Sunday, October 16, 2016

How to Make a Dress Look Casual Yet Classy


DRESS: Shein  c/o  //  SNEAKERS:  Adidas  //  EARRINGS: Majorica
 SUNGLASSES: Target (Designer version here)  // BRACELET: Kate Spade old (similar here)
CLUTCH / CROSSBODY BAG: Nine West old (similar here, herehere + love this one) 


One of the things I love most about living in California is the true change of seasons, something I've missed during the last 10 years while I lived in Florida after moving down from the north. It feels great to be planning my fall wardrobe and experimenting with different outfit combinations once again as layering is half the fun! Earlier this week during one of our  typical 75-degree days, I paired this ultra comfy dress with sneakers-something that is normally outside of my comfort zone. The key is making sure to get the right footwear, a running shoe intended for training would come off as frumpy.

With the Bay Area offering a more casual vibe and my increase in outdoor activities along with the amount of walking (especially up and downhill in SF and in our neighborhood's hills), being what it is, unless I need to wear a heel, you'll find me in flats almost daily. When it comes to our dress wardrobe, it need not be reserved for only when we're wearing heels, how we can make a dress look more casual is by changing a few accessories whether it's a belt, a pair of shoes or the chosen handbag or all of the above. By wearing flats, booties or the right pair of sneakers, it instantly provides a put-together yet relaxed outfit that works for a variety of occasions that results in a classy look that isn't too dressed up or fussy.

With the continued trend of athleisure, I knew it was time to add a new pair of sneakers that fit the bill. There are a lot of great options that are both practical and yet stylish (a running shoe would look awkward and would ruin the look, but with the right footwear, you can pair this comfy option with not only jeans but also dresses and skirts which make them a great addition to one's wardrobe. I had a flashback of my high school days when I had my first pair of Gazelle's, these Adidas Superstars are so comfortable and go with so much in my closet.

You've probably seen them everywhere by now, I'm never one to follow a crowd but when a shoe is comfortable and it makes my size 9-9.5 foot look smaller, I'm sold! I chose the classic white & black stripes (they also make a solid white version and a pretty gold stripe which I nearly bought. I ended up ordering a size 8 as these are unisex and they fit perfectly-I recommend sizing down one full size than what you're used to. I started off with a size 7.5 and was able to take advantage of not only free shipping but the return/exchange for free too by ordering them on this site. I plan on adding to my casual sneaker collection, below are some others I considered and may eventually add in time.

I stumbled upon this SheIn gray/taupe-toned dress recently (I still can't believe it's just $21!) and thought it would be perfect year round. I love the overall modesty and simplicity of it yet polished and elegant look-the drop shoulder and elbow-length sleeves are are the perfect length for the warmer days of fall and the 3" slit on either side of this knee-length dress is feminine and sexy without showing much skin. I was surprised to see the sizing was labelled 'one size', I wasn't quite sure what to expect or how it would fit, I was delighted to see that it is so flattering on.

Unlike thin jersey material, this knit dress is super soft and comfortable yet provides the kind of coverage that doesn't cling to your body in all the wrong places. While I'm sharing a casual look in this post, I have wedges, riding boots, ballet flats and booties that I look forward to wearing with it in the future. It really is quite versatile and because of its neutral color, you can either create a monochrome vibe or add a pop of color anytime of year. For fall,I recommend pairing it with red, burgundy, navy, cobalt or even a dusty rose or blush pink for maximum impact.

I'm a huge fan of clutches that double as a shoulder bag or cross-body bag (as is the case of this old Nine West oxblood patent faux croc version). When I'm walking all over the city while in San Francisco or during outings with Lily I like to have my hands free. I enjoy having the option of a more sophisticated look of a clutch and will often tuck the strap inside while out on appointments or when I'm out on my own. This particular day involved a little of both so this particular bag was a great choice.

Let's Socialize!


What new looks have you been experimenting with this fall?

I hope you're all having a wonderful weekend. Thanks for stopping by!


