Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: mixed patterns

Dressing to Impress: the Casual Edition

First of all, thank you, everyone, for all of your positive feedback on my post last week. I was honestly very nervous about publishing it, but you all were so kind and encouraging, it made me glad that I did. So, thank you.

The original purpose of my blog was to talk about fashion. There’s only so much I can say about my clothes, so I like veering off into other topics. But, today seemed like a good day to go back to my roots.

If you’re a newer reader, you may not know why I call my blog Tastefully Trendy. The long version is here (full disclosure, I changed the picture on that original post, because I have no idea why I thought the outfit I had posted there was a good look). But, the short version is that I believe true style comes from taking a trend and making it your own, rather than being  a cookie cutter copy of everyone else. It’s my fashion soap box.

I also believe you can look stylish no matter your lifestyle or time availability. Fashion doesn’t have to be this super complicated thing.

To that end, let’s talk about casual clothes. I’ve always been an advocate for looking put together, even when running errands or taking the kids to the park or a casual lunch with friends, etc.

Here’s what I mean.

I spent about 15 seconds picking out this outfit – I’m literally wearing a sweatshirt, jeans, and flats – and LOTS of dry shampoo. However, while my sweatshirt is no less comfortable than one without giant pearls on it, it looks like I put effort into choosing my clothes, more so than if i were wearing my oversized college hoodie. Likewise, my trendy hole-y jeans required no more time commitment than putting on a pair of leggings would have, but they give the impression that I invested time in getting ready. My shoes are just slide-on flats; they require even less effort than a pair of tennis shoes. Yet, the overall look says that I care.

Here’s another example.

Now, this outfit did take a little more effort than my sweatshirt and jeans. But, not much. At the end of the day, I’m still wearing a sweater, pants, and flats. As casual as it gets. But, by choosing trendy, well-fitting pants, and flats that tie the shirt into the whole outfit, I have a complete look, rather than one that says I just threw on whatever was clean.

To be fair, when I wore this outfit, I actually wore heels with it, so here’s that look, too.

*quick disclaimer – in this picture, my sweater is hanging weird where it’s tucked. I tried desperately to edit it to make it look less bunchy/more like it did in real life, but I was unsuccessful. Imagine that it’s perfectly bloused.

A couple additional thoughts about this look. First, to my earlier point about making trends your own: these pants are my version of the camo trend. I like camo – much better now than I did the last time it was in style. But, everyone is wearing military camo. Why not try this jungle take on it? Still the same basic look – greens on greens on greens. However, by putting a slightly different spin on the trend, I’ve made it my own and stand out a little more from the crowd. My personal aversion to looking like everyone else may also be why I find things on sale all the time – the demand is lower for unique things. I only paid $9 for these pants. Added bonus: I’m ready to go off the grid in the Amazon Rainforest, should the need arise.

Second, my leopard print shoes and camo pants. I’ve thought a lot about how to explain why this works. My mom would probably argue that it doesn’t. But, it does, I promise. Animal and camo prints both act as neutrals, much like a thin stripe would, because both patterns are made up of shades of the same colors – leopard with browns and blacks, camo with greens. Additionally, greens and browns pair well with each other, anyway, and the gold in my shirt matches the gold in the leopard and ties everything together.

The biggest reason these work, though, is confidence. If you’re going to rock an unexpected style or combination, you’ve got to own it. People will believe you know what you’re doing if you believe you do. And it’s totally okay to fake it til you make it, because the more you try, the more confident you’ll become. And, the more confident you are, the more people will affirm your decisions, helping to boost your confidence even further.

But, even if they don’t, though, at least you’ve stepped out, worn something brave, and flexed your creative muscles.

So, there’s my take on casual. Of course, when I’m sick I run to Walgreens in sweat pants and a hoodie like every other human being. But, otherwise, if for the same amount of effort I can look put together and classy, even when I’m running errands, I’m going to choose that option. I’ll feel better and be more confident, which will cause other people to respond to me better, and the whole experience will be better for everyone.

What’s your go-to casual look? Do you feel confident and good about yourself when you wear it? If so, great! If not, what are some ways that you can boost your confidence in your style, regardless of whether or not you incorporate my suggestions? I’d love to hear from you, and as always, thank you for reading.

<3,

SB

Florals and Stripes

I know you’re all DYING for an update on my dating life (she says dripping with sarcasm…). Well, the highlight right now is the homeless guy who threw his lunch at me the other day. I think it was a unique form of flirting, and in that sense, almost flattering… So, you can see I’m in a bit of a low period. 

I have deleted all my dating apps, though. After all my defending of Tinder, I was finally convinced that there are very few (read: none) people on it with honest intentions. The rest of the apps were just too much work. So, if I don’t meet someone the old fashioned way – in real life – I may just die an old maid. Que sera, sera.

