Winter What to Wear Update No. 1

As you know, I recently re-started my uber-organized-choose-what-to-wear-with-notecards-system. Maybe I should come up with a more succinct name for this thing? Any ideas?

Normally, one card lasts me a week, but since my dressing habits were a bit altered during exam week(s), I spent more than a week drawing inspiration from my last card. My items were:

The outfits below should look familiar to you . . . I’ve worn all of these in the past couple weeks.

20121218-094629.jpgI did some shopping last month and wore a few new things for the first time. It was nice to have my little card to give me some ideas of old stuff to pair with the newbies. For example, I might have just thrown a cardigan over my new LOFT dress (upper right), but I tried a turtleneck instead, which I think was a lot more unique. And it was nice to bust out the old bubble necklace after giving it a long break. The color looked so nice with the minimalistic black and white sweater.

See these original outfit posts if you missed them: (clockwise from top left)

one // two // three // four // five

What to Wear: Fall/Winter Edition!

Waaaay back in the stone ages (a.k.a. 5+ months ago), I did a post called “What to Wear?” in which I showed you one way I pick out outfits and challenge myself to remix my closet and wear pieces in different ways. I gave you some updates along the way, but I haven’t done that in a while. I recently updated my cards (this will make sense in a minute) for the winter, and I have a lot of new readers now, so I figured this was a good time for a “what to wear” comeback.

In case you don’t want to go back and read the original, here’s a quick review:

I take 4 index cards, one for each week of the month. Then I pick a category (for example: tops, shoes, or jewelry) and on the first line of each card, I write down something in that category. It could be something specific or something more general.


This time around, I picked 6 categories:

  • Shoes
  • Bottoms
  • Sweaters
  • Necklaces
  • Accessories (non-jewelry)
  • Wild card (just any other item I wanted to add)

20121116-162028.jpgSo what’s the point of all this? Glad you asked.

I use a card as a jumping off point each day that week when I’m deciding what to wear. Alternatively, I might already have a basic outfit in mind but I’ll use the card to think of an unexpected piece to add. When I pick my items, I try to pick a combination of old and new, basic and unique. That way, I remember to not neglect my older clothes, and to mix them with newer things.

If you decide to try out my little scheme, just remember that you make the rules! You can be as strict or as flexible with your cards as you like. You could make more than 4 cards if you don’t want to cycle through so fast. You can put more or fewer items on each card.

If you’d like to see past posts on this topic, just see here (original), here (1st update), here (2nd update), and here (3rd update).

I’d love to hear how you guys decide what to wear! Picking outfits is pretty much the most entertaining thing I do on a regular basis, so I have an abnormal amount of fun thinking of ways to challenge myself to mix up my wardrobe and keep wearing something different everyday! (I’ve always been a little weird.)

9 Ways to Use Pinterest for Outfit Inspiration

If you’ve been a Sarah’s Real Life reader for awhile, you already know I like finding creative ways to make up different outfits. I joined Pinterest almost a year ago, and the first “board” I created was a style board for outfits and pieces I loved. What happened after I pinned these outfits? Well…they were pinned. On my board. Aaaand…yep. That’s it. It took some trial and error and strategizing to actually make my style pinboard a jumping-off point for real-life outfit ideas. Here are my tips on making Pinterest work for you. If you haven’t joined Pinterest yet, sign up here. Now get creative!

1.  Designate boards just for pinning outfit ideas.

If – in addition to outfit ideas – you like to pin images of editorials, “dream closet” items, or runway looks, you might want to separate those “aspirational” pins from your outfit pins. As great as that photo of Lady Gaga wearing Alexander McQueen is, it’s probably not going to help you figure out what to wear this weekend (and if it does, then you might be looking at the wrong blog).

Beyond that, if you plan on pinning a lot of images, break down your boards by season and/or occasion. That way, when you want inspiration for a holiday party outfit, you won’t be looking through casual summer looks.

2.  Find other style boards to follow.

You might automatically be following your Facebook friends, but that doesn’t help you much if your friends don’t have your style. You need to find some like-minded fashionable people! From your Pinterest home page, hover over the “Categories” menu at the top. Then click on “Women’s Fashion” or “Men’s Fashion.” Start scrolling through until something makes you say, “Damn. I would totally wear that.”

After you repin, click through to that person’s board. If most of his/her stuff looks appealing to you, then follow that board! (Unless of course the title of the board contains incorrect spelling or bad grammar, because it will drive you crazy every time you see it. Oh, does that only happen to me? OK.) Repeat as desired. It’s a good idea to look for new boards on a regular basis, because there are always new people joining Pinterest and who knows? They could be your fashion soulmate.

