Analyzing What Works And What Doesn’t!

Hey everyone! I’m almost done with my no-spend January and since I’ve been window-shopping I thought I’d share with you some items that didn’t work and why. Also, I found some cute shirts that did work and I want to talk about why they fit so that everyone is armed with knowledge or at least able to analyze clothing while they’re standing alone in a dressing room!

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This jacket’s color caught my eye. Right now wearing pastel colors seems like a great way to thumb our noses at winter! Anyway, it has the ruffle down one side of the front. As with most jackets, it fits me everywhere except around my midsection and bust and cannot be buttoned up. That’s totally fine because even if it did button, I would rarely button it up. However, because the ruffle is only on one side it doesn’t look right when it’s unbuttoned. It looks off-kilter.

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This often happens with asymmetrical jackets that zip up on an angle or the zipper is more over to one side. If it doesn’t hang nicely when it is unzipped then I don’t buy it. Now, if you knew that you would always keep the jacket buttoned then this would be a pretty one to wear, but really, I think even to sit down you would unbutton it and then it would look unbalanced.

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This shirt had big potential when I took it into the changing room. The fabric was a heavy knit that would be perfect for skimming but not clinging. It also had some stretch and the peplum looked like it would start just below the bust rather than at the waist, a cut I find flattering

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Unfortunately the pattern on this sweater totally kills the look. The vertical lines on the top half are pulled into a curved shape by my bust making my bust look wider than necessary.

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Where the horizontal stripes and vertical stripes meet should theoretically be at the waist. Since I have a big bust it pulls that line upwards so now it makes my bust look larger and lower. Now the skirt of the peplum is pulled upwards too making the shirt look too small on me. Definitely not a good look. It looks good on the model  (immediate warning flag for us!) who must be quite flat-chested, and it hits her at her natural waist and looks nice.

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I almost didn’t include this top. Once I saw the pictures, I was like, no way is this going public! I look like I’m getting ready to swab the decks me matey! I think it’s a little too tight and doesn’t have enough stretch. Plus it’s a lighter cotton so it gets hung up on my waist.

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I think the real crime with this top though is the size of the stripes. I love stripes, but these are too wide and because there is a lot of white contrasted with the navy it just looks bad. The top below has a much better size of stripe I think.

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Unfortunately this is the only picture I took of this top. Once I turned sideways and saw the little tie at the bottom I said “nope!”. It had a nice neckline and sleeve length  but the fitted look around the belly just was too much bad! Really, even if you had a flat abdomen, this little tie from the side view just sticks out too much.

Ok, on to some good finds!

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Like I said, I’m looking for some soft pastels and this is a pretty feminine print. It has a nice weight and the sleeves are double fabric so they have weight and hang interestingly without baring your arm. I can’t find it online but it was very much on sale so perhaps you can find it at your local Ann Taylor.

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I like where this top ends on me, how it fits in the shoulders and think it would look so pretty finished off with a scarf tied around the collar.

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This top below almost came home with me. The pattern is a perfect size and is really great at hiding dents or seams from your clothing underneath.

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The sleeves have elastic so the long cuff doesn’t slip down to your elbow. It also fits well in the bust, dips in slightly below the bust and hangs straight over my midsection. If only it wasn’t still January! Ah, have no fear, I’m sure I will be finding plenty to fill February!

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As apple-shapes, I know it is hard for us to find clothing that fits, let alone looks good on us and that we love. Keep analyzing your clothing, especially the items you get compliments on, to see what it is about that item that works. Usually it’s color but also look at pattern, cut and where the hem comes to on your body. You want the hem to end at a slim spot rather than a wide area. I like it to end just below my belly or right where my legs meet my torso.

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Don’t be afraid to take in lots and lots of items to the dressing room. You are a rare jewel and only a rare item of clothing will work for you. I hope this helps when you’re out shopping! Good luck!

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Boots That Are Anything But Basic!

Hey everyone! Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend. My girlfriend and I are making a very conscious effort to beat the winter blues this winter so she rustled up two of her kids and I snagged my two daughters and we went and saw the play Waitress on Saturday night. It was a very cute, feel-good movie. If you follow me on Instagram you saw I wore my very theater-appropriate faux fur vest and these boots.

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Speaking of these boots, I’m looking for every opportunity to wear them. They are so fun and easy to wear and I’ve pretty much replaced my black tall boots with these. If you have large calves like me (17″) but thinner ankles, these boots fit really well. Even though they are berry colored they don’t stand out as much as you would think. They add interest to an outfit but it’s not in-your-face loud and bright. If you have smaller calves they have a version for those too. They’re also available in black leather and black suede.