*Brought to you by SheIn Clothing.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

First Day of Autumn

BLOUSE: SheIn $26! (c/o)  //  JEANS: 7FAM (old) flare leg version, lighter version
SHOES: Tory Burch  //  BAG: (Local shop) similar: herehere, here, here + here
SUNGLASSES: Target on sale under $14! (Designer version here)  // EARRINGS: Majorica


Happy October everyone! The first day of Fall in the Bay Area certainly didn't disappoint! The leaves have already begun turning colors, the air has that crispness to it in the early morning + late evening and during the day we're warmed by the sun's rays on even the chilliest sounding temps-the 60's actually feel more like 80's. We've already begun stocking up on white mini pumpkins and other fall decor. If you've been following along on instagram, you may have seen that we are actually growing our own pumpkins and have already harvested 9! They grew from seeds in the compost on our property and were transferred so they had already turned orange weeks ago and were ready to be picked.

I find that September and early October fluctuate so much in most parts of the country (as evidenced by the 66 degrees we had last week only to experience a heat wave of nearly 100 degrees just a few days later during the weekend. I've always said that my perfect place to live would be where I could wear a dress and jeans + a  blazer or cute blouse daily and I'd say that I've found that here. Since my wardrobe necessities in California are different than that of Florida, I've made it a point to focus on both transitional and layering pieces to get me through the next couple months until warmer coats are truly needed daily. In my last outfit post I shared this floral dress to take you from summer to fall and now I wanted to share a casual yet pulled together look that does the same job.

When I'm not at a playground with Lily, tending to the garden or working from home, I like to dress up my denim whether it's with the addition of a blazer, putting on a pretty blouse or a fab pair of heels. This is a pretty typical everyday look for me, as a mom I prefer to wear flats to chase after my little monkey and they're the perfect choice for weekends when we're doing a lot of walking. I save my heels and wedges for when I'm flying solo for the day while she's at school.

I'm loving this black and white striped bow wrapped blouse that I ordered a few weeks ago. It has a slight ruffling at the bottom and of course a pretty side tie bow which would pair equally as well with a black pencil skirt or even a pair of shorts when those hot days roll in again. The material is thicker, so coupled with my wide leg jeans, I didn't feel cold once during the day. I've had these 7 For All Mankind jeans for a few years  and I find wide leg jeans really comfortable, I'm glad to see that wide leg pants and denim are on trend again this season, I especially like pairing them with a fitted short sleeved or long sleeved tee along with a belt. They currently offer a lighter version of the same style here. I just stocked up a bunch of these super affordable and ultra soft pima cotton tees which are currently on sale and perfect for layering!

I've also been experimenting with some new hair styles (inspired by a more bohemian, relaxed look here in California I suppose), which actually originated from my need to find new toddler styles for Lily's long hair. Not long after, she'd see something I experimented on in my own hair and ask if I could do the same to hers so she could have 'hair like mommy'. This hairstyle is super easy and takes about a minute to do. It's essentially a series of flips. secure a low ponytail (I use tiny clear plastic elastics from the drugstore) then create a part in the lowest part of the gathered hair above the elastic and feed it through the center hole and pull. Add another elastic about 3 inches under that and do the same thing, pulling the pony through each time. It creates a braided effect without any complicated braiding techniques and if you're on the go and it gets a little bit too messy,  it takes just seconds to redo it. I like to pull out a few pieces of hair to frame my face so it doesn't look to perfect.



Let's Socialize!

What are you enjoying most so far about the fall season?

Thanks for stopping by!


*This post was brought to you by SheIn.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Where I'm At...

