2013 year-end review

I guess it's a good sign that I had a really, really hard time culling down my favorite outfits of the year! I still ended up with a huge number! 2013 was a huge transition year for me. I started out with a huge belly and ended up with a new "accessory", DS2!

I had a lot of fun dressing my third trimester bump for work and MOTG:
I really enjoyed adapting my pre-pregnancy clothes for maternity wear:

I was afraid of how I would figure out post-partum dressing, and was worried I'd have to hide under a rock for a few months, but I pulled out all the apple tricks I knew and managed to to post WIWs continuously, even from the hospital!
I even had fun doing the picture perfect challenge while postpartum:

As with a lot of life, it's never as bad as you fear it's going to be. Dressing through the postpartum change really bolstered my confidence that I can face any fashion (or life!) challenge if I put my mind to it. I went back to work full time at only 7 weeks postpartum, and even though life is crazy and hectic (and DS2 is STILL not sleeping through the night at 9 months), I just keep going with the flow and doing the best that I can.

I also turned 40, and Ms. Scarlet joined me to celebrate the change. She is surprisingly versatile (I actually like the casual outfits with the red Chanel purse even more than the typical dressy looks.)

My style has been going through a lot of evolution over the past two years since I've been at YLF:
For 2013, some things never change--I really love matchy matchy, especially when it's hypermatchy (10, 35, 43-44) or I get to match with my mini-me (8, 20, 26-27). And I still love ALGO and bright colors (18, 25, 41, 42) and playing dress-up (13, 16). My Demure Bombshell persona is here to stay (5, 6, 21, 28, 34). But lately I've also been gravitating toward more sleek and minimalist looks, with more neutrals, solids, leather and studs and "polished ladylike edgy" (29, 31, 33, 39, 40, 45, 46). Interesting that #31 is one of the most simple, but probably one of my favorite outfits of the year!
1-8. 3rd trimester
9-18. Postpartum (4th trimester)
19-27. Fab and forty!
28-46. Matchy matchy and polished ladylike edgy

What are my goals for 2014? I'd like to continue to evolve my style, exploring what Polished Ladylike Edgy means, and streamline and organize my life.
I guess this means that there may be another closet purge in store:
I'd also like to finish up my pregnancy lookbook--I did 1st and 2nd trimester, but need to do 3rd trimester and postpartum (4th trimester).

I hope you all have a happy New Year and can't wait to see what all of you at YLF have in store for 2014!


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WIW 12/17 Vince Cardigans: Ebony and Ivory

I picked up these two Vince cardigans at the ShopBop Black Friday sale. I couldn't decide which color but I think I'm just going to keep both, as they go well with my two different color palettes (winter black/grey and autumn deep spices). I know I've heard here that waterfall cardigans are passe, but I tried on the straight sided cardigans/jackets and they just looked too rectangular and boxy on me. I think my ladylike style looks better with a bit of ruffle in it. What do you think of this cardigan--is it dated or current or neither? The hem was interesting because it's a lot shorter in the back than in the front. I almost didn't buy it because I thought it looked funny to have your butt exposed. But then I thought maybe it would look too overwhelming to have it long all over. What do you think? Which color/outfit do you prefer--white or black? Makes me think of that song, "Ebony and Ivory"--our music teacher in elementary school used to have us sing that. Also, are the jeans too baggy on me? They're transitional jeans that I bought right after I had the baby. Now they are too loose, but I like the color. Should I buy a more slim fitting pair of jeans, or is baggy still in?