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I love a black turtleneck for a no-brainer top in the winter. It creates a good canvas for a statement necklace. This turtleneck you’ve seen a ton and I bought it from White House Black Market several years ago. If you pop in there next fall and see a ribbed knit black turtleneck, grab it! You will get your money’s worth from it!

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You’ve seen the jean jacket many times before from last year but it’s still available online! I love the roomy fit in the midsection, but it’s not too big in the arms and shoulders. They also have a tall version and a plus size version.

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This is my little theater-going purse that is unfortunately no longer available. It was a fun, blingy little addition to this outfit. The skinny jeggings you’ve seen many times because they fit so well under tall boots. They’re also out of stock except for the plus size version.

We’re in the middle of an unexpected snow blizzard as I write this, so pictures had to be done indoors. At least I can get some pretty snow-filled pictures in the next couple of days. I’m heading to North Carolina on the 9th so I’m looking forward to maybe some spring-like pictures? I hope so! Have a great week everyone!

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The Power To The Sweater!

Hey everyone! Happy Friday and you will be happy to know that I have my new reader glasses on so I can type away all day!

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Like everything this month, nothing is new in this outfit, just new combinations. I bought this sweater because I wanted a sweater that could do the holiday rounds but still be worn after the holidays. It’s a little more playful sweater than most women my age are seen in, but I like that. It makes people think twice about what a middle-aged woman is supposed to look like. Plus, the bright blue is such a pick up on these gray days.

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I’m wearing one of about six J.Jill ponte pencil skirts I own that are several years old. I was surprised how close in color the skirt and sweater were when I tried them on. The pencil skirt is a classic that never goes out of style and looks good on my straight hips. They have a great waistband that’s comfortable and doesn’t roll down plus the fabric has great stretch.

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I’m sorry if you’re getting sick of seeing this sweater (or the gray or burgundy one I own exactly like it!) but it works for so many occasions. I think I told you a year or so ago that this sweater was my comfort and armor when I worked at a stressful, horrible job. It covers me where I want to be covered but still looks stylish and even though I might not feel 100% confident that day it makes me look 100% confident! I’m sure I’m not the only one who has an item of clothing that gives you this feeling.

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And what a different outfit this is without the sweater. To me it looks too clingy, top-heavy and unfinished. The power of this sweater to pull an outfit together is impressive!

I am also loving this blush color of the purse and have been using it as my primary purse lately. The pink reminds me of spring and I may or may not be searching online for some new items in this color.

I’m also having some technical difficulties with uploading pictures today. Let me know if they are sideways or if something is off because they look fine sometimes and completely wrong in other situations. Grrrrrr.

Ok, Just a few more days left of this no-spend January! Can’t wait! Have a nice weekend everyone!

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Just Because I’m Having A Dry January…

Hey everyone! Just because I’m having a no-spend January doesn’t mean you have to! You probably saw this post coming — another “I Would If I Could” post. I can window shop this month, no harm in that! So, I popped over to my local Dress Barn to see what is out there now.

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Is anyone looking for a really cute dress? This one was adorable and would look so pretty with a long vest over the top so you could show off the sleeves. The fabric and lining had stretch but still had a nice straight shape. The textured fabric will hide any dents or undergarment seams easily. They also have it in plus size here.

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Here’s another cute dress though it seems weird to see my bare arms. It’s been awhile since they’ve seen the light of day!

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This dress is more frilly and flowy and would be perfect for a tropical vacation (doesn’t that sound really nice right about now?). It’s a light fabric but is completely lined.

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The fabric has a lot of texture and movement so won’t cling to any parts you don’t want clinging! It would look really cute with black leggings and a long black sweater or jacket if you wanted to winterize it a bit.

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Here’s a cozy sweater tunic that can be worn right now. It was not too long on me (I’m 5’2″) and has pretty slits on the hem. It’s a nice change up from a solid colored sweater. Also available in plus size.

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So, if you read my article on tips for successful shopping you’ll see that I’m following my own advice and wearing my tall black boots with black leggings. That way I’m ready to try on any item and not be left standing with bare legs and rumpled socks and thinking I look terrible.

Just a quick post today because I broke my reading glasses last night so am writing this with the broken frame perched precariously on my nose! Ah, there is so much glamour in my life I can hardly stand it! See you Friday!

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New And Old!

