Wallace Plaid

turtleneck: J.Crew Factory // flannel: LL.Bean // sweater: J.Crew (old, similar) // pointe pants: Old Navy // socks: LL.Bean // boots: Tory Burch (old, current season) // watch: Fossil // bracelet: KJP (old, similar) // bag: Cambridge Satchel Co. // necklace: J.Crew Factory (old, similar) // rope ring: KJP // claddagh: The Irish Jewelers // pearls: vintage

Today was another very chilly day. In retrospect, I definitely should have shot some outfit photos the day before - it was a balmy 60 degrees! That's unheard of for January in NoVA. Naturally, the temperature dropped again overnight to the usual 25 degrees, which was actually warmer than it has been recently, especially given the polar vortex that hit last week.

The one upside to the weather was that I was able to really put to use my new flannel (in the Wallace Plaid pattern) from LL.Bean! If you've been watching my Instagram stories, you'll have seen that I just recently got this in the mail. They sent the relaxed fit version, which I thought was just a tad bit oversized, so I exchanged it for the slightly fitted flannel in the same color and I love it. Thankfully, LL.Bean has fantastic customer service and the exchange was easy and quick.

I used one of my favorite tricks in the winter time, which is to wear a thin turtleneck underneath a flannel (or any button-up). As an added layer, I added a thinner gray sweater. This one is one of my most-worn sweaters in my wardrobe; I bought it last year and it's such a classic piece. I love the adorable ruffle sleeve details, as well. They pair wonderfully with the subtle cable knit. I also added this linked tortoise necklace from J.Crew Factory which I've had for years now. They make a similar version (in a lighter color) which I've linked below; it's great for when you want to add a statement to an outfit, as such a neutral color goes with almost any combination.

For pants, I'm wearing my best-kept secret: these "Stevie" pants from Old Navy. They're essentially an exact dupe for the Lilly Pulitzer travel pants, at a much better price. They feel like leggings, but with piping down the center, sides, and back of the legs that give it an equestrian detail and make them more dressy. I especially like pairing them with riding boots to emphasize the equestrian feel. Seriously, these are hands-down the most comfortable pair of "pants" (if I can even call them that - they really are just leggings masquerading as dress pants) I own, and I would highly recommend them. Last I checked, they come in this classic navy, black, and a gray color; any would make great additions to a wardrobe. As a plus, they come in tall and petite sizes.

Hope you all are having a great January thus far!

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Prep for Less: Tips for Shopping Second-Hand Online

My fashion tenets are twofold:

one; quality pieces
two; timeless pieces

Unfortunately for me, however, this combination can come with a (really!) high price tag. While I would love to be able to shop exclusively at J.Crew or Kate Spade, it's just not in my budget. That doesn't mean that you can't find amazing pieces (even from expensive brands) at great prices, however. Sales, discounts, and shopping out of season are all options - but my favorite strategy is to shop second-hand.

Over half of my wardrobe is second-hand, usually from sites online. That may sound a little daunting, but I promise that once you learn a few tips you'll be able to navigate second-hand shopping like a pro. You'll save the environment and your wallet, all while finding amazing pieces that you might not be able to get anywhere else.

1. Know what you're looking for. 

Browsing second-hand sites can get overwhelming, even if you narrow to a specific brand. The key to avoiding getting a bunch of stuff you don't want in your feed is to know what you do want, and narrowing your search to fit that.

When shopping, I use as many search parameters as possible - starting with a keyword, then narrowing down to a specific category of clothing, my size, and even the color I want.

2. Try out different search terms.

For example, if I'm searching for a Kiel James Patrick scalloped button down shirt (per this post!), I might sort by Women --> tops --> button downs, but search for two different keywords: "KJP" and then "Kiel James Patrick". Different sellers might list the brand differently, and so searching for both allows me to see items that I wouldn't be able to with just one search.

3. Know your size.

Most online second-hand websites don't accept returns unless the item is damaged or not as described. Unfortunately, that means that if it just doesn't fit, you're stuck with it. While that may seem scary, I promise there's a way to avoid disappointment!

Generally, I stick with brands that I'm familiar with size-wise. For example, I know what size I am in most J.Crew clothing; same for Old Navy, L.L.Bean, Madewell, etc. But, what if you come across an item that you love, but you're unsure of what size you'll be?

Well, you have a few options. Firstly, I would check to see if the seller has listed measurements. You can then cross-reference the measurements on the item with pieces you have at home that you know fit you. Some common measurements include shoulder width (length across the shoulders), waist (the smallest part of your stomach), hips (the widest part of your hips), and length (for dresses and skirts) or inseam (for pants and shorts).

For example, since I'm 5'11", I often have trouble with dresses and skirts being too short. If I find a piece online, I'll look for the length measurement and compare that to that of a dress that I already have that's the right length for me.

If the seller doesn't have measurements listed, don't be afraid to contact them and ask for measurements. Another option is to look for the same piece online. If you know the brand, you may be able to find the item on the brand's site (even if it's an older item), and look at the brand's measurements in the item description. For items such as shoes, you can also ask the seller if they run small or large.

4. Learn what works for your body and personal style.

Adding on to my third tip -- an item may be the right size, but it might not be flattering. It's important to know what styles generally work with your body, and what kinds of cuts, patterns, colors, etc. you like to wear. As much as I love sweater dresses, I know they just don't look good on me (tragically), so I avoid buying them. The same thing goes for in-store shopping, but again, since you can't try on second-hand items and return them if you don't like them, it's a good idea to be extra particular and stick to styles that you know will work for you.

5. Use the pictures to check the condition of the item.

Finally, use the pictures included in the listing to check the item's condition. While most second-hand websites are very good about allowing you to return items that come damaged/not as described, it's always better to avoid the hassle of sending it back by checking before you buy. If you need more photos, always reach out to the seller. Remember, they want their item to sell - so most of the time they'll be more than happy to get you any information you need to make your decision.

