Bold Prediction: Favorite Outfit of 2019

by - Monday, January 21, 2019
Just like how sports writers make bold predictions before an upcoming season (or even the playoffs), I'd like to make one myself as we're starting 2019. Today's outfit will be my favorite of the year. There's so much to this look that I love -- from the soft faux fur to the silhouette to the color palette... this entire look defines my style down to a T.
navy peacoat, Bois du Boulogne cardigan with faux fur collar via Anthropologie, theory peplum top, gray gloves, skinny jeans, Nina Ricci Marche tote, Stuart Weitzman Lowland over the knee boots in londra
navy peacoat, Bois du Boulogne cardigan with faux fur collar via Anthropologie, theory peplum top, gray gloves, skinny jeans, Nina Ricci Marche tote, Stuart Weitzman Lowland over the knee boots in londra
navy peacoat, Bois du Boulogne cardigan with faux fur collar via Anthropologie, theory peplum top, gray gloves, skinny jeans, Nina Ricci Marche tote, Stuart Weitzman Lowland over the knee boots in londra
sunglasses: Ann Taylor (similar - 40% off w/code WEARNOW; similar - 50% off + free shipping w/code WANT)
lips: MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural in N9 (sold here)
coat: J.Crew Majesty peacoat (similar - on sale; similar - on sale)
sweater: Bois du Boulogne cardigan via Anthropologie - sz XS (check for re-stock; similar - on sale)
top: theory marled peplum top - sz M (sold at theory - on sale / Bloomingdale's - on sale)
gloves: Ann Taylor cashmere tech gloves (check for re-stock; similar - on sale)
jeans: Articles of Society Mya skinny jeans in Tahoe (other washes sold here)
bag: Nina Ricci small Marche in gris (rent; similar; similar)
boots: Stuart Weitzman Lowland over the knee boots in londra - TTS, sz 6 (sold at Amazon / Nordstrom / Shopbop / Bloomingdale's / Zappos)


Spotted (Again) in a Sweater Skirt

by - Wednesday, January 16, 2019
There are some outfits where a color palette just works. The last time I wore this black sweater + leopard midi skirt combo (both items on sale!), I accessorized with more black and camel. This time around, I went with accessories that are shades in-between, in the brown family. Dark neutrals are just the perfect complement.
faux fur scarf, Banana Republic classic leather moto jacket, black cashmere sweater, Fendi peekaboo, Ann Taylor spotted full sweater skirt, Miu Miu suede pointed toe over the knee boots
faux fur scarf, Banana Republic classic leather moto jacket, black cashmere sweater, Fendi peekaboo, Ann Taylor spotted full sweater skirt, Shashi Ava ring, Ann Taylor pave link stacked ring set
faux fur scarf, Banana Republic classic leather moto jacket, black cashmere sweater, Fendi peekaboo, Ann Taylor spotted full sweater skirt
faux fur scarf, Banana Republic classic leather moto jacket, black cashmere sweater, Fendi peekaboo, Ann Taylor spotted full sweater skirt, Miu Miu suede pointed toe over the knee boots
sunglasses: Ann Taylor (similar - 40% off w/code WEARNOW; similar - 50% off w/code WANT)
lips: MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural in N9 (sold here)
scarf: Ann Taylor (similar)
jacket: Banana Republic classic leather moto jacket in caramel - sz XS (sold here - on sale; similar - 40% off)
sweater: J.Crew Factory cashmere sweater in black - sz XS (sold here - 23% off)
rings: Shashi Ava ring in rose gold (sold here);
Ann Taylor pave link stacked ring set (check for re-stock)
skirt: Ann Taylor spotted full sweater skirt - sz XXS (sold here - $36)
bag: Fendi regular peekaboo in dove gray (sold here; similar)
tights (layered): LOFT fleece lined tights - sz S (sold here - 50% off w/code WANT)
boots: Miu Miu suede pointed toe over the knee boots (similar; similar - on sale)

When Rain Boots Double as Riding Boots

by - Saturday, January 12, 2019
A few years ago, Burberry released these black equestrian rain boots that my preppy heart fell in love with. I wasn't able to track down any in my size, so simply resolved to keep my eyes peeled for dupes. When I came across the Banana Republic version, I couldn't help but be excited that my search could potentially be coming to an end! I say "potentially" because I'm picky about the fit of rain boots. Now that I've experienced the perfect fit with Hunter Tour rain boots, I just can't go back to shorter and wider boots.

