Sarah's Real Life
02. 05. 2016

loft floral flounce dress, studded boots, Fossil Sydney satchel, pink Ray Ban aviators

loft floral flounce dress, studded boots, Fossil Sydney satchel, pink Ray Ban aviators

loft floral flounce dress, studded boots, Fossil Sydney satchel, pink Ray Ban aviators

loft floral flounce dress, studded boots, Fossil Sydney satchel, pink Ray Ban aviators

loft floral flounce dress, studded boots, Fossil Sydney satchel, pink Ray Ban aviators

loft floral flounce dress, studded boots, Fossil Sydney satchel, pink Ray Ban aviators

Tragedy of the day: I tried on practically every pair of boots I have with this dress and it was so hard to choose because they were all adorable. Don’t you hate it when you look amazing no matter what you do? Life is tough for me, you guys. My gray over-the-knee boots and fringe ankle booties were in the running too. The silver lining, I suppose, is that now I already have ideas for the next couple times I wear this dress, which I’m kind of obsessed with already. What’s an appropriate amount of time to wait before I wear it again?

Dress // Bag // Sunglasses // similar Necklace // similar Boots

02. 04. 2016

sequin tuxedo stripe shirt, ponte pants, strappy heels, olive leather sleeve trench, Madewell sunglasses, rose quartz bag

sequin tuxedo stripe shirt, ponte pants, strappy heels, olive leather sleeve trench, Madewell sunglasses, rose quartz bag

sequin tuxedo stripe shirt, ponte pants, strappy heels, olive leather sleeve trench, Madewell sunglasses, rose quartz bag

sequin tuxedo stripe shirt, ponte pants, strappy heels, olive leather sleeve trench, Madewell sunglasses, rose quartz bag

sequin tuxedo stripe shirt, ponte pants, strappy heels, olive leather sleeve trench, Madewell sunglasses, rose quartz bag

sequin tuxedo stripe shirt, ponte pants, strappy heels, olive leather sleeve trench, Madewell sunglasses, rose quartz bag

You know how sometimes women in movies or commercials are inexplicably walking around their houses in just an oversized button-up shirt and pumps? This is my version of that “outfit.” Except I decided to do a little something different. It’s a little unorthodox…but just hear me out…

I added pants. I know. Crazy, right? I just had this gut instinct that my version would be possibly more appropriate for work and for February. And my gut tends to have very good instincts, like the instinct to dip cinnamon cereal in whipped peanut butter for a late-night snack. Which I might be doing right now. Whether I’m doing it while wearing pants will remain a mystery to you.

Shirt (on sale) // Pants (on sale) // similar Shoes // Bracelet // Ring* // similar Coat*

*Ring purchased with gift card provided courtesy of Shopbop. Coat purchased with gift card provided courtesy of H&M.

02. 03. 2016

suede moto jacket, lace tee, American Eagle jeggings, Cole Haan leopard loafers

suede moto jacket, lace tee, American Eagle jeggings, Cole Haan leopard loafers

suede moto jacket, lace tee, American Eagle jeggings, Cole Haan leopard loafers

suede moto jacket, lace tee, American Eagle jeggings, Cole Haan leopard loafers

Taylor Swift hari

suede moto jacket, lace tee, American Eagle jeggings, Cole Haan leopard loafers

Why yes, I did chop off 3 inches of hair last weekend. I had just bought a cool new suede moto jacket, it was freakishly warm for mid-winter, and I was feeling sassy. These photos were taken just after my haircut (well, OK, after my haircut and then getting coffee and a slice of red velvet cake), so you’ll have to let me know if I do a decent job of recreating the tousled wavy look. My stylist Krystal (who is the bomb dot com) taught me how to do it, but I’m still trying to perfect the process of looking purposefully imperfect. It’s all very complicated. What’s not complicated? Pairing a moto jacket with lace. It perfectly encapsulates my girly badass aesthetic.

similar Tee // Jeans // similar Shoes (more options below) // Bag // similar Necklace // Jacket (on sale in other colors)

02. 02. 2016

symphony1

symphony2

symphony3

symphony4

symphony5

Last Friday I took Kristin, her best friend, and her best friend’s husband to see the the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. All 4 tickets were a Christmas gift for Kristin, because she likes to do things with me, but she also likes to do music nerd things with fellow music nerds, which is where the friend and husband came in! I got us terrace seats, so we were basically sitting with the orchestra, which was pretty cool (here’s a picture of the view from our seats).

