Friday, January 30, 2015

the damage… January 2015!

For the past couple of years I have paused at the end of the month to take stock of my clothing spending for the month.  I call these posts here on the blog 'the damage'.  I am happy to say that after a lot of humming and hawing I have decided to bring this blog series back for 2015!

Up until now I have set my budget at $300 a month and for the past two years I have averaged around $325 a month.  I have been debating what my budget will be this year and I think for now I will stay at $300.  I don't really feel the need to spend much more seeing as this budget has served me well up until now and also my wardrobe is super solid right now, so even if I have a few investment pieces I want to buy this year I also have a lot of staples on hand so it should all work out.  I've said this before and I will say it again… everyone's individual shopping budget is a personal decision. For some $300 may seem like a lot and for others it may seem like not enough. For me it is just right and I share my purchases here to hopefully be an inspiration on how to build a versatile wardrobe within boundaries.

January was mostly a non-shopping month for me… I ordered these few items online during the after Christmas sales but besides that I mostly abstained.  A few exceptions include items I bought recently for vacation and with some sales - but they were all ordered online and haven't arrived yet so it's still TBD if they will fit, etc so I will update you all on those in February!

Cable Knit Sweater, Banana Republic, $89.50 with discounts & coupons was $8.81
Hacking Jacket Blazer, Banana Republic, $150 with discounts & coupons was $18.87
Leather Jacket, Zara, $199 with discount was $119.99 (sold out but similar or similar)

Total Spent: $147.67

Thoughts on the pieces: With my 2015 Style Resolutions in mind, the cabled sweater and black blazer were re-investing in the basics.  I have/had versions of these that needed upgrading so the old ones will get either donated or sold (stay tuned for a way to shop my closet soon!).  The leather jacket has long been on my wish list so I was thrilled to check this one off - and on sale even!

Thoughts on the budget: Can't complain about being under budget! I'll need to use the leftovers in future months… I'm getting really excited to start shopping for spring!

Do you budget your clothing purchases? If so, leave a link below, I would love to check it out!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

my everyday style: sweater avoidance!

This time of year I have about had it with my winter rotation of sweaters… even though there are plenty of them in my closet it seems like I wear the same ones all the time. I crave a new and fresh look that is as warm as a sweater - but different.  In this case I always turn to jackets as an alternative…

Here I threw a jacket over this beaded oxford (which is on sale for a SONG right now!) and my favorite ponte leggings and voila! I'm warm… and pulled together in an instant.  And if you don't have an army inspired jacket yet… let this be your sign that you need one. I seriously wear this baby all the time… spring, summer, fall and even winter too. To see another way I styled this jacket… see it here with gingham and sneakers!

(photos by Tracy Carmondy)

Top, J.Crew - on super sale! (hint hint: less than $20!)
Flats, Kate Spade (similar or similar less expensive)
Bracelet, Banana Republic (similar - on sale!)

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

style resolutions 2015!

This year I wasn't really going to make any "resolutions" personal, business or otherwise. I just had this feeling that I wanted to let the year play out as it will… trying to rock out everything I do and not really over-focusing on a few things.

But then I realized I had made a few shopping wish lists and was thinking a lot about how I wanted my wardrobe to shake out for the year.  Before I knew it I was making a few 'style resolutions' for the year.

For 2015 my style resolutions are to be relaxed-preppy-french chic-Jill.  I realize that the looks that I am drawn to on Pinterest and blogs aren't always what I am actually buying and wearing. So I want those to start matching up better.   Simple basics, classic accessories, great shoes and rockin' handbags.  In order to achieve all this with my wardrobe for 2015… here are my 2015 style resolutions:

1. Re-invest in wardrobe staples.
Confession: sometimes I buy cheap/inexpensively and regret it.
For instance, I have a pair of black jeans and black flats that I just LOVE to style up, but I bought cheap versions and they don't fit as well as they should or feel as good on as they should.  There are a few pieces in my wardrobe that I am going to have to re-invest in.  That is: donate/sell the cheaper option and buy a really awesome version that I can love more and for longer.  In my mind I am having a hard time overcoming this - I would love to know your thoughts. Worth re-investing? Totally makes sense? You think I am crazy?  Currently I've got my eye on a super quality pair of black jeans and black pointy flats. The pairs I own right now I *like*  but don't *love*. Even though I love to wear them, does that make sense?
This also applies to worn out but still loved pieces… my absolute favorite striped shirt is about shot. I bought it about three years ago and wear it a lot - to say the least. No shame in re-upping on a newer and maybe even better striped shirt.

