Aug 29, 2014

Blogging Besties: Denim Vest

Hiya! It's me, Alex, here with the second segment of Blogging Besties! As you may remember from last week, Whitney put together a comfy, cool summer ensemble with a black dress, denim vest, pendant necklace, and sandals.

As the title of this post suggests, I have chosen to "pass on" the denim vest from Whitney's look and create my own outfit with a denim vest! I love, love, LOVE my denim vest because it's incredibly soft and comfortable, plus a super fuss-free way to layer, especially in the summer when I just can't bear to have all that fabric on my arms.

Here's the outfit I crafted with my denim vest: 

Ross top (similarsimilar)
Urban Outfitters vest (similarsimilar)
BCBGeneration flats (thrifted) (similarsimilar)

The basic elements of this outfit are the denim vest, a patterned button-down, dark wash skinnies, and girly flats. Enjoy, Whitney! 

Previous segments of Blogging Besties: 
8-22-14 (Whitney)

Aug 27, 2014

August Budget

While chronicling my purchases in July, I posed a question to you and in return, received lots of great advice!  I was debating whether or not to include pajamas, exercise clothes and underwear in my $250 quarterly budget.  After reading your advice and thinking a little bit more about my spending habits, I've come to a conclusion.  I'm going to have a separate, yearly budget of $200 for these necessities.  I ultimately decided not to include these things in my clothing budget because I could foresee myself avoiding underwear purchases because I would rather have a new dress...and sometimes you really should by new underwear.  But, since money is tight around here, I thought that I should have a budget of some sort.  I actually doubt that I will spend the full $200 each year but I wanted the amount to cover the ever-expensive bra purchases when necessary.

I've also made another decision regarding my budget.  I've decided not to include my Rocks Box subscription fee in my budget.  I thought a lot about canceling this service but I really really enjoy these little, sparkly deliveries.  But taking $60 out of my quarterly $250 was feeling like a huge deduction.  Since my subscription is a fixed amount and not something I need to be careful about controlling, I'm accounting for it in my general budget as opposed to my clothing budget.  If I decide to purchase any of my Rocks Box goods, however, I will deduct that amount from my clothes budget.

Now on to my August purchases!  My mom and I have developed a fun tradition of shopping together at an outlet mall every August for a few back-to-school purchases.  This was our fifth year running!  Since I knew in advance that we would be shopping, I expected to spend almost the rest of my budget this month.  However, by taking advantage of sales, using Gap Card rewards, and with a couple of gifts from my mom, I was able to stretch my budget pretty far.

1.  Banana Republic Outlet Maxi Dress: Original Price- $89.99 Amount Spent- $21.56
I've said it once and I'll say it again: this dress is amazing!
2.  Banana Republic Outlet Maxi Dress: Original Price- $89.99 Amount Spent- $21.55
This dress is so great in fact that I bought it in two different prints.
3.  Banana Republic Outlet Beaded Shell: Original Price- $69.99 Amount Spent- $16.76
I love the beaded details in this top and the colors will make it really remixable.
4.  Banana Republic Outlet Lace Tank: Original Price- $49.99 Amount Spent- $11.97
Lace is a great way to add texture while keeping with a solid color.  Orange will be great for fall!
5.  Banana Republic Outlet Skirt: Original Price- $59.99 Amount Spent- $20.11
Not pictured.  I couldn't find this one online but I'm sure you will be seeing it on the blog pretty soon!
6.  LOFT Outlet Dress: Original Price- $49.99 Amount Spent- $0
Not pictured.  Again, I couldn't find this dress online but you've already seen it on my last post.
7.  LOFT Outlet Statement Necklace: Original Price- $34.99 Amount Spent- $0
Not pictured.  You gotta love statement necklaces!  What until you see this fall-hued sparkler!

Total Spent August- $97
Total Spent this Quarter- $215.79 (Total Saved $471)
Total Remaining- $34.21

Linking-up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!

Aug 25, 2014

First Day of School

I've been awake since 5:00 this morning and by the time you read this, I will have consumed at least a few cups of coffee.  This can mean only one thing: the school year has commenced!

As a 28 year-old, I have been going back to school for the past 24 years of my life!  Despite having done this many times before, I still feel a sense of excitement.  The classroom is freshly cleaned and decorated.  There are new things to learn!  Will the other kids like me?  AND it is time to wear those new back-to-school clothes!

I mentioned last August that each year while growing-up, my mom would pose my sister and me at the door in our "first day of school outfits" for a photo.  In continuing this tradition, I now present you with my 24th installment of the back-to-school picture:

While blazers and heels make the occasional appearance in my day-to-day work-wear, I make sure to sport these kinds of pieces on the first day of school to set a professional and academic tone for my students.

So, students and my fellow teachers, what are you wearing on your first day of school this year?

