My Name is Sarah, and I’m a Polkaholic

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Full posts: One // Two // Three // Four // Five

Did anyone notice anything funny about my outfit posts this past week? Like maybe that all five of them involved polka dots? No, it was not planned. I just have a problem. I might have to start setting myself a monthly polka dot allowance so this doesn’t get out of control. But I can’t help myself…this pattern is just so easy to spot in stores. God, I’m hilarious.

I’m going to try to pace myself this season with polka dot purchases, but I already have my eye on a few adorably polka dotted things. Here are some dots I’d love to add to my collection for spring. What should be my first purchase?

Polka Dots!

Shoes ($62) // Skirt ($18) // Bag ($108) // Scarf ($15) // Belt ($30) // Dress ($45)

5 Spring Essentials

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Saturday was one of those days when I sat in the reserved section at a fashion show and interviewed a celebrity. You know, a typical weekend. In case you don’t recognize the adorable little man in the picture above, it’s Nick Verreos, who was on Season 2 of Project Runway. And on Saturday, he had the fabulous opportunity to meet ME and host a fashion show at Macy’s featuring “5 Spring Essentials.”

Nick was an amazing host. He interacted with the crowd and the models and explained each trend and how to wear it. And did I mention he’s adorable? And that he had a pocket square in his pink seersucker blazer? If I were a boy, I would want his outfit. Hell, I want his outfit anyway.

Oh right, the trends! Here they are. And be sure to check out some of the highlights of my interview with Nick at the end of this post!

1. Lace

I love me some lace in any season. I would definitely wear this lace top, maybe with faux leather leggings (because on me, this shirt would be a tunic), or just plain old skinny jeans. I would also wear it with the sassy face this model is making.

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2. Peplum

A friend asked me recently when the peplum trend was going to end. Apparently she’s not a fan. The answer is: not yet. And I’m happy about it because I love peplum, including this fancy dress (which I couldn’t find online, but here is a similar one).

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3. Printed Pants

Not to brag, but I totally wore polka dot jeans to this event without even knowing the printed pant was one of the spring essentials. I am so on top of it. I’m not totally sure how I feel about these floral jeans for myself, but I did like how the model wore them.

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4. Dresses (Shifts, Sheaths, and Shirts)

The best part about this portion of the show was hearing Nick try to say “shifts, sheaths, and shirts.” But the dresses were pretty cute too. I liked the color combo in this shift dress, and I found it in coral online, too!

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5. Pullovers

The outfit below led to a long tangent about “Flashdance,” which was good because talking about sweaters can only be so interesting.

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Finale!

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So there you have it! I think my only complaint about the show was that all the models were tall and skinny. Since the audience consisted of Midwest department store shoppers, it would have been nice to throw one petite and one plus size model into the mix. But that’s just one petite person’s opinion. The show was seriously fun and I’m more excited than ever for spring. And of course it’s still freezing. Fantastic.

But wait. There’s more…

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I was lucky enough to get to spend a few minutes with Nick in the beautiful ambiance of the Macy’s conference room to ask him any questions I wanted! We had a pretty interesting conversation. He told me that he wears H&M underwear, and he favors Indiana to win the NCAA Tournament this year. Keep that in mind when you’re filling out your brackets! Here’s a little more of what we chatted about:

Q: What makes you stop in the middle of the street, style-wise?

A: Somebody who’s working it from head to toe. I travel all over the country and I love it when somebody took the time to work it. It doesn’t mean they have to look especially fabulous. It could be a kid with 18 piercings and a punk mohawk and combat boots. I always say go 110%. If you’re only doing 95%, stay home! Being fearless with your style – no matter what kind of style – makes me want to cross the street faster and say, “who are you?!”

Q: What other Project Runway contestant would you like to dress you?

A: That’s a good question! I would say Jay McCarroll. He’s very quirky and fun. He does great prints, and I love prints. He just came out with a sock line. Printed socks! In airports, I get fabulous reactions!

Q: The name of my blog is Sarah’s Real Life because I document the outfits I actually wear. So I wanted to ask you, what do you wear on a typical day when you’re just dressing for yourself?

A: If I’m working a lot at my studio, I like a comfy pair of skinny jeans, and I roll ‘em up. And I go for the American Apparel deep V t-shirt. I like the deep V, the plunging neckline! Then I might just have a little blazer, roll up the sleeves, and then loafers. Sockless. I do Miami Vice Eurotrash. That’s my look. I’m owning it.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure TV show?

The Daily Show. I’m obsessed. And then BBC World News. I love finding out what’s happening in the world. The BBC makes me pretend I’m in Europe when I’m not. I need my tea and crumpets! I wish I could say the Housewives and American Idol, but I don’t watch much reality TV shows. I think it’s because I’ve been on one so I know too much. I almost feel like I can hear the producers saying, “We need you to start something with that person!” So it’s hard for me to watch. I think that’s why I go for John Stewart and BBC World News!

