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.
I have a large chest, so I never thought cute bralettes would be an option for me. Turns out, I just hadn’t been looking at the right ones for my body type. I found the perfect version at (of all places) Scheels! I hate going to Scheels. There is nothing for me there (or so I thought) – it’s just not my scene. Until now.
My dear aunt invited myself, mom, and sister to a “Ladies’ Night Out” that Scheels in Cedar Falls was hosting. The tickets sold out in four minutes, so that told us a lot about how awesome the event must be. I heard “everyone gets a swag bag” so was in without hesitation. Little did I know I’d find several items I liked enough to buy in the moment, and others I’d like to go back to purchase.
To sum up the evening – it was AMAZING. Below is a photo of the swag bag contents. Completely unreal. The buzz everyone was on from the swag bags to the sales to the prizes was palpable.
As part of the swag bag, we got a $10 Scheels gift card. I also won a $10 gift card at their wheel of chance game. That gave me $20 to spend. There were many sales going on, so we browsed through all areas of the store, including the women’s clothing. I came across a section of super cute bras. Some were half off, making them $10. I had to get at least one. I found this olive green “Women’s Fornia Lattice Front Bralette”:
I loved it immediately, but even more after I put it on. It was comfortable. It supported my “girls.” It was padded. And most importantly – it was pretty! I have styled it two different ways since getting it, shown below.
I wore this outfit to a bar to watch a show. I was feeling myself for sure. It was something I threw together last minute (building the outfit around the bralette) and now it’s all I want to wear!
I wore this to do yoga. I stand a little straighter when I’m in gear that makes me feel good. Trying to embrace my shape, it’s different than what I’m used to, but I’m feeling surprisingly good in this season of my body.
The cut is perfect. It goes down a little further on the rib cage and shows just enough cleavage. And like I said before, it’s just so comfortable. Comfortable and sexy don’t normally get mentioned together to describe a piece of clothing – but this bralette is the exception.
I’ll be back to buy another in a different color and probably check out the other styles Scheels has. My mom picked one up that she really likes with a high neck, I’ve linked it here.
Let this be a friendly reminder – don’t write a store off just because traditionally it hasn’t been a good fit for you. We evolve. So do stores. Second chances are a must.
In case you are wondering what else I got – I picked up this warm, quilted vest that was half off as well. Again, in olive green. That color is one of my favorite neutrals for fall.
I’m going to be candidly honest. Over the past year or so, I have accumulated a little extra insulation. Over 20 pounds worth…Partly due to my own bad habits and partly due to some thyroid issues I’ve been working with doctors on over the past couple of years.
It has been difficult for me to adjust to this new body. I continue to shove my new body into old clothes which is just no good for my already sinking confidence. I keep saying to myself the weight will come off soon enough, like it always does. But it seems to like its new home…
Until I can get my lifestyle worked out and bring a lot more healthy habits into my life, I’ve chosen to look for staple clothing pieces in a larger size so I don’t feel like a loaf of bread overflowing its pan in everything I own!
I was forced into purchasing my first new staple piece, jeans, because 1) the one pair I was down to physically hurt to wear, and 2) I bent down to pick up a box and a hole ripped in the knee. (Insert monkey covering eyes emoji here.) It was truly only a matter of time before something burst open…I’m happy it was at my knee since I was at work.
On the evening of the jeans explosion, Joel went along with me to Plato’s Closet to look for a new pair. It is jeans day at work until after the new year, so I had to find something. Plato’s always comes through for me and this visit was no exception. I tried on four different pairs in larger sizes than I have purchased in the past and found my favorite jeans EVER.
These. Jeans. Old Navy Rock Star Mid-Rise Jeans.
To make things even better – they were only 8 DOLLARS! Are you kidding me with this? They are stretchy but have a traditional jeans structure/feel – a step above jeggings. They go up a little higher on my tummy/lower back, which I am all about right now. I really like the dark wash. And the best part? They don’t hurt me when I button them up!
I wore them to work the day after purchasing and I felt like a million bucks. I didn’t need to twist, turn, and suck in certain parts of myself to feel comfortable with my outfit because what I was wearing FIT ME. I actually wore them with a short turtleneck from Goodwill, something I would not have done with my previous pair of jeans, and felt so confident!
With a bandana (that I found in our garage when we moved in) and a pair of ankle boots (from Old Navy that I have had for years) my outfit was complete. I felt like a completely different person.
We must be gentle with ourselves in times when our body image may not be at its peak. There is a level of acceptance that needs to take place at every stage, which is different for everyone.
