In praise of comfort.

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The sweater is from Lou and Grey, the lounge collection from Loft. I would happily wear every. single. piece.

This column, by the inimitable Cathy Horyn of the New York Times, really spoke to me. The comments are wonderful too.

Some fashion blogs I’m admiring lately –

1. http://www.happilygrey.com

2. http://www.lesantimodernes.com

3. http://thechicpragmatist.blogspot.com

update

4. http://www.seeannajane.com (a great blogger who is currently wearing maternity and, bless her, wears seasonally appropriate clothing.)

Do you have some favorite minimal/chic fashion blogs on your list? I’m still working on editing down my clothes. Wearing a limited maternity wardrobe has really reinforced the ideas I talked about in this previous post. Some might say it’s unwise to get rid of clothes when you are hugely pregnant, but I find filling bags to donate pretty liberating. I’ve been lucky to cross off a few things from my “basics” list and now I’m working to replace things in poor condition that I wear all the time (like my favorite sweaters and tees.) I’m also thinking about upgrading some of my denim after being disappointed by how quickly some of my favorite jeans have fallen apart. Any recommendations for brands? I’ll obviously be waiting until after april to even attempt to try on non-maternity styles. Just planning ahead…

xx-H

counting down

Both the days until Christmas and the days until Pete gets home again – he has another work trip that the won’t be home from until Christmas eve. Lucky duck gets to miss all the pre-Christmas insanity that happens around here (smart planning Pk!) The past couple weeks have been a non-stop holiday birthday social extravaganza. Two holiday work parties for the mister and we celebrated Lucy’s 3rd birthday with our family a few days early over the weekend.

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I know. blurry iPhone instagrams are the worst, but I was having too much fun to stop and take more pics. Please note the dog trying to sneak some cauliflower off the veggie tray. Luckily we had some cupcakes leftover for her actual birthday yesterday.

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That face. Honestly. I can’t even.

The parties for Pk’s work have a special significance this year because my rock star hard worker (as he labeled himself in my email account) got a major promotion. It sounds cheesy, but I’m incredibly proud of him. It really makes all the times he was out of town feel worth it and even though his schedule won’t slow down any time soon, I’m thrilled to see him so happy. Also – it was super fun to trade in my yoga pants for heels and dresses. Here’s what Ive been wearing this holiday party season…

Holiday 13' Maternity

I’m just barely still squeezing into non-maternity shift dresses at 25 weeks. I had to size up on the red top shop number to accommodate not my ever growing belly but my ever growing bust (seriously, enough with the boobs already!) I linked to some J.Crew jewelry that I think I might pick up for this sort of thing next year – right now everything at J.Crew is 30% off with the code GIFTNOW. The outfit on the right is what I’ll be wearing when we host our Christmas day open house, with flats on because NO WAY can I imagine wearing heels when decorum doesn’t require it.

Now that our two weeks of partying is over it’s time to finish up our Christmas shopping and get this house spanked into shape so we can spend the days around Christmas just being together (until Pk goes out of town through the New Year)

That’s what’s happening folks! Hope your holiday prep is going well.

xx-H

Toddler girl outfits – holiday inspiration

Toddler Girl - Holiday '13

I have found it much easier to shop for Lucy this holiday season than for myself, most maternity holiday clothes are pretty garish. Lucy’s options, on the other hand, are fabulous. I tend to shy away from the brighter colors in hopes that she can wear things again when it isn’t Christmastime and I also want her to be comfortable enough to play. I look for fleece lined tights and super soft under layers so that she can throw something sparkly on without being freezing as we go from place to place. Lucy is kind of a funny size – tall enough for some 4t, but a skinny mini so still fitting into some baby collections that go up to 36 moths, like Zara. We picked up a few things at H&M that I wasn’t able to link to, but I was really impressed with their in store selection and sales. The Gap/Old Navy has some darling options for more casual events (pre-school holiday party, holiday play-date, etc.) I rediscovered Garnet Hill kids – I always forget they have charming kids clothes too. Lucy’s birthday party is less than two weeks away so she will surely pick something sparkly to wear that day too (my bet is the gold dot dress from Garnet Hill.)
Hope your holiday prep is going well – I find it awfully tempting to shop for non-gift items this time of year.
xx-H
ps. The Zara coat has tiny ears on the hood. Little old ladies always cluck and coo over Lucy when she wears it.

