common threads challenge: week 1

It’s been awhile since I last posted! My husband accidentally broke my tripod (not really sure how–I just know that the pressure washer was involved…), and I’m entering into serious writing season for my PhD; the combination of the two has put blogging on the back-burner. All that being said, I am still participating in the Common Threads Challenge, and I wanted to be sure to share my first few outfits with you.

Monday: olive tee

olive tee: Banana Republic Factory, exact // black skinny jeans: Loft, similar // black leather flats: BCBGeneration, similar // leopard scarf: Joe Fresh, similar

To be honest, I really wanted to copy this exact outfit, but I decided I should try to put my own spin on it. Plus, I was just really in the mood to wear a scarf! Olive + leopard is definitely a go-to around here.

Tuesday: burgundy skirt

black stripe 3/4 sleeve tee: Merona, similar // burgundy skirt: Loft, similar // black leather flats: BCBGeneration, similar // black leather strap watch: Kate Spade, exact // gray tortoise sunglasses: Warby Parker Banks, similar

I think this look is the winner of the week. I say that because a stranger stopped me on my way in to work and said, “You look cute!” I almost wish that I had a neck scarf or something to give the outfit a little French girl flair.

Wednesday: chambray shirt

chambray shirt: J.Crew, exact // mustard jeans: Loft, similar // two tone wedge sandals: b.o.c., similar // reversible tote: Street Level, exact // cognac leather strap watch: Wristology, exact

I’ve actually worn some version of this outfit several times, although I most often wear it with my striped chambray popover. I was tempted to wear my cognac booties with this outfit, but ultimately decided I would go one CTC item at a time, at least for this first week.

Thursday: black knit blazer

black knit blazer: Caslon, similar // spotted blouse: Loft, similar // olive pants: Banana Republic, similar // black wedges: Jessica Simpson, exact // gray tortoise sunglasses: Warby Parker Banks, similar

I’ve had this pin sitting on my “must re-create” list for a long time now. I finally got around to it, but I’m not so excited about the end result. For starters, why does my blazer look lopsided?! And perhaps I should have left the top untucked. Oh, well.

Friday: cognac booties

plum tee: Banana Republic Factory, similar // ivory cardigan: Merona, similar // skinny jeans: BP, similar // gold pendant necklace: J.Crew, similar // cognac booties: Jessica Simpson, almost exact

Let me just be honest and say that this outfit was completely weather inappropriate. The day started off cool, but by mid-day, it was up to the 80s–not exactly sweater and bootie temps. This sweater is gigantic (and hence, not very flattering), partially because I bought it when I was pregnant two years ago…but I think I love it a little more just because it’s so over-sized.

This first week hasn’t been too difficult–we’re just beginning with our five pieces! That being said, I think the item I’ll have the most trouble re-wearing is the burgundy skirt. Any suggestions are welcome…


If you’re following along in the challenge, please link up your posts below!

Also linking up with Thursday Moda!


common threads challenge: my pieces

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I will be participating in something called the Common Threads Challenge for the month of October. You can read the details here, but the gist is this: pick 5 pieces from your wardrobe and incorporate at least one of them into each of your outfits for the month of October. It seems lot less stress-inducing than a seasonal capsule wardrobe or a 30 x 30, but still facilitates lots of wardrobe re-mixing.

Anyway, for this first day of October, I thought I would share which five pieces I’ve chosen for the challenge:

olive tee (exact): I just bought this a few weeks ago, so I’m excited to get creative with how I wear it. I think it will be easy to dress up (with a skirt) for work or down (with jeans) on the weekends.

chambray shirt (exact): Even though I wear my chambray shirt constantly, I keep thinking of new ways to wear it. It’s about as basic as it comes, so that’s not exactly a surprise!

black knit blazer (similar): I bought this blazer during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, but it hasn’t been cool enough to wear it yet. I’m hoping that fall will finally arrive this month, so layering season can begin. If not…well then, I guess I’ll be that sweaty girl in the corner wearing a blazer.

burgundy skirt (similar): This skirt has actually been in my closet for a while, but due to the weight fluctuations associated with pregnancy and then breastfeeding, I haven’t been able to wear it until relatively recently. So, I’ve had a few years to think of a few outfits!

cognac booties (almost exact): I love these booties, and I’ve worn them several times on the blog before. That being said, I just don’t reach for boots as often as I would like in the fall and winter months–I tend to gravitate toward flats. Looking forward to giving these some love.

