Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: little black dress

thank u, next

Happy New Year, everyone!

In the spirit of not making resolutions I won’t keep, I’m going to stop promising how often I’ll have a new blog post. I get embarrassed when I don’t live up to my own expectations, so the new rule is, I’ll write when I have something to say. Or a really great outfit to feature.

Also in the spirit of the new year, and of Ariana Grande, I thought it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane. Reflecting on the past can sometimes be a great way to head into the future.

Unless you’ve been trapped in a fallout shelter for the past month or two, you’ve probably heard Ariana’s new song, “thank u, next.” It has spawned countless memes and an epic music video that took the social media world by storm for a full 24-48 hours.

The basic premise of the song is Ariana looking back on all of her past relationships and reflecting on the good they brought her and the lessons she learned. She ends by talking about focusing on herself and being grateful for all the ways she’s grown, even through difficulties.

Of course, in true 2019 pop star fashion, the song is full of profanity and teenage slang (I honestly don’t see how it’s possible that she’s over the age of 15). However, I really like the sentiment – the idea of looking for the good in all of our life circumstances, including the painful ones.

Can I really say “I’m so [edited] grateful for my ex” about every guy I’ve dated? I’d have to think pretty hard about that. But, I can at least highlight a few:

Thank u, next:  To my grad school guy – thank you for being the reason I made a lifelong friend. There’s nothing like common relationship drama and young T. Swift music to bring two early-20s girls together and make them inseparable for life. Also, thank you for shoveling my snow.

Thank u, next: To the guy I went out with a few times when I was 23 – you prompted me (quite unknowingly on your part, I’m very sure) to refocus my life and reprioritize my relationship with God. My twenties may have looked a lot different had I not known you.

Thank u, next: To the guy I went out with a few times when I was 26 – thanks to you, I went on a 10 month Man Fast, and it was the single best spiritual undertaking in my life thus far.

Thank u, next: To Hot Trainer. We never actually dated at all, but you showed me what respect looked like at a time when I’d experienced very little of it. And you set an impossible standard for text response time with which no man has ever been able compete.

Thank u, next: To the guy from Ohio. I freaked out a little on you. Sorry about that. Thank you for being nice and letting me get it out of my system on you, so no one else need experience it.

Thank u, next: To my chiropractor. Whenever I want someone to think I’m funny, I tell our story, and they always do. Also, you fixed my back, so I appreciate that.

Thank u, next: To the lawyer. We’ll always have Whytheville.

Thank u, next: To the Navy SEAL I went out with that one time. Thank you for helping me realize that it was possible for a man of your caliber to be interested in a girl like me. I’m also glad I can someday tell my grandchildren that I dated a SEAL (you’ll forgive me if I embellish the story a little).

Thank u, next: To Bradley Cooper. You raised my standards permanently and helped me realize what I’m really looking for. And it snowed in Chattanooga in March, which was pretty magical, if you think about it.

Thank u, next: To all the military men I’ve ever dated – thank you for teaching me about your jobs and war zones and the insiders’ scoop on international relations, and for answering my questions about the 2nd Amendment and whether or not we should even be in said war zones. Also, thank you for serving and looking so good in that uniform (heart eyes emoji x 10).

Thank u, next: To everyone else – to the first dates who I genuinely enjoyed talking to, thank you for good conversation. To the first dates that were a little painful, thank you for taking the risk, anyway. To the ones who didn’t ghost me, thank you for being honest, even when it’s awkward. To the ones who did ghost me, thank you for helping me strengthen my own skills at having difficult conversations.

I don’t know what 2019 will bring me, but if I can keep looking for the good, perhaps it’ll all turn out just fine, no matter what.

I do know that 2019 will certainly bring me new clothes, even as I’ve been watching Tidying Up and throwing out tons of old ones (to be fair, I read the book a few months before the series came out and had already begun the process).

But here are a couple of 2018 outfits that will remain in my closet, as they definitely spark joy:
I’m not 100% sure that this dress wasn’t intended to be an “Ugly Christmas Dress” – it’s pretty loud and velvety… But, I love it and proudly wear it, unironically.

Poinsettas are a Christmas flower, of course, but I may still wear this dress into January, as it doesn’t have any Santas or trees on it – I think I can get away with it. It’s just a shame to only wear something you like so much during one month of the year. The next dress was my New Year’s Eve dress. My expectations for NYE are always way too high, and I’m usually disappointed. But, I love the hope found in a fresh start – and the sparkles, of course.

