Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Personal Shopping

Burgundy and Blush

During the month of September, I’m doing another style challenge on Instagram.  I like these for a few reasons:

  1. They challenge/direct my outfit picking every day.
  2. They allow me to gain more followers/friends.
  3. The potential prizes are awesome…

So, if you don’t already follow me on IG, feel free to do so now.  I’d love to connect with you @tastefullytrendysb!

My goal is to stay about a day ahead of the prompts with my blogs…then I can post on instagram with the intention of driving people back to my blog.  I know it won’t totally work as I’d planned, but I’m going to try it, anyway.

The prompt for September 1 is Burgundy and Blush.  We’re free to interpret these prompts however we’d like, but I took this one quite literally, by combining my burgundy harem pants with a pink and white striped blouse and pink pumps.

I like the tailored look of the blouse with the more free-spirited pants.  The shoes help give me height (so much blousy-ness could look quite frumpy on my short frame if I didn’t throw in some illusion), and also keep the look more on the professional than whimsical side.  Color-blocking from a years ago has been giving way over the past year or two to a more mono-chromatic look, so this outfit is more in line with that trend.

1 - Burgundy and blushWhat do you think of the monochromatic look – mine specifically, or the trend generally?  Do you miss color-blocking or appreciate the simplicity of sticking with one color?  Have you ever done a style (or similar) challenge on Instagram?  If not, want to join me – or just follow along?  Let’s talk!

Dressing Your Age

A few weeks ago, one of my friends asked me to write about dressing for your age.  It was a great suggestion, as I think it’s something a lot of people question as they age out of college/grad school, begin professional jobs, have kids, or just generally hit a new phase of life.

I’ve taken a little while to think about it, even doing a little research (by the way, there isn’t much out there that’s useful), and while I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules – whether about dressing your age or just about dressing in general – here are a few of the tips I’ve come up with:

  • Dress for the occasion.  As we mature, there’s more of an expectation to show up to events appropriately dressed.  Whether that’s “dressing for the job you want” and wearing a (pressed, well-fitting) suit to an interview (even to wait tables…); following the rules on wedding invitations (if it says black tie, wear something fancy); or wearing something a little nicer than a J.Crew cardigan to meet the Queen of England (looking at you, Mrs. Obama!), it’s important to know what the social situation dictates and follow those norms.  College students get passes; we don’t.
  • Dress in flattering clothes.  When we’re in high school and college, it’s easy to get into a rut of wearing whatever we can find.  I mean, we eat whatever we can find, so we might as well wear leftovers, too.  I have no problem with recycled clothing, but as we get older, it’s important to wear clothes that actually fit us well, rather than just hang on our bodies. Tailoring is the mantra of Stacy London from What Not to Wear, but if that’s not in your budget (it’s never been in mine), be choosy with your off-the-rack selections and if it really doesn’t do anything for you, don’t bother with it.
  • Keep modesty in mind.  Hemlines get longer, cropped tops become less cropped, inseams in shorts become more comfortable…it’s just a fact of life that these things happen (or should) as we age and fashion becomes more modest.  Notice I in no way said frumpy – believe it or not, you can look cute without wearing daisy dukes. But, if something begins to feel uncomfortable, it’s probably time to retire it or pass it down to a younger sister.
  • Figure out who you are.  I think this is one I’m still working on, but a lot of the women I’ve noticed who are definitely NOT dressing their age also seem to be having an identity crisis. They’re 50, dressing like they might have when they were 25 because they are stuck in that age of “figuring it all out”.   Learn who you are and what your style is – eclectic, feminine, edgy, hipster, traditional, etc.  Once you’ve discovered that, then you can learn how to adjust as you mature and still feel like yourself.
  • Choose quality.  You know I’ve always been a fan of “fast fashion”.  I like trends, and I don’t have a lot of money…therefore, I must buy inexpensive clothing in order to maintain my habit.  However, I’ve noticed that as I’m getting older, the stores I’m buying from are changing.  Sure, I still look in Old Navy and Forever 21, but now, most of my wardrobe is from boutiques or department stores. Of course, I’ll never buy without a good sale, but I now consider the fabrics and cuts, rather than just the style and price.  Shopping at better stores also helps with some of the above points – I tend to find clothes that flatter (since they’re made better and not for 12 year olds), and they tend to be more modest (again, because they’re not made for 12 year olds).
  • Choose trends wisely.  Not every trend will work for every age, body type, or personality.  So, rather than running after the latest thing, know yourself (see point 4) and pick the trends that best suit you. Then, you’ll own the look, rather than it owning you.

No matter our age, fashion is a part of life and it really is possible to be stylish until we’re 110 years old (my Granny was well-dressed until the day she died, just shy of her 92nd birthday). I think a lot of women, though, get so bogged down in the realities of life – job, kids, etc – that they lose sight of themselves and get stuck.  Don’t get stuck.  You are smarter than your clothes, so figure out what works for you, and embrace it!

