I must say, I was quite upset when Zac Posen said he was closing his fashion label. It certainly feels like something is missing without him (in the little corner of the high fashion world I admire at least). I was very inspired by his creations. So many of them took my breath away. I am still holding out hope that he’ll be back. If you’ve watched “House of Z” on Netflix, you know he is a resilient man and this isn’t the first time he’s fallen down, only to get back up better than ever.
Anyway. What I’m trying to get at is that although I still very much miss Zac, a new designer has caught my eye and his work gives me the same kind of feels (almost) as Zac’s. Let me introduce to you Brandon Maxell (these looks were in his spring/summer 2020 collection):
The first time Brandon came onto my radar was with this dress Mandy Moore wore to the 71st Annual Emmy Awards. I had to know who the designer was. I was in awe. I’m still in awe. The color blocking. The draping. The fit. Pure perfection.
I really like that although he has some killer gowns that we’d normally only see on celebrities (like Mandy), he also has a huge variety of everyday pieces that any woman could wear. Even if a person can’t afford his clothing (I know I can’t) – his looks can inspire us to get creative with what we have or can afford! I already know I’ll be doing an “Outfit Imitation” with thrift finds of one or more of his looks. He takes classic pieces and looks at them with fresh eyes, using new fabrics, combinations, and fits.
It’s also commendable that he does menswear in addition to womenswear. I’m wondering if it’s easy for him to do both because his womenswear collections obviously have a strong menswear influence.
I don’t know much about who he is as a person or his backstory yet, but what I found online via Wikipedia is this: Brandon Maxwell (born September 18, 1984) is an American fashion designer, television personality, director and photographer. He is the founder and creative director of Brandon Maxwell, the luxury women’s ready-to-wear label. Prior to launching his eponymous womenswear label, Maxwell entered the fashion industry as a stylist. He began assisting Deborah Afshani in 2009, followed by Nicola Formichetti in 2010, where he was introduced to Lady Gaga, as Nicola was her stylist at the time. In 2012, Maxwell took on the role of Lady Gaga’s fashion director. Many influential women, including Michelle Obama, Karlie Kloss, Jennifer Lawrence, Oprah Winfrey, Nicole Kidman, Jane Fonda, Viola Davis, Queen Rania of Jordan, and Kerry Washington, among many others, wear Maxwell's brand.
And he’s on the Bravo’s new version of Project Runway. Knowing this makes me want to get cable!
In summary, I’m completely obsessed with Brandon. He’s rolling out his pre-fall 2020 ready-to-wear line right now and WOW. Here are some pieces I love (I have literally visited his Instagram page multiple times to re-look at these outfits):
I think I like him so much because 1) I didn’t know until I found him that this is my ideal way of styling clothing and is (luckily) close to the way I dress already – only elevated – which makes me want to push my wardrobe further; 2) a lot of his looks are attainable without having to buy his pieces and they’re not so “off the wall” that you can’t find something similar at a lower price point (not saying what he’s doing has “been done before,” of course I would buy if I could, I just can’t, so mimicking is the next best thing); 3) his use of color is sublime; and 4) I’m just extremely inspired by him.
What do you think? Do you like his stuff, too? What designers are really speaking to you right now? I’d love to know! I’ll forever be looking for more designers to fill the Zac Posen size hole in my heart.
All photos on this page are courtesy of Brandon Maxwell's official Instagram page @brandonmaxwell.
When I remember to do it, I'll post photos of me actually wearing thrifted items I find! Here's me before heading off to work in the blazer and pants from my recent Goodwill haul:
I usually buy blazers a size too small. I never need them to button because with my bust size, they look silly worn that way. The "correct" size for me also tends to have sleeves that are too long, so I look like I'm a kid wearing my mother's clothing! I wear blazers to add shape to an outfit. I adore a shrunken blazer with an oversized dress or shirt, sometimes with a thin belt around the smallest part of my waist, just below the bust. This adds an extra level of interest and even more definition to my body shape. My body is of the "potato" shape family, so I have to use smoke and mirrors to create a waist!
I also appreciate a good ankle pant. This is my pant style of choice. I like the retro feel of them (Audrey Hepburn-esque) and they look great with flats or heels. I also feel like this type of pant, which normally flares out slightly at the bottom, helps balance out my body.
