Category Archives: fashion

There’s no such thing as bad weather…

…there’s just bad clothing. I can’t take credit for that expression but I love it.

IMG_8033We’re experiencing a wet winter here in San Francisco and we’ve already had more rain this month than I can remember from winters past. H’s preschool sent everyone an email about appropriate clothing the other day — both so the kids can enjoy “recess” and because they spend a day a week in the woods. In my adult life, I’ve lived in winter climates and done a lot of outdoorsy things and I learned how to dress for the weather but growing up in California, that wasn’t something I knew about. Recently, I’ve realized that there are plenty of grown ups around who don’t know how to dress for the weather — whether it be for themselves or their little ones. Here’s my tutorial on the subject. If you live somewhere snowy you’ve probably got this all figured out already!

Now is a great time to pick up winter styles like fleecy hats and down jackets on sale. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, try eBay, Amazon, or 6pm.com. Certain things like the adorable Boden baby hats and my favorite Patagonia mittens definitely sell out so you might make note for next fall!

EVERYONE SHOULD HAVE

RAIN BOOTS are pretty obvious and you’ve probably figured this out already! For all these outdoor things, you can search places like eBay or your local consignment store for gently used versions or try 6pm.com or Amazon for sale styles from great brands like Hatley and Western Chief. Solids are harder to find but LLBean has classic ones.

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The RAIN COAT is another no-brainer and there are of course countless adorable options to choose from. If you expect your child to play in the rain for extended periods of time, look for a heavier rubberized option. Lightweight polyester or nylon jackets are usually water resistant which means it will work to a point but eventually soak through. Houlton’s green dog coat is made by Hartstrings (we found it on sale) and it’s a size 4 but he’s been wearing it since he was 2. At first it was like a cowboy duster — ankle length — but now he’s growing out of it. Chessie’s yellow coat is from Gap. This LLBean option matches the pants (keep reading) and is waterproof and lightweight — great for warm rainy days.

RAIN PANTS are a game changer. With your child covered from head to toe, you can still go out and play on wet days (though keep in mind the playground may be dangerously slippery). We’ve had a great time this winter taking puddle stomping walks or exploring the woods on drizzly days. We have these ones from LLBean but a lot of retailers carry them.

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LONG UNDERWEAR is such a great secret weapon – even if you don’t live in a snowy climate. You want a synthetic (like polyester) not cotton as it will keep you warm when wet, wick moisture away from your skin (which keeps you comfortable), and breathes (again, comfortable). Every sporty brand has technical details on their website but the bottom line is that layering with a base layer will keep you comfortable if you’re moving around a lot and warmer. It’s climate control for your body — you won’t get quite so chilly when the sun dips behind a cloud or you stop for lunch on your hike.

My boys use theirs (baby, big kid) for playing in the snow of course (with lots of layers on top) but I also throw the bottoms on under rain pants or as a top for hiking and outdoor time.

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WARM HATS are cute but also, like long underwear, somewhat magical. You may have heard but we loose heat from our heads. If you’re ever worried that your child isn’t warm enough, you can start by throwing on a hat. Given that they’re smaller to pack than an extra jacket, they’re a great choice when you aren’t sure if you’ll be chilly. There are lots of options out there from LLBean to Hanna Andersson to Etsy. We love this Boden style for babies (they seem to do a version every year) as well as Patagonia and these cute dino ones from REI.

WARM SOCKS– also magical. Again, secret weapon. You can wear your normal clothes but if you have warm and comfy feet you’re going to be happier. Wool has great natural properties for warmth and breathability which again, provides climate control. And even people who find wool itchy can often tolerate the soft stretchy socks companies like Smartwool are producing. If you want your kids to play outside in the snow for long periods of time, these are great but you can also use them on rainy or chilly days.

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FOR THE SNOW

Having good WINTER BOOTS can really make a difference as they’re insulated (i.e.. a warm lining), water proof, and have good traction for walking on slippery snow. Boots with these qualities cost a lot and even when boots are marketed as “winter boots” they aren’t necessarily weather proof. I emailed Oshkosh earlier this year to ask if their options were waterproof. While I didn’t expect them to be given the reasonable cost, I was surprised to have customer service reply by saying they “weren’t appropriate for use in incliment weather.” Look for words like waterproof or GoreTex, insulated and/or Thinsulate, and ask lots of questions.