I can't tell you how many times, after my sweet daughter was tucked into bed, that I've sat down to write a blog post with a great topic in mind I've started typing a few sentences then hit the delete button a few more times and ended up not publishing anything at all. I even questioned if this post was worthwhile publishing given its lack of detail. Nothing has felt right for a while. I have been in an endless cycle (and still am) of feeling guilty as though I was letting you my readers down by not producing new content, feeling like I had temporarily quit something that brought me joy and had in some ways let myself down. Yet, at the same time with so much going on in my personal life due to a new set of circumstances, spending time on such things seemed frivolous at best when I was (and am still) dealing with a lot of new changes, challenges and immediate action items on my to do list pulling me in every direction as I attempt to navigate this new path I'm embarking upon. When I have had the time, I've opted for fashion-oriented posts (something I continue to receive a lot of requests for) but also because they are light in nature. Although my passion for the classy woman ways has been here all along, my mind and heart are preoccupied. Please know, there will continue to be a variety of content here on The Classy Woman (I already have some great post ideas lined up when I get closer to the other side of this storm I'm walking through), but it will take some time to get back into that groove. To all of my longtime readers: I appreciate you sticking around as my blog has often sat dormant for weeks on end! :) I wanted to write a bit of an update of sorts, just to let you know I'm still here, I have so many great plans for this space and so many wonderful messages still to share, but in life, as we know, timing is everything and sometimes that timing isn't for us to determine and we have to just go with the flow and take one day at a time. For now, my posts may continue to be sporadic but I'm committed to producing great content that you enjoy reading and hopefully inspires and encourages you, that's always my goal.

Thank you to those who have written sweet words of encouragement or offered prayers and to those of you who have reached out by checking in on me to see how I'm doing on Facebook, Instagram and via e-mail or messenger, without me really giving you much to go on other than I'm personally experiencing an uncharted territory, this new season of my life which resembles the Autumn season in many ways. Without divulging too much right now in the way of details, what I can tell you is that I am rebuilding my foundation which takes time but it's a great way to begin again on a more solid ground. Adapting to new changes (such as our move to a new state across the country) among many others take the front seat while everything else seems to take its rightful place on the back burner. It's been a little over 2 months now since we moved from Florida to California and we are adjusting well to life here. Lily and I love it here and the weather alone is reason enough to get up every morning with a smile on our faces! When we were visiting back in March during our spring break trip, I felt a special calling to this area in my soul that I just couldn't quite shake or put into words. I remember crossing the California state line into Nevada on our way to catch our flight home and I wondered when I'd be back. Of the many times I had visited, California has always felt like home but this particular time it's like my heart knew what was coming even when I couldn't have predicted the future or how my future life would unfold.

Change requires the use of new muscles that haven't yet developed their memory. I liken it to going to the gym for the very first time. It's easy to go full force with enthusiasm (sometimes overdoing it by doing too much too soon), trying to figure everything out, you become tired, feel burned out at times and may even wonder if you've taken on too big of a challenge (even if you don't have much of a choice and are in fact thrown into the lions' den)....but then you stop and think about the rewards that will await you in your future, the goals you've set for yourself to make life better, what will bring the most happiness and peace to you and how the current way you've been doing life just isn't fitting into that dream and it's motivation enough to keep at it. For me, my precious daughter is that motivation. Everything I do, it is with her best interest in mind.

What I know for sure is this: change is difficult but it is good for the soul! What I've also learned is that the very things we fear in life will rear their ugly head if we don't address them. Likewise, the things we cling to are often stripped away so we can see just how capable we are without them and the true level of importance in our life. Lastly, when we embrace new challenges we can see firsthand that we are stronger than we believe we are through circumstances that we couldn't have predicted (and may have even secretly dreaded the thought of as I did in my own situation). So many 'what if's' have swirled through my mind during these past few months, I have often thought back to years gone by and wondered what I could or should have done differently. The truth is, while I could have taken a different path or course corrected in some way earlier on, this is where I believe God wants and needs me to be right now. When we find ourselves out of our comfort zone, we have no choice but to lean on Him in a greater way. I've been doing just that. Sometimes we need to protect ourselves from the world for a season, focus, plan and work towards the future without distraction (or less of it anyway). That's where I find unplugging from social media or scaling back on it particularly helpful.

Sometimes after being bombarded and feeling as if so much is coming at you and as if you've been on a roller coaster ride that you just can't get off of, it's nice to get a much needed respite to just be on the offense planning for the future instead of on the defense blocking punches so to speak.

So, there you have it- a pretty vague post. ;) I'm sharing and yet not saying much of anything all at the same time. It was important to me to share, however little I could right now as I felt this post was long overdue. Part of it has to do with information that I legally cannot disclose at this time. As someone who values transparency, I feel stifled in a sense writing in this manner and yet at the same time, I feel as though anyone who has gone through a difficult life challenge or season such as the loss of a loved one, enduring a devastating illness (or caring for someone who has), the loss of a home, a move across the country (or globe), a divorce, the loss of a business or job or even the parting of a longtime friendship will resonate with my words in some way, or understand where I'm coming from.

