Achieving the “Cool Girl Look” with Harem Pants

I’m not gonna lie, harem pants are a little hard to pull off. Between the baggy fit and somewhat awkward length they are not the most flattering of pants. However, they do say “yeah, I know I’m cool.” I recently had someone ask me about the tops that pair best with harem pants so I thought others might struggle with the same thing and it might make a good post.

You may notice that I’ve pushed them up my leg a bit in these shots, rather than leaving them to fall naturally – as in the picture above. This is because where it falls on the leg really matters when it comes to achieving the most flatting result. I personally like to have a good amount of room between my shoes and the hem, but others might find that they prefer them hem to almost touch their shoes.

The takeaway here? Play with it. I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again -personal style is all about the details!

This particular pair is pretty old, but you can still find them in a few patterns and sizes on Poshmark and ebay. It’s a style that Free People keeps offering in different variations. This one is currently on sale and has a lot of great reviews! Just note, many of the reviewers suggested sizing down.

I’ve spent plenty of time on the web looking for the perfect top to wear with these pants and I’ve tried numerous types of tops with them and here are my top picks: a bodysuit (the exact one I’m wearing – love how cheap it is! Although it is quite thin so be warned. Here’s a shaper option), a crop top (on sale!), or a tucked in tee or tank. The key is to highlight the waist since the pants are billowy and lack structure.

If you’re not stick thin it’s also important to wear a heel with harem pants to achieve the most flattering result. I’m wearing these and looove them! So affordable and surprisingly comfy. BTW these sunnies are a fav of mine and they are half off right now!

I used to think bodysuits were only for for those with “perfect bodies.” I now realize there’s no such thing – if you don’t believe me ask a friend you think has a perfect body and they’ll likely tell you multiple things they don’t like about their body…sigh.

I say wear what makes you feel confident and beautiful. Don’t be afraid to branch out. Fashion should be fun!

Clothes really do affect one’s attitude – look at these poses! I was obviously feeling the cool vibe of this look.

Thanks for stopping by! I hope you come back soon! Lots of love, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

FP Simone Cami/Wardrobe Trick

How cute is this floral cami from Free People? Get it here for under $25! Also available here (also on sale!). There is a red and black version that’s really cute as well. It’s actually a floral pattern, but for some reason I always think of palm trees when I see it. What about you?

I found a very similar tank, also from Free People – note the lower cut back and thicker straps (great for wearing with a regular/non strapless bra!). Both are nice options for those who want to camouflage a little tummy.

On this day I wore my cami with my super old denim skirt, but I’m really looking forward to wearing it with my white shorts. How cute would that combo be? White shorts are a summer staple! FYI American Eagle is offering a 50% discount on all their shorts right now (online only)!

These shoes are an old purchase from INC International Concepts (a fav brand) and no longer available, but I found these (love!!), this black pair, and this sparkly option. Good news – they are all on sale! A low wedge is the perfect way to add a little height without sacrificing comfort.

Random thought, but how funny is it that my hair looks black or blonde/light brown, depending on the lighting? Oh well, I guess it is about time to get some new highlights. Am I the only one who waits as looong as possible to get my hair did? I love my stylist (Toi at Hair by Stacie in Miramar), but I just can’t be bothered to drive down there more than once a year. Besides I wear my hair up pretty much all the time throughout summer. *shrug*

My Vince Camuto Ayla bag went really well with this look. I’m still in love with it! It holds the perfect amount of stuff. I can fit my big zippered wallet AND my sunglasses case, in addition to a compact and some other small items. I love that it can also be worn crossbody. This girl needs options 😉

Speaking of options, do you ever find yourself thinking – what the heck do I have to wear? I have a feeling all of us have been there. My trick for always having some inspo available is to save the online images of the clothes I buy in an album within my pictures on my phone. I can sometimes forget about the things I have so this is AWESOME to remind me of what I have and get me thinking about how I might combine things. It’s also a way to avoid overbuying items similar to what you already own. It’s like a low rent version of Cher’s closet situation from Clueless – anyone else remember that? If only!

How adorable is this fence btw? You know how you’ll buy a car and then all of a sudden you see a zillion cars just like yours, when before you didn’t really notice all that many? I’ve always enjoyed good landscaping and nature in general, but since starting this blog I’ve found myself noticing an amazing amount of awesome backdrops for photo shoots. They are everywhere!