Here are some of my favorite websites for shopping second-hand (in order of most-used to least-used):

Truly, second-hand shopping is the way to go to get quality items that will last you a lifetime without breaking the bank. As a bonus, you can often find items that are brand new with the tags still on for a fraction of the retail price. Classic style doesn't require a huge bank account, just a little bit of hunting and patience!

Watch the corresponding video:


Well Red

button down: J.Crew // necklace: KJP (one of my favorites! also comes in other ribbon colors) // pearl earrings: vintage // pants: J.Crew // shoes: Banana Republic // headband: J.Crew Factory (old, similar) // trench: L.L.Bean // bag: Camebridge Satchel Company

These lace pants are absolutely one of the best purchases I've made from J.Crew. They're comfortable and such a gorgeous color. Since they're such a statement on their own, I wanted to pair them with something simple. I settled on this blue and white pinstripe button down. J.Crew and Polo Ralph Lauren make my favorite button downs; there really is a huge difference in their tailoring and cut. They just fit so much better, and they also wash really well (I often don't even need to iron my Polo button downs, just throw in the washing machine and hang to dry and they look great). As a plus, you can almost always find them second hand and in excellent condition.

My shoes may look familiar... they're actually the same loafers I wore in this and this post in gold! I love these scalloped loafers so much, and I've been thinking about picking them up in another color to give my brown loafers a rest (I wear them almost too much!). When I got a Banana Republic gift card for my birthday I added them to my cart right away and hit checkout. I'm so glad I picked them up, they're surprisingly versatile for being a bright color. For reference, they're definitely more of a cool-toned gold rather than a warm gold, similar to the platinum Jack Rogers. The scallop detailing adds the extra touch that is so unique and drew me to my original pair last fall.

Finally, let's talk about this necklace from KJP. I love this design. The bow is so darling, and the length - sitting a little lower than most of their other necklaces - is perfect for layering over a button down. I've been waiting to feature this in a post since I first purchased it, but as I was putting this outfit together I realized how perfectly the blue bow matched the stripes. It was meant to be, right?

Now for the title of this post. You'll have to excuse the pun, I really couldn't help it haha! The book that I'm holding (and that I've been racing through this past week) is How they Decorated: Inspiration from Great Women of the Twentieth Century by P. Gaye Tapp. This is such a fascinating read. There's something so personal about getting to see the inside of someone's home, and how a space is decorated tells a lot about the person who lives there. I loved getting a dose of art, history, and inspiration from reading about women from Pauline de Rothschild to Sybil Connoly. Plus, the design of the book and the full-color glossy photos are stunning. I would definitely recommend picking How They Decorated up (or giving it as a gift).

I'd love your book recommendations as well! Looking for my next read.


2018 Goals

Cheers to the new year!

2017 was certainly one for the books. I visited London and Amsterdam, spent a month studying away from home, made memories during the first half of my senior year, and survived college application season. Now it's time to look ahead to the new year!

1. Traveling Abroad

My family and I have a trip to Ireland booked for April this year! I'm so thrilled to be going abroad again. Our itinerary isn't totally solid yet, so if you have any suggestions for things to see I would really appreciate them. I'm especially excited to see the Cliffs of Moore (I know, cliche but still - what a sight!) and the Gap of Dunloe. Stay tuned as the departure date gets closer for some travel-related content. If anyone's interested, I would love to write some posts about how/what I'm packing and my shopping strategy to pick up items I'll need (namely, a good rain jacket since my current one isn't in the best shape).

2. Video Content on the Blog

One of my Christmas presents this year from my parents was an amazing new Nikon camera. You'll have already seen it in action in my last outfit post; the photo quality is beautiful -- but maybe the thing that I'm most excited about is the video capability. I've always thought about expanding the blog into some video content (there are some things that are just more conducive with a video than a blog post), and now that the option is there for me, I'm excited to give it a try. I still have to teach myself how to film/edit/embed videos, but keep an eye out for some different formats in the year to come!

3. Graduation and College

It feels so unreal that 2018 is finally here. 365 days from now, I will have: a. Graduated from high school, b. Chosen a college, c. Enrolled and moved in to said college, and d. Finished my first semester there. That's a crazy amount of change to happen in just a year. But, I'm so ready to embark in this new chapter of my life!

1. Learn New Healthy Recipes

I love cooking, and over winter break I've been digging into a new vegan cookbook I got for my birthday. In the new year, I want to cook for myself more and learn new healthy recipes that nourish my body and taste amazing too!

2. Save for my College Dorm

Decorating my dorm is something I've been looking forward to for a very long time. It's important to me that the place I live in feels like a home and inspires me. I've already planned out my decor theme and collected a list of things I'll need to purchase to pull the room together; my goal for the year is to save in order to make my plans a reality! Look out for dorm-related posts coming soon. 

3. Drink more Water

I think a lot of people probably have this same goal, but I really need to follow through. For Christmas this year by best friend bought me one of the gorgeous copper Starbucks 24 oz tumblers; since then I've been filling it up with water and trying to drink at least two, if not three of them per day. I've already noticed a huge difference in my skin, and I feel much more alert and awake. It's something I'm aiming to continue throughout the year and to make a habit!

4. Be Creative with my Style

This year I want to really push myself to be creative in mixing, matching, layering and combining the clothing I have to make new outfit combinations. It's something that I really enjoy, and I want to make a conscious effort to think outside the box and expand my wardrobe's outfit capacity with the pieces I already have.

I wish you the best New Year! Thank you so much for reading and supporting Brunettes and Pearls in 2017 (it means the world). Stick around for an exciting year to come.