Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Tag: neutrals (page 1 of 2)

By the Numbers

Previously on Tastefully Trendy…

Hey, y’all, it’s been a minute! Or has it been just a week? Or a year? Or a decade? Covid time is meaningless.

The last time we talked, I teased a very awkward story and even promised to publish the story soon. Well, soon is a relative word and since I was still seeing the guy involved in the story, I felt like I had to wait. I am no longer seeing that guy, but the story is now anticlimactic so I’m going to skip it. But, don’t you worry – I’ve got a doozy for you up ahead.

I recently came off of what I’m calling a dating bender – I met 5 strangers in not that many more days. Honestly, it is not my preference to stack so many dates back to back, but I started a lot of conversations right before I went to Nashville for vacation, so when I returned it was time to pay the piper and actually meet these guys. Fortunately, while I was in Nashville, I bought a lot of new clothes (pictured below, of course), so I was excited to have excuses to wear them.

Dating in DC is hard, y’all. I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll keep saying it because while everyone warned me that it would be, I didn’t believe them. I thought, how bad could it possibly be?

It’s bad.

I’ve spent lots of time developing theories about why dating here is so tough – for people in general, but for me specifically. In general, I think DC attracts very smart people – but sometimes those brilliant minds are lacking in other necessities. Like a personality.

For me specifically, it’s starting to become a little more clear post-election why I struggle in this area. DC voted 93% blue. Ninety-three.

I don’t think it’s a surprise to any of you that I’m conservative, and I get that this election was even more controversial than most and probably a lot of people chose to vote for Joe Biden who might otherwise have voted for a Republican candidate.

But still…Ninety-three percent.

So, I did a little math. I watched a Ted Talk once where a lady calculated the number of eligible men who fit her criteria in Philadelphia and realized there were 35. Total. I was curious what would happen if I did the same.

Let me preface this next section with a couple disclaimers. One, I am only considering the population of DC for this exercise. I personally live in Virginia, and the whole DC metro area is enormous – so those numbers in actuality could be very different. But, to calculate stats based on the broader region would involve researching individual county’s voting records, looking up their demographics, etc. So, we’re sticking with DC.

Two, I’m not very good at math.

So, I started with the population of DC – roughly 700,000 people.

Again noting that how people voted in this particular election might not be the most representative of their typical political beliefs, I’m still going with the data available to me which is that 5% voted Republican (the other two percentage points went to third party candidates). Since I’d like to find someone whose politics generally match mine, that narrows the pool down to 35,000 people.

DC’s population skews female at 53% women, which leaves 16,450 men.

Of course, I would like to find someone who also shares my religious faith. In DC, that’s 65% of the population, but making the assumption that the number might be higher among Republicans, I’m going to round up to 75%.

We’re now down to 12,338. But 30% of those males are either under 18 or over 65. So, that leaves 8,636.

The married population of DC is 32% – that leaves 5,873 single men between the ages of 18 and 65.

90% of those men are straight. Now we’re down to 5,285.

Really, though, I’d like to narrow that age range, and 32 percent of DC is within the ages of 30-49. 1,691 left. (I feel like I probably messed up the math here somehow, but we’re going with it).

I also value education and 40% of DC does not have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

We are now down to 1,015 eligible bachelors.

Of course, I’ve not considered any other factors so far but the absolute essentials. Additional limiting criteria include but are not limited to:

  • Gainful employment.
  • I would to think my future spouse is interesting.
  • He can’t have 10 cats because I’m allergic.
  • Preferably, I find him attractive.

Those last things are harder to quantify, as is how many man are not married but are in a committed relationship – no way to know.

All of that to say, there actually are not a lot of fish in the sea…

But, as my mother says all the time…it only takes one.

Which brings me back to this week when I made 5 attempts to find that one. Here is the synopsis:

Two dates were decent enough for a second date (progress! But don’t get excited yet. I don’t until about date 4 or 5).

One was boring but not bad.

One was boring and bad but my fault (I just was so tired of trying that I kind of gave up even pretending to be interested. Sorry, Buddy…)

But the fifth one was a magician.