I’ve had a lot of success buying second hand snow boots on eBay. Since we only use them a week each year, it just doesn’t make sense to buy something brand new and I’ve found great ones from brands like Kamik, Gap, Timberland, and Crocs for less than twenty dollars. A great pair of wool socks can also make your everyday rain boots warm enough for the snow.

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MITTENS or gloves are a must have and these mittens are one of my favorite kids products ever. They are so easy to put on, they actually stay on (which I can’t say for pretty much every other mitten I’ve tried), they’re warm, and they’re water repellant. We’ve been using them for several years now and I think they’re absolutely worth the price tag. To ensure they don’t get lost, try an old fashioned trick — run a sturdy length of yarn through the jacket loop and down  the interior of each sleeve. Attach to the mitten’s tags with a secure knot.

WARM COATS are another obvious item. You may have noticed that we are big fans of Patagonia. We love the quality which ensures that younger siblings will have a chance to wear them too but also the reliability of knowing the kids will be warm and dry. Our favorite “California coat” is the Reversible Puff Ball Jacket which seems to be the perfect weight for our temperate climate. Whenever we travel somewhere snowy, we add extra layers underneath to make it suitable. Good coats can be expensive so checking the sale rack at the end of the season (to buy ahead for the following year) is a smart way to shop.

My final word: LAYERS. Lots of layers. Have you ever been cold? You weren’t wearing enough layers. For real. Don’t feel silly wearing 4 or 5 or 6 layers, feel warm. In college when I skied in frigid New Hampshire winters, I wore two layers of long underwear every day topped by an assortment of fleeces, vests, and jackets.

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What’s your favorite rain and snow gear? What brands have you found to be reliable?

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Reality Check

 

 

IMG_1053I have an alter ego. When I’m having a particularly “mom jeans” day — you know one of those days where you’re covered in kid goo, pushing the stroller of screaming children uphill (both ways!) and can’t remember my last shower — i think about her. She splits her time between London and Italy. She has a high powered job that doesn’t require her to work that hard. She has a gorgeous, shiny apartment full of glass, breakable objects, and white suede couches. Her closet is to die for. She always looks amazing… And uh, no kids, no husband! Just gallery openings, sipping Negronis in outdoor cafes, and parties with friends for that girl.

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Judge me if you wish, but I actually find this fantasy to be an entertaining bit of therapy some days (c’mon it’s no worse than being a little too caught up in a romantic comedy and don’t tell me you haven’t been there). I’m never going to be going about my day in stilettos and the latest runway designer fashion but dreaming about it does the trick.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about other ways to trick myself when it comes to fashion. Again, reality check, there’s a lot of beautiful clothes out there that just don’t make sense for the lifestyle of a toddler mom. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy my latest fashion obsessions.

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When it comes to  fringe for example, there’s a lot of fringe to be found. I love these Aquazzura boots. They’re amazing right? My alter ego is wearing them on the private jet to Gstaad. Those boots have no place in my life. These Sam Edelman ones however are a lot easier to run around in, they work with (mom) jeans, and they don’t have an overly precious price tag that would prevent me from taking them to the playground.

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Ulla Johnson is a designer I look forward to each season and one who has yet to find a hanger in my closet. Her clothes are so pretty and evoke a carefree, designer hippie vibe that I love. This dress would be so pretty for fall — an evening perched at the bar in some hipster restaurant. Alas, I really don’t need another expensive dress that I only wear on nights out. The same color paired with some metal accents is another story. A cozy burgundy sweater or even a simple tee with some gold earrings or a necklace (love Madewell’s budget and kid friendly options) is a look I can pull off every day. The jumpsuit isn’t the same investment as the dress and would be a killer evening look with earrings and heels. Or daytime with boots and a cozy cardigan.

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I’m not a huge fan of knock offs and fast fashion (someday I’ll write a post on that) but occasionally I’ll find a piece I can’t resist. The original Isabel Marant sweater is amazing and not something anyone wants to wear around sticky hands. This Topshop knockoff allows you to wear the look and not worry about what your day/child throws at it.