3.  Don’t just be a repinner.

Let’s face it: you can’t trust the rest of the Pinterest population to find every smidgeon of style on the internet and present it to you on a silver platter. Or a silver board. Whatever. Add the “Pin It” button to your bookmark bar. You do this from the “About” menu at the top – the second option down is “Pin It button.” (You can also click on the image above.) As you look through your favorite blogs/Tumblrs/etc., pick out photos to pin. If there’s more than one photo of a particular outfit, pick the one that highlights what you like best.

Bonus: When you pin your own outfits, you can make sure the images link back properly to their original source (which is a piece of Pinterest’s suggested “pin etiquette“).

4.  Pin outfits that include items similar to those already in your closet.

It’s discouraging to look at a board full of outfits that you can’t possibly re-create. When you’re scouring the interwebs for inspiration, keep an eye out for ensembles that contain something(s) you already own.

For example, I pinned the photo on the left because I already had yellow jeans and a chambray shirt. My jeans are more of a mustard yellow, and my chambray is long-sleeved, but the basic idea is there. I hadn’t thought to put them together, but then I did! In fact, I did it just this week (check out my version here).

5.  Pin outfits that make sense for your life.

This tip ties in with tip #1. You can pin “aspirational” photos if you want, but if you really want to use Pinterest to inspire your real-life wardrobe, then focus on what you can actually use for inspiration. If you work in a business casual office every day, then a board full of jeans outfits isn’t going to be terribly helpful.

6.  Use your descriptions for good, not evil.

OK, I don’t actually know how you could use descriptions for evil, but the point is to use them for good – as in good for you. When you pin an outfit image, make a simple note in the “description” field reminding yourself why you like it. You might think you’ll remember 3 months down the road, but let’s be realistic. For me, a description might be something like “yellow cardigan over chambray” or “cozy sweater, colored skinny jeans, ankle boots.”

Your descriptions can serve as the ingredient list for your outfit recipe (don’t you love metaphors? I do), or as a shopping list for later (see tip #7 below).

7.  Analyze your pin collection to make a shopping list.

I did this a few months ago and realized about 40% of my pins included a collared button-down shirt. Apparently I like them, but I had a whopping one collared button-down shirt in my closet. Now I’m working on growing my collection so I can start having some layering fun this fall and winter! Sometimes you don’t know what you need until you see someone else wearing it. It’s like middle school all over again.

So after you’ve got yo’self a nice little collection of images, scan through and take stock of what’s there. Is everything purple? Do you have 15 different outfits with red shoes? Lots of skirts and dresses? Just a hunch: you might really like purple/red shoes/skirts and dresses. Permission to shop: granted.

8.  Download the Pinterest app.

Even if you follow tips 1 through 7, how many people have their laptop up and running in their closet? (Don’t answer if you do.) But what does everyone always have with them? Their smartphone. With the Pinterest app (available for iPhone or android), you can refer to your lovely outfits conveniently while you’re staring into the depths of your closet (or in my case, the spare bedroom that still barely holds all of my clothes and shoes).

9.  Follow ME on Pinterest!

Yes, it’s shameless plug time. Find my Pinterest boards here.

This article is not affiliated with or sponsored by Pinterest. It is intended only as commentary. Pinterest is a registered trademark of Cold Brew Labs, Inc. Click on images to be redirected to their original source.

What to Wear: Week 3 Update

Two weeks in a row! I am on a roll. If you haven’t read the original “What to Wear?” post, see it here. Last week I had the following items on my card:

  • Pencil skirt
  • Watch
  • Silky blouse
  • Coral & blue LOFT scarf
  • Floral dress
  • Bandolino kitten heels (this is the only one I skipped, because I’ve been wearing these shoes a lot recently – like here and here)20120806-210527.jpg

You might notice that my new Anne Klein watch shows up in several of these photos. I might have a mild obsession.

Hope everyone’s having a great week so far! (Mine started out with taking a sick day Monday because my stomach didn’t feel like facing the day…I don’t wish that on anyone else!)

Previous What to Wear Updates:

What to Wear: Week 2 Update

You might have noticed that it has been a long time since my Week 1 Update of What to Wear. No, there has not been some kind of glitch in the space-time continuum. I just haven’t been using my cards every week. But I did last week, hence the update.

Wait, cards? What are you talking about, Sarah? If you are a relatively new reader of Sarah’s Real Life, or you just need a refresher, see this post, where I break down one of the ways I decide what to wear every day. To me, great style is not just about picking out the trendiest new items; it’s about how you put different pieces together. And when you have a ton of clothes and accessories and shoes like I do, sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.