Fall buys – Maternity edition

fall 13 maternity basics

I’ve been trying hard to stick with the less is more approach to buying clothes that I talked about here – but obviously, changing body = changing wardrobe. I had a tote of good maternity clothes left over from my first pregnancy, but it’s impossibly buried in our storage locker. Thankfully my friends have come to the rescue and sent bags of clothes my way (thanks Annie and Silva!), but I still picked up just a few basics to get me through. I love Old Navy Maternity because it’s so inexpensive and really, for clothes you’re only going to wear for a few months, there is no need to splurge. I normally wouldn’t spend on a specific maternity coat, but since the biggest parts (haha) of this pregnancy happen during the coldest parts of Chicago winter I thought I might make an exception. Surprisingly I think I’ll be able to wear it after pregnancy too – it has toggles to draw in or expand the waist as needed, and the detachable lining makes it versatile. I saw the little post earrings at Urban Outfitter when I was picking up some new lamps (pics coming soon) and they are irresistibly cute. They come in a bunch of different shapes too. They also inexpensively satisfy my growing obsession with delicate gold/brass jewelry. The boots are a classic and as much as I love heeled booties, my expanding waistline means my balance is getting worse and so, flat shoes for me.
So that’s what I’ve been shopping for this fall, how about you guys? Any recommendations for good snow boots? I shudder to think I’ll need them soon.
xo – H
PS. If I wasn’t looking specifically for a maternity coat I would have snatched up this one in khaki from Zara. I saw it in person and it’s gorgeous.
PPS. Sorry if you got multiple notifications about this post – Polyvore (what I use to make the outfit boards) was being a little fussy.

The massive edit.

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Over the last two weeks I’ve gotten rid of 30% of my wardrobe. 5 or 6 trashbags of clothes and shoes have been gleefully tossed in the back of the car and dropped in donation bins. Not because I lost a pant size (or gained one) but because I finally just reached a point of exhaustion when I opened my closet everyday. I finally realized that embracing a kind of wardrobe minimalism would make things a lot easier for me in the mornings and help me embrace a simple classic style that I admire so much in others. Now, I’m not talking about the kind of crazy minimalism that some bloggers advocate for (no, I will not successfully have a 33 piece wardrobe.) I am talking about a versatile, classic, quality wardrobe that suits my lifestyle.

That’s a mostly casual lifestyle folks. I’m a SAHM. I go for walks with the dog, stroll to the park, meet with other moms for playdates, and if I’m lucky a couple of date nights with my husband. The stacks of Banana Republic wool slacks and sweater dresses leftover from my retail days just are not necessary. The same goes for the piles of ill fitting tee shirts and long sleeves from the clearance racks at Gap and Old Navy; I feel like I’m a bit too old to dress like a teenager. I love neutral interiors and even though it took me a while to figure out, I love a neutral wardrobe too. Here’s the criteria I used to rid my self of an excess of clothes.

1. Does it fit?

I’m not talking about basic fit – if you can’t button or zip it, it should go. That’s obvious. I’m talking about fit and flatter. For example, I had a pile of dolman sleeved slightly too short tees from Zara and Old Navy. They fit, and are relatively new, but I realized that dolman sleeves and a boxy shorter fit are just not flattering for my figure.  In the pile they went. I kept all the shirts that weren’t faded and tried to only keep neutrals like white, black, and gray. Likewise, too short shorts (I’m 30, not 13) and frumpy khakis that I bought for one event and haven’t worn since. Gone.

2. Is it a classic?

I had a lot of items in my wardrobe that were looking pretty dated, like tons of cotton long sleeves with weird decorative details like ruching and floral appliques. They may have looked pretty new, but now they scream ” I was 8 dollars at Old Navy in 2004!” If it doesn’t stand the test of time, it gets tossed.

3. Is it useful or, will you actually wear it?

I bagged up things that still had tags on them that I’ve never worn – mostly ill fitting dresses that I bought last minute before an event and ended up not wearing. I’ve been just as guilty as the next person of holding on to clothes that I will most likely never wear either because I was trying to embrace a trend (hippie-chic) that doesn’t really reflect my personal style (classic and elegant, I hope.) I don’t need to have a ton of dresses, just enough to attend a few social events for Pks work every year and the occasional summer wedding. I also think I should no longer wear cheap dresses for important social events – a well cut quality dress that can be worn more than once makes a better impression than a trendy but poorly constructed rag from Forever 21.

4.  Why am I keeping it?

I’ve held onto a lot of clothes over the years because they were gifts or because of their perceived value (i’m looking at you giant  bell sleeved Jcrew cashmere sweater from 1998!) Mostly I just turned off the emotional voice in my head that said “oh don’t, so and so bought that for you!” If I don’t wear it regularly, it got tossed. If I wore it regularly but was damaged or worn out it got tossed too. Goodbye to pilly, faded  favorite sweaters – time to replace them with more quality versions.