Yes, you read that right. He did magic tricks as a profession.

You may be thinking that I must not have known beforehand his chosen career. But, oh no – I knew. I was just trying to be open minded (if you’re wondering why, re-read all that math I just did).

However, the date pretty much went as you would expect a date with a magician to go. If you’re a New Girl fan, you might remember the episode when Jess goes out with a magician. It was basically like that – complete with a trick performed at the table.

*Photo from IMDB

In addition to performing magic, though (I will say – his trick was eerily impressive), this guy and I clearly had NOTHING in common (in the words of one of my good friends, “Sarah Beth, I love you, but no one would ever think that a magician would be the right fit for you.”). I asked him his favorite types of books, and he listed one book – Watership Down. Apparently it’s about an army of rabbits or something. I stopped listening at rabbits. I then listed a few books that I had read, and he interrupted me and said that I didn’t have to list all of them.

He also had a background screen on his phone that was all white with just black letters that said, “You’ll Choose Me.” Conveniently, he had to show me something on his phone twice, and I couldn’t help wondering if he were trying to subliminally manipulate me into dating him (spoiler alert: it did not work).

Oh, and he said he was going to be married within the year.

Needless to say, I will not be seeing the magician again, but if he really wants to be married within the year, then I hope he is. Every man deserves to find the woman he will saw in half for the rest of their lives.

So, now you’re all caught up. Dating is hard but at least the stories are good. And at least I had excuses to wear my new clothes!

With that, here are those new clothes:

I’m a little bummed that you can’t tell that the camisole I’m wearing is velvet because that was really my favorite feature of the outfit. But, also worth noting is the booties which are TOMS (I genuinely did not know that TOMS made shoes I didn’t think were ugly) that I got BRAND new at my favorite consignment store in Nashville for $32. And, this jacket. I’ve finally decided to embrace that most sweaters just don’t look that great on me and I’m now making jackets my fall/winter staples.

Having just said that most sweaters don’t look good on me, here is one that I’m obsessed with. It has just the right amount of slouch, and the off-the-shoulder neckline keeps me from looking like I’m being swallowed up by wool. Also, this sweater reminds me of my friend Cam (shout out, Cam, if you happen to read this!) who always has impeccably trendy, pretty clothes. Peep the new boots, too.

In keeping with the jacket theme, here is another find that I love. I think these army green jackets are a season old (I remember seeing them EVERYWHERE on Instagram last year). But, I still really like it – cute but functional. And it’s very soft and comfortable. See again: the burgundy booties.

Um, I’m not gonna lie, I don’t think I’ve ever worn a blazer on a date before. But, I love the no-lapel look of this one, so I tried to dress it down as much as possible. I think I’m about to retire both these pants and the shoes, but I’m dragging my feet because they’ve both been favorites for so long.

Also, my dimple looks like a crater in this picture, and I don’t know if that means this was a real smile, or a really, really fake one.

Last but not least, I really liked this outfit. It’s been a while since I’ve worn a long jacket like this (yes, I did have the Cake song in my head all day), and I wasn’t totally sure if I could pull it off. But, I felt very cool and sophisticated, and I think I’ll get a lot of wear out of it. (Also, let’s all mourn that this hair day was wasted on one of the bad dates!)

And the boots…I think I should have edited these pictures a little better for color of the boots (read: I should have edited them at all). But, they’re a rich burgundy that goes with almost anything. Yes, really – almost anything. I mean look at all the different colors I combined them with in just 5 days?

One of my favorite fashion tricks is to take a color and make it a neutral. I’ve done it with greens, blues, and even yellows. Now burgundy. It’s unexpected, and therefore seems daring – and that’s what makes interesting fashion rather than just copy-cat. Try it and let me know what you come up with!

Okay, that’s it for me. Thank you all for reading. I posted a meme on Insta the other day about people dating in their 30s: we don’t trust anyone and we’re tired. I think a few of my friends saw that as a cry for help. While I appreciate the encouragement, it really was just a relatable meme.