Have a fab day y’all! Stay cool!

Photo credit: Leo Amar

The Perfect Sweater/Curate Your Closet Exercise

Hello! I hope you’re enjoying this holiday week – I sure am!

Can you describe your style in 3-5 words? If not, you might enjoy this excerpt from the “Curate Your Closet” workbook I’ve developed. It takes you through a six step process to hone in on or develop your personal style and then create a closet that will get you excited every time you peek inside. Isn’t that the holy grail of dressing? It is in my book!

Here’s the exercise:

Which 3 (or more) adjectives describe your personal style? If you’re not sure, replace the word “style” with “personality.” What we wear is the first indication others have of who we are on the inside, after all. 

Once you have your key words you can then use them as a double check before buying anything new. Ask yourself if the item you have in mind fits with your key words/overall style.

If the item you have in mind doesn’t seem to fit, ask yourself if it’s something that you’re really excited about. If so, put it on hold, add it to an online wish list, make make a note on paper about it and sleep on it, or just buy it if you feel you can’t live without it.

If it’s not something that excites you it’s likely best to move on. You’ll usually known within a few days if it’s a “must buy” or not. This approach has saved me a lot of buyer’s remorse. Who needs that?!

This Free People Sweater (on sale!) is such a “Kate” piece. Not only is it pink, which is a girly color that I love, but it’s comfy, effortlessly chic (at least I like to think so), and classic with a touch of edge. Those are the key words that best describe my overall style so of course I had to snap it up when I saw that it was over 50% off. I’m so glad I did, I can’t stop wearing it!

These sunnies (listed as purple on the site for some reason) are a departure from my go-to aviator, but I’ve found myself really liking them and wearing them quite a bit. They are super lightweight, which is nice since they don’t end up sliding down my face like some other pairs, the subtle cat eye shape is flattering on just about everyone, and the pink reflective lenses are just plain fun. Don’t they just scream “summer?” If you see any shades you like on www.NoraNYC.com here’s a code to get 10% off: NewShades

My shorts are from last year, but here’s a very similar option from this year and here is a high waisted option with a shorter inseam if you really want to show off those stems.

The cami you see peeking out underneath the sweater is the same one from this post. It’s still available in 3 colors. It’s perfect for the hot days of summer.

I got this bag earlier in the summer and it’s already sold out, but here are some super cute straw bags that won’t break the bank. I love all the cute details! You could also DIY a bag like this by getting a basic straw bag and adding your own tassels. The tassels on this one are removable so you might see them again in some other form. Versatility is another one of my key words.

These wedges are really old, but here is a similar pair that’s on sale. This wedge is awesome and comes in 2 colors. I also really like the ankle tie on this one (both are on sale!).

Would you like to see more excerpts from my workbook? If so, please let me know in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by! Love, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

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

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

 

FP True to You Maxi Skirt

I can’t even tell you how much I love this skirt (on sale!)! It’s so light and airy; it feels great when I walk around. I love that it has an elastic waist – most of the maxi skirts Free People puts out don’t have this feature and for me it’s a must. Comfort is key! Isn’t the tassel detail cute? We shot these pics on a particularly cloudy day so it’s a little hard to tell, but it has a built in half slip as it’s a tiny bit sheer.

It’s also offered in dark blue. I had a hard time deciding between the two when I was determining how to use my gift card. I got it in a size larger than I would normally just to make sure it wasn’t restrictive so it’s a lot longer on my 5’7 frame than it is on the models online, but it ended up being perfect when worn at the natural waist with a lower heel.

I’ve had this maxi skirt for a while so I’ve already worn it a few ways. It looks super cute with a tank in a complementary color with a lace bralette peeking out on a warm day, with a chunky knit sweater on a cold day, or like I wore it here with a basic white tee. This one is a favorite. It’s very comfy and I like that the pocket isn’t too droopy. Those can sometimes look a little strange/sloppy on me.

I’m short waisted so maxi skirts can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. If I wear it at my natural waist with a tucked-in top it can make me look disproportionate, but by pulling them hem out a little and making it into a curve it keeps me from looking like I don’t have a midsection.

A crop top (if you dare!) can also work really well with maxi skirts. I have one very similar to this one and it works great. I also like this one and this one. A bodysuit (love this one for it’s smoothing properties!) is also a good option.