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: LOFT Outlet (similar, similar)
Blazer: Anthropologie (similar, similar)
Heels: Department Store (similar, similar)

DC In Style- Monday Bloom
Fashionably Employed- Sophisticated Style
The Modern Austen- Sunday Best
I Do DeClaire- Confident TWOsdays
Style Elixir- Style Sessions

Aug 22, 2014

Blogging Besties

Happy Friday, loves!  I am so excited to introduce you to a new series and collaboration that I will be doing with one of my best blogging buddies, Alex, from Undergraduate Style!

If you are a regular reader of personal style blogs, you may have heard of a "take one, pass it on" challenge.  During a typical run of this challenge, I would start by putting together and wearing an outfit.  The next day, I would take one element from the first outfit and wear it in my second outfit.  The third day, I then take a different element from the second outfit and wear it with my third.  I would follow this pattern until the end of the challenge.

Here is an example of what this might look like.  You will notice that I took the dress from the first outfit to wear in the second.  From the second ensemble, I took the belt to wear in the third photo.

Got it?  Good!  And now for the twist!  Alex and I are going to do this together!  I'm kicking-off the challenge today and then next week you will see which element of my outfit Alex is passing-on.  The following Friday it will be my turn again (and so on and so forth).  Obviously Alex and I don't own the exact same wardrobes so we will be doing this challenge with items that are as similar as possible.

Without further ado, here is the first look of the series!

The basic elements of this ensemble are my beloved denim vest, a simple black dress, a long pendant necklace and flat cognac sandals.  Alright Alex, let's see what you've got!

Don't forget to check back next Friday for Alex's first installment of this series!

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: ASOS (similar, similar)
Denim Vest: Old Navy (similar, similar)
Necklace: Gift (similar, similar)
Sandals: Target (exact)

Rachel the Hat and Lena B Actually- Passion 4 Fashion
Simply Sequins- Fashion Item Friday
Style Elixir- Friday's Fab Faves
Vodka Infused Lemonade- Très Chic Fashion Thursday
Work Clothes, I Suppose- Third Thursday Threads

Aug 17, 2014

Vintage Romance: an eShakti Dress

While on a certain level, clothes are just items that you use to cover and protect your body, I find it interesting and fun that clothing can make you feel certain things about yourself!  A great outfit can make you feel confident, focused, sexy or relaxed.

And I love the way this dress makes me feel!  It is beautiful and has a sort of vintage romance feel that I absolutely adore.  When I wear it, I feel oh so lovely and feminine!  The floral print is beautiful and the seaming is really flattering!

Where might you find such a pretty dress as this, you ask?  Please take a moment to visit the online boutique, eShakti.  eShakti is a clothing company based in India.  They create and produce beautiful and unique pieces...and the best part?  You can customize any of the items to fit you and your style perfectly!  You can simply choose a standard size or you can give them your measurements for an exact fit. You can also request to change features of the item like the neckline, sleeve-length or skirt length.  I'm so excited and thankful that eShakti gave me the opportunity to choose a dress and to wear it here on Whitney à la mode!

For such a beautiful dress, I want to show you two ways to style it!  My first look is a bit more fancy.  I chose some sparkly pearls and nude wedges to highlight the vintage vibe of the dress.  This ensemble would be perfect to wear to a summer wedding or for a romantic evening on the town (would anyone like to invite me to a wedding or set me up with a handsome date??).

For my second look, I wanted to make the dress a bit more casual.  I added a denim jacket and booties for a more relaxed vibe.  Adding layers is also a great way to take a summer dress into the fall!  I can't wait to wear this for brunch with my girlfriends!

I couldn't be more pleased with this dress from eShakti!  I hope that you will visit their website and that you will perhaps treat yourself to a unique piece that has been customized just for you!

Disclaimer: This dress was provided to me by eShakti but all opinions are my own!

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: eShakti (similar, similar)
Pearl Necklace: Simply Charming, Winchester, VA (similar, similar)
Wedges: France (similar, similar)
Denim Jacket: Hand-me-down (similar, similar)
Booties: Belk (similar, similar)

DC In Style- Monday Bloom
The Modern Austen- Sunday Best
I Do DeClaire- Confident TWOsdays
Style Elixir- Style Sessions

Aug 15, 2014

Maxi Dress Love

About a year ago I mentioned that I really struggle with finding maxi dresses that fit and are flattering on me.  I still find this odd considering how many maxis are on the market.  Anyways, last year I found the perfect maxi dress at the Banana Republic Outlet.  It hugged my body in all of the right places while skimming the rest of my, well, let's call them curves.

I was in for a sweet surprise this past weekend when I walked into the BR Outlet with my mom for our annual back-to-school shopping trip.  As I was perusing the racks of clothes, I found the exact maxi dress from last year but in new prints!  Major score!  I went home with two new maxis that I love and that I feel great in!  I purchased this great palm print dress as well as a little striped number.

I wanted to post this exciting news right away in case any of you struggle with finding maxis like I do.  Head straight to your nearest Banana Republic Outlet and try these dresses on!  (They were even 50% off this past weekend).  I can't speak highly enough of them!  And Banana Republic, if you are listening, you will have a very happy shopper if you come out with new versions of this dress every summer!

