Sarah's Real Life
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. 19. 2015

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

Wear a midi skirt and look awesome? In the words of Barney Stinson, “challenge accepted!”

In case you’re a total beginner (no judgement…OK, maybe a little), a midi skirt is a skirt with a hem that ends below the knee but above the ankle. They’re awesome because you never have to worry about flashing your Britney when you’re getting out of the car, but they look much more professional than a maxi skirt. On the other hand, they can be awkward because more fabric equals more potential for frump. And frump is not your friend, ladies.

So Step #1 is figuring out the best shape and length for your hot bod, whatever type of hot that may be. I’m partial to A-line midis because I’m pear-shaped, but there are plenty of body-con options out there too. And because I’m on the shorter side (5’3″), I prefer a shorter midi – right below the knee. That’s not to say that petite girls can’t wear longer midis; they’re just a little bold for my every-day life. But for long midi inspiration, check out Cathy’s outfit. Oh, and in case you think midi skirts are just for skinny bitches, allow Georgette to drop some plus-sized knowledge on you.

OK, back to me and my genius styling tips. To ward off the frump factor, I think the best way to go is to highlight your waist as much as possible so you keep your shape. There are a few ways to accomplish that: wear a top that fits close to your body, tuck your top into the skirt (assuming the skirt sits at your waist), or knot a button-up shirt at the waist. Below are examples of each…

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

Alternatively, you can add more height with some killer heels. Basically, if it looks like there’s more of you shooting out the bottom of your skirt, you’ll look taller overall and less overwhelmed by the extra length of your midi. For bonus points, wear nude-colored heels in warm weather, or match your shoes and tights in cold weather.

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

Here’s another trick for elongating your body in a midi: wear the same color or print from collar to hem with a midi dress! You can always find a TON of options in stock at Asos.

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

But if you don’t want to buy a new dress, you can still fake it by wearing a top that matches your skirt. Look at that. Insta-dress.

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t remind you that rules are meant to be broken. The best way to pull off any look is good ol’ confidence.

how to wear midi skirt, how to style midi skirt

There you have it. That’s everything I know about midi skirts. If you enjoyed this little lesson, be sure to check out my ever-popular “How to Wear Ankle Boots” post!

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10. 06. 2014

plain, flannel, fall fashion

I know fall technically started in September, but most of September still felt pretty summery to me. But October is, like, LEGIT fall, so I decided it was a good time to do a fall-tastic “How to Wear” post. And what’s more fall-tastic than plaid? Well, pumpkins, I suppose, but you can’t wear pumpkins. So plaid it is.

Plaid is a little masculine compared to my usual style, so last fall and winter I came up with several more unique ways to mix it into my cold-weather wardrobe. Enjoy!

With Leather

plain, flannel, fall fashion

A little leather makes everything better. Well, maybe not everything. But it does add a nice edge to flannel.

Mixing Prints

plain, flannel, fall fashion

Plaid + stripes is a cool but not too wacky combo.

With Fur

plain, flannel, fall fashion

Faux fur, of course! This particular combo is perfect for the holidays. Or a Tuesday.

Girly

plain, flannel, fall fashion

Part of what I liked about this top was the girly ruffles, but you can make any plaid more feminine with red lips or the right accessories.

Layered

plain, flannel, fall fashion

Look closely: There’s a chambray shirt under the flannel one. That extra layer creates visual interest AND it’s more practical for super cold days.

And the obvious option…

plain, flannel, fall fashion

If all that is too “out there” for you, just throw a classic red plaid in with your basic fall neutrals.

Now that you’re properly inspired, here are a bunch of plaid pieces from Shopbop* you can add to your wardrobe right now! (Links are below.)

Mad for Plaid!

Madewell plaid shirts, all under $75

See more short jackets & long coats

Plaid skirts of all lengths and silhouettes

Lots of cozy cardigans

And a plaid scarf to top it off

*Shopbop is current sponsor of this blog.

04. 23. 2014

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

My last “How to Wear” post was way back in January when I showed you how to wear ankle boots. That post has hundreds of pins, so I figured why not pretend to be an expert yet again and see how many of you I can fool.