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Just one more reminder: he’s adorable.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Everywhere. However, opinions expressed are my own!

Bracelets for Small Wrists

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Much like most of the rest of me, my wrists are very petite. They’re great for looking dainty while I’m fanning myself on my fainting couch, but they can make bracelet-wearing a challenge. Bangles slide up, they slide down, they get stuck on my hand…OK that’s pretty much it, but it’s still annoying.

I used to buy bracelets without trying them on, which was a big mistake because I ended up not wearing them once I realized how distractingly large they were. I remember Googling “bracelets for small wrists” at one point and didn’t find anything helpful. Now that I’ve found a few favorite bracelets that work for my small wrists, I thought I’d share my findings and fill that little void on the interwebs.

For reference, my wrists are just slightly over 6″ around.

Madewell

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These are the only three bracelets I have from Madewell so far, but I’ve tried on others and they fit very consistently. It’s hard to find cuffs that fit skinny wrists, and I like how Madewell cuffs are simple but unique.

Marc by Marc Jacobs (rubber)

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This bracelet is actually more average sized, but since it’s rubber – not metal – it’s light and doesn’t fall down too far even when my arm is dropped. Marc makes a couple different styles and colors of this bracelet (changing each season), and they’re available at various upscale department stores.

Nordstrom Juniors’

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I’ve also had good luck with funky, trendy bracelets in the Juniors’ department at Nordstrom. The three in this picture are all stretchy and fit nice and snug!

J. Crew Pavé Link Bracelet (with link removed)

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After seeing the popular J. Crew pavé link bracelet a zillion times, I decided I simply had to have my own even though it was way too big. You can’t remove the big pavé links from this bracelet, but there is a little link that connects the last big link to the fastener. My father-in-law removed that piece easily with needle nose pliers and sidecuts.

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Voila!

A Note on Watches

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I love the look of oversized or men’s style watches, but on me the face alone is wider than my wrist. I realized that a “normal” sized watch has an oversized look when it’s on a small wrist, and a traditional adjustable leather strap makes it easy to adjust. Anne Klein makes some cute and affordable options, like the one I’m wearing here.

Forever 21

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The quality can be inconsistent, but Forever 21 has a ton of stretchy bracelet options that almost always fit well on me. Since they’re cheap, I don’t worry too much about how long they’ll last. It’s just fun to mix and match different styles.

Nail colors: Essie Tart Deco and Penny Talk

New Additions (updated Jan. 2014)…

Since writing this post back in March 2013, I’ve added more bracelets to my collection! I want to keep this post relevant by adding new options for all of you skinny-armed girls, so here are even more petite bracelets to shop! Let me know if you know of other stores/brands that are good for small wrists! If you are a retailer and you want your products featured on this post, please contact me.

ASOS Charm Bracelet

target light chambray, sweater vest, polka dot jeans, target wedge ankle boots, indianapolis style blog

This little bow bracelet is so damn dainty there’s no wrist it could possibly overwhelm! There are quite a few links, so it’s adjustable for a range of sizes. I removed all but the last 3 or so links so there isn’t a long chain hanging down. (This bracelet was provided to me courtesy of ASOS.)

Dainty Wrist Jewelry

shoemint silver flats, watch for small wrist, j crew mint green, faux fur scarf, madewell hepcat sunglasses, mixing metals

Dainty Wrist Jewelry is an online shop that specializes in – you guessed it – bracelets and watches for people with very small wrists. Each product’s description will let you know what size wrist it is made for. (This watch was provided to me courtesy of Dainty Wrist Jewelry.)

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How to Not Die in the Winter

It’s around this time of year when you start to see magazine editors, bloggers, and the like telling you what you need to have good hair/good skin/good style during the winter months. I’m sure some of them mean well, but I get the impression that many  featured products are chosen based on the magazine’s advertisers, what’s new for the season, or just what packaging looks cute when you put it in a collage.
Well, good thing you came to me. I have no agenda other than to tell you what it takes this (originally) southern girl to survive in the Midwest. I swear on the grave of someone important that I really do use each and every one of these items, and I’m willing to bet that most people will be able to identify with some of my picks…
Winter Survival Kit

To warm you from the outside…

  • Slippers, preferably really ridiculous looking ones with pom poms or animal ears. Because if you can’t let loose in your own home, then where the hell can you?
  • Sweater tights so you can wear your cute dresses to holiday fetes without catching pneumonia. (Don’t be that girl.)

