A Zoom Perfect Piece for Under $40

J.Crew Factory Button-collar pullover sweatshirt in green, pink, and ivory

Here on the East Coast, right outside of Philadelphia, it feels like we skipped over a lingering summer and jumped headfirst into Fall. The leaves are already turning orange, and it’s cold enough in the mornings that my kids voluntarily wear a hoodie to the bus stop. 

Our big girls are back to school (in person!), the baby is turning two and has two speeds: running and asleep, and our calendars are as overscheduled as they were in the pre-COVID good old days.

I’ve never been more grateful for all the things on our plates. Whenever I want to complain about the busyness, I remind myself that the alternative is a disaster. 

Now that we are in full swing with the Fall season, I need to spend some time organizing my closet, and pulling my wardrobe together, so getting dressed for the day is easier. It’s no surprise that after this last six months, my closet needs some TLC. 

To start with, I need a few casual tops, that are cozy and chic, like this button top sweatshirt I found at J.Crew Factory.  I’m always looking for a basic with a twist and this checks all the boxes. 

J Crew Factory Button Top Sweatshirt

J.Crew Factory Button-collar pullover sweatshirt in green, pink, and ivory

 

Sweatshirt: $44.50 (plus 20% with Code: COMFY) NOW $35

I picked it up in white and green (head over to my Instagram to see how I’m wearing it today). You can wear it on it’s own, or layer over a long sleeve tee or collared shirt with your favorite jeans. 

Right now, it’s on sale for $35, in all sizes including a 3X. It’s just the thing if you are looking to add some casual yet polished options to your early fall wardrobe. 

And! Don’t forget! Our Fall 2020 Wardrobe Challenge starts THIS FRIDAY! This is the BEST time of year to participate, whether you are new to The Well Dressed Life, or have participated in the past, you will walk away with insights, clarity and a perfectly organized closet. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Buy Now, Wear Now and Later: J. Crew Polka Dot Top

Well Dressed - How to wear a polka dot top two ways

Buy Now, Wear Now and Later posts are some of my favorites to create.

The idea behind this series is to help you maximize your wardrobe, in between seasons.

Today, I’m working with this lovely polka dot peplum top, available in sizes 00 – 16 for under $80. (Currently 25% off with code EPIC)

As we move into fall, I’m going to start talking more about specific body types and how pieces I’m featuring can work to hence your shape. So going forward, on posts like this one, I’ll highlight how and why it will work for certain body types. 

But before I dive into it below, please remember these are just guidelines. Nothing in fashion is set in stone.

Key Piece: J.Crew Polka Dot Peplum Top 

How to wear a polka dot top two ways

Top, $79.50 

Take 25% off with code EPIC

A peplum top looks best on lean or straight up and down, sometimes called “boy” shape body types because it adds curves and dimension. 

It will add the same benefit for some rectangles

If you are an inverted triangle it will bring balance to your shoulders. 

For an hourglass, it will highlight your curves, so go for it!

Avoid a peplum if you are a traditional triangle, or an apple shape

How to Wear in the Summer

How to wear a polka dot top in the summer

Summer:  Top, $79.50  |  Jeans, $68  |  Earrings, $33  |  Slides, $77  |  Bag, $38

Shop Summer Look

How gorgeous is this look, made with items you may already have and under $100 if you want to pick  up something new. 

What’s important here are the jeans. If you wear a peplum top you MUST wear a slim bottom, either straight or skinny, depending on what looks best on you. 

I’m using these Wit & Wisdom jeans because I know many of you already have them. It’s nice that they hit right at the ankles, this creates an airiness to the outfit. For a other white jean options in all sizes check out our series Basics Building: The Best White Jeans.

Now, the accessories. There is a lot going on in the top, so while we want to keep the rest fairly simply, it’s nice to also draw attention to your face. These these affordable earrings are stunning. They add texture, movement and are just incredibly chic. 

Then, this stunning bag, that was originally $177 is now only $48.  WHAT? Yes. Total year end steal. 

Finally, since this is for the warm weather,  these slides are perfection. They are part of the Nordstrom sale and 40% off. Scoop them up now, wear for the next month or so and have them at the ready next spring. 