Above all, when life has handed me my toughest moments where I've felt anxious, let down, angry or disappointed, I turn to both prayer and scripture, a reminder of God's promises to me and to all of us. My favorites are Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose". One particular message that I shared recently and have personally felt over and over again in my spirit is: "The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still" ~Exodus 14:14 which is the perfect message if you feel as though you have to fight for yourself or are under some kind of attack or opposition. Finally, "When you go through deep waters, I will be with you" ~Isaiah 43:2  I know the Lord's purpose prevails regardless of any plans I make for myself, and I kind of like that idea actually. No matter what lies ahead, I know He's got my back and His plans always turn out so much better than mine anyway. In big and small ways I have seen His faithfulness during this time. I've seen prayers answered, I've witnessed his divine favor and while I have many questions and unknowns, I'm relinquishing control and trusting Him with all the details because at the end of the day, He is God and I'm not.

Let's Socialize!

I love you all, as always thank you for reading!


*image source

Friday, September 2, 2016

Long-Sleeved Navy Floral Dress

DRESS:  Make Me Chic  c/o (also here) //  BOOTIES: Sole Society (in coffee) 
CLUTCH: Nine West old (similar style)  // SUNGLASSES: Target (Designer version by Tom Ford
EARRINGS: Merona old (I love these ones)  // BRACELETS: Forever 21 

Happy September!! Is anyone else wondering where the summer went? Speaking of time passing quickly, I just realized it's been two whole months since my last post here! Some of you may have gathered I took a bit of a summer sabbatical as I attended to some family needs. I'm glad to finally start writing here again and going forward you'll notice a change in my fashion posts as we recently moved across the country last month from Florida to....... California! More on that to come soon but in the mean time I'll give you a little sneak peek into my backyard. :) Today's outfit is very much inspired by my new surroundings. As the Autumn season has been hinting at its arrival here in the bay area with maple leaves falling daily coupled with cooler morning and evening air prompting the need for layers, I couldn't help but wear this new long sleeved floral dress with my favorite pair of suede booties, something that would be an impossibility in the sunshine state this time of year.

Welcome to my backyard! Behind our new house are these beautiful rolling hills, home to families of deer, wild turkeys and other wildlife. I couldn't be more in love my surroundings. It's not uncommon to see deer here on a daily basis, sometimes even walking down the street. After school, Lily always asks to go see the 'reindeer'. ;) 

On weekends when I'm not wearing jeans I prefer longer dresses with a denim jacket or cardigan so this long sleeved floral dress from Make Me Chic combines the best of both worlds. It's lightweight enough to keep me cool when the sun is its most intense and warm enough once the temps dip. I love that it buttons down, it would make a great option for all of you nursing mamas. 

You might remember these booties I shared with you last year that sold out in record time. Great news!! They have been fully restocked again this year in all sizes and 4 gorgeous colors. They fit both wide (and narrow feet like mine) as per the reviews and are comfortable to boot-no pun intended. They are my go-to pair, I love the simple buckle detail and they pair with everything from dresses and skirts to skinny jeans and shorts too. I couldn't resist pulling out one of my favorite faux croc clutches to pull out the purple color in the flowers on this dress for a dressed up casual look.

I've been experimenting a bit lately with a slightly bohemian, yet still classic style. The west coast has inspired some of my recent new purchases, I'm enjoying the relaxed vibe here and drier climate. 

If you're still experiencing the heat wave of summer, this dress is easy breezy and would be complemented equally as well with a pair of gladiator sandals and a crossbody bag for a classic weekend look.

This sweet family of deer (it's hard to see in the photo above but there are actual 4 present) were my audience the entire time I was shooting in the hills. They were so sweet, wagging their little tails and watching my every move. You can see see the mama and her baby really well here.

Let's Socialize!


I believe every woman should own a collection of dresses that make her feel comfortable yet stylish, but most of all-feminine. Case in point, this floral maxi dress for just $28!

What are your favorite wardrobe pieces for transitioning from summer to fall?


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