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Flats people! I love wearing heels. It’s such an easy way to feel polished and chic and womanly. It’s also an easy way to feel overdressed, uncomfortable, or… slow. Even when I’m just going out with my husband, we’re so often walking places or I’m standing at a cocktail party. Or it’s a family friendly holiday party and I end up with a baby on my hip all evening. You don’t regret flats. Especially if they’re sparkly and gorgeous and fun. You can wear them with jeans and a sweater on Christmas morning or to a fancy wedding. Regardless, you’re guaranteed to feel festive and comfortable and smart.

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Clockwise from the pom-poms: Topshop velvet pompom,  JCrew snow leopard,  Loeffler Randall blue snakeskin,  Chiara Ferragni Winking FlatsSophia Webster butterfly,  Loeffler Randall Leopard Lace UpsJCrew tartanNordstrom glitter mary janeBoden embellished velvet (image from Instagram).

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My final word of advice. Get a new scarf. Am I the only one who wants a new scarf every fall? Scarves are such a simple way to feel fresh and current and every year I find one that feels exactly right. I throw it on with everything and anything and feel pulled together and cool and whatever else I need to feel that day. And the great thing about scarves is there are so many to choose from. Whether you’re after a fresh tartan, a touch of fur, some more fringe and boho, there’s a scarf out there for it.

Top row: Modcloth Chunky Knit, Block Shop Printed, Eribe Fair Isle. Second row:JCrew Buffalo Check, Matta Pom-Pom Trim, Zara Faux Fur Third row: Boden Giant Pom-pom, Zara Plaid, JCrew Bright Tartan

What I Packed for Europe

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The summer is officially winding down now that it’s Labor Day Weekend and we’re officially reminiscing about our summer travels. After all the trips big and small we got to make this year, we are enjoying a no plans long weekend. I wrote about our summer trip to Europe recently and for those of you who enjoy packing and planning as much as I do, this post is for you. All the nitty gritty on what worked, what didn’t, kids gear and mom’s shoes. Read on!

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We tried hard to pack light — we bought diapers and toiletries over there, planned on doing plenty of laundry, and borrowed car seats from our friends (which was a mixed bag — there were a few times when we took taxis without seats at all or were stuck putting H in a booster seat which I wasn’t super comfortable with though it was wonderful not to be lugging seats everywhere). Again, being with friends who had a baby made it all so much easier — there’s so many little things you need that we never thought about — they had kiddo snacks in their kitchen already, extra bibs by the sink, baby shampoo.

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I bought some Eagle Creek organizers prior to the trip and it was great to have the bulk of our clothes individually bundled. It made sharing suitcases (we took two) so much less messy. We could pull out clothes for the kids without digging and divide up the suitcase without losing half the pile on the way down the hall to the kids room. I especially liked using one of the small compression organizers for the extra clothes that went in the carryon. Since we don’t always need that emergency change of clothes, it’s so much more sensible to have them tightly packed up in the bottom of the backpack for every outing. Before you rush out and buy a full set of these, I’ll say that I didn’t love them. I had one zipper break on me before we’d even taken a flight as you can’t really stuff them full. And, when you use a lot of packing organizers, then there’s so much wasted space in your suitcase — something I can’t deal with! The organizers don’t sit flat and flush to each other so there’s lots of room between where I stuffed extra shirts, socks, etc. For future trips, I think we’ll use the folders (mom and dad’s clothes) and a few compression bags (boys clothes) to keep the main things corralled and organized but not have every little thing in an organizer. While I loved the look and feel of the Eagle Creek stuff (minus some zipper issues), it would be so easy to DIY with things you already have at home — ziplocks (not very eco-friendly of course), cloth shoe bags, even pillowcases.
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So what did I pack? Separates… lots of separates… While this wasn’t as complicated as say packing for both a ski trip and a beach vacation in the same suitcase, we had several different climates and occasions I was trying to prepare for. London is (to my memory!) always a little cooler than you want it to be so I knew I shouldn’t rely on sundresses there, our countryside adventures in southern France would be relaxed (the only place I expected to wear shorts) and rather hot, and Paris… Paris is obviously so chic. I had several people tell me ahead of time how fashionable everyone is in Paris. One French girlfriend said, bring a nice bag — not necessarily for running after the kids during the day but certainly for mama at night. I wanted everything to be washable and work for kiddo time but still look polished and chic (certainly more so than I do at the playground in San Francisco!). In the end, I brought several pairs of pants, mostly sleeveless tops, a few sweaters/cardigans, a skirt, and two dresses.