However, if you do know someone…please help. Jk. But seriously…

<3,
SB

You seem tall

A surprisingly common misconception about me on dating sites is that I’m tall. I finally asked someone why they thought that, and he said I was almost the same height as the Christmas tree in one of my pictures. Valid point, except my tree is short, and my heels are high. It usually gets awkward after they learn that. Oh well.

Obviously, this is not a current outfit, but I liked it and haven’t blogged it yet, so here we go. I bought these “slips” online a year or two ago to go under a sheer dress, and they’re basically just a super stretchy, long tank top. I really love them as a base layer with leggings – and in this case, boot socks. There are a lot of bottom half layers happening in this look, and I say the more the merrier.

That’s about all I have to say on this one: all neutrals, but enough going on with details to make it interesting. And a touch of pink in my jewelry – naturally.
1 - black and boot socksHappy Monday, everyone! Let me know if you think I look tall, or have any other comments at all. I love hearing from you!

What to be when I grow up

When I announced on Friday that I am moving to Nashville, I didn’t mention that one of the reasons for the move is that my position here in Georgia was eliminated.  While I obviously was not excited about that part, I am grateful that God answered my prayers in a very clear, direct way.  In reflecting on the situation, I’ve seen God’s hand in a lot of ways, and I’m going to talk some more about it coming up.  It’s hard to know what to say, though – I’ve never been accused of being an overly private person on this public blog, and I want to talk about what I’m going through in hopes that it might help other people in similar positions.  But, I also want to do it properly.  So, bear with me if things come out piece meal over the next few weeks.  I’m still “processing” (that word kinda annoys me, but it fits) everything myself.

While starting from scratch is a bit daunting, it’s also exciting, as it allows me to really dream!  (Also, to be fair, I’ve lived in 10 states, so starting over may not intimidate me as much as some people…I’m pretty used to it.)  I’ve got lots of time on my hands right now, and with it, I’ve been dreaming about the fun I’m going to have in Nashville, the celebs I’m going to hang out with (kidding…ish), the people I’m going to meet.  I’ve also been dreaming about my new job.

Honestly, I have no idea what I’m going to do.  I have often said that people my age are told our whole lives that we can do whatever we want, so we have no trouble believing that.  It’s figuring out what we actually do want to do that no one helps us with.  Plus, my job in Georgia was, I thought, my dream job.  When it turned out not to be, I found myself feeling like I was back at square one – only this time, I’m 30, not a bright-eyed 22 year old fresh out of college.

So, I’m open.  I apply to all kinds of jobs that I think I could enjoy doing, and trust that God will lead me to the right one.  I used to think I had to be involved in a very specific area of “ministry” in order to feel fulfilled and like I was serving God. I’m no longer trying to define what field that will be – education, corporate, non-profit, government… I’m willing to explore all options, as I’ve realized that God can use me anywhere He wants, and He needs people in all arenas who will live for Him.

But, still, I try to figure out what it will be – who I’ll work with, if I’ll get to travel, what the dress code will be…  Maybe I’ll teach and wear something like this look  (only probably a little longer hemline) – an outfit which reminds me of Jess Day, my favorite television character of all time.
1 - Cardigan, lace, paisleyOr maybe I’ll be back to the business suit/dress pants attire of my former life as a law school employee.  Maybe I’ll have a uniform…(just kidding.  I can’t imagine any scenario in which I take a job requiring a uniform).  Regardless, I think it’s going to be great!

What’s the dress code at your job?  Do you like it, or do you have very strict “work clothes” that never otherwise see the light of day?  How did you get into your current line of work – straight out of college, a chance interaction, or some natural series of promotions and career switches related or not to your degree?

Painting the Town Red

A couple weeks before Christmas, I took myself on a date to a Christmas concert.  I thought this would be fun – I love Christmas music, and no one judges you for going alone to an event at a church.

So, I got myself all dressed up, curled my hair around my headband (because I was going somewhere more interesting the next day, and needed time for the curls to set), sprayed on my new Dolce & Gabbana big girl perfume, and took myself out on the town.