Hey everyone! Happy Monday! I hope you had a nice weekend. We, unfortunately, had to put our old dog, Laura, down this weekend after she had a seizure and could not stand up. This was not a surprise to us because she has been in deteriorating health for awhile. I’m sad she passed away but I feel much more grateful that she was able to have a peaceful death at home, surrounded by people who loved her, and that she had a full life not knowing pain or suffering. She knew she was loved every single day and that’s all you can ask for.

Here she is with Orangie, who gave himself the job of being her “seeing-eye” cat and accompanied her outside when it was dark so she would not get lost. Really!

Also, in more dog news, a week ago my eldest daughter brought home a rescue dog, Journey. Unlike Laura, Journey has not felt love every single day so we are glad to give it to her now. As my mom suggested, we have her middle name as Over. Let me say, I don’t recommend bringing home a young dog when you’re trying to sell your house (as you can see in the video below!) but gosh, she’s funny and such a cuddler!

If you can’t view the video please click here.

Ok, on to outfits! I took these photos last week when it snowed for three days straight. Today it’s raining so taking photos is not an option unless you want to see mud and other delights that have been frozen under the snow for the last two months!

This is the vest you’ve seen before (here) though I’m surprised I haven’t shown it more often on the blog because it’s soooo versatile. I intentionally bought it to add some color to my wardrobe and have found myself wearing it a lot. It’s available in many other colors like gray, brown and lion(?). Yep. I want a job coming up with color names!

I’m wearing my White House Black Market turtleneck from years ago which has held up really well. It’s a great knit fabric and gets worn pretty much all January and February. Also from WHBM are the skinny jeggings. Right now they’re only available in plus size.

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I’m loving the idea of adding the scarf tied to the handbag right now. You will be seeing that often (well, as often as I remember to do it, that is!). The pumpkin purse works great with primary colors in an outfit and since the bag has gold hardware I’m wearing a gold necklace and earrings.

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We are photographing in downtown Howell, Michigan. There is a cute alley behind all these historic buildings where I (and many others) often photograph. Usually the retail tenants hang those red lanterns and maybe a wreath or two, but this year they went all out and completely decorated it for Christmas. I hear the city is recognizing that this is a cute place people are drawn to and will be putting out tables and chairs to encourage this as a public space instead of a place for dumpsters, which is what it was before. Progress!

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Bringing Out My Inner Amelia Earhart!

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! I put on this outfit and immediately felt like Amelia Earhart. Why? Well, I think the sherpa jacket reminds me of an aviator’s jacket back in the day, even though the original aviation jackets were real leather (mine’s pleather), the interior of those aviator jackets were real sheepskin (mine’s fake) and they wore a dashing silk scarf (I think mine’s polyester). Ok, maybe I’m more of a fake Amelia Earhart but I still admire her adventurous spirit!

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I do feel like taking a bit of an adventure in this outfit though. I mean the boots! So, like everything this month, you’ve seen it all before. The boots come just above the knee which has been a nice change and if you’ve been waiting for them to go on sale they are now 15% off. I know, not a huge sale, but it’s 15% less than I paid for them!

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The jacket you’ve seen before and is one of those jackets that I can zip up over my ample bust and it doesn’t look like a potato sack! It’s also thin enough that I wear it indoors and it’s 20% off , same with the satchel, which might be an incentive for you to try your aviator style!

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I’m wearing my white jeans you’ve seen hundreds of times and a tunic that is about 4 years old. I had tried wearing this outfit with a shirt that ended where the jacket ended but with white jeans I like to keep the buns covered. Also, with big thighs and a wide midsection, I don’t think the jean fabric lays well in the crotch area so it’s good to have a longer top. I’ve actually found that with most of my jeans. It’s just a spot that gathers fabric and makes an outfit look rumpled so best to keep it covered!

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I’m working on my books I promised I would get through (though was easily talked into watching Godless on Netflix! Highly recommend for adventure and horses!) and I’m giving myself a deadline of February 15 to get through two of them. If you’d like to read along and then we can have a blog book club around the middle of February, I’m reading Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, Fates and Furies and Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. No pressure though. I just need to give myself deadlines or I’ll just drift!

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The hazards of being a model! Snow flakes tickle like crazy!

Ok, that’s it for this week. I’ll leave you with an Amelia Earhart quote “Adventure is worthwhile in itself”. I can second that! Have a great weekend ladies!

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You’ve Seen It All Before!