Next up is a spring/summer staple: the floral blazer. It’s one of the many things I look forward to pulling out of storage soon, because I got a ton of wear out of it last year. Below are a whopping SIX outfit ideas featuring my flowery jacket. If you have a floral blazer of your own – or if you’ve been thinking of taking the plunge – here’s proof of just how versatile these babies can be.

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

Pair it with a super girly dress, a straw clutch, and metallic strappy sandals. Boom – instant summer date night outfit.

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

Put it over a basic office-appropriate dress in the same color palette. It looks a little more “grown-up” with classy pumps and a neutral leather bag.

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

Go big or go home, right? If a bold print blazer isn’t enough for you, wear it with two different bright, non-matching colors.

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

Wait, don’t change the channel. If you’re not into making a big statement, you can wear it with the most basic of basics: a black t-shirt and distressed ankle jeans.

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

Always a good pair in my book: floral with stripes. For more tips on mixing prints, check out this post.

how to wear a floral blazer, ways to wear a floral jacket, one jacket six ways, remix your wardrobe

Finally, wear it with shorts and ballet flats for weekend excursions when you’re going in and out of A/C.

Shopping for a floral blazer of your own? Try one of these:

01. 10. 2014

how to wear flat ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots, how to wear wedge ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots with jeans, how to wear booties

It’s been almost a year since I originally wrote about how to wear ankle boots. Back then I only had like 4 pairs, and now I have…you know…more than 4 pairs. I’ve learned so much since that first post. Most of it is about law, granted, but some of it is about ankle boots. So it seems like a good time to build upon last year’s advice. Welcome to How to Wear Ankle Boots (Part Deux)!

So. People seem to be wary of ankle boots for a couple of reasons. First, they’re worried they’ll look shorter and/or fatter because of how these boots are cut. Second, they just don’t know what to wear with the boots. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The key to wearing ankle boots is elongating your legs as much as you can while still showing off the shape of the shoe.

Here are a few ways to wear ankle boots, and what to keep in mind along the way…

how to wear flat ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots, how to wear wedge ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots with jeans, how to wear booties

I don’t know why cuffed jeans used to be a big fashion faux pas, but somewhere along the way things changed. Please. Do not be scared to roll ’em up. Roll or fold your jeans so the hem just barely hits the top of your boots. In case it isn’t obvious, this just applies to skinny/straight leg jeans. Don’t roll flared jeans – that’s crazy talk.

Keep in mind: This look should work well with wedge and heeled boots, but it can be a little trickier with flat boots. Ankle boots can easily make you look shorter, so if you’re already short (like me), just be really careful about proportions. And what about socks? That’s also a tricky issue. I think a peek of sock can be OK, but it can also ruin everything. You can play around with options, but if you want to err on the side of caution, I’d say stick with hidden socks.

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For shorties like me – and probably for most average-height ladies too – even chunkier ankle boots can work with skirts and dresses as long as they’re above the knee. Showing more leg makes your legs look longer, but let’s keep it decent, shall we?

Keep in mind: This shorter-is-better rule applies mainly to more casual boots, meaning ones with wider openings and chunky heels. A dressier ankle boot (like I’m wearing in the last photo in this post) is likely to work well with any length skirt!

how to wear flat ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots, how to wear wedge ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots with jeans, how to wear booties

In case it hasn’t sunk in yet, making your legs look long and lean is pretty much my main piece of advice for pulling off these tricksy little shoes. Dark leggings are one of the most lengthening and leaning kinds of legwear I know of. In the photo on the left, I’m even wearing them with flat ankle boots.

Keep in mind: If I see you wearing leggings without a top long enough to cover your lady junk, I will yell at you in public, and it will be very embarrassing.

how to wear flat ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots, how to wear wedge ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots with jeans, how to wear booties

When it gets too cold out, you might not  want that sliver of exposed skin between your boots and the bottom of your rolled up jeans. That’s when tucking comes in handy. I sometimes put my socks over the bottom of my jeans so they don’t ride up too much.