If you haven’t been to the symphony (any symphony, not just Indy’s), do yourself a favor and go. At least once. Put it on your bucket list. The nice thing about the symphony these days is that you don’t need to worry about looking like a rich old lady. Sure, the rich old ladies will still be there in their pearls and gloves, but there will also be college kids there in jeans. Personally, I think somewhere in the middle is the best way to go.

Since I went from work (on a casual Friday) to dinner to the theater, I mixed one of my breezy summer dresses and my favorite ankle boots with some more luxe textures (faux fur and velvet). You might say that I orchestrated the perfect all-day outfit. (Yeah, I went there.)

similar Scarf // similar Boots (on sale) // similar Dress // Earrings // Clutch (under $25) // similar Sunglasses // Ring*

*Ring purchased with gift card provided courtesy of Shopbop.

02. 01. 2016

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

I remember when over-the-knee boots came on the scene two years ago. There were about a thousand websites telling you how to wear them “without looking like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.” (For the record, people, prostitution is illegal, but saying the word “prostitute” is not. Stop giving Julia a hard time.) Anyway, most of those websites were just trying to convince you to buy OTK boots and threw in some very vague advice on how to style OTK boots, advice that was helpful if you happened to be a supermodel.

Now that it looks like over-the-knee is here to stay for awhile, I thought I’d share not one, not two, but eight tips for styling these boots, with 2 actually-worn outfit examples of each. Yes, that’s right, SIXTEEN outfit ideas for your non-prostituty footwear. Now let’s get down and dirty, but no kissing.

1.  Monochrome Tights & Boots

You know how your legs looks super long when you wear nude pumps with your dresses in the summer? Well, this is the cold-weather version. And it’s more comfortable, too. The boots I’m wearing below (similar styles here and here) are totally heel-less, but with a shorter skirt and black opaque tights, they’re still very leg-lengthening.

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

2.  Tunic Sweater & Leggings

On cold weekends, who doesn’t love getting comfy in an oversized knit and some leggings, right? Well, if you have to leave the house, adding over-the-knee boots to the equation makes you look instantly fabulous without subtracting comfort.

(Both of the boots below are Franco Sarto.)

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

3.  Layered Button-Up and Sweater

A classic shirt / sweater combo is one of my favorite go-to looks for work, but it’s also one of a million other people’s favorite go-to looks for work. Statement boots let me (and you) maintain a reputation as the coolest girl in the office.

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

4.  Bare Knees

For the fall months when it’s chilly in the morning but you’re still putting off wearing tights, over-the-knee boots keep most of your legs warm. Plus, I think the little sliver of skin is kinda cute. Maybe even sexy. But not street-walker sexy.

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

5.  Just Add Leather

When you’re ready to take this trend to the next level, feel free to wear your leather jacket (or skirt) with those sexy boots. As long as your sexy boots aren’t fire engine red, patent leather platforms, I’m confident you can pull this combo off.

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

6.  Plaid Skirt

I call this the rebellious school girl look. I love a plaid skirt but I always worry it looks like part of a Catholic school uniform. I’m pretty sure OTK boots aren’t nun-approved, so I figure they’ll prevent people from asking me why I’m not in class, young lady.

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

7.  Skinny Jeans + Anything

One of the reasons I love over-the-knee boots is that they let you layer like crazy over the part of your body (or, at least mine) that gets the coldest. It’s amazing what a difference that knee coverage makes. On really cold days when I wear my OTK boots with jeans, or even with tights and a skirt, I wear knee-high socks underneath too. Super cozy.

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

8.  Contrasting Tights

I saved this one for last because it’s a little more daring, so it might not be for everyone. But if you have any tights with fun colors or patterns that you’re unsure of, wearing them with really tall boots means they have a less intense impact. So maybe this isn’t such a daring option after all!

how to wear over the knee boots, otk boots outfit ideas, how to style tall boots

Thanks for tuning in for the latest episode of my How to Wear series! If over-the-knee isn’t your thing, you might get your kicks from my How to Wear Ankle Boots post instead. Otherwise, pin this for later and shop some boots below to get started.