In that spirit, here is a floral blouse that might match the pattern on your grandmother’s couch. Just kidding. I love florals, and I don’t think they look old-lady ish at all, especially when combined with stripes (which, my mom reminded me, was how my grandmother wall-papered her house. So, maybe I stand corrected.)

Seriously, though, florals and stripes are my favorite way to mix patterns – and a pretty simple way to pull off that trend successfully. My pants are a soft pink and white stripe that pairs well with the pink in my blouse. Since neither piece is too bold and both in the same color palette, mixing the patterns was easy. I added a green tank and purple shoes, because, you know, I like to wear as many colors at once as possible, and my Easter egg outfit was complete (self-deprecation aside, I loved this look).

1 - floral and stripesHow do you feel about florals? Old lady or on-trend? Would you pair them with stripes, another pattern, or only solids? Let’s talk!

Creative Professional

So, here it is, January 13, and I still have my Christmas tree up. I at least unplugged my lights so my neighbors wouldn’t think I was crazy, but y’all – I have just not had any time to take it down!  At least I did take a few ornaments off today, so maybe with the long weekend, there’s hope.

But, I say all that just to say, get used to seeing my tree, as I’m not only catching up on life, but also my blog posts.  We very well may be seeing that tree into March.  Sorry…

I wore this outfit a few weeks ago when I went in to fill out some paperwork for a subbing job I never actually got to do (I’m glad about full-time work, of course, but I do really enjoy subbing).  Anyway, I’d already been offered the position, but I still wanted to look professional.  So, I danced on the line by wearing bright colored pants with an elastic ankle (does anyone know what this style is called?) and a tribal patterned top, toned down by a conservative navy blazer and gray patent (and mock croc) pumps.
1 - tribal print, green pantsHow are you doing on life in 2016?  Generally, I am really enjoying this year, but I’m just so far behind!  Have you at least gotten around to taking down the Christmas tree?  Sometime soon, I’ll write a reflection on 2015 that will be inspirational and poignant…or something.  But, it may actually come closer to 2017…we’ll see.  Let me know how things are in your world!

Back to her roots

I thought I’d take a break this week from the onslaught of shorts and get back to basics – aka dresses (or skirts).

I used to LIVE in dresses.  I mean, I did work in a law school, and I don’t love dress pants, so my options were somewhat limited.  But, still.  There’s just something so automatically pretty and feminine about a dress.  And I’ve never been one to mind embracing a gender stereotype now and then.

I tried to get creative with this dress.  I am a little tired of it by itself, so I needed something new to spruce it up.  I’ve had this pretty ribbon my mom gave me for some time, but never quite figured out what to do with it.  But, boredom is the mother of invention (that’s how that expression goes, right?), so drawing on the navy pattern in the dress, I added the blue and white belt, and voila!

These patterns mix well because they follow the same lines – the polka dots essentially just replace one of the stripes on the dress, and that pattern is subtle enough not to be a noticeable clash.

Of course, the blue in my shoes isn’t identical to either of the blues in the dress, and that is noticeable, particularly in these pictures.  But, in real life, the distance between the dress/belt and the shoes was enough to make the tonal differences acceptable (plus, blues are pretty easy to coordinate, anyway).

1 - yellow dress, polka dot beltWhat do you think about my creative venture?  Is it cute and “artsy” or something, or does it look like I’m trying too hard?  Have you ever taken ribbon or some other not-technically-clothing item and incorporated it into an outfit?  I’d love to hear your ideas!

June Cleaver 2.0

I really love this dress.  I’ve blogged it before and don’t really have much new to say about it.  I call it my June Cleaver dress, and I think that’s fairly accurate (well, except for the length).  But, as I talked about last week with mixing and matching separates, dresses are a lot harder to keep fresh.  I don’t wear this one a ton, so I’m not sick of it yet.  However, I do still try to switch up my accessories and shoes so it looks a little different (even if the overall impression is still basically the same).

Pink and purple is not a normal combination for me, but the polka dots on this dress seem to have a bit of a pink tint to them, which inspired me to try.  The plum keeps me from looking too much like a kid’s Valentine card, and the leopard print belt adds a bit of edge – not only because it’s leopard, but because the print and polka dots are a bit unexpected.

Adding in a 3rd print is generally not advisable, but the floral earrings don’t compete with the polka dots and they’re far enough away from the belt (which is pretty subtle, anyway), to work.  And I finished with bow flats that complement the bow tie at the neck, and the feminine feel of the whole outfit.

1- polka dot dressWhat do you think? Are pink and purple too elementary, or just unexpected enough to be interesting?  Do you have any other good ideas on how to keep dresses fresh and new?  Give me some of your mix and match tips!

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