There's something you should know about When I Look Cute: I hate, hate, hate having my picture taken.
So. You won't see any influencer-type photo shoots showcasing my looks. What you will see, however, are the clothes that I actually wear to work.
You'll also see my messy room, my comfy shoes (or comfy socks, or sometimes even my toes), unfolded laundry, a cat or two... basically, you'll see a life being lived.
I get home from work, change into schlubs, and lay out the work clothes for a quick pic. That's it. Real clothes, real person, real life.
I'm not much of a photog, and the lighting in my room is terrible, which makes it a little hard to tell that this suit with the large shepherd checks is so romantic in shades of soft lavender and cream. The cropped jacket and long skirt are accented with pearl and gold buttons. I wore the skirt with the buttons off center to the left. The shoes, which I snagged for extra cheap from Nordstrom Rack, are faux alligator in a rich cream color with a slight gold sheen brushed over. The gold sheen complements the pearl and gold buttons perfectly.
I was struggling with how to accent the outfit until I decided to go all in on the pearls and the lace. Sometimes you have to take one thing off, but sometimes you have to add extra charm for the look to work. Once I shot the cuffs to accent the lace, settled on the retro '80s pearl earrings, and slipped on the chunky pumps, I heard the click.
If you checked out my favorite looks, you'll remember that I am a sucker for men's tailoring. That includes any shoes with wingtip styling. The pair you see here is one of my favorites. I just love how something that should be so stuffy actually makes an outfit more fun.
So, in the spirit of odd pairings that make for interesting looks, I give you today's creation. You take an ankle length black/tan/red/camel plaid skirt -- sure to be the envy of every old lady school teacher -- and couple it with a long sleeved camel tee with ruffle accents. At this point you're in serious danger of being flouncy and twee. But! Then you add the funky chunky wingtips, a pair of giant wooden earrings, and top it all off with not one but two belts. The huge woven belt cinched in to give me a waist, with the metal studded skinny belt thrown on the top of that for just a bit of sass.
Click! Radical Schoolmarm.
I know that lug-soled shoes were in during the 90s, then fell out of fashion. I know that they are back in fashion now and will inevitably fade away again. I also know that I just don't care. These blue patent leather loafers suit my aesthetic and I'll wear them until I tire of them, the vagaries of fashion be damned. Besides: They look adorable with the upturned cuffs of my navy cords and the gold detail creates a subliminal connection with my leapfrog earrings.
Still, what to wear under the fuzzy, flowery
green sweater? I scoured my closet for a
shirt and, lo and behold... a long sleeved
blue tee boasting green flowers! That little
reversal of big green to little green was just
the hammer I needed to nail down this
Eclectic Preppy look. Click!
You can't go wrong with black and white and a bright solid color. Plus, if you're timid about pattern mixing, black and white allows you to play around without getting too out there. For this mime-inspired look, I chose to complement the simple black and white stripes of the cowl-neck sweater with the more adventurous chevrons on the shoes.
As for accessories, I started with black rectangular cutout earrings that almost touch my shoulders, but, with the large cowl up top, big dangling earrings just didn't work. I have little rose-shaped earrings in every color and I wear them quite a bit. Replacing the black danglers with a yellow stud was my last step toward the click.
As hot as it's been this summer, nothing beats linen for staying cool. But, I think it can be hard to look professional in baggy linen pants, so I had to play around with this outfit to get just the right mix of breezy and ready to work, especially because I wanted to wear the embroidered white tshirt under the buttery tan linen jacket.
In the end, the shoes were the key.
First I tried a pair of yellow flats but they made me feel like I was wearing pajamas and slippers. Then, because the pants were lower calf length, I tried a pair of booties in light tan with metal studs. Closer, but the color was not quite warm enough and the low heel still made me feel too sloppy. Plus, the metal studs seemed out of place.
In desperation I grabbed the faux cowboy boots with the stacked heel, only because they were the right color and not flats. I didn't really expect them to work and was shocked when they totally pulled the outfit together. Style-wise, you wouldn't think faux cowboy boots and lower calf length, flowered, flowy linen pants would go together, but sometimes adding that one odd element to an otherwise cohesive look can provide just the right complement.
Finally, to the earrings. First I tried a pair of long, thin, hollow rectangles in warm wood that matched the jacket. Not quite right: The hard edges didn't go with the softness of the look. Fortunately, I had a pair of more ornate wooden earrings in the same color. The rounded shape and delicate cutouts of the earrings evoked the flower pattern of the pants, adding that last little detail and... Click!