How to Wear in the Fall

how to wear a polka dot top in the fall

 

Fall: Top, $79.50  |  Jeans, $68   Cardigan, $40  |  Boots, $99  |  Bag, $60  |  Earrings, $65 

Shop Fall Look

Now let’s take this pretty piece into the fall. I have no idea where we’re going, but let’s pretend we’re finally go out and about with friends. Like brunch! Remember brunch?

I use another Wit & Wisdom jean, this time in black, but wear your favorite. 

As a much needed layer I added this long cardigan by Halogen , also part of the Nordstrom sale, fully stocked and under $40 and comes in regular and petite. I went with a tan instead of an ivory because it’s not as sever of a contrast. The tan makes it feel monochromatic and seasonally appropriate. 

For shoes, swap out your sandals for a bootie, like this pair by Vince Camuto on sale for under $100 at DSW. They get rave reviews and will become an instant go-to in your fall wardrobe. 

Then, for a little more movement a pair of hoops (gold tone will work best with the colors in this outfit). 

Finally, another cognac bag option. You don’t need both, either work in each outfit. This one by Sole Society is made of vegan leather for $60.

 

Shop this Post


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

 

 

Summer Denim Skirt Two Ways

Nic + Zoe Denim Skirt

Before 2020 took a turn, I spent one or two days a month walking the mall, going in and out of our favorite stores to see items in person. It was always a helpful exercise because I could get a real sense of current trends, and could also experience some of the frustrations our readers have about in-person shopping first hand.

Since I have  zero interest in strolling a mall anytime soon, yesterday I set aside a few hours to organically online shop. I started scrolling through hundreds of pages of new arrivals, and searched for random basics just to see what came up.

This skirt was one of my finds.

‘Summer Fling’ Flirt Skirt

Nic + Zoe Denim Skirt

Skirt, $108 in Petite and Regular up to an 18

Yesterday felt like it was 4,000 degrees outside. The kind of heat that makes you sweat the second you open your front door. On days like that, the last thing you want are your clothes clinging to you.

If you’re working from home, you can get away with wearing whatever you want in this heat.

But if you have to do things, and lately, more of us have to leave the house to do something, you may want some HOT weather options.

When this skirt, by Nic + Zoe, came across my screen, with its lightweight fabric and a-line cut, I knew it was an excellent option for these high-temperature days.

It’s a great alternative to shorts, or summer pants.

How should it fit? Ideally you want this to hit right above your knee. Any shorter and you’ll start to mess with the shape of the a-line, any longer and you run the risk of looking frumpy.

Because the skirt has a flattering yoke in the front, you can easily tuck in, half tuck, or leave your top out.

Today, I styled it two ways, to give you a visual of how it can translate in your real life.

Outfit One: Add a Pop of Color

How to Wear a Denim Skirt Two Ways

Skirt, $108  |  Crewneck Sweater, $35  |  Hair Tie, $16.50  |  Sandal, $107   |  Clutch, $30

The dark indigo of the skirt works well with a bold pop of color, so I paired it with this cheerful yellow sweater  (featured in yesterday’s J. Crew round up). Other color pairings that work well are green, red, or orange.

Because the colors are bold, neutral accessories will ground the look. I love this clutch I found out DSW for  $30. The perforated detailing adds a subtle bit of texture which you need to help the outfit from looking flat.

The shape of the skirt lends itself to a heel. You don’t have to wear anything crazy high, but a lift will help the skirt hang properly.

These sandals by Via Spiga are a find! I’m a huge fan of their block heels for both the comfort level and styling. Again, the suede straps adds texture.

And just for fun, I included this hair tie. Add this if you are pulling your hair back off your face and neck for an extra accessory that doesn’t weigh you down.

Outfit Two: With Better Basics

How to Wear a Denim Skirt Two Ways

Skirt, $108  |  Sandals, $90  |  Top, $40  |  Necklace, $100

The skirt immediately made me think of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Marge in The Talented Mr. Ripely, one of my favorite movies. Every outfit she wears in the film is pure perfection.

So I searched for a tie-front crisp white shirt to create a modern version of the outfits she wears casually strolling  Italy in the 1950’s.

Of course, you can wear it with your favorite simple white tee shirt, but this gives it just a little oomph.