What’s left? A pretty decent, versatile wardrobe that reflects my lifestyle and age. Lots of chambray and denim,  striped shirts, wool and cashmere sweaters, a couple of solid blazers and a smattering of more formal wear. I still have a few foundation pieces to get – like a pair of dressy black flats, but I really don’t want to just buy a cheap pair. I’d rather save up for a sturdy classic that will last quite a few years. My favorite places to shop right now are J.Crew, Madewell,  ASOS, and of course Gap (for basics I don’t feel guilty about sticky toddler hands ruining).  I’ve also been trying to pin outfits that reflect my style and perusing blogs that embrace a kind of understated luxurious fashion. I thought that this list was good guide for the basics that a classic wardrobe should have (obviously, take or leave what doesn’t work for you.)

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I still have tons of shoes – but after thorough editing I have tons of shoes that I actually love. Also, side note, when you are trying to minimize your closet you probably shouldn’t do an Etsy search for “vintage Coach.” Let’s just say my purse collection got a little bigger.

What are your strategies for maintaing a streamlined closet? I found that the pictures I posted on this blog helped me figure out what does and doesn’t work for me. I love Shannon’s posts about that too. It was super empowering to get rid of a bunch of clutter! I feel like I could still edit it down a little more! Now, if I can just resist those 40% off coupons from the Gap…

xx-H

the summer closet

Dreaming of summer
1. A pretty zig zag print maxi dress from the Gap.
2. An inexpensive denim jacket from Old Navy
3. Folding Wayfarers = travel size iconic cool. Cheap on Amazon
4. A pretty two tone satchel from Madewell.
5. Glorious clog sandals from Nina Z. I pre-ordered these, I love them so much.
I expect to be wearing some variation of this outfit all summer long. Lucy has been asking to go to the beach all week, which is strange because it’s been 45 degrees and raining. Soon baby girl. So soon…
xoxo – H
ps. The bombing at the Boston Marathon is heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and courageous first responders.

Spring Layers

A few transitional pieces I’ve picked up recently. It’s still freezing here, so layers are still a must. Transitional for Spring
(click the pics for links)
I didn’t get the Everlane sweater because I found  a Pim + Larkin one cheaper on Piperlime, but it’s sold out. Everlane’s cashmere get’s great reviews online, though. I promise the waxed military coat looks better in person, and it has a bit of insulation which a lot of the “utility” style jackets don’t have. I’ve even worn it comfortably in light rain. Those boots! I’ve been wearing them a ton because they are comfortable, and they are on sale right now at Urban Outfitter. I’m a little nervous about the floral denim, but it’s all the rage right now and I love Liberty fabrics (true story – I have a handmade jumper that my grandmother made for me in a similar Liberty print – I’m just waiting for Lucy to grow into it.)It’s on super final sale at Jcrew right now. The gap oxford shirt is a great fit – definitely a casual button up (and washable.) Gap is having their friends and family event right now, so no need to pay full price (really – does anyone play full price for Gap? I feel like everything is always on sale). The striped tee and floral scarf – this pin says it all.
That’s what’s on my mind for spring mom fashion right now. Are you doing anything fun for St. Patrick’s day? Last year we went to the beach because it was 70 degrees. This year? A high of 37. Yippee! Pete just got home from a long week away and honestly, it’s like the sun emerging from the clouds. The whole world is a better place when he’s home (and not just because he went to pick up Chinese food.)
Hope you all are well.
xoxo-H

minimal, maximal, and tgif

Minimal
Maximal
Miles Redd
living room – Miles Redd
Is it strange that I’m equally drawn to both of these decorating styles? On the one hand I love the absolute simple elegance of the first room – it’s beautiful, light, masculine, and neutral. On the other hand I love the riotous pattern play and layering in the second pic (by the genius, Miles Redd.) Saturated jewel tones, traditional furniture with an occasional modern nod (tree stump table! leopard pillows!, ikat!) and that massive persian rug; all a few of my favorite things.
Sometimes in decorating my own house I find myself totally pulled in two different decorations. There are days when I want to start fresh with white walls and completely modern furniture and other days when I find myself thinking about dark lacquered walls, plaster ceiling medallions, and gilded frames. In some ways I think the answer is room to room decor that’s unique – like having really soothing clean lined bedrooms to provide a respite from richly decorated public rooms like living and dining spices. I’ll never be someone that completely eschews one design style over another, but I do find myself leaning towards slightly more traditional decor over the kind of sleek modernism that I used to admire.Recently I was in a house that had me itching to decorate – it was a little too clean, know what I mean? Obviously having a kiddo can dictate your decor a little bit (the priceless antiques and knickknacks in the Miles Redd room are not really toddler friendly) but patterns and rugs hide spills and “rich patina” is nothing more than wear and tear right?
Where do you guys fall in the spectrum? Do you like a more collected look or prefer a clean lined modernism?
A few friday links,
– I’ve been enjoying this fashion blog
– try not to laugh, I bought these shoes and I kind of love them
– loving this fashion designer
– speaking of fashion and beautiful things, I love this gal’s tumblr and blog
this was an amazing and haunting book.
Happy weekend!
-H

