Reader Favorite Beauty Buys of 2020

Top Beauty Buys of 2020

Long time readers know I have a not so secret obsession with skincare and makeup, but only share the products I absolutely love. It’s why there are so few beauty posts on the blog, once I discover a product that works I stick with it.

A few years ago, I shared my nighttime skincare routine and it quickly became one of my most read and shared posts. Since then I’ve highlighted what I would call “hero” products, the ones the make the biggest difference, the ones I never want to be without. 

And as it turns out, many of those products are your favorites too. So today, as we continue to tie a bow on the year, I’m rounding up your favorite, top selling products from 2020.

Buy these for yourself and indulge in some much deserved self-care or pick them up as a gift for someone you love this holiday. 

Reader Favorite Beauty Buys of 2020

Top Beauty Buys of 2020

Around the time I turned 37, I started to take extra good care of my skin. I began to invest in better products, most of which are clean, and diligently use them every day (or as directed).

I lived for years with adult cystic acne, and it all but destroyed the little self-esteem I had. It’s why for years, I never posted pictures of myself here on the blog.

But now, at 41, my skin is the best it ever looked. I’m able to wear less makeup and really let my skin show, freckles and all.

It’s incredible what it’s done for my confidence levels.
Below are the top-selling products from 2020, with a short description of why I love it. If you have a product you love, be sure to share it in the comments.

Vintner’s Daughter

Vinter's DaughterVintner’s Daughter, $185 

Vintner’s Daughter was my first big beauty splurge and, to this day, is the product I am never without. It absolutely changed my skin, healing redness, acne scars, and uneven skin tone. You only need a tiny amount, so a bottle can last about three months. Apply morning and night after you wash your face and give it a few minutes to soak in before you layer on anything else.

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask 

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask

Caudalie Instant Detox Mask, $39 

Every Sunday night, I use the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask to draw impurities and toxins out of my skin. It’s an uncomplicated process that takes about 10 minutes but really works. Priced at under $40, it’s an affordable indulgence that would make a great gift or stocking stuffer.

Goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub

Goop Himalayan Sea Salt Scrub

Goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub, $42

My FAVORITE personal care indulgence is the Goop Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub. Use once a week instead of your traditional shampoo to rid your scalp of buildup. It smells incredible, like an effervescent spa experience. And your hair and scalp feel so fresh and clean. Also makes a great gift. 

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask

Drunk Elephant Waterfacial Mask, $52 

I became a big fan of Drunk Elephant this year and have heard from so many readers who love this “mask” too. But it’s not really a mask. Instead, it’s the last step in your nighttime routine to lock in moisture. It’s beneficial this time of year when it’s cold out, and we’re cooped up inside with the heat on – a recipe to dry out our skin. To use, layer this on a few minutes after you apply your night cream, and it acts as a layer to keep your skin hydrated overnight.

Tatcha Oil Cleanser

Tatcha Oil Cleanser

Tatcha Oil Cleanser, $48

I do a double cleanse every night, which simply means I was my face twice, first with an oil-based cleanser, and then I follow up with a gel cleanser. The Tatcha Oil Cleanser is incredibly gentle yet effective. It removes makeup, including stubborn mascara, and leaves no residue on your skin. I’ve been using it for years and love it so much I won’t even consider trying a different brand.

Wander Beauty Mascara

Wander Beauty Mascara

Wander Beauty Mascara, $26 

I searched high and low for a mascara that created thick, long lashes without looking like spiders were growing out of my eyes, and Wander is my winner. I don’t want a dramatic eye; I don’t want to look like I’m wearing lash extensions. I just want to look like myself but a little better. This is a straightforward formula that kicks your lashes up a level – no more, no less.

Benefit Ka-Brow

Benefit Ka-Brow Pomade

Benefit Ka-BROW Pomade, $14 

If I had to pick only one product to use forever, JUST ONE, it would be Benefit Ka-BROW. Your eyebrows give your face structure, they highlight all your other features, so defining them will help bring life to your face. This product is a game changer for your brows, allowing you quickly fill them so you look natural, youthful and polished. 

Kosas Lipstick

Kosas Lipstick

Kosas Lipstick, $28 

Finally, I’m the biggest fan of Kosas lipsticks because their formula is clean, AND the pigment is on point. It’s rich and creamy like a traditional lipstick without any of the toxins. I regularly wear their red, called “Electra” and have heard how much our readers love it too. A close second is their pink called “Rosewater” which is a pretty wear-with-everything neutral. 


Our Style 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.

 

Reader Favorite Style Buys of 2020

Top Style Buys of 2020

Every December I round up the 12 most popular items on the blog from the year. No surprise here, 2020’s best selling items focused on casual comfort, and polished pieces to dress from the waist up 😉 

As we finally put a bow on this ridiculous year, below are the dozen pieces our community loved the most, still in stock with size ranges for all. 

Reader Favorite Style Buys of 2020

Top Style Buys of 2020

Stay-at-Home Loafers

The Starling Loafer

1. The Starling Loafer, $95 

Designed for at home entertaining these loafers are chic and feel heavenly. 

Layer Building Tee 

Old Navy Thermal Tee

2. Thermal Tee, $12 

Ideal for wearing with anything from jeans to leggings to pajama bottoms, available in nine colors in all sizes.

Shorts Alternative

 

Cropped Linen Pants

3. Cropped Linen Pants, $30  

If you are in a warm weather climate you can still pick up these lightweight pants in regular, tall and petite sizes in an array of colors and patterns. 