This colorful beaded necklace will layer under your collar if you look it twice. (Take a closer look here, it’s so pretty!)

Finally, these espadrille wedges are perfect and under $100. So often, espadrilles have a seriously high heel that makes them unmanageable.


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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers.

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail.

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

The $30 Wrap Dress I’m Living In This Summer

$30 Wrap Dress from Amazon

Lately, I have not been feeling great about my body. As a creature of habit, I thrive in routine. Four months of stay at home orders took its toll on me mentally and then physically. 

Fitness-wise, the accountability I get by going to group classes and the scheduled time out of my house, free of distractions and interruptions, helps me create the boundaries I need to take care of myself.

So once gyms closed and homeschooling started, I was really at a loss for what to do. I am getting back on track and am beginning to feel better. But I’m nowhere near the weight or fitness level – more specifically, I don’t feel as strong, energized, or healthy as I was pre-COVID.

It’s frustrating, of course, but I know that if you feel like crap while you’re trying to get back to yourself, you’re never going to get there.

Doing little things, like getting a manicure, or putting on some makeup in the morning is so important. It sends a single to your brain that caring for yourself is a priority.

And finding a few things to wear that make you feel pretty is like jet fuel for motivation.

So a month or so ago, my sister-in-law came over in what looked like the perfect summer dress, from Amazon. I loved it so much I ordered one, then another, and then another. 

I feel slim, feminine and so pretty in them. 

And don’t be turned off by the model photos, you can see them on me and my very normal body below. 

The $30 Wrap Dress I’m Living In This Summer

Wrap Dress, $30

We’ve been trying to take advantage of the weather and support our local restaurants with a weekly date night. It’s lovely to sit outside and decompress for a few hours, out of the house and away from the kids, especially since there is nothing else to do. 

I am wearing these dresses on repeat. To dinners, for drinks outside, even to my daughters softball games. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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I’m wearing the large and it fits perfectly. There are two styles available, one has flutter sleeves and a high/low hem, the other has a short sleeve and long maxi skirt (shown in red). 

Below is the blue version. I wore it to dinner last night in the city with my sister-in-law. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
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To care for them, I put them in a lingerie bag and wash on delicate. Then, I hang them to dry and use my steamer to remove any wrinkles quickly.

 


Become A Well Dressed Life Insider

Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

How to Wear a Tunic in the Summer

How to Wear a Tunic

If you need a summer top that provides a little extra coverage, but is it still lightweight enough to wear in the heat, a tunic may be just the thing.

Tunics have long been considered a wardrobe classic, but many women avoid them because they have a reputation for sometimes looking matronly. 

However, the right one, paired with modern basics, and updated accessories, can look incredibly sophisticated. 

Luckily, now that  Lilly Pulitzer and Tory Burch, brands famous for their love of tunics, are seeing a rise in their “younger” demographic, more mainstream stores are offering their own versions.

Which is great because I get requests all the time for recommendations on what to wear if you prefer to have your arms covered, or if you’re inside the air conditioning and want to keep the chill off.

Now that the category is trickling down into bigger brands and stores, there are more stylish and affordable options than ever. 

So let’s break down a simple formula for how to wear a tunic. 

How to Wear a Tunic in the Summer 

How to Wear a Tunic

Tunic, $25  |  Pants, $35  |  Sandals, $198  |  Hoops, $38  |  Sunglasses, $60  |  Clutch, $48 

Outfit Break Down

First, let’s talk about this cotton blend tunic, by Old Navy. It’s currently on sale for an additional 35% off, making it only $16. At the time of publishing all sizes are available in regular and petite up to size XXL. 

You want a tunic to have a slim fit to avoid it looking oversized. It shouldn’t cling, but rather hang just slightly off the body. Here, you can see the combination of the v neck line and subtle vertical tonal stripe is going to help create a long, slim line to the body. 

I love how the soft blue pairs with crisp white jeans. 

It’s important that you pair this with a straight or skinny bottom to balance the proportions. Here, I used a reader favorite by Wit & Wisdom (on sale for $30 in limited sizes). But you can wear any white bottom in your closet with a slim, tailored fit. 