01. 29. 2016

mixing plaids, layering sweater over button up shirt

mixing plaids, layering sweater over button up shirt

mixing plaids, layering sweater over button up shirt

mixing plaids, layering sweater over button up shirt

mixing plaids, layering sweater over button up shirt

mixing plaids, layering sweater over button up shirt

With all my vast experience in print mixing, plaid + plaid is a mix I don’t think I’ve done. Or maybe I have, but it wasn’t that great so I blocked it out of my memory. Anyway, I’ve had a general idea for a while to wear a plaid scarf with a neutral sweater over a plaid shirt. But for a while I didn’t have a scarf and shirt that would actually look good together. I mean, mixing is one thing, but clashing and looking like a crazy person is another, ya know? These plaids work together because they have a color in common (green), and one of the plaids is bigger and simpler. You can see more of my print mixing tips in this post I did awhile back.

Happy Friday, and I hope your weekend is full of plaid!

similar Shirt // similar Scarf // similar Sweater // Pants // Shoes (on sale) // Bag // Ring // similar Bracelet (on sale and almost identical)

01. 28. 2016
January Budget Breakdown

Row 1: Coat (on sale) // Jacket (on sale) // Shirt (on sale)

Row 2: Pumps (on sale) // Bag (on sale) // Flats (on sale)

Row 3: Shirt (on sale) // Scarf (on sale) // Sweater

Row 4: Pants // Sweater // Shirt (on sale)

Row 5: Ring // Sweater // Hat // Shoes (on sale) {all purchased with gift card c/o Shopbop}

Happy New Year! Can you believe this is my third “Budget Bloggers: January” post?! I’ve been structuring these posts the same way for 2 years now, and I’m going to try something new this year. Feedback is welcome. I’m going to put the links at the top so you shopaholics can do your thing and ignore everything I have to say if you want. Just know that I plan to say lots of interesting things. Like, I’m going to try to talk more about why I decided to buy what I bought and spend what I spent. So here goes.

January’s Budget: $634

($100 starting budget + $181 not spent last month + $97 selling old clothes + $256 blog income)

This month I decided to cut down my normal starting budget by $50. And look, I still came out ahead. Yay me.

January’s Spending: $588

The only thing I paid full price for was a pair of sunglasses from SEE (not pictured above because they’re not sold online, but you can see them on me here.) They were $106, so they were actually my biggest single purchase of the month. I didn’t mind spending a nice chunk of money on them because I love the people at my local SEE store, and their frames are made in limited quantities, which means I know I’m buying something that I won’t see a million other people wearing. Now if only January weren’t so cloudy…

As usual, I spent most of my budget on lots of goodies from Ann Taylor and Loft (I especially love the bedazzled kitten heels and faux fur scarf). Sure, there were some quasi-impulse buys, but thanks to my sales stalking and coupon hoarding, I got great deals on everything! The coated jeans don’t look quite as coated as I thought they would, but they’re still black pants, and you can never have too many pairs of black pants.

Yes, you counted right; I got three button-up shirts this month. I noticed I had been gravitating toward the button-up shirt and sweater or jacket combo lately, so I decided to stock up on more options. They were all on super sale at J. Crew Factory.

Obviously, I have to comment on the leopard coat. I’ve been wanting a coat like this since last winter, and I want it to be fabulous but not tacky or cheap looking. I ordered this one last week and it still hasn’t come in the mail yet. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I’ll report back next month.

I also saved up my credits from Shopbop (a sponsor of this bloggity blog) and got a couple fun things, like these Kate Spade leopard sneakers! Admittedly, this is not a purchase I would have made with my own money (they’re not cheap and I don’t wear sneakers often), but I totally and completely love them.

Linking up with Franish’s Budgeting Bloggers

01. 27. 2016

blush cable knit sweater, faux fur crossover scarf, distressed gray jeans, pink sunglasses, Kate Spade leopard sneakers

blush cable knit sweater, faux fur crossover scarf, distressed gray jeans, pink sunglasses, Kate Spade leopard sneakers

blush cable knit sweater, faux fur crossover scarf, distressed gray jeans, pink sunglasses, Kate Spade leopard sneakers

blush cable knit sweater, faux fur crossover scarf, distressed gray jeans, pink sunglasses, Kate Spade leopard sneakers

blush cable knit sweater, faux fur crossover scarf, distressed gray jeans, pink sunglasses, Kate Spade leopard sneakers

blush cable knit sweater, faux fur crossover scarf, distressed gray jeans, pink sunglasses, Kate Spade leopard sneakers