I used to stick to one type of metal at a time, but I’ve come to enjoy mixing metals. Isn’t this bracelet cute? I love rose gold and it’s only $8! I thought it complemented the pinky tones of the skirt quite well.

There’s something about maxi skirts that makes me feel extra feminine. What makes you feel girly? That’s my “what do you think?” look below. 😉

Have a fab day!

Photo credit: the awesome Mr. Leo Amar

All Out Comfort Without Sacrificing Style

Like any other girl I have days when I just want to be as comfortable as possible. I very rarely sacrifice comfort for a cute look anyway, but certain times of the month (ahem) I want to basically live in my pj’s (you can probably relate!). In order to avoid looking like I actually am wearing pajamas I usually reach for my absolute favorite leggings, an oversized tee, and a plaid shirt.

If paying $50+ for leggings scares you (I get it, I thought that way at first too), keep in mind these are thick enough to avoid the dreaded VPL, they suck you in without being uncomfortable, and they are equally suited to working out and lounging. Tip: check Nordstromrack every so often, they usually have quite a few discounted Zella options. I am allergic to paying full price and I’ve scored some great deals there!

This plaid shirt is made by B.P. (Nordstrom’s junior line – nope, I am not ashamed to shop the juniors section in my 30’s) and no longer available, but if you have the budget for it PAIGE and Rails make awesome plaid button downsCaslon, Sanctuary, and American Eagle are my go-to’s as they are at a lower price point, but still high quality.

I discovered Free People’s 757 tee a few years ago and fell so hard for the style that I bought it in 5 (!!) colors when they went on sale. Sadly they are no longer widely available, but this one (70% off!) and this one (I have it in white and love it!) are also great options. This particular one was a Poshmark find – I’ve had such great luck finding items there that are out of stock at the major retailers.

It’s funny how often people tell me I’m “dressed up,” yet I’m wearing the most casual of outfits. Seriously, what’s more casual than jeans or leggings and a tee? I think they’re reacting to the fact that even my casual clothes have a little something special about them. I know myself well enough to realize that even my most basic clothes have to get me excited if I want to actually wear them. Do you find yourself returning to the same  favorite items over and over as well?

IMO the highest style achievement one can make is getting to the point where they enjoy wearing – and feel confident in – everything in their closet. I am proud to say I am finally there and it’s ah-mazing! How do you feel when you look in your closet? If you could use a little help developing your personal style or refining your wardrobe give me a shout in the comments. I’ve developed a workbook you might find helpful.

Have a wonderful day and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses 🙂

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Free People Sequin Slip Dress

This summer dress is so versatile and easy to wear. Not only does it have sequins (what girl doesn’t like a little sparkle??), but it works as a beach coverup, a day dress, or a going out dress. I bet this could even work as a maternity dress if one isn’t too far along!

Free People’s dresses are almost always meant to be oversized, but that leads to the risk of being overexposed, especially if you’re not model-thin. If you check out the link above you’ll see what I mean. Luckily I’ve been able to just size down, like I did in this dress. It worked out great!

It’s no longer available in black, but they have “amber” and “dogwood” (aka red) versions available on Free People’s website. Both colors seem really rich from the pics online.

It is on the sheer side, as it’s technically a slip, but you can wear a bodysuit (how gorgeous is this one?!), a bathing suit, or a slip underneath to add some coverage.

I have FP’s seamless romper in black and ivory and I wear them a good bit. They are super soft and a great option for a base layer for dresses, just be warned – they don’t have an opening at the crotch so you have to take it all off to go to the bathroom. It’s not that big of a deal for me as they are really stretchy.

Since this dress is already embellished I wanted to keep the shoes relatively simple and my Sam Edelman Gigi sandals (some colors are currently on sale!) in “gold boa” fit the bill nicely. They are very comfortable! www.samedelman.com always offers free shipping too 🙂

I consider them to be my airport shoes, since they slip on and off so easily and can be worn all day with no pain. I’ve had the same pair for many years now and they still look great. I’m considering buying another pair – they have a ton of colors! FYI Amazon sometimes sells them for as little as $20, depending on the size and color.

I dare you not to twirl in this pretty dress!