These recently thrifted items are neutral, so go great with a wide range of clothing I already have in my closet, like this sweater and pair of snakeskin flats. I'm always freezing at work, so wearing a sweater with the vintage wool blazer kept me a comfortable level of toasty all day. I sit for a bulk of my job. The pants do stretch a bit, but not to the point of getting saggy.
Overall, I'm very pleased with these items. I feel that for being secondhand, they look just as professional as items that are brand new off the rack! Always remember to give thrift shops a chance before shopping new. I think you'd be surprised by what you can find if you take time to look!
Also, here's a look at my flats (very old from Target) and a close-up on the yummy textures of the clothing garments. Cozy neutrals forever!
After admiring Style Encore on Instagram for a few months, I knew I had to make time for a visit. I got off work early on a recent Friday afternoon so took that as my chance!
From the photos on their social media page, my hopes were set pretty high. They exceeded my expectations! After I was finished, I walked towards the car (where Joel was waiting for me) with a huge smile on my face. When he asked me how it was, I said, "I don't remember, I blacked out!" That's how good it was.
What drew me in on this particular day, aside from having the extra time, was the sale they had going on. To give you an idea of how good it was, here are a few of the deals they had going on their clearance clothing: Blazers - $5, Long Sleeve Tops - $3, Jewelry - $1. That's cheaper than Goodwill in a lot of cases!
Since I am a blazer addict, I picked up two. The first one pictured is from Express. The second is from Chicos.
I found a couple of great tops that will be good for both work and casual wear. Check out the label that was on the black top. Loved it!
I'm not a huge jewelry person, but at $1 each, I felt good about taking a chance on some trendy pieces. The necklace is great, I wore it immediately the next day. I think the earrings are adorable. Little flashy, but the neutral tone made them doable for me.
I got all of this for under $20. Understand why I blacked out now? I thought so!
I'll definitely be back, there is no question about that. Even though I scored from the sale, their regular prices are still really good, especially since they seem to be super selective about their items and most are name brand or designer.
Take a breath before buying new!
It was a good weekend for thrifting at Goodwill in La Crosse, Wisconsin!
I wanted to share a few pieces of clothing I found as well as a couple of home décor items I couldn’t pass up.
Sheer Top - $2.50 (50% off clearance item – extra score)
I instantly fell in love with this top. The color is great and the fit is perfect. I will pair this with a black tank top and skinny jeans.
Vintage Wool Blazer - $11.99
The reason this was a little pricier is because it came with a wool skirt that unfortunately didn’t fit me…darn women from the past having smaller waists than we do now…and darn me for allowing a little too much cushion to form around my mid-section! Anyway – the blazer fit me so well it was worth taking the skirt that didn’t. (I'll probably use the skirt for an upcoming DIY project!) This blazer will be great for throwing over just about anything to add some shape, but my original plan is to wear it with the dress pants shown below.
Dress Pants - $5.99
These pants are a Target brand. Really well made, good fit, and are pixie cut – my favorite! They have good stretch to them as well, so I feel like I’ll be able to hold onto these for a long time. They are casual enough to wear with a t-shirt and can be dressed up with the blazer pictured above (after the wrinkles are ironed out of course).
Fall Table Cover - $3.99
I am living for the color pallet of this table cover! What a great décor piece to transition our home from summer to fall. It looks really nice in our dining room alongside some light blue and teal accent pieces I have collected.
Afghan - $1.99 (clearance item – extra score)
What is better than an oversized afghan as it starts to get chilly outside? Not much. I plan to use this afghan for Fall outdoor parties we host, but it has already made its way into our living room…so I think it is already a family favorite!
Joel and I spent a full day going to stores that offered both old and new items while in La Crosse. We hesitated on buying new items because we know we can normally find something less expensive from a thrift shop.
When shopping, especially when it’s aimlessly, try to practice patience. It’s better for the environment and your pocketbook to buy secondhand items. In many cases, what you find at a thrift shop can be close to if not brand new. I now normally go to retail stores that offer new items to look for inspiration. What’s in now that I could put my own twist on with thrifted finds? It brings more creativity into your wardrobe and has made me more excited about putting outfits together.