Even though I may not feel comfortable with my body right now (a lot of the discomfort also comes from accepting the fact that I’m not honoring my body the way I should), I am grateful to it for keeping me alive. Getting me around. Sheltering my mind and soul (and internal organs!). It deserves to be appreciated at the very least. And if I have to go up a jeans size (or two), that’s OK. I am honoring my body as it is in this season, and clothing it in a way that is now comfortable – both physically and emotionally.
“Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.”
In my new work role, the setting is much more casual than I am used to. More jeans days, which I was not quite prepared for with just one pair of jeans in my closet!
I'm not really a blue jeans person. Black jeans, leggings, skirts, shorts - that's more my style. In looking around for some denim inspiration, I ran across this outfit from Madewell:
Here's a cost rundown on what's pictured:
I never thought I would be into the denim on denim look. Others around me have pulled it off, I just thought I may look a little hokey. But there was something about this outfit that appealed to me, so I gave it a try.
I visited Plato's Closet in Waterloo with high hopes that I'd find everything I needed - and I did! I hadn't visited this location before. It is a little off the beaten path so I never think to go there, but am glad I stopped by.
Here are the brand and cost details on what I found:
I must say, I am completely sold on the denim on denim situation. I think as long as your denims are different shades, you're good to go. Makes it much less "Canadian Tuxedo"-ish!
I especially liked the cut of the jeans. I'm short and these hit me right at the ankle instead of pooling at my ankles like most jeans. The style was "Ankle Legging, Stella, Low Rise" for my fellow short girls out there!
The added cardigan makes this outfit super cozy, and the shoes will look great with pants, skirts, or shorts.
I wore this outfit the day after I got it, and then the next day (I made sure I was seeing different sets of people! Don't lie - you've done this, too!), and you better believe I'll be wearing it for my next jeans day at work.
For background about my Outfit Imitation series, click here!
Lord, please give me the strength to stay away from Orange Possum this season.
Ladies, I have to tell you, I am a thrifter/discount crazed lunatic through and through, but sometimes I am very tempted to take all of my money, drive to a store, and buy all of the things at full price.
I want pretty much everything that is currently available at Orange Possum in Hampton right now. They've been tempting me on Instagram one post at a time...but I will stay strong...
Here are some of the items I need NOW!
I do not condone illegal activity. But I also do not condone the cost of movie concessions! That's why I resort to smuggling in my own goods when I know I'll be craving a sweet treat.
Shhh...don't tell...but I committed my latest offense this past weekend!
In the cute little getup I'm wearing below, I had just enough room in my jeans pockets and give in my t-shirt to carefully conceal my candy.
In the Fall and Winter, I wear my motorcycle boots 80% of the time. I got these boots from LBL on Main Street in Cedar Falls, one of my favorite stores. They have a lot of well-made, edgy options. My jeans and t-shirt are from Old Navy. And my flannel (funny story) is actually from the little boys' section at Target! I've found some gems in this section throughout my lifetime (I started shopping there sometime around Junior High). They have some cute options (that fit my style, not all) and the price is always right!
Now that I look at this photo again, I kind of look like a little punk that would smuggle in sweets...I bet they knew I was guilty all along!
If my headline wasn't enough...FALL IS HERE! My absolute favorite season. You can call me "basic" all you want - I don't care!
Joel and I had the opportunity to indulge in an anniversary getaway to celebrate seven married years together (10.5 years together total). We did our normal wandering across Northeast Iowa and I was dressed for the occasion.
I bought the olive green, anorak jacket I am wearing below this summer for $5 from Sears! I have been waiting patiently to wear it and since our trip I have worn it every single day! I paired the jacket with a cream t-shirt with stud details from JCPenney, skinny jeans from Old Navy, and tall boots that I've had for years from JCPenney. As an accessory, I wore a quartz crystal necklace that I found in a vintage store in Des Moines.
I would post other outfits from the weekend, but all were covered by my jacket, so they probably wouldn't offer up too much inspiration!
I don't only wear business attire! Although I do normally like to be "dressed up" in some form, I keep it casual on occasion, especially on the weekends.
If you were to stop by my house on a weekend, you'd definitely find me in some form of stretch jean or legging, t-shirt or tank (normally band oriented), a baseball cap or bandanna, and always, my white Chucks.
I've included photos of two outfits from this past weekend below. Joel and I did a lot of adventuring around Iowa and Wisconsin, so I wore outfits that were acceptable for several different scenarios.
The first outfit includes my aforementioned Chucks with a pair of wool shorts from Old Navy and Ramones t-shirt from Kohl's.
The second outfit is Old Navy head-to-toe! The flats are snakeskin, the jeans are my favorite pair (I cannot wear them without at least one person asking if I need money to buy proper pants), and the grey t-shirt is made of a super comfy material that helped hide my belly after eating waaaay too much delicious food...
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.