The items on my card for the week were:

  • Wooden bead necklace
  • Cropped jacket/blazer
  • Patterned cardigan
  • Yellow hair bow
  • Yellow pleated skirt

Check it out! These pics should all look familiar if you’ve been reading the past week…20120730-113554.jpg

My little card definitely came in handy this week! The wooden bead necklace was the perfect thing to add to my tourist ensemble and spice up my plain navy tee. The jacket was something I hadn’t worn in forever and was contemplating tossing, but once I wore it I realized I just had to embrace its costume-like quality and have fun with it! This silky cardigan was perfect over a dress for an evening out in Chicago. The yellow bow – I always forget I bought this little guy! – is a fun addition to any outfit. And I’m glad I challenged myself to fit this yellow skirt into a work-friendly outfit.

So…how do you decide what to wear? Leave me a comment! And if you want to be in the loop for future style adventures, use the links in the main menu (above) to follow me on Bloglovin’ or Twitter!

I’m Baaaack (with a new Accessory)






Greetings, dear readers! I come to you bearing good news. Although my face is still a bit oddly shaped and I have not yet advanced to the chewing stage, I am feeling a little better. I didn’t go to work, but I did venture out to lunch with friends. And by lunch I mean frozen yogurt, but the details aren’t important.

In other good news, this bubble necklace that I ordered on eBay a couple weeks ago finally came in the mail, so I decided to feature it in my “lunch” outfit. I don’t usually do the monochromatic thing, but for some reason I was inspired to try it. The lime green looked so nice against my navy top, that I just went all out and wore a navy skirt and navy shoes, too. Why the hell not?

I like how this little ensemble turned out, but of course I’m already thinking of other ways to style this necklace. Here’s a peek into my outfit-schemeing mind:

Against a Contrasting Red Dress…


Fancying up Chambray…


Adding Even More Color to a Bright Print…


Which option is your favorite? I need help deciding how to wear it next…

Bubble Necklace available in various colors at J. Crew or other less legit sources

Shoes are Sperry Top-Sider Authentic Original 2-Eye Boat Shoes

What to Wear: Week 1 Update

For those of you who read my post last week on outfit planning, you’ve probably had troubling sleeping at night because you’ve been wondering, “Did Sarah use one of her index cards last week?! Did she wear everything on the list?! I MUST KNOW!!”

Well, stress no more, my little style fiends. Here is your answer. Yes, I did use one of my index cards last week. The items on the card were:

  • purple peplum top
  • zebra CK flats
  • cropped pants
  • maxi skirt
  • mint green J. Crew necklace
  • solid cardigan

If you look back at the last week of outfit posts, you’ll see that I wore all but the J. Crew necklace! Don’t believe me? See for yourself.


So, is anyone else going to try it?

By the way, you can now follow Sarah’s Real Life on Bloglovin’. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for the link!

What to Wear?

Sometimes people remark that they’ve never seen me wear the same thing twice. Well, I assure you I do wear clothes more than once, but rarely do I repeat exactly the same combination of clothes. It helps that I have an enormous wardrobe.

Today’s entry is about one little trick I use to manage my crazy closet (which is actually a spare bedroom). If your wardrobe is sparse, this may not be helpful to you; but if you are a fellow shopping addict who stares into her stuffed-to-the-brim closet thinking “what the hell am I going to wear today?” then read on…

I came up with this idea at a time when I had lots of older stuff in my closet that I hadn’t worn in awhile but still wanted to wear, as well as several new things to add to the mix.

Start with a few index cards. You will use one for each week – 4 or 5 to begin, but you can always add more later. Now pick a category (for example: tops, jackets, shoes, accessories, skirts, etc.) and on the first line of each card, write down something in that category. It could be one specific item (ex: Ann Taylor striped turtleneck) or something more general (ex: patterned sweater). In the example below, I picked all items of the tops or sweaters variety.


Then pick another category and write down an item on each card. You see where I’m going with this… You can make as many categories as you like, or you can even pick random items. I started out with categories – tops, shoes, bottoms – then I did a round of randoms, then did two more categories – accessories, jewelry. The “rules” are really up to you. But in general, try to pick out some items that you’ve had for a while but have been neglected, as well as items that are newer. Then be sure to throw in some basics and favorites.


This project can easily be done on your own, but I consult with my trusty advisor, Coco.


Once you have your cards done, use them as a jumping off point each day that week when you’re deciding what to wear. You could wear multiple items from your card on the same day, or just pick one thing each day and build your outfit around it. Again, you make the rules so it really doesn’t matter! You can be as strict or as flexible with your cards as you like.

If anyone else decides to try my little scheme, let me know what you think! Did it work for you? Does anyone else have unique ways of managing their closets and thinking of new outfits? Leave me a comment!