Hey everyone! I hear a lot of the US is getting snow today so here is a snowy picture in solidarity with the other areas getting the snow (like the south, even my husband down in Charlotte!). This was taken Monday but today is sunny and blue skies. Oh my gawd, why do I keep talking about the weather so much? Erg! You turn 50 and your main conversation topic is weather. Next thing you know I’m going to be talking about traffic. Help me!

Anyway, onto clothing. You’ve seen it all before but look how cute everything looks together! I love these boots. They are a definite fashionista addition to my wardrobe and can make even a mediocre outfit look like high fashion! If you have wide calves like me (17″) and slim ankles these will fit well. They also have them in black suede and black leather.

The dress (now only $56!) is the pretty blue one you’ve seen before several times (like here). It’s sooo easy to wear and I’m actually wearing a size 14 where usually I wear a size 16. It has stretch in the fabric and I love the pretty lace at the hem. There is also one with a v-neck available for 1/2 off and in red, green and black!

Yes, it’s the sweater I bought in September and knew I would wear a lot (as you have seen!). I have the same one in black and gray but once I had this color I knew it would be my go-to sweater. White House Black Market starts selling these in the fall, and they always have black, but they introduce a new color in the fall. We’ll see what next year’s favorite sweater color will be!

I’ve added my blue clutch and tried both a dark blue velvet scarf and necklace with this outfit. I prefer the scarf for a more edgy look but the necklace makes  this a very office-appropriate outfit.

Good luck to all of you who are newbies to snow. It’s pretty to look at, but quite the opposite to drive in (see? I’m starting to talk about traffic! Ugh!). See you all on Friday!

Linking up with Dawn Lucy at Fashion Should Be Fun!

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I’m Appreciating This Season For What It Is!

Hey everyone! I hope you had a nice weekend. We are definitely in the winter hibernation phase of the year here in Michigan. When I was younger, I used to mope and gripe about being stuck inside or trapped at home because of the frigid temps and bad roads. As I’ve gotten older (and wiser maybe?) I’ve realized that I need to accept that the cold and gray are here for several months of the year and I need to find activities that make me happy during those months rather than just complaining and wishing it was warmer!

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How have I done that? I think of the cold, dark days of winter as time for introspection and self-improvement and time to do the activities you don’t seem to have time for the rest of the year. It’s a good time to learn a new skill or just take up the hobbies you already have. It’s also the perfect time to read books.

I used to read a ton of books but not so much lately. Now I read lots of articles online and can while away an evening reading news articles and a wide variety of blogs. As I stated last week, 2018 was going to be the year where I “stop waiting”. So, I’m going to stop waiting for the perfect moment to pick up a book and read because I truly miss it.  I bought three books to get me started:  Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography Born to Run, a humorous memoir called Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir and Fates and Furies. (I’m also trying out this Amazon affiliates thing! Be patient with me as I figure it out!)

I am reading today. No matter what. I’ve declared it here publicly so there is no backing out! In fact, I will let you know what I think of those books in an upcoming post. If you’d like to read along that could be pretty fun!? We could have a lively comment discussion then. Seriously, let me know what you think about that idea because it just came to me as I was writing this.

You can see it’s snowing when we took these photos and how awful the roads and sidewalks look!

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Ok, back to the main reason you stop by here — clothing! As you know, I’m doing a “no spend January” so you are seeing clothing items you’ve seen before just styled differently. This vest you saw before over a dress (here). This vest won the search for a new black sweater vest even though it has no pockets. I think I’m going to try to add some since my daughter and I just bought a sewing machine and are itching to try it — like I said, it’s a great time of year for hobbies!

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You’ve seen the cobalt sweater many times and I’m wearing my skinny jeggings (plus size here) that I love wearing under tall boots. Plus, the blue is so dark it’s almost black and is easy to style. The scarf is from Patricia Nash from last year, the necklace is a low cost bit of bling and of course my pumpkin purse that is such a ray of sunshine!

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And let me say a special thank you to reader Téa who suggested I try tying a scarf to my purse to add some color and pattern. I’ve seen it on so many other bloggers but never made the connection to try it myself. It is a great way to add instant style to an outfit. Just make sure you tie it short so it doesn’t drag in the snow like I did!

Ok, that’s it for this Monday. Have a great week!

I’m linking up with all the lovely ladies at Patti’s Visible Monday!

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Adding Glamour To Casual Friday!

Hey everyone! Happy Friday! This sweater vest has been so fun to wear! It reminds me of women from the 40’s and 50’s wearing a fur stole with their tailored dresses and little pill box hats. I bought this vest to add some glamour to my wardrobe and find myself stroking the fur because it’s so soft. Stroking your collar like a pet probably kills the idea of glamour! Oh well! I can’t help it!