Only the concert was actually really disappointing – so flat and emotionless.  So, then I thought about taking myself out for drinks but figured that was taking all of this a little too far, and decided instead to go put on pajamas and watch the Good Wife.  All’s well that ends well.

I did really like this outfit.  As we’ve talked about before, the monochromatic look is making a come-back and for some reason I can’t quite identify, I’m all about it.  With some red accents (including my beloved almost-ornaments necklace), some red lipstick, and eyeshadow that I included in this picture just because I thought it looked really cool, I was ready to go.

1 monochromatic ChristmasWhat do you think about the mono-chromatic look?  Are you all about the vanilla, or do you miss the neapolitan color blocking of a few years ago? Also, do you think I should always use ice cream metaphors in my writing, because I really like the direction this is heading.

  • Blouse: my granny’s closet
  • Shoes: Macy’s
  • Skirt: H&M
  • Belt: Wet Seal or somewhere like that
  • Headband: Rahab’s Rope

 

In my sweats (and studs)

I wrote last week about the mixing casual with dressy trend.  I’ve really been relying pretty heavily on this look, since I now work in a casual environment, but most of my clothes are business-y from working in a law school for 6 years.
image
For this outfit, I combined the dressier skirt (which, really, it’s not THAT dressy – it’s kinda short, leather, and studded) with conservative pumps, and an also very on-trend fancy sweatshirt (that’s the casual part, in case that needed explanation).  The sweatshirt is really a sweater, but the stitching gives the look of a sweatshirt without being quite so casual.

I really liked this look.  I’m slowly moving away from being so color-blocked as I have been in past years.  Don’t get me wrong – as you can see, I still had pink accents in my jewelry to complement the turquoise, but I was okay with wearing one statement color and the rest neutrals.  I’m still a far cry from the monochromatic, absolutely-everything-must-match days of my youth, but my tastes are becoming a bit more sedate these days.  Hopefully that doesn’t really mean I’m just old.

  • Skirt – Ocean City boutique (similar here)
  • Sweater – JCPenney (similar here)
  • Necklace – Charlotte Russe or somewhere similar

Inspired Look: Autumn Leaves

Fall may be almost over (judging by my shivers this morning, it is), but there are still a few leaves left on the trees, and their colors will continue to inspire me until Thursday of next week.  After that, get ready for lots of reds and greens.

This outfit started with the bow in my hair – yes, that one you can barely see.  Surprisingly, I had a little trouble building an outfit around it, but I think I ultimately succeeded.  Most of this outfit is neutral (yes, technically, maroon is a color, but it’s functioning as a neutral).  The yellow belt adds a little pop of color, and the earrings (a gift from my sweet friend Bonnie) tie it together nicely. 

Obviously,since I’m wearing a sheer short sleeve shirt and bare legs, this photo was not taken today.  But, I’m remembering those warmer days with longing.

Skirt: American Eagle, via my sister’s closet
Shirt: the Body Shop
Belt: the Body Shop (this is obviously not my most mature outfit)
Hair Bow: the Dollar Store
Shoes: Payless

Statement Shoulders

Do you ever have those times where you think your life is returning to normal, only to discover it is decidedly not?  I’m in one of those phases right now.  Just when I think my travel season is over, I get another trip that keeps growing, and my poor little blog goes neglected.

Alas, I’m about to leave for an event right now, so I’ll be quick.  Mostly, I just want to talk about how happy I am that leather accents are doing their thing right now.  Due to the conservative nature of my office, I can’t really get away with much all-leather.  But I can certainly get away with leather shoulders – especially when tucked into a traditional pencil skirt.

Second, aren’t these envelope earrings the cutest things ever?  I got them in a boutique in Boston’s North End – right after I’d picked up my Mike’s Pastry treat.  Obviously, it was a perfect day.

This pencil skirt is a heavy jersey knit, so it’s super comfortable, but also very flattering and maintains its shape well.  The pockets are real, but I didn’t cut them open because I think it probably won’t lay as nicely if I do.  It kinda drives me crazy knowing I have pockets I can’t put my hands in, but it’s a small price.