Lest you think I skipped my sequins this year in favor of a more subtle sparkle, please look more closely at my shoes. Sequins will forever have my heart.
I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are expectant about the new year. Perhaps you might also take a lesson from Ariana (words I would never have expected to come from my mouth) and reflect on some of the past seasons in your life – good and bad – to see how you’ve grown because of them. And, let’s pledge to ourselves to continue to look for that good in every situation we encounter in the new year.




We interrupt this regularly schedule program to discuss one of the most exciting events of my life…

Last night, I got to attend the CMT Artist of the Year show!!!!  Here’s how it happened:

So, all these televised events in Nashville have to have full audiences so they look awesome on camera.  One of my friends told me about this when I first moved here and the “casting agencies” that are in charge of filling the audiences, so I followed these agencies on Facebook. When I saw this event come up, I applied (late) – i.e., sent in a picture of myself – and was accepted within an hour.  I felt pretty good about myself until I learned that there were 800 people accepted, and three tiers of wrist bands, and I was in the lowest tier…

No matter, though, because even sitting way up in the balcony, nowhere near a celebrity or a camera, I had an amazing time.

Picking out what to wear, though, was a different story.  As a seat filler, you’re essentially supposed to be invisible, which is, of course, not my style.  We had all these parameters about what to wear: nothing too revealing/short, no flashy jewelry, low heels, dark colors.  When I sorted through all of my clothes that fit into these categories, I found I had two options.

Option 1:

1 - CMT AOTY option 1I’ve always really liked this dress, but it’s never really flattered me that well.  Or, I should say, it looks great when I first put it on, and then as soon as I move, it turns into a sack of potatoes. And as you can see, doesn’t photograph very well.  If I somehow ended up sitting next to Sam Hunt, I needed to look good.  So, I threw out option 1.

Option 2:

This was literally the only other choice I had in my entire wardrobe, but for the most part, I was very pleased.  When I have a job again, I’ll stock up on some award show options.

1 - CMT AOTYMy little lace crop top (which, btw, I got at Rue 21 for $3), is one of my favorite dressier pieces, but I didn’t have a great black skirt to go with it…until I remembered my black slip dress!  I’ve worn this under tops on several occasions, and while it’s very form fitting, it’s not too short, so I figured it would work.  As for my gold heels, I don’t know if they’re technically considered “low”, but they are about the lowest I own, and I’m short, so I figured I could get away with it. I added a green clutch for a little Christmas flair, and some rose gold jewelry, and I was all set, if not red carpet ready.

My hair did look a little flat in these pictures, though, so I ended up putting it back.  Imagine this head on the above photos.

1202151608a-1So, I hope this helps next time you’re invited to an awards show! Or, you know, you could always move to Nashville and just go with me!!  I <3 this town.

80 Days of Summer: Cherry Blossoms

I’ll never forget the day I bought these beauties (and I’m super sad this picture is blurry, because these shoes are perfection; the small picture in the collage is a little clearer).  I was shopping with a friend and when I found these on clearance at Forever 21 (this was right before I decided I could no longer wear cheap shoes), they were a no-brainer.  I mean, really, who doesn’t need black and white lattice shoes with white flowers and red cherries on them? Plus, I love their vintage vibe.

20140515_085335My friend was a little worried that I’d have nothing to wear with them, but that’s never stopped me before.  Today’s combination might not be the most exciting, but it is a classic look and one that allows these shoes to do all the hard work.
Do you ever buy shoes first, and then build the outfit around them?

Black shirt dress, plaid pumps

TBT: When I was 3 months younger

Today I am at a career fair for my new job. It’s a bit surreal to be back doing what I had done pretty exclusively for the last 4 years, but from a completely different perspective and with a largely different objective.
I pulled out the old profesh clothes, dusted off my recruiter shoes, and tried to make myself look both approachable, yet knowledgeable.  Hopefully, I was successful, because I talked to a ton of people and would hate for them to have all been disappointed.

The (professional) little black dress was always my go-to for recruiting, and I wore my teal shoes pretty often (you’d be surprised how much teal goes with) because they are comfortable, but cute and unexpected.  The tights were to keep me warm (although, they are hole-y, so they didn’t keep me THAT warm), but also to add some pizazz.  And, of course I accessorized with products from our store – that’s just good marketing sense (I know marketing – I watch Mad Men).

