Monday, October 28, 2013

My Fall 2013 Fashion Must-Haves

So, it's no big surprise that I love clothes.  I love shopping, I love buying, I love accumulating.  I love writing down each new piece I get and making lists of new outfits to try (I seriously do this and have since high school!  I used to have a notebook simply devoted to outfit ideas.  Actually, I still do).  I have worked in retail/fashion since I was 15.  Even being a stay at home mom (and now small business owner!), it still plays a part in my life.  It's only fashion, but I like it. :)

But, being a stay at home mom, I don't need a lot of new clothes every season, and besides that, we have THREE KIDS that we need to outfit as well, and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say that I would always rather my kids have nice, new cute clothes than myself!  Plus, they have to have new clothes every season, since they are growing, and actually need them, not just want them, like me!  So, for the past few years, each season I make a short list of necessities.  Items that I want to purchase for myself over the course of the season for sure.  I may get a few more (or not), or may not even get everything, but it serves as a guideline for me to focus that money that I do have for myself on items I really want and will get a lot of wear out of, rather than spur of the moment impulse buys.

So, I though that each season I would share my personal fashion "must-haves!" These are pieces that I think will tie together well with other items already in my closet, are very versatile, and will get worn over and over.  Again, since I don't buy many new pieces each season, it is imperative that what I do buy will work with a lot of what I already have.  And P.S.- nothing that I bought was over $50!  I love shopping, but I do not love spending a ton of money!

So, enough talk!  Onto the clothes! 

1. Aztec Cardigan
I am not one for heavy coats once the weather gets cold.  I am pretty hot natured, so my coat will go on and off, it's bulky in the car, and usually when I get inside a store, or wherever I'm going, after unloading the kids, the stroller, retrieving whatever I've forgotten, I'm burning up!  So I wear layers.  I wear lots of cardigans especially, so when I saw all these new aztec-print cardigans this fall, I was pumped.  I love the print, and I love how there are so many neutral colored ones that can be paired with a lot.  I bought mine from Groop Dealz (they have had some version of the aztec cardigan on their deal site for weeks) for about $25 and I LOVE it.  Mine is very similar to this one pictured, and I have already worn it at least 3 times.  It's great over a black dress, over a black tunic and black pants with brown boots, and I'll be pairing it with jeans and a white t shirt as soon as I get the laundry done, Ha!  I think it'll be cute over my chambray shirt dress, and even with green or red skinny jeans.  Overall, I think it's a versatile layering piece that I will wear during the entire cold weather season.

2. Brown Ankle Boots
I was a little hesitant to jump on the ankle boot trend that started a few years ago.  I was afraid that with my short legs, ankle boots would make me look even shorter.  But, as I have learned, as long as they're paired with the right type of bottom (and more importantly, as long as the boots and the bottoms hit in the correct spot on your legs) they can be really cute!  I love how a pair of ankle-length skinny jeans look with an ankle boot, with just a sliver of ankle skin showing.  I also really like how leggings look tucked into a pair of ankle boots that have a wide-opening.  In both instances, the ankle (being the thinnest part of your leg) can be highlighted.  I bought these from Shoe Dazzle, and joined the VIP membership club, so I got them for 50% off!  Also, this is a GREAT link for ideas on how to wear ankle booties if you're still a little unsure.  My go-to is the rolled hem. :)

3. Brown Lace Up Boots
I am a sucker for knee high boots.  And I'd like to invest a larger sum of money into a really nice, quality pair to wear over and over every year, but I just know myself too well.  I know that I would spend $300 on a pair of beautiful boots, only to want a different pair next year.  Yes, I would love and wear my $300 boots, but I would still want to buy the newest and coolest new pair.  So instead, I buy cheap boots every year.  Not cheap looking boots, just inexpensive.  It takes some searching, but the ones I found that I love are from Modcloth, and were $50 (I cannot find the ones I got on the website anymore, but they are very similar to these)!  I love this lace-up style that seems to be everywhere this fall.  The ones I got seem to me to be more of a riding boot style than a combat boot style.  I have already worn them a bunch, with jeans, dresses, olive skinnies and khaki skinnies, and love them.  Just another variation on the riding boot, which I wear almost daily during the winter.

4. Boyfriend Jeans
Now don't get me wrong, I love skinny jeans (espeically the stretchy variety :)), but AHHHH!  Some relief!!!!!  Boyfriend jeans are about the most comfortable jeans ever.  Relaxed through the hip and thigh (which happen to be my "trouble areas"), they are laid back and cool, look cute with ankle boots or ballet flats, and instantly look cute with a striped t shirt.  You can dress them up with wedges, that same striped shirt and a fitted blazer for an understated sexy look!  And when I am going for "sexy" (which BELIEVE ME is not very often these days), I prefer understated to overt.  So, a pair of jeans you can wear as easily to the playground as on a date?  Oh, AND they're not squeezing my chunky legs??  Yep, I'm in.  By the way, both Target and the Gap have super cute pairs.  The Target ones are $30, and I got the Gap ones (the Sexy Boyfriend style) on sale for $35.  I never buy anything at Gap full priced.  They almost always have a sale or a coupon or something out there.

