Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ask me anything: fashion + style

This is the last installment of this round of Ask Me Anything. You can find previous answers to various other questions (med school, budgets, boyfriends) here. Have any questions you'd like to ask but hasn't been answered? Let me know in the comments!

If you could only shop at one store what would it be?

That's a tough one, because it depends on what I'm shopping for! If I'm shopping for school/work clothes, I would probably choose Banana Republic, just because their stuff has always held up very well for me. If it was for non-school clothes, I would probably choose Madewell (just look at this dress and tell me it's not perfect). 

What's a fashion "don't" that you've done? (Either because now you regret wearing it, or because you actually don't think it's a "don't".) Clothes worn before the age of 16 don't count! :)

It's not a real fashion "don't" but I do regret trying to do neon. I just am not a neon person! Other things: belting everything, too distressed jeans, and platform heels.

Have you ever participated in minimalist fashion challenges? Why or why not?

I haven't. At heart, I'm not a minimalist. I like my stuff! But I have been working on buying less. I'm not always successful, but I've been documenting my shopping habits for years now, and I do think I'm getting better. I have a few more thoughts on minimalist/capsule wardrobes here!

I know you're a big fan of The Limited's Exact Stretch Pants. Do you dry clean them or will they survive the washing machine?

I stick them in the washing machine. I do wear them several times before I wash them (I very rarely wear my school clothes for longer than 4 hours a day), and I've recently started taking them to the dry cleaner just to get them pressed. I don't have a large ironing board, so ironing them myself is kind of a hassle, so I just pay the $2 for the dry cleaner down the road to do it.

What are your top three closet staples?

Flattering pants (for me that's dark skinny jeans and black straight dress pants), a blouse you can re-wear several different ways, and comfortable but cute flats (like my cognac flats I've been wearing for several years).

What are your favorite places to shop?

The mall where I live is very small, so I do almost all my shopping online. I really like Loft (even though I hate the high shipping minimum!), Madewell (you can get pretty good deals on the sales), J.Crew, and Gap/Banana Republic. Pretty basic mall stores, but I'm pretty basic ;)

Ankle or knee high boots?

Knee-high all the way. I havne't really figured out how to do the ankle boot thing yet! I love my Frye boots, and the black Vince Camuto boots have been a real staple all winter long (I'm wearing them right now!

Best fashion tip when it comes to work/school outfits?

Find items you can mix and match, and then have a few fun pieces to throw in. Most of my tops are ones I can wear several different ways with different bottoms, and that makes it easier to re-wear your items. Also, find a "uniform" that you can throw on when you don't feel like putting thought into your outfit! For me it's black straight pants, a simple blouse, and a scarf. I barely have to think about it, but it looks pulled together!

I hope this isn't too personal, but what sizes do you typically wear? It appears our body shapes are very similar and I was just curious :)

I wear between a 10 and a 12, depending on where I'm trying things on. I wear mediums-larges in tops.

Heels or flats?

Flats! I'm 5'9'', so I don't really need the extra height. But I do love my wedges for when I want to look a little dressier :)

You seem to be one of those fashion bloggers who knows when to spend a little more on quality clothes. I'm still trying to figure out which stores and brands are worth the price, especially for classic pieces. Which pieces are worth spending more on and where would you suggest shopping for each item? I know you love your JCrew Schoolboy blazer and you have a few nicer pairs of shoes (the best place to splurge in my opinion).

Spending a bit more on items is something I still struggle with. I always want to get the most mileage out of my budget and I get all itchy when I am about to spend a large amount of it on one thing. Things that I think are worth spending more money on are jeans (I found my Madewell jeans on the sales rack, but I would pay full price for another pair if I needed them!), shoes that you wear every day (my cognac pair are going on 2 years now), and outerwear. Basically things that you will wear for years. Like you said, I've had my schoolboy blazer for almost three years now, and I'll still have it three years from now. It just isn't going to go out of style. Things where I save my money is on accessories (you probably won't wear them more than a season or two), and certain trendier tops.

What's the next big money item you're saving for?

For the past two years, I've been putting a little bit of every blogging paycheck away into a savings account. By the time I graduate, right before my 30th birthday, I should have enough money in it to buy a Chanel bag. I don't know if I'll ever actually go through with buying it at that point, but that's the big ticket item I'm saving for (over 4 years!).

What are your favorite drugstore makeup products?

I use this L'Oreal mascara primer underneath my Better Than Sex mascara, I really love this Revlon stain in Honey - it adds just the right amount of color! I also swear by this Blistex lip balm - it's the only one I feel actually helps my lips. I really only buy Essie nail polish - my favorites are marshmallow (the perfect soft white), go ginza (the prettiest lilac that has real staying power), and my newest favorite is minimalistic (a really nice soft pink - see it here!).

What are your favorite higher end makeup products?