Sunday was jam-packed with fun activities because it was Kristin’s birthday and she called all the shots! Luckily, this year’s shots were all things I enjoyed too. We stayed in bed watching Netflix for a couple hours in the morning, then had a late brunch full of biscuits and gravy (for her); eggs, potatoes, and toast (for me); and mimosas (for both of us). Next we headed to the art museum and checked out the latest special exhibit and hit up some of our old favorites. Then we went downtown and met up with 8 of the coolest people we know to try The Escape Room Indianapolis, which is this place where you get locked in a themed room full of clues and puzzles, and you try to find and solve them and get out of the room within an hour. We stole the Mona Lisa and made it out of the “Art Gallery” room with 4 minutes to spare! (Obligatory group photo here.) There are other places with similar concepts in other cities, so do some Googling. If you can’t find one, then either there’s not one near you, or you’re not sleuthy enough to do an Escape Room anyway. Afterwards, we headed to dinner to soak up each other’s cleverness.

And, of course, we ended the day back at home, just the 2 of us, stuffing our faces with Funfetti cake. I’m starting to like Kristin’s birthday better than my own. All of the fun with none of the feeling older.

Sweater* // Scarf (on sale) // Jeans (under $30) // Shoes* (on sale) // Earrings (on sale) // Sunglasses // similar Bag

*Sweater and shoes purchased with gift card provided courtesy of Shopbop.

01. 26. 2016

J Crew Factory shirt, cropped sweater, over the knee boots, purple beanie, mint bag

J Crew Factory shirt, cropped sweater, over the knee boots, purple beanie, mint bag

J Crew Factory shirt, cropped sweater, over the knee boots, purple beanie, mint bag

J Crew Factory shirt, cropped sweater, over the knee boots, purple beanie, mint bag

J Crew Factory shirt, cropped sweater, over the knee boots, purple beanie, mint bag

purplemint6

I care a lot more about the quality of my clothes than I used to, but sometimes I would rather just stock up on staples that I know won’t last forever. Like button-up shirts. Those collars are going to get dirty from the oils on your skin or from makeup whether the shirt cost $15 or $100. And you’re probably going to sweat like a beast under your sweater or your blazer and at some point it just won’t be acceptable human behavior to keep that shirt anymore. So there’s no point in spending big bucks. Sorry, was that an overshare? Just trying to keep it real. Don’t act like I’m the only one with pores and glands and whatnot.

Obviously, good fit still matters. I really like how J. Crew Factory’s shirts fit me, so I grabbed 3 of them during the last big sale. I’m also a fan of “the Shirt” from Boden, which just happens to be on sale in lots of fun prints right now.

Shirt // similar Sweater // Boots (on sale) // similar Hat // similar Bag // similar Sunglasses // Ring*

*Ring purchased with gift card provided courtesy of Shopbop.

01. 25. 2016

Madewell flared jeans, felt fedora, statement tee with blazer

Madewell flared jeans, felt fedora, statement tee with blazer

Madewell flared jeans, felt fedora, statement tee with blazer

Madewell flared jeans, felt fedora, statement tee with blazer

Madewell flared jeans, felt fedora, statement tee with blazer

Madewell flared jeans, felt fedora, statement tee with blazer

Sometimes I glance at a catalog from Madewell or some other store I really like and I wonder, “I already shop here all the time…Why don’t I look that cool??” But then I remember that it’s a lot easier to look cool when you’re a 6-foot beanpole with perfect bone structure whose job it is to wear interesting combinations of clothes no matter how impractical they are.

But sometimes (usually on the weekend when dress codes don’t exist) I manage to put together a Madewell catalog-worthy look. It doesn’t hurt that these jeans are actually from Madewell, and they make my legs look like they belong to a 6-foot beanpole. The combo of the optical illusion jeans, the mysterious hidden message tee, and the hat seem to give me that elusive cool factor, and I plan on milking it while I can. I mean, Madewell should pretty much hire me for the day, right?

Jeans (on sale) // similar Tee (and others below) // Blazer* // similar Hat // Bag // Sunglasses // similar Coat

*Blazer purchased with gift card provided courtesy of H&M.