip: go to an Anthro store on Wednesdays and shop online on Mondays to check out the “fresh cuts.” Those are the days they put out fresh sale items! I have rarely paid full price for anything at Anthro – I’m not made of money!

Normally I’d wear a cami under this shirt as it’s pretty sheer, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and go a little risque – well, risque for me anyway 😉 My limit for sheerness without a base layer is if the old belly button shows, I’m not down with that.

FYI this is not my house, but I wish it was! We took these pics in Bressi Ranch, a super cute little neighborhood close to my apartment. You’ll probably see a lot more of this little community in my upcoming posts because each house is beautiful and has so much personality – not to mention beautiful landscaping, which I am a sucker for! I can’t wait to have my own house one day, I’ll probably spend all my time in the yard.

See you next time! Xoxo, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Off the Shoulder Striped Dress/Some Flat Shoe Options

Hey there! While it hasn’t felt like summer lately, I had to take this dress (wearing size L) for a spin anyway. I love it! It’s listed as a mini on the website, but it’s long enough that it doesn’t feel scandalous, it can be worn with or without the tie, and it’s not see through so it doesn’t require a slip. It’ll be awesome for those super hot days.

I’ll likely wear this dress quit a bit this summer, the only downside I’ve found so far is that it wrinkles really easily. But hey, it’s a lot more affordable than this dress that I had been eying! I actually can’t decide which way I like it better, tied or no tie. What do you think? Accentuating the waist is normally a must, but I quite like how it looks without being cinched at the waist. Maybe I’ll try it next with a belt…

As I get older I find I want to wear heels more and more often – maybe I associate them with being “grown up?” There’s something about a good pair of heels that just makes me feel girly and want to strut my stuff! I’ve wanted to get a pair of ankle strap sandals for a loong time now, but I guess I had the idea in my head that they wouldn’t be comfortable or I wouldn’t get much use from them.

I only bought these ankle strap heels on Memorial Day weekend (during my DSW shopping spree – the sales were crazy good!), but I can already tell I’ll wear them a lot. I’m asking myself why I waited so long! The key is treating them like jeans and trying on a ton of options until you find the right one. I tried on what felt like a million different versions of this shoe and this pair was the clear winner of the bunch.

The wider straps on these heels is what I think makes them more comfortable, plus they are under 4″, which is just too high for me to wear for any length of time. And they go with EVERYTHING! They are faux leather, so we’ll see if they hold up, but so far so good!

I know heels are not for everyone and I got a request for some ideas for cute, work appropriate flats. I found a ton on DSW’s website! I don’t wear flats all that much, unless it’s a summery sandal, because I tend to get blisters with flats. I’m considering buying a few pairs of flats now though, look how cute these (1 – perfect for work and they have great reviews, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 – great for dresses!, 7, 8, 9) are! I even found a lower heeled version of the pumps featured in my next post!

Don’t mind me, I’m just admiring the view – lol!

See you later! Love, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Making June Gloom a Little Less Gloomy

Can you believe it was 64 degrees when we shot these pics? That feels crazy as so many places are getting hot right now. However, it was a great opportunity to pull out my Free People “Malibu” thermal one last time before it warms up. FYI Nordies still has brown in stock for only $40 and this site has a bunch of colors, almost all of which are on sale!

I also have the “Sunset Park” and I almost bought the “Kate.” Free people makes great thermals and they come out with a new version each year. I love how the back of this thermal just hangs. It’s also extremely comfortable. Just make sure to hand wash it or use a washing bag to keep it from fraying like crazy.

Almost all FP stuff tends to be oversized so if you don’t size down the neckline can dip a little low. I like to wear a lacy cami underneath so it can peek out a bit and my new cami from Express was perfect! I saw it’s only available in M in black right now, but the “chianti” and “cardinal red” are both cute and still available. Here’s an affordable option that would probably be great for layering.

These low block heel pumps are not a style I would normally go for, but since they were an exact match for my skin tone, have a flattering pointy toe, and I found them in the clearance section of DSW over Memorial Day weekend I just couldn’t resist taking them home with me. They are so darn comfortable I can see myself wearing them quite a bit. Probably next time with a dress.

My jeans are from a while ago, but AE still offers some very similar styles. This one is the closest to mine (40% off and still available in a few sizes), this is a cute cropped option (currently 50% off), and this is a similar pair without the rips (40% off, only a few sizes available).

Keep in mind that the distressing varies from jean to jean so the rips/distressing might look a little different than the pictures online. I love a cropped or ankle jean for showing off great footwear!

What’s your go-to gloomy day outfit?

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great day!

Photo credit: Leo Amar

 

Turquoise Ankle Strap Heels

 

I’ve never owned a pair of shoes from Adrienne Vittadini, but I snagged this “Neni” pump (available in 5 colors) from DSW’s clearance section for a steal! I was stoked to find out DSW sometimes does sales where they take an additional % off of the already twice reduced clearance prices. I have a feeling I’ll be going back when they offer a sale like that again!

I used to avoid ankle strap heels as my ankles are – let’s just say sturdy – and I’d always heard that they visually shorten the leg. While that may be true, I LOVE this pair! Isn’t the scallop detail adorable?

Luckily the height of these heels is manageable. I just can’t wear anything higher than 3.5-3.75 inches for very long. Comfort is too important to me. And hobbling around in pain or because you feel like you’re wearing stilts is just not a good look. Not to mention it makes it hard to feel confident. Wearing clothes confidently is imperative for looking stylish!

My dress is older and no longer available, but have you checked out the Eva Mendes Collection from New York & Company? There are some seriously cute pieces! And they are quite affordable. This blouse and matching skirt caught my eye. I’ve never really bought matching separates, but I can see how it would allow for tons of styling options.

I’m not usually one to go for boldly patterned pants, but how cute is this palazzo pant? This maxi skirt reminds me of a style of skirt Free People sells – at a much lower price point. And I wouldn’t mind adding this dress and this dress to my closet! Not to mention the cute accessories. Random side note, but doesn’t Eva look crazy similar to Sophia Loren?

This jacket is also an older find from Nordstrom Rack (if you have the patience, scouring the racks in-store really pays off! But you can find great stuff online too), so it’s not currently available. Here (1, 2, 3, 4) are a few faux leather jackets that I really like. The bonus is that many of them are discounted due to the changing weather – plus Nordies always offers free shipping!

I’m obviously not a famous blogger, so a professional photog is out of the question. Thank goodness my husband is ah-mazing and takes my pics for me. He used to dread our shoots, but now he’s started giving me notes on poses and whatnot, experimenting with different angles, and even freely offering his thoughts on which pics I should use for this blog. Isn’t he the best?!

Until next time my friends – be well!

Photo credit: Leo Amar