I have probably re-purchased this liquid eyeliner 20 times - it lasts quite a long time, it never flakes off, and it doesn't dry out. I now swear by the Better than Sex mascara. I also really like this foundation (apparently it's a BB cream but it really has a bit more coverage) - I use it with my beauty blender, and it takes all of 45 seconds to even out my skin.

What's your pet fashion peeve?

People who are overdressed (like at the library) or underdressed (leggings are not professional wear). I think there is a pretty large middle ground for both situations, so it's strange when people end up on the way opposite side of that spectrum!

How about a beauty question - How do you style your hair in such lovely soft waves -- and please don't say it air dries like that, that would not be fair.

I wish! I wash my hair 2-3 times a week, blow dry, and then curl it like this

It's hard for me to get rid of even things I haven't worn in a long time. How do you purge and how often?

This is something I'm definitely always working on, and I'm still not perfect at it. It's really hard to let go of things that you spent good money on. But really, I have to ask myself why I'm letting something I don't ever wear take up hangers in my closet, when I could have clothes filling it that I love wearing. Plus sometimes less options is a good thing! My process:

- Take everything out of your closet. Look at each item. Ask yourself when was the last time you wore that. Why don't you wear it more often? Does it no longer fit? Donate it. Is it out of style, and not something you see coming back? Donate it. Is it worn out? Toss it.

- Only put things back in your closet you are either excited about, or you know you will actually wear it. You may not be excited to wear your daily black dress pants, but you know you wear them often, so keep them!

- Find a new way to organize your clothes. This was big for me because it let me see my clothes in a whole new way. I used to organize them by color, but now I do it by type and it's SO MUCH BETTER that way. Now when I want a cardigan, I know which 6 I have.

- Keep a running list of things you'd like to add, and why. Do you wear a grey cardigan all the time, so maybe a navy one would be something you'd wear a ton too? Add it to the list. It keeps you on track for making purchases you are either excited about, or know you'll wear a lot.

Can we see your closet?

Ask, and you will receive! I do plan on updating this sometime in the next few months :)

Why don't you buy on eBay more? I think there are such great buys there and the dollar goes so much further. You just have to kinda know your size (and I only buy from sellers who list measurements).

I really like having the option of returning things easily if something doesn't work out, and most things I purchase online are returned. I am just trying to be very picky with the things I buy, so that's why I purchase and return many things I buy online (we also don't have any real stores around here, which is why I do the majority of shopping online). That's just not really an option on eBay, so I don't buy on there. I also just don't have the time to go looking for things right now. I have had some great success on there when I wanted specific high ticket items - I bought my Cole Haan heels, DvF wrap dress, and my Michael Kors watch on there, and I'm very pleased with those purchases.

Do you pay attention to runway fashion at all? Who is your favorite high-end designer?

Not really. I love reading the basic fashion magazines about what's trending, and so on, but I just haven't really ever gotten into runway fashion. Maybe some day! Now, if someone wants to give me a seat at NYFW, I wouldn't say no ;)

What is your best fashion purchase that has made you feel like it was worth every penny?

Ohhh, good question! I would say my Tiffany's earrings are something I feel are worth every penny. I wear them all the time, they will hopefully never go out of style, and I just really love them. Best clothing item is probably my Madewell jeans - I don't get to wear them often because I don't wear jeans most days, but I love wearing them, I got them on super sale, and they just are so flattering.

What do you consider work-appropriate necklines for dresses and shirts? I feel like most work dresses (other than true shift dresses) are too revealing for me. We have similar figures so I would love to hear your thoughts on this one.

This is such a tough one, because like you said, it totally depends on your figure. I'm pretty busty, so even clothes that look like normal work clothes on others can get really cleavage-y on me. I once was told that my normal white button up was too revealing during a history and physical practical (I only wear crew neck sweaters to those those now!). Honestly, while I love v-necks and find them the most flattering on me, I do buy a lot more higher neckline things now so that I'll be appropriately dressed once I start rotations. I do have a few shirts, like this one, that have 2 ways of wearing them, so I can button it up for work, and then unbutton it as a v-neck for outside-of-work activities. Best of both worlds!

I am looking for a good camisole to wear under tops/ sweaters and I notice you like the Express Best Loved Bra Cami. I'm trying to decide whether to buy one and I am wondering what size you wear because in the comments people say they run small and also, do you find the built-in bra part annoying? When I have had these type of tanks with built in bras in the past I have found them to be very annoying because I can't use them as my bra (because I have a large bust) and because they are two tight when I try to fit my regular bra underneath them. Do you find this is the case with these camis?

I LOVE the Express camis - I have so many of them. I wear them underneath almost everything. They pull everything in, I feel my boobs aren't bouncing around as much, and I just feel a lot more secure. I like the built-in bra part of it - I don't use it as a bra, but I just like that it basically pulls everything against me a bit more. Does that make sense? I wear a medium in them (even though most of my tops are larges), and I just can't recommend them enough.

Got any other questions? Ask away!