Vince blue T shirt
J Brand skinny jeans--Marshall's
Alexis Bittar dragonfly necklace
1-4. Black Vince cardigan with silver satchel and wedge sneakers
5-9. Ivory Vince cardigan with map bag and OTBT gold booties


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WIW White moto jacket and teal x 5

I've been wearing this white Dorothy Perkins moto jacket a lot! These are all from the last month or so. I just noticed that all of these outfits have teal in them! And I guess they are "seasonally inappropriate", given the concern some people had about wearing ballet flats and bare ankles in the winter. Oh well, I guess it seems to work for me, because I've been doing it a lot!
1-2. Black turtleneck and teal snakeskin skirt and teal snakeskin ballet flats (matchy matchy fun!) and teal dragonfly necklace
3-4. Plum T-shirt and orange and teal infinity scarf
5. Teal sweater and teal patterned pencil skirt
6-7. Teal and burgundy Nine West "magic" dress
8-11. J Crew poppy origami dress and teal snakeskin ballet flats

ETA: Sorry, I don't know why it has a poll on it, but I can't get rid of it. So, how about

Yay=sure, wear ballet flats in the winter

Nay=no way, cover up with tights and/or boots


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WIW 12/11: Sweater dress, obi belt & boots (and recap)

I've worn this dress for three years now, including while pregnant, and it's still going strong. What do you think, how long do you think this dress will last before it becomes dated? I feel like it's pretty neutral and versatile! I'm not a good judge of dated-ness, though, unless it's glaringly obvious--I tend to keep things for a long time! Anyways, I thought it would be fun for you to see the dress in multiple states of belly!

Macy's Calvin Klein sweater dress
Nordstrom black obi belt
Gap herringbone tights
Frye Melissa lace-up black boots
Michael Kors black satchel
Kate Spade Melissa black ruffle trench

1-2. Post-baby
3. 39 weeks--late 3rd trimester
4-5. 32 weeks--3rd trimester
6. 15 weeks--2nd trimester
7-8. Pre-pregnancy (Nov 2011), when I first got the dress.


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WIW 12/13: Casino Disco holiday party (plus recap and K/P)

We had our holiday party last weekend and I did not really know how I was going to dress for the "Casino Disco" theme. I thought I would wear a red satin dress that I had bought a couple of years ago for the holiday party, but ended up not wearing it because they had a Wild West theme. The old pics show how it used to look on me about two years post-baby #2 (16/17), but it doesn't look so hot now post-baby #3 (18-20)--I was really unhappy about the side view! I tried it with Spanx but it wasn't much better. Pretty embarrassing, but I thought I'd post the pics anyways to show you that despite what you may think from my WIWs, my figure hasn't completely bounced back yet (apple dressing to the rescue!) and to ask, should I hang onto this dress for next year or just let it go? Yes I know I do need to start exercising--it's been two years! Despite not dieting or exercising at all, I'm within 3-5 lb of my pre-pregnancy weight at 9 months, which is about where I was the last two times (it took me a year to get back to pre-pregnancy weight both times before). I think if I start doing some exercise videos or situps I could be in better shape, but I wonder if the dress will be dated when (or if) my figure recovers?

Anyhow, onward and upward--I decided to reuse the dress that I got for the Speakeasy 1920's theme fundraiser that DH and I attended last spring (10-11). I figured it was blingy enough to count for casino wear. The decade was kind of wrong for Disco, but I think it was still OK. I wore it with a J Crew necklace and a dragonfly bracelet. I wore the gold Calvin Klein Baishas that Angie recommended. They went well with the dress, but I have to admit my feet were really sore by the end of the night. Not as comfy as the Mary Janes I wore for the 20's party! Fun pics of me and DH, the doctors (including a couple of the retired doctors), and the decorations up on the wall (7-9) One of the nurses drew pictures of all the doctors in disco poses, so funny! They had casino games and dancing and a photo booth (which is why we were all wearing masks). The woman standing next to me is one of the newest doctors in our group. She dresses really nicely--more subdued and upscale/sophisticated than me, I think. Mostly greys, blacks and cream. She has an amazing shoe collection, Louboutins etc. She told me that her dress was from Alice by Temperley...very pretty. We are getting another woman doctor this summer. It will be fun to have more women around--it will be half and half then!