Shirt: Target clearance rack ($6, I think?)
Earrings: some cute boutique in Boston
Skirt: the Limited
Shoes: Payless
Baby Ring: I don’t know if that’s really what they’re called, but I love them and call them that. From Love Culture. 

My Boss’s Mini-Me

Inspiration for my outfits really can come from anywhere.

Yesterday, my boss was wearing a blouse and cardigan very similar – in both color and style – to the ones I’m wearing below.  Her outfit made me think, “I haven’t worn a good all-over neutral look in a while.”  So, I told her I was going to copy her.  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or something.

I did switch up her look a little bit, by wearing a white skirt (she had one that more matched the color of the cardigan) and adding tortoise shell pumps.  But overall, we could have been twinsies!

Also, while I decided to wear this yesterday, it’s raining again today.  Of course.  So, the black is appropriate.  (Maybe not the white so much.)

Shirt: Old Navy.  I literally bought this shirt in college – which was now a long time ago.  It’s been with me through thick and thin.  Also literally.
Skirt: H&M or something in France
Cardigan: also Old Navy.  The length kinda makes me feel like Mr. Rodgers.  But in a cute way?
Pumps: Charlotte Russe

Yesterday Revisited

You all know how much I love to mix and match. As if there were not enough clothes in my closet already, by wearing them in a totally re-invented way, I expand my wardrobe exponentially – an important skill, I think, for anyone on a budget.  Or who bores easily.

You may recognize this shirt from yesterday’s post.  It was one of my four dollar finds.  Since I’ve been on this red-lipstick kick, I wanted to wear a more neutral outfit that would really allow my makeup to shine.  I tucked the shirt in to a linen skirt I bought in France years ago (that makes me sound so fancy, but I’m pretty sure it was at H&M in Paris), added my cool new 80’s-throwback belt (also from Body Central for $2), some gold jewelry, and a couple splashes of red in my earrings and shoes to coordinate with the lipstick (which I didn’t show you, because one face selfie a week is more than enough).  The result: an outfit that I loved and felt so classy in, and a completely different look for my $4 blouse.

P.S.  I know I am blogging the same shirt two days in a row, but I promise I did not actually wear it two days in a row. 

Blouse: Body Central
Skirt: somewhere in France
Belt: Body Central
Jewelry: assorted cheap stores
Shoes: Macy’s

Just Another Day in the Life

I like to reserve Wednesday’s blog position for “inspired looks”.  Hope springs eternal that someone will have read something on my blog that prompted a new look or outfit and I can feature them (Cat’s Inspired Look remains my most popular post of all time).

In the absence of such a post, and since I took the holiday off on Monday, I thought I’d go ahead with my usual today.

Lately, I’d been very concerned that I’d lost my shopping mojo.  I’d buy a piece here and there, but I hadn’t had a good shopping trip in months, and I was worried my love was fading.

It wasn’t.  Last Wednesday, I went to the mall to kill some time before church.  I never made it to church.  Instead, I came away with quite a haul of new fun things, including this shirt.

You know I love my cheap stores for belts and other accessories.  But I rarely – if ever – buy clothes from those stores since the quality is so poor and the cuts made for pre-pubescent girls.  However, Body Central had a huge clearance, so I had to take a look.  I found this shirt (and another) for $4 each, and since both were blousy, I knew I could make them work, even if I am not 13 years old.

This shirt looks a little funny unbelted, but I love it with my sparkly belt (also from Body Central, BTW).  I kept the overall look neutral to accent the belt and not compete with the femininity of the blouse.  But, because I’m still me, I had to have a little color, so I added some turquoise earrings.  I don’t know why my hair is in this picture, except I guess because it looks cool.

Please send me pictures of YOU to feature so I don’t look so narcissistic all the time!  Or, don’t forget – if you have a piece you don’t know how to style, send me a picture of that, too, and I’ll come up with some options for you!   

 
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