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And I was so happy to have a nice leather bag! Another easy way to make a casual simple outfit feel more sophisticated. Mine packs flat (though I didn’t put it in the suitcase this trip as I have in ones past) or slips easily into a larger tote for the airplane and it has a long messenger strap which was nice for hands free time at the playground. I brought a backpack too (this favorite that we’ve had forever) but since we always had a stroller with us, it usually ended up on there holding all the kids’ essentials.
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I’m glad no one mentioned that my hood was tucked in my jacket all morning. So much for chic!

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I did not regret packing  two jackets for London — one rain, one khaki (a chic water resistant one could have done both though I love how lightweight and packable the K-way jackets are for summer thunderstorms). Nor did I regret the dresses and shorts and skirts because France was so hot. 90s for many days in Bordeaux and 100 degrees in Paris. And it was definitely the right call to have comfortable sneakers and sandals. We did so much walking which of course also means carrying. Speaking of comfortable, no regrets that I wore a sports bra on the plane. My sleeveless tops were perfect — great for hot days but layered easily for cooler ones. Big, bold necklaces were the only jewelry that felt right — they made simple outfits feel pulled together.
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While I didn’t have any regrets per say, I brought too many nice shoes — a nice leather loafer and a leather sandal each of which I wore just once out to dinner in Paris. Even in super chic Paris, wearing my nicer flats wouldn’t have made sense. Between playground sand and that fine white gravel that lines so many of the garden paths my shoes (and feet) were filthy at the end of the day. I suspect all those women parading through the Tuilleries at fashion week are trashing their fancy shoes. Plus we walked so much! 30,000 steps one day in Paris. Thank goodness I wasn’t dealing with blisters and sore soles.

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Don’t tell anyone but I also could have brought an outfit or two less. I often do that — pack a touch more than I needed. I wore everything but I could have “roughed it” a little more with less. I bought two pairs of my favorite stretchy high waist jeans for instance and I should have left one at home. Once out on the road, wearing jeans with a few stains on them or shirts with some wrinkles is simply the reality of traveling light and not such a big deal.

What do you think? Do you always overpack? How did you pack for summer travels?

I’m going to save myself the trouble of referencing each item however if you’re wondering where something came from, please leave a comment and I’ll look it up or try to find something similar if it’s not available.

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Adventures in Jumpsuits

IMG_9585As you may have noticed (by my Instagram) I’ve gone a little jumpsuit crazy this summer. The thing is, I feel awesome in them. I feel like a Charlie’s Angels Super Woman combo in a good, grown up way — it’s so fun to head out for the evening feeling like a fashionable bad ass!

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Of course not everyone is on board with this latest fashion trend. My husband thinks they’re awful as do many of the men I’ve unofficially polled. I went to a museum opening last week — my friend Jennie’s (also in a jumpsuit!) amazing work was included in the Amy Winehouse exhibit — and I was feeling pretty chic and cool until this older man standing next to me asked if I had been in the army. And then he followed that up by telling me I looked like I could do some manual labor or work on a kibbutz!!! Thanks buddy… so yeah, the jumpsuit is apparently controversial. They’ve been out of style for so long and it’s easy to remember our mothers or tv sitcoms or exceptionally dorky people wearing them in the past. Where do you stand? Action hero wardrobe? Or Fashion Victim?

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I wasn’t planning to become a jumpsuit fanatic until I saw this spotted version at Hatch and I simply couldn’t resist. I mean it’s adorable right? Since I am not pregnant it fits loosely — a comfortable, beachy summer look. From there I noticed this green Topshop on Wearing It Today (it’s become one of my favorite blogs). I loved how Laura was wearing this sexy, laid back jumpsuit with heels — perfect for semi-casual evenings out to dinner or drinks with friends. It was one of those things that I was surprised to find fit as well as it did and I’ve gotten nothing but compliments on it… from women. Umm… girls just wanna have fun?