And also, prior holiday party wear:
2012-no theme--I was pregnant and just wore my black lace Bailey 44 so I wouldn't have to buy a maternity dress (fortunately it didn't stretch out permanently!)
2011--Wild West--I was a saloon girl and DH was a gunslinger

Thanks for looking and for your advice!


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WIW 12/8 minimalist palette: Vince tri colorblock turtleneck

This sweater is one of Angie's warm sweater picks--she has one in a different colorway.
This is not my typical color palette or silhouette, but I like the idea of exploring some outfits with fewer and more subdued colors. Note I didn't say limiting myself to these colors...I still love bright and cheery colors and color and pattern mixing. I would feel drab if I restricted myself to solid grey and black all the time. But sometimes calm and minimalist has its virtues, especially when things get hectic! I feel inspired by Ironkurtin and Ceit in this outfit! (And Angie too, of course!). It was perfect for taking the kids out to a dance party--I even did the limbo with the baby! DS1 was wrapped up in toilet paper to make a snowman. So fun!

Vince tri colorblock turtleneck
J Brand skinnies
Betsey Johnson cream puffer (it was cold that day)
Skechers silver wedge sneakers
Michael Kors silver satchel


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WIW 12/10 Urban Winter Warrior Princess

This sweater and bra is a bit of a style departure for me, but it's getting cold and I just don't feel like wearing those baggy Gap dolman sweaters that I bought last year while I was pregnant--they are even baggier on me now non-pregnant. I wanted something with a bit more of an edge to it. I found this Helmut Lang asymmetric sweater and initally I bought it 20% off at Nordstrom, but I returned it because I thought it was too low cut for me. The SA was like, "I can't believe you are returning this! And you got such a great price! I am going to buy it and take it home with me!" I was half tempted to grab it back from her, but I didn't want to fight over a sweater! After I went home I immediately regretted returning it, so I was looking around (of course it was sold out at Nordstrom) but everything else was full price. I was about to give up and pay full price, but then saw it at Shopbop and took advantage of their 25% off promotion for Black Friday, and it happened to be on sale as well, so I got a $230 sweater for $120, even better than the $180 I bought it for before! Sweet! I also bought a Helmut Lang asymetrical bra to wear under it, for a little more interesting look plus I don't have to worry about it being too low cut.

I also bought some snow boots--I've just been using DH's old snow boots from when he was a kid that have no insulation. I think it's time for me to have some adult snow boots. These are Born Zuniga and are a very dark grey with lots of UWPish straps, and a zipper so you don't have to undo the laces each time. I got them at the recent Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale. These will be useful for when we go up skiing once or twice a year. They're lined with a comfy fuzzy lining to keep my feet warm--kind of like an Ugg alternative. I figure it will be a fun winter MOTG shoe...all of the other moms and teens seem to be wearing Uggs so I wanted something a little different.

With my army green parka and rugged boots and map bag and silver spike cuff, I feel like a UWP on a secret winter mission! (I know I'm a wuss, it was 38 degrees this morning, but I was nice and toasty in my winter gear). I also wore this sweater with my cream parka and silver wedge sneakers over the weekend. Thanks for looking!

Helmut Lang asymmetrical cream sweater (Shopbop)
Helmut Lang asymmetrical black bra (Shopbop)
J Brand skinny jeans (Marshall's)
Map bag from Rae
Anthro olive green parka
Born Zuniga boots (Nordstrom)
Spring Street silver cuff (Nordstrom)

Betsey Johnson cream puffer
Skechers grey wedge sneakers
Michael Kors silver studded satchel (DSW)


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Return these Tory Burch items?

Here is the outfit I ended up with (pic 1-2) and am keeping the Tory Burch beetle blouse, pleated skirt, and dragonfly pumps.
Here are the other Tory Burch items I had ordered, but I think I'm going to return these. Do you agree, or are there any I should keep? I thought you might be curious to see these items on me anyways, even if I end up returning them, to see what works and what doesn't.