2. Finally take the plunge on wish-list items.
Confession: there are items on my wish-list I keep passing up for cheaper stuff.
For instance, I've been wanting a pair of classic Ray Ban aviators or this Rebecca Minkoff cross body bag for probably at least a year or more. But when it comes to spending the money I shop the sales at J.Crew or whatever is new at Gap.  In my opinion it's time for me to "grow up" a little about this kind of spending.  I need to remember the long term gain of not only owning some you love/love/love but sometimes passing up the *good* for the *great* is the best way to go.

3. Find a handful of signature jewelry pieces.
Confession: I am a little over "statement" pieces and "costume" jewelry.
Don't worry… I'm not ditching the fun and bold pieces forever. I just want a few really gorgeous and simple pieces I can slip on everyday that feel feminine and beautiful and grown up.  So far, this House of Harlow bracelet, this Gorjana necklace and these Kendra Scott earrings are playing the part quite nicely in my wardrobe. However, I would love to add a few more.  These earrings and this bracelet are just what I am talking about.  The jewelry box service RocksBox helped me find most of these pieces so far - I can not recommend them enough.  They send me such beautiful things to try and then if I like them, I keep them, if not, I send them back.  (Use code: JILLBFF4 to get a free month! This is not sponsored, I just really love their service!)

4. Keep building the basics.
Confession: Even after all these years of shopping/blogging/finding my personal style there are still holes in my wardrobe.
There are still things that I need/want.  I am sure that will always be the case, but it's a good reminder that there is no rush in building your wardrobe or buying all the things at once.  Right now I would really love a monogrammed tote and a trench coat.  I hope to invest in those this spring.

5. Have fun and don't be afraid to make mistakes!
Confession: Sometimes I over think it all.
At the end of the day, it's just clothes.  Through all this I need to remember to have fun and not to be too serious about the whole thing.  Maybe a few cheap thrills from Forever 21 or Target aren't out of line.  Clothes should still be fun at the end of the day.  Trying new styles or trends can be very invigorating and fun. And if there is something at the end of the year or the month that I regret… well, hopefully I will learn a small lesson from a bad purchase and somehow find someone else to love that piece by either donating or selling it.

Do you have any style resolutions for 2015? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

my everyday style: playing favorites!

Do you have the same problem I have? This is how it goes… girl buys new sweater that she ADORES, girl wants to wear it everyday, girl loves it so much she doesn't want to wear it everyday, girl realizes she never wears the sweater.

What's up with that?!?! I can't be the only crazy person that falls in love with a new wardrobe piece and instead of wearing it all the time because I really, really love it - I just wear it every once in a while.  Like maybe it's too precious.  Like I am playing hard to get in my own closet.  Isn't that the strangest thing?  Do you ever do this with your closet? Love a piece SO much you want to protect it from being overworn?

These are some serious closet mind-games. But please tell me I am not alone.  Any way, I am having that problem with this sweater. I just adore it, it's the perfect length and it's really warm and I love the cool neck zippers and every time I go to grab it from the closet I think - oh, I'll save that for later.

(photos by Tracy Carmondy)

Sweater, Banana Republic - on sale! (similar or similar)
Blouse, J.Crew Factory (similar)
Jeans, Banana Republic
Shoes, Dolce Vita - on sale! (similar or similar)

Monday, January 26, 2015

9 pieces/9 outfits - winter to spring 2015!

By leaps and bounds the 9 pieces/9 outfits posts are my MOST popular posts around here.  You gals love 'em - and so do I!  To see all the posts click here for the archives.  Since winter is in it's twilight and we are all pining and wishing for spring I thought I would do a small capsule that was still perfect to wear this winter yet, but that also had a little hint of spring within it!

Capsule dressing seems to be all the rage these days… if you are a capsule dresser, these pieces are perfect for you. If you aren't into the capsule thing (I'm on the fence) these pieces are very capsule-esque in that they are great for mixing and matching but with less of a commitment of a full on capsule. Either way these pieces are SUPER easy to wear and can be dressed up or down for whatever your wardrobe needs may be this winter into spring!

the pieces: 

the accessories:
top row, from left:

middle row, from left: 

bottom row, from left: 

Friday, January 23, 2015

what to pack: winter weekend getaway!

This is the perfect time of year to take a winter weekend getaway.  A cozy cabin in the woods where you can read by the fire, take winter hikes or go sledding with the kids is a great way to chase away the winter blues.  Here I pulled together a simple and comfortable packing list for just that sort of weekend!

Packing versatile basics like jeans and ponte leggings make mixing and matching tons of outfits a breeze.  My personal favorite would be pairing the white sweater with sweatpants and slippers for sipping tea by the fire!  But you could even dress up these basics by pairing the ponte leggings with the riding boots, a black sweatshirt and a scarf if you were going to head out for dinner.  There are so many outfit possibilities here for keeping warm and staying stylish!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

my everyday style: the classics!