BTW – the scarf, headband, and shoes all have the teal accent color – that just made the 12-year-old-who-used-to-wear-all-one-color-from-head-to-toe inside of me very happy.

I Only Wear Black When it Rains: The Musical

Y’all know how I feel about black. I can only wear it when it’s dreary outside. Since this has been the most rainy summer of my life, though, I’ve been wearing it quite a bit.

Of course, I always remain true to myself with some color.  Turquoise and purple are one of my favorite combos, and I built this look around my cute sandals that I bought in Colombia (yes, that Colombia – I go to cool places, y’all.)

My favorite part of this post, though, is that I can tell you about my awesome friend Sage.  Sage and I went to college together, and she’s an amazing singer.  A few weeks ago, I posted a link on facebook to this Tastefully Trendy entry with the tagline, “I only wear black when it rains. That sounds like it should be a song.”  

Well, Sage went ahead and wrote one!  I just think that is the most awesome thing ever, and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Here’s the link to the Youtube video.  It’s a little hard to hear most of the lyrics, but you can definitely make out the “I only wear black when it rains” part.  Sage, thanks so much for writing that, and I’m serious that I’ll promote the heck out of it if you have a studio recording of it someday (plus, I want to live vicariously through your fame!).

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Dress: Old Navy
Belt: NY and Co. (I think?)
Shoes: Colombia’s version of Famous Footwear

What Semi-Formal Means To Me

A few weeks ago, a friend told me she’d visited my blog to get an idea of what “semi-formal” might constitute.  Since I never go anywhere even semi-formal fancy, the blog was noticeably lacking – sorry, Beth!

To fill in the gap, I spent last night pretending I was going somewhere dressy and trying on a few different looks.  This kinda made me sad because I do love getting dressed up and wish I could do it more (anyone want to take me to a swanky party?), but it was also really fun to play big girl dress-up for a little while.

Let me say this about semi-formal: it’s a pretty ambiguous term.  Depending on the time of day, the event, and the location, semi-formal could mean any number of things from Easter church clothes to cocktail dresses.  For the purpose of this blog, I went the more cocktail route.  Beth told me semi-formal for her event meant Lilly Pulitzer.  So, really, your best bet is to ask the host to clarify whenever possible.

For the first look, I’m wearing a bridesmaid dress from my best friend’s wedding.  I apologize for the millionth time for my photog skills.  But, trust me, it’s a pretty, royal blue dress.   Mary picked a dress that we really might wear again – she’s great like that.  I love my sequin t-strap shoes and I kept the rest of the accessories fairly simply to not distract from the dress.

In look #2, I went the little black dress route.  This is probably the most formal of the three, simply because it’s the most mature/conservative.  Were I really going somewhere, I would probably style it a bit differently.  My earrings and shoes aren’t quite dressy enough, but you work with what you’ve got.  The dress is tiered, and it’s really pretty.  But, you know me.  Black bores me, so I probably wouldn’t choose this one, unless I had really awesome colored accessories to go with it.

Finally, we have my favorite but most casual look.  I wore this to New Year’s a few years ago.  It’s great for a young, fun event – not for a wedding or corporate function.  I don’t normally advocate mixing navy and black, but it can be done – especially if you pretend the navy is more of a royal midnight blue, which I did (I also just made up that color).  I kept the accessories simple and within the same color palette, but I did add a couple blue and green plastic rings to keep the whole look youthful and funky.

So, there you have it – Tastefully Trendy’s take on semi-formal.  I hope this is helpful somehow, and if you do go to fabulous parties, PLEASE tell me about it so I can live vicariously through you.

Have a great weekend!

Inspired Looks: Tabitha

My lovely friend Tabitha posted this picture on my facebook wall yesterday:

It’s a necklace she got as a birthday present, but she wasn’t sure how to style it.  Sometimes statement jewelery can be a bit tricky, but I was happy to come up with a few different looks that might work, thanks to my good friend Polyvore

Since this necklace speaks for itself, I didn’t want Tabitha’s clothes to compete for attention, so I kept them a bit more subdued.  I also tried to stick with pieces that someone would be likely to have in her closet (or that are easy to find).

Look 1: Boat neck tops work well for statement necklaces, as the high neckline allows the necklace to hang over the shirt and be highlighted against the background of the cloth.  The gold watch coordinates with the gold mother of pearl specks in the necklace, and the black sandals brings this casual look together.