To warm you from the inside…

  • A glass of red wine to give you the [responsible] warm fuzzies. You can look up what red wine pairs best with, but I tend to think it just pairs well with life.
  • A Keurig coffee maker so you can have a quick cup of joe or cocoa at any time. There are a range of models at different prices, but this is the B60 model, which I have and recommend.

To protect you from the elements…

  • Light-tinted sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind or the harsh heat in your car even when it’s not very bright outside.
  • Frizz serum so you don’t look like you just got electrocuted every time you take off your sweater. This is the kind I use because it’s cheap and available everywhere.

To keep you from looking like a dried up mess…

  • A good face wash and moisturizer to quench your thirsty winter skin. Even though it’s a bit pricier than a drug store brand, I’m a fan of Philosophy’s Purity cleansing oil (which doesn’t actually have oil in it) and Hope in a Jar moisturizer. My skin gets easily annoyed by products but these work for me!
  • A moisturizing winter lipstick. I’m a fan of the cult classic Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. It’s sort of the color of red wine-stained lips, which can be convenient for covering up the fact that you’ve been drinking red wine (see above).

Stay warm, my friends!

This post was submitted to this week’s IFB Project.

I’m Intrigued…

South by SouthwestI don’t know where this whole Aztec and Southwestern print trend came from, but I’m kind of diggin’ it. I have yet to add any of this geometric fun to my closet, but these are a few things I’m eyeing. The BB Dakota sweater (No. 4) is my favorite. Personally, I wouldn’t go head-to-toe Aztec, but some of these items might be fun to throw into my polka-dot-and-animal-print-heavy wardrobe. Gotta try new things sometimes, right? Right, Sarah. You’re always right.
1. Express skirt $59.90
7. Talulah dress $207.90

Boot Love

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You’re looking at a class photo of my boot collection. I didn’t realize I had 16 pairs until I started pulling out all my winter clothes! I think it’s safe to say I am boot-obsessed. Some of these you’ve already seen in action multiple times, and some are still waiting to make their blog debut. But in the meantime, I’ve channelled my love of boots into something worthwhile: finding some bee-yoo-tiful boots for your viewing and/or shopping enjoyment. Tell me your favorites in the comments!
Tall Boots
1.  Express, $79.90 // 2.  Alfani, $99.99 // 3.  LC Lauren Conrad, $64.99
4.  Gomax, $59.99 // 5.  Yves Saint Laurent  (you don’t want to know how much)
Dressy Boots
1.  LAUREN Ralph Lauren, $97.99 // 2.  Steven by Steve Madden, $179.00
3.  Dolce Vita, $179.00 // 4.  Laurence Dacade, $455
Flat & Wedge Booties
1.  Rampage, $39.95 // 2.  MIA, $88.50 // 3.  DV Dolce Vita, $99
4.  Plenty by Tracy Reese, $165 // 5.  Juicy Couture, $250

My Imaginary Shopping Spree

Florida Getaway

On Monday, my fall break from school starts and I’m leaving on a jet plane to spend 5 days in sunny Florida! Even though fall has really set in here in Indiana, the forecast for my vacation is decidedly summery. Luckily, I haven’t put away my summer clothes yet, and I’m excited to take some of them for one last spin before they get put away for the season.

I don’t need to buy new summer clothes just for one week, so I’m exercising some self-control and settling for an imaginary shopping spree on JCrew.com instead. But I might mention to you all…most of these items are now on sale, and it never hurts to stock up for next year! So feel free to buy these things and send me pictures of yourself wearing them.

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.

Fall 2012 Shopping List

Fall 2012 Shopping List
Since tonight is Fashion’s Night Out, I figured what better time to show you my official fall shopping list? And I swear: this is not a cute little collage I just made up to fill space on my blog; these are all items that are actually on my list of things I want to find this season (you can ask my iPhone, who was storing my list up until now).
I will be going to a FNO Indianapolis event at Circle Centre Mall, and perhaps I’ll pick up one or two of these items! I promise to report back.
To everyone else attending FNO wherever you live – and to everyone in smaller towns making your own pretend FNO – have fun! And may the shopping be ever in your favor.

Come Live in My Closet

Late Summer Wish List

Since I’m still not in tip-top shape and haven’t ventured out in the world, I can only sit at home popping pain-killers and having dreams about shopping. With a lack of real outfit photos to show you, I thought I would share this visual interpretation of my half-lucid thoughts. While most fashion magazines are already showing us what’s on tap for fall, the reality is that we are still deep in the heart of summer here in Indianapolis and most of the U.S. Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really feel like trying on turtlenecks when it’s over 90 degrees out. These are just a few things that I wouldn’t mind getting sometime this summer and then transitioning into the fall.

What’s on your shopping wish list these days?