Then, I think a tunic requires a dramatic earring, so you can really lean into the “lady-that-yachts” vibe it gives. These double hoop earrings from Baublebar are perfect, and under $40. 

Finally, finish the look with accessories we regularly feature, like these investment Tory sandals, simple tortoise sunglasses, and this leopard clutch from Tuckernuck that adds pattern and texture to any outfit, year-round.

Shop the Post

 

 


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Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July Weekend

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July Weekend

Over in our Private Facebook Group, we had a fun discussion about what to wear on the Fourth of July. So I thought I would create a few looks to inspire whatever your plans may be with a subtle and chic nod to patriotic dressing.

As usual, today’s post is filled with wearable, mix and match pieces, in a wide range of sizes. Some items you may already have, since my goal is to help you build out a wearable wardrobe, other pieces you can pick up to further expand your outfit options.  

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July Weekend

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July Weekend

I know this summer looks different.

Many of us are not doing anything the way we are used to. I was supposed to be in Santorini on the 4th for my 40th Birthday trip. We have been planning, saving, and hoarding airline miles for years. After talking to our readers, it sounds like many of you had to cancel or reschedule a much-anticipated trip too.

It’s disappointing, for sure, but it’s hard to be too upset. We’ll go next summer; it will still be amazing. I don’t know about you, but after the last four months, I’m just grateful for all the little things I took for granted before now.

So this weekend, I’ve stocked up on wine, did a Trader Joes run on snacks and apps, and if all I do is sit outside under a tree and hang out with friends for a bit, I’ll be happy. And we’ll toast the fact that it’s July, and we’re halfway through this ridiculous year.

 

Long and Flowy 

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July WeekendDress, $188  |  Hoops, $30  |  Sandal, $248  |  Clutch, $30

If you are embracing the dress this summer, like I am, this one, by J. Crew, is so sweet. It’s just the perfect print for a mid-summer gathering. And can I say that I am hoping J.Crew pulls through their bankruptcy because we need this kind of size-inclusive brand as we head into the new world of retail. (P.S. the dress is currently 40% off.)

With the bold print, you want to keep your accessories elevated but simple. These bamboo-style hoop earrings on sale for $30 are perfect, and add some texture with this woven clutch – a total score from DSW.

Finally, the Tory Burch Patos sandals are an investment (and my favorite summer shoe of all time), but quickly climbing up our reader favorites list, so I want you to see all the easy ways to wear them to get the most out of your purchase.

Skorts!!!

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July WeekendSkort, $88  |  Top, $27  |  Sandal, $50  |  Ray Bans, $169

Are you headed to a pool party or outdoor BBQ? In many parts of the country, it is super hot out. The trick to looking pulled together and staying cool is thoughtful details on summer basics.

I used this popular sleeveless top from Banana Republic, finished with lace trim, and paired it with this fun skort from Lilly Pulitzer. I love the idea of a skort; you get the look of a skirt and the ease of a short.

Another cute skort to consider is this equally vibrant print from Talbots, in a full range of sizes, including petite and plus on sale for $25. 

Then, these white Sam Edelman sandals are simple like a flip flop but feel more dressed and I added my favorite summer sunglasses by Ray-Ban.

White Jeans

Easy Outfit Ideas for Your Fourth of July WeekendTop, $41  |  Pants, $34  |  Sandals, $100  |  Hoops, $48

We’ve talked a lot about white jeans this season, so I wanted to give you another option. These skinny ankle jeans from Wit & Wisdom have a TON of petite sizes and are available in “regular” sizes up to an 18, and in plus size up to a 24 here. They run big so size down. 

Then, this comfortable and lightweight chambray top. It’s sleeveless with a slight domain cut so that it will drape nicely. 

Finally, our go-to sandals from Sam Edelman, available in a zillion color and print options, and these bold pearl hoops from Tuckernuck – be sure to see them on the model before ordering. They are bigger than you would think. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


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How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

Wide-leg, lightweight pants are a fabulous option in the summer if you want an alternative to shorts or capris.

BUT, they are one of the trickiest bottoms to pull off because the success of the look is entirely dependent on balancing proportions.

You can’t just throw on any top. 

So today, I’m breaking down how to wear wide leg pants, with three outfits that can take you pretty much anywhere this summer. 