5. Gray Cowl Scarf
I actually bought a gray cowl last year with some Christmas money.  I wore it pretty much daily after that.  Like I said above, I don't like wearing big heavy coats, so the cowl provided a lot of warmth on those cold days I still needed to go out.  Plus, they are super cozy and always made me feel like I was snuggling up in a handknit blanket.  Check Etsy for some beautiful handmade ones.  There are some really expensive ones ($95??  Not gonna happen), but also some moderately priced ones that are very affordable.  Mine was about $40, and I didn't mind paying a little bit more than I typically would for a scarf, since I was supporting a fellow Etsy artisan. :)

6. Olive Military Jacket
I feel like the military jacket is the jean jacket of the fall.  Olive green can be just as versatile as denim, and with other autumn colors, like brown, mustard, eggplant, gray, navy, orange, etc., it looks dynamite.  There are so many different silhouettes, but the one I like the best is about hip-length, with a bit of a nipped waist.  It's a little more fitted than a typical boxy jean jacket, and so it gives what would typically be a very masculine look a dose of femininity.  I think it looks great with a basic t shirt, with a collared shirt layered with a crew neck sweater, or over a flowy dress with tights and (what else?) boots.  I was lucky to have snatched one up from Charlotte Russe two years ago that I LOVE and that is still on trend.  It actually has a hood and a drawstring waist, but still works as well with jeans as it does with dresses.

7. Nude Ballet Flats
I am on the hunt for some new nude ballet flats.  My favorite pair that I've had for probably 8+ years have finally bit the dust, and I need some new ones.  For casual looks, other than boots, my go-to shoes are ballet flats.  I have a few pairs of tennis shoes that I like okay, but ballet flats fit my style better.  I'm just more comfortable in them.  And needless to say, nude flats go with everything.  So this one is not as much about trend as it is about necessity and wardrobe building!  Now, please tell me where I can find some for a decent price!!!  I have had no luck so far.  And actually, I may even be willing to invest on a nicer pair of these since I know I will wear them until they fall apart.

8. Red Lipstick
I consider makeup an accessory.  It can improve an outfit, compliment an outfit or distract from an outfit just like a scarf, a pair of earrings, a purse, or really anything else!  With all the very neutral and earthy colors I am very into this fall, I am dying for a pop of color somewhere.  Something interesting.  So, I will add my pop of color through lipstick!  I love red lipstick anyway, and though it can be hard to find the right shade, and can be uncomfortable to wear sometimes, i really do think anyone can wear red.  Maybe not true, opaque red, but a sheer red lipgloss, a brick or a coral as opposed to straight-out-of-the-crayon-box red.  The red I like is Maybelline Very Cherry, which is a creamy blue-ish red.  I actually put it on before I take all of my "What I Wear Wednesday" pictures.  It's not totally in your face red, and I apply just a little and blend it, but it certainly adds color where I need it.  Plus, I think red lipstick is just classic and looks put together, even when you're not (which is why I like to wear it)! :)

9. Striped Longsleeve Shift Dress
Anyone that knows me knows that I love dresses.  And since it doesn't get ridiculously cold here, you can really wear them all throughout the fall and winter.  Right now I am really into shift dresses, and accessorizing with scarves and necklaces instead of belts.  I have seen several striped dresses that I love that can be worn in so many different ways that I just love.  I got this one to wear to Ben's birthday party (and am seriously considering going back and getting the other two colors), and this similar one from the Gap.  You can wear them with leggings, tights, boots, booties, sandals, ballet flats, converse, with a cardigan, a jean jacket, a military jacket, a scarf, a belt, a long necklace, and make a hundred different outfits out of it.  I like the neutral colors, so you can incorporate pretty much any other bright color you want.  Dress it up with heels and a blazer, dress it down with flats and a ponytail, and you have an outfit for pretty much any occasion.

10. Statement Necklace
Oh, the statement necklace.  You'd think that after buying one in every style in every freakin' color of the rainbow over the summer that I would be done with them, but I cannot resist a new style.  I love some of the new ones that I have seen that are more of  bib style, with more natural/earthy colored stones, than the candy-colored bubble necklaces of the summer (don't get me wrong, I love those too, like I said, every color of the rainbow).  I also really like the large rhinestone bibs that by themselves are very formal, but worn with a chambray button up, or a gray v neck tee, can be just as appropriate for a playdate as a night out.  I will certainly be sticking with my favorite go-to deal websites, Jane (formerly Very Jane), Groop Dealz, Sassy Steals, and Simple Addiction for these necklaces, as I refuse to pay more than $20 (and that's even a stretch, usually my MAX is $15!) for trendy pieces, again, because I like to have a bunch of them! :)

So, those are my fall must-haves.  Hopefully with these 10 items (and maybe a few fillers :)), I can be satisfied with a versatile fall wardrobe that can be incorporated with what I already have in my closet.  What do you think?  What do you agree with?  What would you add or subtract?  And what are YOUR fall must-haves?

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