Keep in mind: This only works with skinny jeans, otherwise it looks pretty tucking weird. Ha…get it?

how to wear flat ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots, how to wear wedge ankle boots, how to wear ankle boots with jeans, how to wear booties

Some ankle boots are basically just pumps with some extra coverage on the top of your feet. When the boots are nice and fitted to your feet with narrow openings and thin heels, you can wear them with just about anything you would normally wear pumps with.

Keep in mind: All those other rules are just some tips to get you started. Depending on how daring you are with your style, you could very well break some or all of them! But I saved this for last because otherwise you wouldn’t have read the rest of the post. And I worked hard on it.

 

 

Mastered the ankle boot? You’re ready for your next challenge…

How to Wear Over-the-Knee Boots

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10. 07. 2013

Not long ago, I was a denim jacket skeptic. Why would you want to wear jeans on your top half? Answer: because it’s awesome. Fast forward a few months and a dozen or so outfits, and the little jean jacket that could has earned its place in the latest installment of “How to Wear”!

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So, are you convinced yet? If you were looking for a new way to wear your jean jacket, looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you. And if you don’t even have a denim jacket yet, fall is the perfect time to shop. A little tip from me to you: There are plenty of trendy and embellished versions out there (multi-colored, studded, ombre, leather sleeves, you name it), but if you want versatility, just go with the classic.

The shade of blue doesn’t really matter, but make sure the bottom hem hits you between your waist and hip bones. Any shorter and you’re in tween territory, and any longer is likely to look frumpy. Most importantly, look for a great fit in the shoulders with a little stretch so you can move comfortably. Below are just a couple options to get you started! (Shop them here: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Jean Jackets
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09. 06. 2013

how to wear a utility jacket, how to wear an army jacket

I bought an army/military/utility style jacket in the spring after giving it a lot of thought. You know, the kind of thought that normal people put into things that actually matter. Initially I thought it was more of a tomboy look and not my style. Then again, I wasn’t even sure what my style was (except I knew it probably wasn’t tomboy). I figured I would give it a shot and make it work for me. AND I TOTALLY DID. Like a million times.

Since utility jackets are everywhere this fall, I figured it’s a good time to do a good ol’ How to Wear post on it! If you’re like me and think army jackets aren’t your style, this post will probably change your mind. As you’ll see, they can be pretty much everyone’s style:

(you can click on each photo to link to original post)

how to wear a utility jacket, how to wear an army jacket, army jacket business casual

I really like the juxtaposition of the masculine jacket with a very feminine pencil skirt and heels. If your jacket is a light fabric, it actually makes a very nice layer for a cold office.

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I really loved wearing this one! I wore it back in May, but don’t be surprised if I re-fashion it for fall with dark wash jeans and boots.

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Think olive green is a serious, no fun color? Maybe when soldiers wears it. But soldiers don’t wear it over a romper. At least not when they’re on duty.

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Even if you’re the LBD-and-ballet-flat-wearing type, you can mix things up a little (in a rugged kind of way) with a cute utility jacket.

how to wear a utility jacket, how to wear an army jacket, army jacket casual outfit

Clearly I’m starting to run out of style adjectives if all I can come up with is “casual.” Obviously an army jacket can be casual. But sometimes you have to state the obvious lest it be overlooked.

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“Sporty-boho”? Seriously, I’m full of crap. But what else can you call an outfit consisting of a crochet dress and sneakers? Let this ridiculous made-up style term be a lesson to you: an army jacket will be at home in pretty much anyone’s closet.

Need your own? Below are a few options for you to start shopping!

5 Army Jackets Under $100

All 5 of these army/utility jackets are under $100! Shop them here: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Oh, and don’t forget to follow Sarah’s Real Life for more wearable advice:

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09. 02. 2013

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I’m usually not one to buy souvenir t-shirts when I’m on vacation, but I made an exception for this cute shirt from the High Line (if you don’t remember what that is, check this post).