Fashion can be overwhelming sometimes, but if it ever gets that way, find a good friend (with good taste) to go shopping with you.  Two heads are always better than one, they can talk you down from the panic ledge, and at the end of the day, you’ll feel so much better knowing you’ve conquered a fear.  And of course, I’m always happy to help!

What do you think about these dressing your age tips?  Any you would add to the list?  Any you disagree with?  How have you observed your style morphing as you’ve gotten older?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

PSA: Go Shopping!

This is an important public service announcement.

Altar’d State, one of my favorite chain boutiques, is having a 70% off all sale items sale!  And this is not just one rack of clothes, y’all.  About a quarter of the store was devoted to these amazing mark-downs.

I went to the mall last night, fully intending to just return a dress and buy my mom a birthday gift.  I have already over-spent my budget for this month, and Dave Ramsey would not be pleased with me spending more right now.

But, 70% OFF!!!!  There is no human in this world strong enough to resist that lure.  I consider it a gift from God when I accidentally hit sales like that, so $75 later, I’m two dresses, a jumpsuit, tank top, scarf, and pair of shoes richer.  I’ll work it out next month.

If you don’t have an Altar’d State near you, check them out online.  Cute stuff, kinda overpriced, but the sale makes it definitely affordable.  And, they’re a Christian company that gives a portion of their proceeds to charity – you gotta like that in a mall store.

That is all.  Have a great weekend, everyone, and if you do find some good deals – at Altar’d State or elsewhere – let me know!

Vacation Shopping!

One of my friends asked me last week if I’d help her find some clothes for her trip to the beach in August.  I was, of course, more than happy to oblige.

My friend had a couple specific things in mind, so I went to work.  Let me preface this by saying, if you want something specific in a designated amount of time, it is harder to find good bargains.  Most of my clothes have been obtained by just happening upon them; not by going out with a specific item in mind.

For the first outfit, she was looking for a sequin skirt in a tribal/Aztec print to wear with a simple tank and sandals.  I’ve seen these skirts a lot, but finding them online was a little trickier than I expected.  I did manage to find a few, though – the skirts on the left are all sequined; the one on the right is the print my friend wanted; just without the bling.

C's skirts

For the second outfit, my friend wanted some shorts – either lace or patterned, and preferably in blue or orange.  Well, shorts are much easier to find, and I was able to come up with quite a few choices I think she’ll like.

C's shorts

On the left are some patterned options (including one sequined Aztec print short), and the right are the lacy-options.  I realize it’s not the prettiest picture ever – cropping out models’ hands makes shorts look weird.  But, you at least get the point.

All of these items are for purchase  – just click the small pictures below each outfit.  And the shorts/skirts all come from some of my favorite stores for (fairly) reasonably-priced trendy clothes:  Dress Up (a Georgia boutique), Altar’d State (a faith-based store that gives back to the community with every purchase); Fiore (a sorority girl boutique), and Francesca’s (where my haul the other day was from).  If you’re looking for something specific and on a leaner budget, I would also recommend checking out Thread Up – it’s an online thrift store with a lot of cute clothes, a very user-friendly interface, and very affordable prices.

Also, I always feel compelled to say that I don’t really enjoy online shopping.  It takes the fun out of it for me really, plus sizing is hard.  But, if you hate malls, don’t have time to go to drive around shopping, or aren’t scared about possibly having to return something, it’s helpful.

And, if you need help shopping, I’m always happy to hassist!  At some point, I will have to start charging, but until then, let me use you as a guinea pig and we can find some great clothes together!  Happy Monday, everyone!

Essential Minimalism

You all have probably seen this article floating around lately: Why I got Rid of My Wardrobe.  Check out the whole article because it’s interesting, but the basic concept is simple: simplify your life by simplifying your wardrobe.  Instead of having a closet that spills out into the next three rooms, minimize with a few staples that you really love and replace them when you get too tired of wearing them.  Don’t accumulate.

I really like the theory behind this.  Neat and tidy closets are beautiful.  Simplicity is beautiful.  Making quick decisions when you are in a hurry is beautiful.  And, as another article that my friend Beth shared with me pointed out, many of the most successful people have a very basic wardrobe (think, Steve Jobs).  I would argue that these people are men, and very logical, not-artsy-at-all types, but nevertheless, the thought is that if you eliminate the time spent on less important decisions – like what you will wear each day – you have more time to focus on things that are higher priorities.

Sounds great, and if that fits your lifestyle and relieves stress in your life, then please, go for it!  For me, I would be sad without my clothes.  Honestly, it doesn’t take me very long to pick out an outfit (usually. If I’m going on a date, all bets are off), and it is so much fun for me to put things together, that I would feel deprived of my morning play time and artistic expression.

But, I realize many people are not like me.  So, at Beth’s suggestion, I thought I would give my list of some essentials to keep on hand, should you decide to pare down.  The article suggests  a 37 piece wardrobe: 15 tops, 9 bottoms, 9 pairs of shoes, 2 dresses, and 2 jackets.  So, here is what I would pick, were I to only have 37 pieces (gasp!)