For those ready to “jump in,” the following seem like good starting points.

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This J.Crew option is simple and sophisticated, especially in black.

COS black silk jumpsuit — lovely with heels but great with flats too. I might have to add this classic to my collection.

Another cute print from Hatch thats begging to go on a tropical vacation (and it’s on sale).

If you still think I’m crazy (I’m not offended, you’re in good company), I urge you to consider the beach romper, gateway drug of jumpsuits. This is actually how it all started for me. A few years ago when I had a newborn baby and a post baby body, I tried a couple of rompers for an upcoming beach vacation figuring that while the swimsuit situation was a lost cause, at least my cover ups could be cute. And I fell in love. Not only are rompers comfortable and great for chasing kids, they’re easier to throw on than shorts and a t-shirt and they’re actually very flattering. They’re breezy and floaty, they don’t cling around the middle too much, those flow-y shorts make your legs look a little skinnier. Seriously, I think you should try it. Here are a few of my favorites for throwing on over your swimsuit:

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Joie cargo romper – the extra coverage means you could stroll into town for an ice cream cone. A sweeter version too.

This Splendid one piece has a pretty beachy print. This one too.

Three Dots black jersey couldn’t be easier.

(If you noticed that these are all from Shopbop, that’s because they had the broadest selection. Topshop, Nordstrom, and JCrew (this one!) are all worth a look too).

No way? My final word of advice – fake it. My cousin Katie was wearing black shorts and a black top last weekend and I thought for sure it was a one piece. It looked great together, fit her perfectly since she’d bought each piece separately, and she never has to worry about the investment since each can be worn independently. The easiest way to find a combo is to buy a top and bottom together — I love how Hatch paired a matching tank and short for a romper look (the dotty one!).

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High-waisted Heaven

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Despite sleeping through the night (thank you boys!) for the first time in days (weeks?) I’m exhausted today. I reached for my new(ish) high-waisted jeans. Heaven. They come up to my belly button and have a ton of stretch. Comfortable and pulled together — literally!

Yeah, yeah, you’re saying a high waist doesn’t look good on you. Fine, agreed, the look doesn’t work for everyone’s figure but there’s no mandate saying you have to tuck your shirt in if you get a pair. Wear ’em with a tunic if you want. The right pair is worth it for the tummy support in my opinion.

The remainder of my look is a my trusty jean jacket, my topsiders, a way cooler than me concert tee, and an old scarf. All that dark, rocker chick clothing was too much for me and I had to throw on some color. I love that women are wearing their scarves long and loose this season simply because it’s easy. No fussing with wraps and knots, never too stuffy on milder days.

jacket: Madewell (similar), Tee: Shovels and Rope, Jeans: J.Crew, Scarf: vintage De Clercq

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Pumpkin Patch

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It’s hard not to love fall right? A trip to the pumpkin patch is so nostalgic for me and of course who doesn’t love a chance to wear some wellies?

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Any big plans for Halloween? Houlton is going to be an astronaut and Chester is going to be a pumpkin. I’m happy that we can keep things light still though we will probably go trick-or-treating this year. We chose Houlton’s costume simply because it was a gift but then he randomly started telling people he was going to be a green dragon. We finally got him straightened out and a trip to the library for space books has helped pique his interest in his adorable orange jumpsuit. But I’ve learned my lesson — clearly next year he will be in charge!

Sweatshirt: Steven Alan (from last spring), Jeans: J.Brand (old), Boots: Hunter

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STL

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Chester and I made a quick weekend trip to the midwest to visit my almost 96 year old grandmother and see my brother and his family.

His introduction to my grandmother was rather magical. She cannot see well or hear well and she’s very fragile. Chester nuzzled into her face as if he knew exactly what he should do. They had the sweetest connection.

 

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St. Louis is so beautiful — I’m thinking they must have the prettiest neighborhoods in the country. It’s obviously a lovely time of year to visit with fall just getting started.