I think the reason I don’t get souvenir tees is that every other boringly dressed person wears that kind of shirt with jeans and calls it a day. But – since it’s me – I had to find a cute way to wear mine. I came up with some souvenir tee-wearing guidelines along the way:

  1. Unless you’re just going to wear it as PJs, get a shirt that actually fits you. If you’re petite like me, check for kids’ shirts.
  2. Pair it with a bottom that’s not your typical jeans or shorts. Try something unexpected like a mini skirt or patterned cropped pants.
  3. Put a cute jacket over it. It will cover up part of the t-shirt’s message and make it more mysterious 😉
  4. Take the time to do your hair and put on lipstick. That makes what you’re wearing more of an outfit and not just something you threw on to go grocery shopping.
  5. One tip I didn’t try in this outfit: Pair your tee with bold statement accessories. See this other blogger’s look for inspiration!
  6. Another idea I might try next time I wear this shirt: layer it over a dress and maybe even belt it or knot it…sort of like I did with a plain t-shirt here and here.

If you have any other tips for wearing souvenir shirts, leave me a comment! And for more of my “How to Wear” series, click here!

Shirt // similar Jacket // similar Skirt // Sunglasses (on sale) // Bag // Lips “Plushest Punch”

And now a walk down memory lane with my striped skirt. It’s the remix…

touristteeremix

07. 21. 2013

Today’s post is dedicated to my mother-in-law (congrats, Cindy). As a regular reader of my blog, she tries to up her style quotient by following my lead. Recently she showed me an outfit she wore after seeing all the times I’ve worn different prints together. It wasn’t pretty, people.

Apparently I had not given enough step-by-step guidance on how to choose two prints that actually look good together.After recoiling in horror at the bad outfit I had inspired, I decided I just couldn’t live with this on my conscience. So for Cindy and anyone else who needs tips on how to pull off the print mixing trend, here are a few tips and handy visuals to get you on the right track.

Note: Since this blog is all about real-life style, I’m taking a conservative approach with these tips. If you live in a fashion-forward city or work in a non-traditional office, feel free to scoff at my silly little rules!

Tip #1: Look for corresponding colors

Print Mixing Tip 1

Tip #2: To play it safe, don’t put prints side-by-side

Print Mixing Tip 2

Tip #3: Start with a neutral-colored print

Print Mixing Tip 3

Tip #4: Consider the scale of the prints

Print Mixing Tip 4

 

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05. 18. 2013

oxfordstitle

It wasn’t long ago that I had a whopping ONE button-up shirt in my closet. Then this magical thing happened: I joined Pinterest. I started pinning outfits from the blogs I followed (this was before I had my own blog) and I realized that a lot of those outfits included – you guessed it – a button-up shirt. Or is it a button-down? I guess it depends on where you start the buttoning.

Since then my collection of buttoned, collared shirts has grown and I’ve played with lots of ways to wear them. If you’re like I used to be and think oxford shirts are plain and boring, I recommend looking for prints. I’ll link you to some options for your shopping enjoyment at the end of this post!

So without further ado, here are 7 ways I’ve worn my button-up shirts!

oxfords1

Layering an oxford under a sleeveless dress is great for in-between weather, and it’s like making a whole new dress! Boom: wardrobe multiplied.

oxfords2

There’s something about the juxtaposition of a tough leather jacket and a prim and proper button-up that I really like.

oxfords3

Try to find shirts that are a little long so you have room to tie the ends right at your waist. I love this option in the summer especially.

oxfords4

Oxford-under-sweater is probably the combination I’ve done the most. If you have a few button-ups and a few sweaters, you have endless combinations. Well, not exactly endless but I don’t feel like doing the math. Above are a couple examples with jeans and below are some office-appropriate options.

oxfords5oxfords7

Let’s not forget that it’s perfectly acceptable to wear this classic shirt on its own. We don’t want it feeling insecure from always being covered up.

oxfords6

Besides leather jackets, you can also let your oxford peek out from under any jacket or blazer. At the risk of looking like a frat boy circa 2008, I’m in favor of a popped collar in this limited situation.

Want to add to your own oxford shirt collection? Check out the options below!

oxford shirts

Shop here: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5