Look 2:  I always like an open neckline as a backdrop for a bold necklace, so in look two, I chose a wide V to show off the accessory.  I would put a black belt on the sweater, but unfortunately, Polyvore wouldn’t let me change that part.  You know I love mint green, and the jeans bring out the hints of green in the necklace, with the gold accessories tying all the pieces together for a clean, not-quite-hipster ensemble.

Look 3: Finally, I chose a dressier look.  The beads give this necklace a more casual feel, but it can still be a dressier piece if necessary.  For this outfit, I went with a strapless dress (Tabitha totally has the frame to pull one off) that would again allow the necklace to be a focal point, added some neutral accessories so she wouldn’t look like she was going to a funeral, and because I can’t live without color, popped on a green bangle.  A sky blue would also have worked well for the bracelet.

And there you have it.  Three different ways to wear a great necklace!  I intentionally avoided earrings in any of these outfits, as they could easily compete with the necklace. With some trial-and-error, though, it might be possible to wear both. I hope that was helpful, Tab – thanks for asking! 

If you have any pieces you’d like me to style – whether you just don’t know how to wear them or you need a fresh idea on an old faithful – send them my way!  I’d love to help!

Black without Mourning

The key to success in life is compromise. (And a well-stocked chocolate supply, but let’s focus on compromise.)

The past few days it has been nothing but overcast and rainy – i.e., depressing.  I’ve always dressed for the weather, for some reason.  Not temperature wise, necessarily – I’m often freezing or sweating – but mood wise.  So, if it’s rainy, I can’t bring myself to wear my bright colors.  Likewise, you’ll almost never see me in black on a pretty, sunny day.

When it’s overcast for days on end, though, I have to add some color or risk getting depressed myself.  So, I decided to stick with the black base and liven it up with springy accessories – a butterfly necklace, pumps with a flower adornment, and green, yellow, and blue accents.

My hope was to trick the weather with some spring color into remembering it’s time for April showers to end and May flowers to begin.  I’m not sure I was successful, but at least I felt better about life by doing it.

One Man’s Trash

I realize that I have a lot of clothes.  I’m most acutely aware of this when it comes time for me to move and I have to haul them all somewhere. 

But, despite my first world materialism, I find it quite easy to sleep at night.  How?  Because I get clothes for free.  All.  The. Time. 

Like this dress, I’m wearing.  Cute, right?  I got it at a swap party.  If you’re not familiar with swap parties, you should be.  It’s when you get together with friends, eat food (obviously), and swap clothes/accessories/shoes/household items you no longer use or want.  Whatever is left over goes to Goodwill, where it would have ended up, anyway, but sometimes it’s nice to know that your stuff is going to a good home. 

My friend Kim owned this dress before me, but she never quite liked how it fit her.  I usually don’t do well in shirt-dresses, either, but for some reason this one worked great.  So, I got Kim’s dress (and really, a ton of other nice things).  I don’t think Kim got anything of mine, mostly because I had just taken a bunch of clothes to Goodwill.  But, in the future, I’ll be better prepared for this brilliant party and I can bring some more desirable cast-offs for someone else to treasure. 

Since I’m seldom one for all black affairs, I made this dress a bit more colorful and springy with my favorite multi-colored flower shoes, a cute bracelet, and beaded necklace.  The ring was a Christmas gift from my mom and the pearl picks up the yellow in my other jewelry and shoes.

A Night at the Theater

Sometimes, my job takes me fun places.  Like to the theater on a Saturday evening to see Oliver!  When it does, I get to dress the part, wearing my little black dress with faux fur shrug, pearls, and my favorite teal heels.  See how fancy I look:

Sometimes, though, I fall.  Actually, fairly often.  It can never be blamed on the shoes.  I’ve worn the shoes above for years and have never had a problem.  I don’t usually fall in my highest stilettos.  I don’t even fall when my heels break.  There is absolutely no explanation for why this happens.  But when it does, I go from the classy lady you see pictured above, to this:

If that looks painful, it’s because it was.  To my pride, as well as to my knees.  And, I was mad because that was a really good pair of panty hose, and I hate buying new ones!

So, let this be a lesson to all of you.  No matter how great you look and feel, always hold on to the railing. Don’t be the person that brings Proverbs 16:18 to life.  I’ve done it enough for all of us.

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