 

 

 

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Aside from lovely walks down tree-lined streets (oohing and aahing at the gorgeous brick homes), we had a blast with my nephews. Even though Ches is too young to get involved, he was so excited to see them. We will all be together for the holidays and I know these four little boy cousins are going to have a blast together. I also enjoyed traveling without a toddler and a delicious steak dinner out.

How was your weekend?

 

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My sister-in-law has a great sense of style. I loved how she threw a leather jacket over a simple sweatshirt dress (from Zara) and leggings. Comfortable and super cute.

 

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P.S. This happened. Don’t tell anyone.

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Sweat Style {Part 2: Like a Sweater}

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Got a new sweatshirt yet? Before I keep going with this whole sweats trend thing, let me go on record by saying it’s perfectly cool to just wear your sweatshirt with jeans or whatever. Some days it’s best to keep things simple right?

Part two here is pretty simple as well. Imagine your sweatshirt is a sweater. Get dressed accordingly. My favorite is the button down under the sweatshirt. It just looks fresh and elevates the sweatshirt a bit while still keeping things casual.

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I mean how cute is this Spanish blogger in her quilted sweatshirt?

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This image has been all over my Pinterest feed. A simple black gingham shirt is on my wish list but any printed shirt (stripe, floral, plaid, polka!) as long as the sweatshirt on top doesn’t get too busy.

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Along the lines of Part 1, a skirt is a great option and some combinations might even be office worthy. I think a plain sweatshirt would look super cute with a big necklace. Maybe some heels with that for a night out? This image is J.Crew.

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The print mix here makes this ensemble particularly adorable but any sweatshirt would look great under a blazer. A cozy fall look with boots and a scarf too.

As we really start to get into fall (at least according to the calendar — we’ve had a heat wave this weekend in San Francisco!), I’ve noticed lots of cute new arrivals in the sweatshirt department. Like this one. Also, apparently, Meryl Streep wore a sweatshirt to a red carpet event. So we’re really on to something here!

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Today

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Top: Hatch Collection, Jeans: very old Built By Wendy, Shoes: Sperry, Necklace: Chewbeads

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Sweat Style {Part 1: Skirts}

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This is the season of the sweatshirt. And the sweatpants. Hooray! No, wait — stop — I need to clarify, this is not permission to pull out your sweatpants from college (no, of course you don’t still have those. neither do i…) and start strutting around. Like so many fashion trends, sweats are back but they’re a little different. The trend is very much about the simple crew neck sweatshirt in gray. Check out any store and you will see that Rocky staple for sale. It’s a great choice, despite the trendiness, as it’s classic and versatile. Sometimes it’s best to stick with the real deal. There are also great graphic choices – varsity letters, all over prints, florals, quilting, etc.

Mama Bear: maisonwares | Grey Side Zip: J.Crew | Quilted Sleeve: Joe Fresh

Floral: Boden | Cropped Quilted: Madewell | Hearts: J.Crew

Regardless it’s all about how you wear them which is nice as perhaps you can still wear your old standbys. The look is about balance. A little sweat mixed with something unexpected and more “formal.” Maybe you skip the sneakers and opt for oxfords or pointy toe flats. Maybe you wear a button down shirt instead of a tee. Maybe you even go for a skirt and heels.

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I love this look from Atlantic Pacific — she made that wonderfully ridiculous Poodle sweatshirt look so adorable! Last week, I spotted a woman in my neighborhood wearing a sweatshirt with a flirty floral skirt and it was such a cute combination — a great translation of Bee’s look that’s more practical for a busy mom. You could wear it to the playground with sneakers (hi-tops perhaps?), polish it up with tights and boots, or even wear it to a casual office with a pencil skirt and pumps.

Here’s my take on the look — dressed down and up:

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Sweatshirt: H&M, Skirt: Boden, Boots: Sam Edelman

Sweatshirt: Hanna Anderson, Skirt: Boden, Heels: J.Crew

A few more tips…

The sweatshirts at Everlane are really simple and clean – perfect for dressing up.

Modcloth had a lot of fun/funny sweatshirts (I love this one) and Etsy is full of unique, artsy options too.

Finally, I love this look from Hanna Andersen. Who doesn’t want to look like that?

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