What I want for spring – high/low edition

So, there’s a blizzard here right now. 4-10 inches in the next 12 hours or so. you know. no biggie. Nothing says meteorological spring like a foot of snow!

honestly guys, WHAT THE FUDGE ITS MARCH 5TH! I really want actual spring, like muddy and 48 degrees with chirping birds and daffodils and rain showers.

So, since it’s much easier to be in fantasy mode than actually acknowledge whats going on outside my window, I thought I’d share a few of my wardrobe notions and recent additions for spring, mmmmkay?

1. The classic striped tee.

High – Kitsune & Petit Bateau Mariniere shirt $125

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Low – Gap Striped Solid Boatneck top  $30.

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2.Pants –

High – J Brand Carey Zip Detail Moto skinny Jeans $242

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Low – Old Navy The Rock Star Zip Pocket Skinny Pants $25 (on sale) These are awesomely comfortable and make me think of this pin.

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3. Shoes

High – JCrew Collection Janey Calf hair flats  $298

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Low – Piperlime Calvin Klein Jeans Bailey Flats $38 (on sale)

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4. Accessories

High – Michael Kors Ostritch Iphone Zip Wallet – $90

(true confessions, I received this as a birthday gift and am totally obsessed with it, it has a phone compartment and can be tossed in the diaper bag or carried alone as a clutch. LOVE IT)

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Low – Target Merona red zip around wallet $15

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Pretty and classic for late winter/ early spring. Add a classic camel coat and warm scarf and you are good to go for colder temps.

I’m gonna go warm up the snowblower now. Some people get pushing diamonds. I requested a snowblower.

xo- H

(pppppssssstttt. can you hear that? It’s the sound of my head banging the wall.)

also – gap/oldnavy/banana republic has a 30% sale right now using code SPRINGAIR.

Warby Parker Home Try On

Do you know about Warby Parker? It’s a mostly online optical company with a few locations (Chicago has one, but I’m a lazybones.) They offer a home try on service that’s free. You can pick up to five frames, they send them to you, you can try them on at home and then send them back and order the ones you want. There’s no obligation to order and it’s free. Did I mention that all the frames with prescription lenses are $95? That’s amazing right? I think my last pair were about $250 and had no special coatings. The Warby Parker cost includes an anti reflective coating. If you have coke bottle lenses (ahem, Pk) you can upgrade for a small fee to super thin lenses.Even better, with every pair purchased Warby Parker donates one to someone in need (a la Tom’s one for one.) So, I decided to try a few out. I don’t technically need new glasses, but it’s nice to have options right? Want to help me choose?

Here are my current glasses. I’m one of those annoying people who barely has a prescription, but I like to wear them at night, when driving. Or when I want to look extra smart. These are Dolce&Gabbana (ooooh la la.)

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Here are the 5 options from Warby Parker. Try not to laugh, some of them look bananas. Luckily they have a few frames suited for smaller faces. You can search for frames by width which is extremely helpful.

1. Colton in Whiskey Tortoise

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2. Ainsworth in Walnut Tortoise

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3. Linwood in Revolver black

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4.  Beckett Striped Chestnut

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5.Chandler in Olivewood

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I know which one is my fave, but I’m curious what you guys think (psssst. the Linwood right? #3 dont you think?) Should I send away for another set to try on or do we have a winner? Honestly folks, from now on I’m just going to get my prescription from my regular doc and then order from Warby Parker – the convenience and additional bonus of donating a pair really makes this a no brainer. I will say though, the styles tend toward trendy hipster glasses, so if you’re someone who prefers a wire rim or rimless spectacle these may not work for you (also, no bifocals.) Have you guys ever ordered glasses online?

Hope you having a fantastic week!

xx- H

PS. They also offer this service in Canada for a smidge more moola for those of you that live in the great white north (ooooh that reminds me, when is Game of Thrones back on?)

PPS. They are more expensive, but there is another online specs store called Rivet & Sway that is exclusively for ladies. They offer a similar home try on.

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