P.S.  You may notice that I've had most of my hair chopped-off!  I'm in an "out with the old and in with the new" sort of a mood lately and I'm loving my new, breezy 'do!

The original!

Fun, new pattern!

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: Banana Republic Outlet (exact)
Sandals: France (similar, similar)

Penniless Socialite- Look What I Got
Rachel the Hat and Lena B, Actually- Passion 4 Fashion
Simply Sequins- Fashion Item Friday
Style Elixir- Friday's Fab Faves
Vodka Infused Lemonade- Très Chic Fashion Thursday

Aug 11, 2014

Oh the Lazy Days of Summer

Soooo, I've been a little bit absent from the blogging world of late.  I wish I had a good excuse for you but the truth is, I've been enjoying my lazy summer days.  Have I had the time to write a blog post, respond to comments, and visit my favorite blogs?  Sure!  Have I been reading books, napping and drinking wine with my family and friends instead?  You betcha!  Alas, all of this glorious relaxation time will soon come to a close as I trade my yoga pants and MSU t-shirts for teacher clothes and alarm clocks starting a week from today!  But don't worry, I'm prepared to squeeze out every little bit of this summertime calm before I'm back to spending my days teaching French, grading papers and creating lesson plans.

Speaking of being lazy, however, I wore this outfit over two months ago but just now got around to posting about it.  I wore this ensemble for my May.  The coral dress and gold accessories felt really pretty and special, so I really don't know why I didn't blog about it!  Anyways, better late than never, right?!  (At least until my students start trying to use this logic regarding their homework).

This is an outfit that is truly a result of my exposure to the world of style blogging.  This dress came with a thin sash/belt in the same color and fabric as the dress.  Before learning about remixing clothing and incorporating accessories to change up a look, I would have just stuck with that sash.  While the sash makes for a pretty ensemble, it is a lot more fun to play with different belts!  

I had to throw in a selfie to show off the adorable Kate Spade earrings that were a birthday gift from my thoughtful sister and brother-in-law.  Thanks, Kayla and Brad!

What I'm Wearing:
Dress: Simply Charming Boutique, Winchester, VA (similar, similar)
Belt: Francesca's (similar, similar)
Shoes: France (similar, similar)
Earrings: Kate Spade (similar, similar)

DC In Style- Monday Bloom
The Modern Austen- Sunday Best
I Do DeClaire- Confident TWOSdays
Style Elixir- Style Sessions

Aug 4, 2014

Sweet Summertime and a Giveaway!

Greetings from the Mitten State!  Though I currently live in Virginia, I am from the great state of Michigan and it is still my all-time favorite place to be.  I am spending my last three weeks of summer vacation at home with family and friends.  I have been busy eating lunch every day at my parents' restaurant, exploring new shopping with my best friend and boating on the fresh Michigan water.  There is something about this place that always helps me to breathe a little easier!

Here is that denim vest again!  I told you that it has been so versatile and that I've been wearing it non-stop.

In fact, my new summer staple + a comfy maxi skirt = the perfect outfit for bumming around during a Michigan summer!

Another activity that I have been doing a lot of while relaxing at home is reading!  I adore reading but I don't get to do as much of it as I would like during the school year (darn you, lesson planning and grading).  This just means that I make-up for lost time during the summer by reading as much as I possibly can.  Most recently I finished Peril at End House by my ultimate favorite author, Agatha Christie.  If you enjoy a good murder mystery, Agatha is your girl!  In fact, if you are a mystery lover like me, I'm going to give you some homework (yes, it's summer vacation but I am still a teacher at heart)!  First of all, enter the amazing giveaway below and you could win a Kindle Paperwhite!  Then, download an Agatha Christie novel, curl-up with a cup of tea (perhaps iced) and lose yourself in a mystery!  Let me know when you are finished because I do enjoy a good book discussion!

Giveaway Details:
-Enter using the Rafflecopter below.
-Open from August 4th to August 18th.
-Open for Continental U.S. residents only.
-Winner's entries will be verified.
-Hosted by Marissa from The Modern Austen.
-Co-hosted by the following bloggers:
    Brittney & Staff from Urban Cashmere
     Kristin from My Life as a Teacup
     Rhea from Rhea Et Cetera
     Sam from Sam Bell Creative
     Whitney from Whitney a la Mode
     Karen from Fearlessly Authentic
     Inge from This Ever Evolving Life
     Meghan from Hayes Days

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

What I'm Wearing:
T-Shirt: Gap Outlet (similar, similar)
Vest: Old Navy (exact)
Skirt: Dressbarn (similar, similar)
Sandals: In France (similar, similar)

Cha Cha the Fashion Genius and Pink Sole- #howisummer
DC In Style- Monday Bloom
I Do deClaire- Confident TWOSday
Style Elixir- Style Sessions