Now it’s your turn–which 5 pieces would you choose to “re-mix” for fall?

september 2017 budget

Wait, wasn’t it just Labor Day? I can’t believe September is already drawing to a close. Even though it seemed like a short month, I still managed to do plenty of buying (and returning). Once again, it’s mostly fall items–I’m still holding out hope that it will actually come this year…

the keepers

gingham blouse {J.Crew via Poshmark} $20 (retailed for $110) This probably sounds ridiculously specific, but I’ve been looking for a professional, warm weather blouse in black gingham. There was a lot of black gingham to be found in stores this summer, but most of those items had cold shoulders, bell sleeves, or other trends I don’t like (no offense to those who like them–they’re just not “me!”). I took a chance on this lovely silk top I spotted on Poshmark, and I really like it. Some Googling indicates that it might in fact be dark navy and not black in the pattern, but I think it reads black. Good purchase! See how I wore it here.

faux leather jacket {Express via eBay} $32 (retails for $128) Technically, I already own a (genuine) leather jacket that I bought via consignment a while ago, but it’s a smidge big, which is great for layering, but not so great when I want a more form-fitting silhouette. This jacket from Express seems to get rave reviews, but the price tag was a bit hefty for my taste. I set up a search for the jacket on eBay, and eventually one popped up, new with tags and in my size. Score! Can’t wait to wear it.

twill field jacket {Old Navy} $24 ($44.99, on sale for $36 + extra 20% off + $5 rewards cash) I mentioned this piece in my last budget post, and ultimately I decided to keep it. I think it’s different enough from my J.Crew utility jacket (this one) that I can justify keeping it, and as I mentioned last week, I wear a lot of olive green! Plus, I got a pretty fantastic deal on it.

denim jacket {Old Navy} $23 ($35 + extra 20% off + $5 rewards cash) A few weeks ago, I mentioned my denim jacket dilemma. I’m just not loving my J.Crew one anymore. It’s still in perfect condition (for sale here!), but the fit and fabric are not so perfect for me. This one, however, is a great fit, wonderfully comfy/stretchy, and a very versatile shade of blue. See how I wore it here and here.

olive tee {Banana Republic Factory} $13 ($36.99 on sale for $14.99 + extra 10% off) My mom and I took an impromptu trip to the outlets last weekend, and the only thing I bought for myself was this tee. I’ve proclaimed my undying love for the LuxeTouch tee about a thousand times, but just to re-iterate–I LOVE THEM. So when I spotted one in my beloved olive green,  snatched it up…and may have contemplated buying an extra one as a back-up.

gray dress {A New Day via Target} $24 ($24.99 + 5% REDcard discount) After waiting a few weeks for a good promotion (to no avail), I finally ordered a few of the A New Day items I had been eyeing. I’ve been on the hunt for a gray dress for a month or two now, and this one seems to fit the bill. The fabric is definitely better quality than the Old Navy sheath I tried, but I’m not kidding myself into thinking that I’ll own this dress forever. The fit is nice and flattering, and I think I’ll easily be able to layer underneath it in the winter.

the returns

OK, hold on tight–there’s a lot of returns to mention here! First, I returned the black jeans I bought last month from the #NSale. I decided they were just a tad too small, and I also found my old pair of black jeans in storage, so I didn’t really need them anyway. I am considering ordering the same jeans in a different wash and the next size up. I also tried this denim jacket from Old Navy, but I didn’t like the wash as much as the one I mentioned above. I still think having a dark wash denim jacket could be useful for my current lifestyle, but this wasn’t it. Gap Factory had a great sale a few weeks ago, so I tried a few pairs of their “slim city pants“…and they looked terrible on me. Finally, as I mentioned above, I tried a few items from the A New Day line. This peplum top was just really wide and a little short on me, and I’m undecided on this denim shirtdress. I would prefer that it didn’t have pockets on the chest, but otherwise it’s acceptable.

the extras

I sold my camel blazer and used the funds to buy the same item in my current size. Because I returned those black jeans from last month’s budget, I used that money to buy this olive dress (my Amazon one, seen here, is already falling apart!).

September total: $136

2017 total: $1338

Remaining budget: $662

Whew, this was a long one–congrats if you’re still reading. I would say this was a sensible shopping month in terms of the items I ended up keeping. No frivolous accessories purchased this time around. The denim jacket and olive tee will for sure be worn non-stop, and I’m confident the rest will be useful later in the fall as well.

As for next month, I’m hoping to try out these jeans and maybe these pants in the burgundy and the olive (if only my size would be re-stocked!). This dress has also piqued my interest of late…but what color??

What did you buy in September?

Linking up with Budgeting Bloggers.


Black, white, and burgundy is definitely a color combination you’ll see frequently throughout the blog archives–it’s pretty neutral, but not boring. That’s definitely a characteristic I look for when I want to appear professional, which is why I wore this look for a conference (in which I was presenting a poster) this past week.

Technically, I wore this outfit a few days prior to the conference too, as a “trial run.” Does anyone else do that? I like to try out an outfit for an important occasion, just to be sure there’s not something unexpectedly wrong with the garments or the way they fit or drape. I guess I’ve had one too many occasions when the zipper is impossible scratchy or the pants are just a bit too tight, so I’ll take the extra precaution!

black striped dress: J.Crew Factory, exact, similar (so adorable!) // burgundy cardigan: J.Crew Factory, almost exact, similar // gold tassel necklace: Forever 21, similar, similar // black flats: BCBGeneration, similar, similar