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

First, let’s talk about what you should look for in the pant. 

For this post, I went with these navy crepe trousers from 1.STATE. They are on sale at Nordstrom for $59 in sizes XXS – XXL in navy and white, and black for $39 here

Plus size? This option from Lane Bryant in a similar crepe looks perfect.

As an alternative, Lands End has a simpler pair, also in crepe, also a pull on with less fabric. Available in all sizes, plus here

Like many wide leg pants, these are high waisted. That’s important to note because it comes into play with the featured tops. 

Regarding length, you have options. If you want a length, they need to be hemmed perfectly for your height, meaning that when you’re in a shoe, they need to just skim the ground. This look works best if you are tall.

In the summer, many of these pants come in some kind of crop. Generally, the area around the top of your ankle to the bottom of your calf is ideal. Once you start cutting through the calf, you enter capri territory, and we all know how I feel about that.

Depending on your frame, the width of the pant may be overwhelming. If that happens, remember, you can have these easily altered. If you try these (or any pair) on and you the fit of the waist and rear, have them hemmed to your most flattering length and ask to take a little bit of fullness out. It’s an easy fix. 

How are you wearing these? 

The outfits below are ideal for the office, a date, or a small get-together. As always, you can shop this post full of practical recommendations OR use it as inspiration so you can see how the components work together. 

Related: Why I Hate Capris and What to Wear Instead

Simple Structure

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

Wide Leg Pants, $60  |  Shirt, $28  |  Sandals, $150  |  Bag, $30  |  Necklace, $13

This is one of my favorite looks because it’s elegant and has structure. Because the pants are so full, you need a top that will help create balance. This simple white jersey top from COS brings a lovely drape and feel.

They are calling it a “crop” top, but it’s not, it’s just short, and that’s what you want. You won’t show your mid-drift. Instead, this will sit over the high waistband, and you can leave it out, full or half tuck it. I LOVE it.

For the shoe, I used these reader favorites from Sam Edelman in bright white. A flat sandal works well here, so would a block heel. Avoid a delicate shoe because the fullness of the pant will overwhelm it.

Keep accessories simple with this long necklace ($13 on sale at Nordstrom Rack) to give a subtle layer that drapes against the fabric of the top, and a round straw bag from H&M provides texture.

Pretty Pattern

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

Wide Leg Pants, $60  |  Top, $69.50  |  Sandal, $248  |  Clutch, $25  |  Earrings, $45 

Next, this patterned sleeveless top (from Banana Republic) is another lovely option because it gathers at the waist, creating a beautiful shape to the outfit. It’s a great top for the summer and available in several prints and colors. All are on sale for under $50, in regular and petite up to and XXL. 

I used these sweet earrings from Gorjana that mimic the top’s pattern, my favorite, splurge-worthy Tory Burch sandals, and this fantastic $25 woven clutch to add depth with texture

Monochromatic

How to Wear Wide Leg Pants

Wide Leg Pants, $60  |  Top, $39.50  |  Sandals, $120  |  Clutch, $17  |  Earrings, $68 

Finally, a monochromatic navy look. This is important because wearing one color can help you look taller (and slimmer!)  so if you are on the petite side, and want to try out a wide leg pant, this is a way to do it. 

This navy top has subtle lace trim on the sleeve – another easy-to-wear summer piece from Banana Republic. It also comes in white, light blue, and olive in regular and petite up to an XXL for under $40. 

Tuck the top in to show off the detail on the waistband. 

The sandals are the block heel version of the flat Sam Edleman sandals in the first outfit. Remember, you can add a heel, but keep the balance by using a block heel. 

Then the accessories are effortless. For earrings, my new favorite Soho studs from Julie Vos, and this $17 clutch, again, from DSW. 


Our Content is Inspired by Our Readers

Our readership inspires all of our posts and is not sponsored or paid for by brands or retailers. 

Recommendations are based on my experience as a personal stylist and wardrobe consultant for over a decade. I worked with busy, down-to-earth women who wanted to look chic and feel confident but were often confused by so much of retail. 

Some links are affiliate links, which means if you purchase via our site, we receive a small commission.

If you enjoy our content and would like to help us grow, please consider following on Instagram and join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.


Become A Well Dressed Life Insider