I have deemed 2015 the year of the classics.  My goal is to make getting dressed super effortless and uncomplicated.  This outfit is the perfect example of that… white/black/leopard/jeans.  I could wear this combo endlessly…

(photos by Tracy Carmondy)

Blazer, Banana Republic (similar or similar)
Top, J.Crew Factory (similar or similar)
Jeans, Gap (similar or similar)
Flats, Madewell (similar or similar or similar less expensive)

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

uniform dressing!

Today let's talk about uniform dressing.  Do you have a few standby outfit uniforms that you go to over and over again?

These are the hallmark of our personal style but they also make getting dressed really easy on the days when time or creativity is short.  These outfit uniforms below are some of my favorites… but you should try to come up with some of your own favorites as well.  Then keep them in mind when you are getting dressed to make your mornings a breeze!

sweatshirt + ripped jeans look: sweatshirt - on sale!, jeans, earrings, purse, sneakers

leggings + oversized sweater look: rings, bag, sweater, sneakers, leggings

sweater + scarf + ankle boots look: jeans, sweater, scarf, boots - on sale!, bracelet

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

my everyday style: tagged!

A little extra bling this time of year is the perfect dash of fun and sparkle that my January needs.  I loved this top the minute I laid eyes on it… and since then I've loved wearing it.  It's the little things, I tell ya.  And it's on SALE right now too… which is even better!

I'm already looking forward to wearing this top with white jeans this spring too...

(photos by Tracy Carmondy)

Top, J.Crew - on super sale!
Clutch, J.Crew Factory (similar or similar)
Jeans, Old Navy
Flats, Dolce Vita

Monday, January 19, 2015

new arrivals you'll love…

There are precious few things that get me through the seemingly unending cabin fever of January and February.  Planning my escape (aka future vacations!), bingeing on Netflix (just finished Gilmore Girls - loved! And already knee deep into Friday Night Lights - obsessed!) and lastly: stalking my favorite stores for new arrivals.   And since this isn't a travel or tv blog… we're going to cover some of my favorite new arrivals these days.

If you follow me on Instagram (and you should! user: jillgg) you know that I have taken a break from shopping for January (follow hashtag #shopyourcloset2015 and see all the looks I and other instagram-ers put together from not-new clothes).  Yep, I am strictly window shopping this month. Which is actually a.o.k. in my book. I have a little bit of warm weather travel coming up soon, so I am socking away some cash for some new pieces for those trips and I would also like to make a few investments this spring with my wardrobe so I am preparing for those as well.  If you are abstaining like me - then I have good news for you - the month is over half finished!

However, if you aren't abstaining then I fully expect you to do your part and take advantage of these gorgeous new styles and the onslaught of sales that go with them! (wink, wink!)  Quite a few of these are on my wish list for February!

j.crew: regent blazer in navy (swoon!), cable knit sweater (you know spring is almost here when cotton knits make a come back!), "winking" tee, neon tote

Friday, January 16, 2015

elements of style v. 14

I personally have three simple elements (or tricks!) to a simple but beautiful outfit. I call them them my 'elements of style'. They are something casual, something neutral and something dressy. These three elements combined are my fail-safe for outfits that are easy to put together and that look and feel feminine and relaxed.

I've been seriously struggling getting my outfit mojo together lately… it's so cold and frigid all I want to do is stay in my pajamas all day.  The next best to staying home in comfy clothes all day is to dress up a sweatshirt best you can.  I love a casual sweatshirt paired with a dressy coat and lips to pull together a look that is warm and stylish.

shop the look: jeans - on sale!, sweatshirt - on sale!,  boots - on sale!, necklace, coat, lipstick

Thursday, January 15, 2015

my everyday style: the leather jacket!

Patience pays off in style… this leather jacket is living proof!  This is the jacket I bought back in September but then had to return because it didn't fit… sad face. Enter the after-Christmas sales and I snagged this baby for half off! In the right size! And it fits perfect!

Last fall I really started craving a black leather jacket - I've never owned one before - and I fell in love with this simple and classic silhouette.  While it would have been nice to have in my closet all fall… I'm happy it's in my closet now.  I plan on getting tons of wear out of this baby.  It's perfect to layer with a lightweight sweater and a chunky scarf, like I did here. But I can also envision pairing it with an oxford for a casual but refined look, graphic tees for the weekend or dressy tanks and jeans for a night out with friends or my husband.

I really hope to make 2015 the year of classic investments and with this jacket I am off to a good start!

(photos by Tracy Carmondy)

Scarf, Banana Republic - on sale! (less expensive option)
Jacket, Zara (sold out online but similar or similar)
Sweater, LOFT (similar or similar)
Jeans, Banana Republic - my new favorite jeans!
Boots, Coach (similar on sale or similar also on sale)
Earrings, Kendra Scott