The BR boots turned out to be perfect in person. They are TTS, the same height as my Hunter Tours, and are snug against my small calves -- I'm wearing my usual tall boot socks over jeans and there is not much of a gap. The buckles are what initially sold me on the boots, but I have to say they are a bit disappointing in person. The straps have a tendency to uncross, whereas I'd prefer if they remain criss-crossed. I've yet to explore solutions, but have a couple in mind that I plan to try (double sided tape, tighten the buckle), so fingers crossed on that front.
Madewell polartec fleece popover jacket in highland green, red buffalo check shirt and thermal top, black skinny jeans, Longchamp large Le Pliage, Banana Republic buckle strap rainboot
Madewell polartec fleece popover jacket in highland green, red buffalo check shirt and thermal top, black skinny jeans, Longchamp large Le Pliage, Banana Republic buckle strap rainboot
sunglasses: Ann Taylor (similar - 50% off w/code MUSTHAVE; similar - 50% off)
lips: MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural in N9 (sold here)
jacket: Madewell polartec fleece popover jacket in highland green - sz XS (sold at Nordstrom / Madewell; similar)
shirt: J.Crew Factory classic button-down shirt in flannel in buffalo red (similar - on sale; similar - on sale)
top (layered): Old Navy slim-fit thermal-knit top in robbie red - sz S Tall (sold here - $4.78)
jeans: LOFT (similar - 50% off w/code MUSTHAVE)
bag: Longchamp large Le Pliage (sold at Nordstrom / Bloomingdale's)
boots: Banana Republic buckle strap rainboot - sz 6 (sold here - 40% off)


All the Small Touches

by - Monday, January 07, 2019
Everywhere you look, today's outfit is all about the small touches. Pearl collar against an otherwise plain black coat. Cable cardigan for added texture. A neutral, but dramatic peplum top. Leopard pumps to top it all off. There's something interesting to see from head to toe.
Zara frock coat with faux pearl collar, AQUA Cashmere ruffled cable-knit cashmere cardigan, theory peplum top, black skinny jeans, Fendi peekaboo in dove gray, leopard pumps
Zara frock coat with faux pearl collar, AQUA Cashmere ruffled cable-knit cashmere cardigan, theory peplum top, black skinny jeans, Fendi peekaboo in dove gray, leopard pumps
sunglasses: Ann Taylor (similar - $25; similar - $12)
lips: MAKE UP FOR EVER Rouge Artist Natural in N9 (sold here)
coat: Zara frock coat with faux pearl collar - sz XS (sold here)
cardigan: AQUA Cashmere ruffled cable-knit cashmere cardigan in light gray - sz XS (sold here)
top: theory marled peplum top - sz M (sold here - 60% off)
jeans: LOFT (similar)
bag: Fendi regular peekaboo in dove gray (sold here; similar - on sale)
shoes: J.Crew Colette d'orsay pumps in leopard calf hair (similar; similar)

My Dream Closet with IKEA Pax

by - Tuesday, January 01, 2019
IKEA Pax wardrobe system for long and narrow small walk-in closet
After: dream closet with the IKEA Pax wardrobe system

Last fall, our house sustained water damage in multiple places due to contractors' negligence. As a result, we went through the lengthy process of dealing with insurance, repairs, and living like guests in our own home. In the midst of all this, I suddenly had the AHA! moment of all aha moments. Since our closet was already cleared out and waiting to be painted, we just need to remove the existing wire shelves then we'd have a blank slate for a closet makeover. If there was a time for such a project, this.was.it.

In our household, DH gives me free rein on design decisions, but says he has veto power, lol. I was fully prepared to present my case, but surprisingly he didn't think a closet makeover was a harebrained idea at all. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

closet with builder-grade wire shelf
Before: typical builder-grade wire shelves

I was pretty much set on the IKEA Pax wardrobe system for a few reasons: 1) Best value for a semi-custom look (we spent $1,000 whereas a complete custom closet will have cost us $3,000+), 2) Rave reviews from a friend about her Pax closet, 3) Had everything on my wishlist (doorless, deep enough wardrobes to cover hanging clothes, jewelry pull-out tray).

Ultimately the final decision came down to whether I could customize the Pax to fit our wants in the limited physical space. Our closet is long and narrow, measuring at 160" x 61.5" (about 13' x 5'). Using the PAX Planner (one of their many 3D planning tools), all I had to do was input the closet dimensions then start dragging in options. Quite a lot of time was spent on this step -- all fun though because I seriously enjoyed every second (perhaps IT was the wrong career path?)

IKEA Pax Planner 3D closet rendering for long and narrow small closet
Two example 3D renderings using the PAX Planner

I was this close to pulling the trigger on the top closet design... until I realized I forgot to take into account the attic opening in the ceiling! The opening was off-center, so there was no way to keep the symmetry with 4 large wardrobes. I cried a little inside as I went back to the drawing board. I played around with more configurations before deciding on the bottom closet design that was basically a rearrangement of the first without compromising too much on interior organization space.

IKEA makes it easy to purchase the finished closet online via a one-click button. Shipping is a flat fee of $40 (best.deal.ever). There is also an option during checkout where you can pay an additional fee for people to come and assemble the closet (I believe a few hundred dollars).

We spent a good part of a long weekend building our 6 wardrobes and their interior compartments. It definitely helps to have more than one set of tools (especially hammers). I'm a weakling so could only build the smallest wardrobe frame myself before needing DH's help to move it upright and into place. The first wardrobe frame took the longest to build; each of the rest took less than half the time. We actually bought a couple extra rods and interior shelves because I wasn't 100% sold on the configurations until I saw them in-person.

The finished closet in its empty glory (personally I think the closet looked the best in this state):

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