  • White button down
  • Chambray shirt
  • Black cardigan
  • Colored cardigan
  • Neutral colored tee (I love gray)
  • Fun colored/graphic tee
  • Tunic/Kimono (something should be trendy, anyway)
  • Denim jacket
  • Black blazer
  • 6 more things that you just really love – trendy or classic.  If you’re going to rotate them out as you tire of them, you can choose whatever you want (within your budget, obvs)


  • Pencil skirt – grey or black. Universally flattering
  • Dress jeans
  • Black jeans
  • Skinny (or whatever cut you like) jeans
  • Grey/brown dress pants
  • Non-jean casual pants in a neutral color (neutrals can be loosely defined; mint green would be a nice choice!)
  • Casual cotton skirt
  • 2 more things you really like (I love skirts, so a couple fun skirts would fill my last two spots)


  • Nude pumps
  • Black dress shoes (pumps or wedges; I don’t mean strappy sandals)
  • Ankle boots
  • Neutral wedge sandals
  • Neutral flat sandals
  • CUTE flip flops (if you’re reading this blog, you’re too old for Old Navy $3 flip flops for anywhere other than the pool or beach.  #sorrynotsorry)
  • Deck shoes or another casual loafer/moccasin
  • 2 more that you just love – as if I could ever narrow down my shoes to 9.  I take that many for a 5 day business trip.

Dresses: (I think you need at least 3)

  •  Little Black Dress
  • Cotton sundress (or a church dress; either one)
  • Shirt dress (chambray or black; can dress up or down)

Jackets: (I don’t know whether she means coats or blazers, but I went with the former)

  • Trench
  • Pea coat

Of course, depending on your lifestyle, this list will change.  I tried to think of a universal business casual wardrobe, but if you’re an attorney, you’ll need a few more suits (like, you know, at least one.)  If you’re a SAHM, you may opt for fewer professional clothes.  But, this list is, in my humble opinion, a good starting place.  Also, this list is more spring/fall oriented.  Summer/winter wardrobes may look a little different.

As you can see, I’m not counting special occasion clothes – for most people, they’re rare enough not to warrant taking up a whole slot in one of the categories.  Just be sure to recycle or rotate them out if you’re really going for the minimalist thing.  And I did not count workout clothes (keep your free t-shirts under control, y’all) or pajamas.  This real estate is too valuable to give it to boring items.

So, what do you think?  Are you ready to jump on the simplified life train, or do you need some more convincing?  Or, like me, is the whole idea completely appalling to you?  What about my list – agree, disagree, see any essentials I forgot?  Let’s talk!

Oh, and if you actually do this, I definitely want to see before and after pictures!

How to succeed at Christmas without even trying

We interrupt this (ir)regularly scheduled program to bring you a public service announcement:

I’m here to help you win Christmas!

Over my years of working in retail/blogging about fashion/knowing men, I have heard so often a sad, resounding theme, “It doesn’t matter what I buy; she’s just going to take it back anyway.”  And every time I hear it uttered, it is with such discouragement and total defeat that my heart breaks a little for the poor guy who has tried so hard!

So, I want to help.  There are only 20 shopping days left til Christmas – fewer if you shop online – but that’s more than enough time to get a gift she’ll really love.

Before I explain how we can do this together, let me explain who I think might benefit most:

  • Anyone who is tired of hearing “it’s the thought that counts” as they hand over the receipt
  • Anyone who feels completely out of his element shopping for a picky wife/girlfriend/mom/sister/other female relative
  • Anyone who hates malls – especially at Christmas time
  • Anyone who is just really busy right now (or really lazy – no judgment)
  • Anyone with a holiday party or other special event (interview, big date, wedding, etc.) coming up that doesn’t know what to wear

Notice, I said “anyone” – feeling lost at gift giving and shopping is a challenge that affects both sexes (although men seem to complain about it more).

So, how do we overcome this challenge?  It’s really easy – let me shop for you!  You give me a few details about who you are shopping for (I’ve got a survey all drawn up); what you are looking for (a full outfit, a nice sweater, jewelry), and your budget, and I’ll give you three choices on what to buy, so that you can still say you picked it out! (Don’t worry – they will all be approved by me, so you can rest assured there is no “wrong one” to pick).

I’ll then send you the ordering information, the guaranteed delivery by Christmas date, and return information…just in case.  All you have to do is place the order and then wrap. Preferably not like this, my dad’s wrapping one year:

FB_IMG_1415764797406The best part is, I’ll do it for free!  All I ask is that after she opens her new favorite gift on Christmas you write a review for me, ideally with pictures, so that one day I can charge money for this service.

So what do you think – have we got a deal?

To get started, or if you have any questions, please email me at tastefullytrendyATgmail.  Of course, if you know me in real life, you can always send me a text or fb message.  Looking forward to working with you!

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