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Anyway, you’ve seen me wear it before (like here and here) but I wanted to try to wear it with the fur collar but casually. I’ve seen a lot of faux fur vests this fall and winter where the fur is longer and more shaggy (like here) and I am not drawn to them. I think they’re a quick trend that adds bulk and reminds me of wearing a muppet. This vest gives me the faux fur but it’s done in a more classic way so I’m betting it will not go out of style before I’ve petted it to death! And it’s 50% off now!

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This is the first time this winter I’ve shown these boots. They’re several years old but I still love how soft they are and they’re holding up really well. If you are a size 7 or 9 here they are at about 1/3 what I paid for them. They’re also available in black here.

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The jeans you’ve seen before several times (like here) and I find I’m wearing them often because they have these really deep pockets. You know I have a thing for pockets!

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I’m finishing off this outfit with this pretty pink satchel. This bag was not a big outlay of money but I know I need to add more color to my handbag collection so I’m going to be mixing up investment bags that will last for a long time with less expensive bags that I realize may only last a year or two.

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Where are we taking these pictures? This is the Cranbrook Art Museum in suburban Detroit. It was fifty seven degrees yesterday when we took these and they have beautiful gardens so we did a bit of walking. Since then we’ve added about two inches of snow and have dipped down to twenty two degrees. Sigh. Michigan.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Warm vs. Flattering? I’ll Take Warm Any Day!

Hey everyone! So, I’m doing a “no spend January” where I’m not buying anything new. Yeah, not that fun but reality. Instead, I’ll be showing you items you’ve probably already seen in different combinations and discussing how I’m mixing things up and how you can have many outfits with a few core items. If you want a further explanation on how to make your wardrobe earn it’s keep read my post on What Exactly Is A Capsule Wardrobe.

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First off let me say I wish I had switched up this black handbag for the tan and black one you’ve seen here. It looks a little too heavy (like a bowling ball) with this outfit. I was trying to work with the black stripes of the dress but the all black handbag looks out of place, especially since I have all these jewel tones happening and then the neutral tan. The black just doesn’t add anything to this outfit. I admit — I’m still learning!

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I’ve shown my Over The Knee (OTK) boots before but always with pants. I wanted to show them with a dress that maybe is too short for comfort. I love this dress because it’s made of bamboo so it’s really soft but it’s a little too short for a dress and too long as a tunic. My OTK boots give me coverage and warmth and I feel comfortable wearing this dress. Now, I get that these boots aren’t flattering. They do make my legs look stumpier and thicker and wrinkly (kind of like a tree trunk! but I love trees!). I think they would be more flattering if they were a darker color. Plus, I think the look of OTK boots is still a new one (at least for us middle-aged women!) so our first reaction is “bleh”.

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However, they are warm and snug as all get out. Last week here in Michigan it was gross cold (like -20 fahrenheit) and I wore these boots all over. Fine, I have wrinkly legs but I have warm, wrinkly legs! Now, you do get a peek of thigh when your leg is bent so keep that in mind. I wore my thick black tights but tights the same color as the boots would have been less noticeable.

When we took these pictures it was a cold windy day in Charlotte (I know! Isn’t it supposed to be hot in the south?) and I wanted to be warm since we were walking around downtown (or Uptown as it’s known) and taking our daughters to the Levine Museum of the New South (which was super cool, educational and exactly what we were looking for to learn more about the area).

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I’m also trying to mix up my colors and try new combinations. I could have easily worn my black sweater that is exactly like this burgundy one (the purse would have looked better then) but I wanted to push myself. Being matchy-matchy makes an outfit look outdated and now with these tan boots (my first brownish boots I might add), I’m trying to explore different color combinations. Since these boots were inexpensive and I didn’t know if I would like them or wear them, I picked a color I never wear. Now that I have them, I want to push myself to come up with outfits that work with them. I’ve said before I get bored easily so these tan boots are an interesting challenge!

On Monday the email program that sends out the post to all of you lovely subscribers was not working. Hopefully you received your email eventually, though I know a few did not. I’m looking at different email programs to use instead so hopefully this won’t happen again. If you missed Monday’s post featuring my favorite looks from 2017 you can read it here.

We are expecting temperatures in the fifties tomorrow so I’ll be trying to get some outfit photos. Hopefully it won’t be windy! Wish me luck!

Linking up with Nicole at High Latitude Style!

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