What’s your favorite kind of sparkle?

xoxo, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Patterned Tunic Dress

When I find an item of clothing I love I buy it in a few colors/patterns. I can’t help myself!

This is the same Free People “Penny Lane” tunic/dress I wrote about back in February. It’s no longer available through the major retailers, but there are still a few out there that can be purchased through ebay and Poshmark.  Note: it runs pretty big so I would size down for the most flattering fit. I’m wearing a M here and a S in the red version from February. It’s a lot of material so I usually belt the M one.

I’ve listed some similar-ish FP dresses here, here, and here. There’s never a shortage of cute, boho dresses at www.freepeople.com!

I love how a good dress requires so little effort. You just throw it on and suddenly you look put together. The bonus of this dress is that I can be comfy all day long – no zippers or constricting waistbands here! However, since it’s on the short side it can show a little too much when the wind blows or you bend over so I always wear my bloomers underneath.

You can buy Free People knockoffs pretty easily these days through places like www.Milanoo.com and Forever 21, but I find that I prefer to wait for the real deal to go on sale. The extra little details are what make their items special and most of my FP pieces have held up. They just need a little care when laundering.

On that note: have you ever tried laundry wash bags? They are amazing! Anytime I have an item that snags other clothes or is super delicate (it’s great for bras, etc.) I just throw it in a laundry wash bag and wash it on cold/delicate it keeps it nice and safe. But still read those wash instructions, some materials just shouldn’t be washed no matter what.

I felt like I needed to wear my FP matador hat with this dress to go all out boho. I always run into an issue when I’m heading indoors wearing a hat…do I take it off? Do I leave it on and feel vaguely uncomfortable? What do you think? First world problems, eh? Haha!

I’ve worn this dress with many types of shoes (knee high black boots, sandals, wedges, etc.), but I think I like it best with these (cheap) peep toe booties. I was blown away by how comfy they are! I can walk in them all day long, no problem. Comfort is SO important to me. I find I rarely wear shoes/clothes if they aren’t comfortable. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I loved this spot, it’s actually only a few blocks from my apartment. I live in a great area where there are beautiful houses and amazing gardens. I am a lucky girl, it offers a never-ending supply of backdrops for my pics, not to mention great scenery for my daily walks!

While we were taking these pics we spotted a cute little hummingbird, but he had zero interest in me. He flew off as soon as I got close. Duh, right? I guess I was hoping for a Snow White moment or something. Maybe next time 😉

Have a fab day! Xoxo, Kate

Photo credit: Leo Amar

Free People Babydoll

Is it possible to have too many Free People dresses? Based on my closet I’d have to say no way!

I have been tempted to buy some FP knockoffs at times (just search “boho” at www.Forever21.com and you’ll see what I mean), but I find that FP dresses have the extra little details that I really love.

Take this dress for example, I love the braided detail and the fact that it is fully lined. Plus the material is really nice – I find I gravitate toward the items in my closet that just feel good on. Is that true for you too? I’ve had this dress for a while, so it’s sold out in yellow, but it’s still available in ivory and black in Medium (65% off and under $40!). Ebay also has both colors in additional sizes available. I also have the red version and I love that one too!

We took these pics on the way home from my dad’s birthday brunch and we were a little rushed, so unfortunately we didn’t get any good pictures of the back. It probably looks best on smaller busted ladies who can get away with wearing no bra or a bralette, but this lady needs support! Since I have to wear a bra with it I just make sure it’s a pretty/complimentary color so it looks intentional.

I paired it with my vintage Coach purse that I got from www.Poshmark.com. It’s a classic and still in great shape. I have a feeling I’ll buy more vintage/used higher end bags in the future. In addition to PM, you can find designer used bags at www.tradesy.com and www.trendlee.com to name a few. It can save a bundle!

It’s tempting to throw a jean jacket over all of my daytime dresses, but I liked the way this looked with my American Rag jacket. It’s from a few seasons ago and sold old, but the new versions are here and here. I’m impressed by the quality for the price!

Again, I find that it’s the little details that make this jacket stand out. The drawstring at the waist offers some shape, the hood is actually functional, and the shoulder detail is super cute.

My shoes are also old and no longer available, but I’ve linked some similar-ish options here (love these!!) and here (I want these too!).

Thanks for visiting!! Xoxo, Kate

Photo credit: (Leo Amar)