I'm a little conflicted about the tee, which is cute, but I think it might be OD'ing on beetle since I'm already keeping the beetle blouse. The teal perforated leather skirt is gorgeous, but I feel like it's Just Too Much for work. I already have two other leather skirts for work, a black pencil skirt and a brown A line. Plus it's over $600 even on sale (the pleated one I kept is more like $130). The sweater is not really my style--maybe too sporty/preppy. The dress isn't so flattering on me and puckers at the top and is a little too bare for winter. And the necklace I found a more delicate dragonfly necklace from Alexis Bittar that is really pretty (pic 2) (DD loves it and already asked me if I could give her that necklace when she grows up!), so this Tory Burch pendant may be too statement-y and redundant. I did find another Tory Burch dragonfly pendant that is a little bit more subdued. Which of these two Tory Burch pendants would you keep, or should I just stick to the Alexis Bittar? (ETA: the AB comes in a pin version too!) I really like dragonflies, so I am OK with keeping multiples! It could be my leitmotif!
3-4. sweater
5. dragonfly pendant
6-9. teal perforated leather skirt
10-13. teal dress
14-17. beetle T shirt

18. Dragonfly pendant #2

19. Alexis Bittar dragonfly pin (I am tempted to keep this one as well, because it doesn't have a wiggly tail like the necklace, which I think is a little distracting), but I would get less use out of a pin than a necklace. The AB necklace and pin were on sale so I got a good price on them. The TB were not on sale but they end up all being around the same price.


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WIW 12/9: Worker Beetle aka Dragonfly Girl

Thanks so much for your helpful feedback on my Tory Burch K/R post earlier:
Here is what I ended up keeping. I decided to ditch the matchy matchy sweater and wear it with my ink blue blazer instead. It's still plenty matchy matchy and whimsical for me, but feels a little more luxe and sophisticated for work. I still got a lot of comments on the shoes and the outfit in general. One person was walking behind me as I was climbing the stairs and said, "WHOA! Those are amazing shoes!" Another nurse said I looked "super sassy". Ha. Hopefully this strikes a balance between office drone Worker Beetle and superhero Dragonfly Girl. What do you think, do you like it, or is it still too over the top?

By the way, these dragonfly pumps are 4 inch and I know people said they are too high and I should return them, but I couldn't resist, they are gorgeous. They are definitely limited walking shoes because of the heel height (I wouldn't wear them on call, but they were OK for the office). I brought my teal ballet flats just in case (7), but I ended up making it through the day with my pumps on and kicked them off for the drive home.

White House Black Market ink blue blazer
Tory Burch beetle blouse
Tory Burch skirt
H&M teal textured tights
Tory Burch dragonfly pumps
Alexis Bittar dragonfly necklace
Kate Spade turquoise jeweled clutch

ETA: You can vote on my returns thread if there's something you think I should keep! Otherwise I think I'm going to return the extra items. Thanks!



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Picture Perfect Album: My top 5 hits

Thanks Bella for another fun challenge! I loved seeing everyone's creative interpretations. Here's the recap of my week's "Top 5 hits"...

1. "Tabby" Road: my cats stood in for the Beatles! Double dose of stripes, and asphalt-inspired sweater and bracelet.

2. Jagged Little Pill: rare scarf sighting on me, but it was perfect for the color palette. One hand in my pocket, and the other one is giving a peace sign.

3. Dark Side of the Moon: moon-shaped patterned wrap dress, with red purse and DD's rainbow hearts necklace.

4. Supernatural: took the easy way out with a bright patterned shift dress.

5. Born in the USA: two versions of red, white and blue, for work and casual. Both with the red corset trench and Ms. Scarlet.

I really enjoyed seeing everyone's outfits--all very different, but so consistent with the wearer's style! Can't wait to see the next challenge!


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