Sometimes I can’t resist a new piece because brand spanking new is nice once in a while. But, I feel guilty immediately afterwards because I know if I had just taken some time to think the outfit through, I could have done better at a secondhand shop. That’s just life. Resisting temptation isn’t any fun, right?!
I also like to think this way when faced with buying new items: There was a new shirt at one of the stores we visited that was $25.00. For about that same amount – I got five items at Goodwill. Spreading the joy around not only within my wardrobe but our home as well.
What are some of your favorite recent thrift store finds? Where do you like to go? I need some new Iowa shops to visit!
Joel labeled the outfit I'm sharing today as my "riding outfit." I see it! Thus the title. But unfortunately, no horses were ridden in this outfit.
We were asked to dress "business casual" for our volunteer duties at the Grout Museum over the weekend, so this is what I came up with. An outfit that is young, comfortable, and as Joel pointed out, very "equestrian."
The houndstooth blazer I have on is my tried and true. It is from H&M and has been one of my go-tos for probably a good eight years now. The reason I like it so much is so much is definitely the print and the cut. The print transitions really well from casual to professional. The cut adds shape to whatever outfit I'm wearing. I also machine washed it as needed and it has held up really well over time. I don't have the money to dry clean everything, so it's been nice to be able to wash it on my own.
I paired the blazer with a navy blue, semi-sheer button up with a collar from Old Navy. The pants are black jeggings from Old Navy. The brown boots are ones you've seen before in previous posts (and are on their last leg...so, so sad) from JCPenney. I'm a big fan of wearing black and brown together. A lot of people don't like it, but I look at it this way - wild cats have brown and black stripes/spots - it is a natural color combination!
Here's a close-up of the blazer print and collared shirt:
And here's me and my dog, Madison. She wanted in on the fun!
Lisa, my cousin, got married this past weekend. She is a sweet young girl with a beautiful new little family. Her wedding and reception were just how I like it - simple and focused on love. She requested a "device-free" ceremony, which I thought was a wonderful idea and a surprising choice for someone of her age. They kept the whole thing small and intimate, yet lively. The weather and the company couldn't have been better. I am also very sore from so much dancing! It was a great day.
I was assigned to the guest book and planned to run around helping with anything else that needed to be done during the event, so I tried to keep my look cute yet comfortable. I also didn't know what the weather was going to be like, so I made sure to layer.
I chose an all black ensemble, which as much as I like black, I don't do that often. I opted for tights and boots along with a long-sleeved sweater dress layered under a blazer with patent leather sleeves, both items from H&M.
I used a gift card I had to the Covenant Medical Center Gift Shop to pick-up some accessories. (If you're in that area, they have some really cute stuff!) I chose a black scarf with red, pink, and olive green crosses, and a cute little purse that is the perfect size for me. I hate carrying purses. This was my compromise. It held my phone, ID, and lip glosses nicely. I also liked the neutral colors and classic design, it can go with a lot of different outfits for a long time to come.
Joel and my sister performed the first dance song at the reception, so my handsome man was all dressed up!
And I mentioned the dancing...Here I am with my "boyfriend" from the reception. Cutest little boy that loved to dance with me as much as I loved dancing with him! I believe I'm teaching him the "Cha-Cha Slide" in this photo.
Things got a little blurry after a bit. The libations were going down a little too well! But hey, we were there to celebrate!
I've been proud of the creativity I've brought to dressing up for work this summer. Our new house has better closets that allow me to see everything I own vs. 50% of it (at our old house, the rest was hidden in the back - I had to press against and squeeze in my clothing to see everything I had). I think the new closets have helped a lot.
The cute combo I am wearing below is a JCPenney/Old Navy creation. Jacket, top and nude flats from JCPenney, skirt from Old Navy. It is an easy breezy look that is both comfortable and professional. I always love the look of a good blazer. They pull everything together, making an otherwise casual look appropriate for the office.
If you can't already tell from my title - I LOVE blanket scarves. They are warm, cozy, and so versatile. Today, I paired my infinity blanket scarf with a comfy grey v-neck t-shirt, camel wool blazer, my favorite pair of jeans, and dark camel ankle boots. This outfit was just right for the unseasonably warm weather we've been experiencing in Iowa. It still feels like Fall, which is fine by me because it allows me to wear my stylish blazers, scarves, and boots just a little bit longer! In no time, I'll be putting on anything and everything to keep me dry and warm.