Sweatshirt with Style

J.Crew Button Collar Sweatshirt

4. Button Collar Sweatshirt, $29.50 

We all scooped up this Button Collar Sweatshirt for long days at home doing all the things. This is getting limited in size but still available up to a 3X. 

Under $30 Dress

Old Navy Sheath Dress

5. Sheath Dress, $27 

Right now this dress is about $25 (with the additional 20% off at checkout), available in all sizes including petite and tall. It’s a no brainer if you need a comfortable dress to wear as we slowly go back to “normal.” (See how to wear it here.)

Romper for Grown-Ups

 

Striped Terry Romper from Amazon

6. Terry Romper, $29 

I LIVED in this terry romper all summer, in olive and stripe (above). Think of this like pajamas you can leave the house in, it would be great to pack if you are spending the holidays some place warm. 

Designer Sneakers on Sale 

Cole Haan Margo Leather Sneaker

7. White Sneakers, $90

Elevate your casual outfits with these sophisticated, comfortable and year-round sneakers on sale for $100. 

Quilted Jacket

North Face Quilted Jacket

8. Quilted Jacket, $139 

If you are looking for a jacket that is lightweight AND will keep you warm consider this option from North Face. It comes in black and navy, runs true to size and acts as the perfect layer for running errands in and out of the car. 

Simple Jersey Dress

 

Boden Jersey Dress

9. Jersey Dress, $85  

This Boden Dress gets dozens of FIVE Star reviews for comfort and style. It’s an easy piece to dress up or down and will pack like a dream. 

Pant of the Year

Banana Republic Cargo Jogger

10. Cargo Jogger, $69.50  

2020 introduced us the beauty of the jogger, a polished alternative to sweatpants and leggings. This pair from Banana Republic is the hands down favorite. Your best color choices are navy (above), black, and olive. 

Basic Building Tee

J.Crew Cotton Tee

11. Cotton T-Shirt, $14.50 

This basic building tee comes in seven colors, but stick to neutrals like black, navy and white (above) in sizes up to 3X. 

Oversized Blazer

 

Old Navy Oversized Blazer

12. Oversized Blazer, $45 

Finally, this oversized “boyfriend” style blazer from Old Navy is available in regular, tall and petite. Readers loved the versatility of wear, from light washed jeans to pull on black pants, you can wear this to the office or on the weekends almost all year long. See outfit options here


Our Style 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.

September 2020: Readers’ Top Five Faves

September readers' Favs

Our Reader Favorites Series rounds up the Top Five Favorite items our readers purchased from the previous month. I use these items throughout the season to help you build a chic and classic wardrobe filled with versatile, mix, and match pieces.

Think of this round-up as recommendations from our community of like-minded women.

If they love it, you probably will too! 

As we navigate through the end of this bizarre year, our focus here at The Well Dressed Life continues to be providing you with practical style tips and advice. This month, I’m trying to strike a balance between looks that make sense for staying in and close to home and also help us move back to a pre lockdown life. 

September 2020: Readers’ Top Five Faves

 

September readers' Favs

Our Reader Faves from September are pieces that help us transition back to some level of normalcy (please???) and into the chilly season. 

J. Crew Factory Button-collar Pullover Sweatshirt

 

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

Sweatshirt, $29 

An easy-peasy, under $30 sweatshirt, with details that elevates it just enough so it doesn’t feel sloppy. Available in three colors online up to a size 3X.

See original post here

Cole Haan Margo Leather Sneaker

Cole Haan Margo Leather Sneaker

Sneaker, $90 

Buy. These. Sneakers. If you need a new white pair for the fall, look no further. Cole Haan makes a fantastic shoe and these sneakers are no exception.  I LOVE them. They are sleek, crisp, and sophisticated. They look great with jeans, or with a casual dress. They run true to size. 

J. Crew V-neck Peplum Top in Jacquard Dot

how to wear a polka dot top in the fall

Peplum Top, $20 (ON SALE)

You know you’ve found a must-have piece when it makes the Fave’s list two months in a row. Right now, this peplum top from J.Crew is on a super sale, marked down to only $20. Readers have raved about it, even posting pictures of them wearing it in our Private Facebook group. Above is a simple way to style it in the cold weather, or if you’re lucky enough to enjoy the warm sunshine still, you can pair it with your favorite white bottoms.

Available in sizes 00 – 14. Runs true. 

Madewell Texture & Thread Front Knot Jacquard Top

Work From Home Outfit

Front Knot Top, $40 

I picked this Madewell top up at the Nordstrom Sale and have already worn it so many times. It’s textured like a thermal top, with front knot detail, that makes it feel better than a basic tee.
It is short (not cropped), so it works well with a high waisted jean. Available in five seasonal colors, including plus sizes.

You can see me wearing this over on Instagram

SPANX Perfect Black Pants

How to Wear Spanx Perfect Black Skinny Pants to Work

Black Pants, $128 

Finally, these black pants by Spanx round out our top five list. They are a Ponte pant, so not a legging and not a traditional dress pant. The material is thick, stretchy, and cut like a skinny pant. We featured a couple of ways to style them, one if you are back in the office another if you are working from home for the rest of the years. 

My favorite way to wear these is with a cozy sweater and a ballet flat (like these insanely comfortable Birdie’s I mentioned yesterday). 


Our Style 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 View Post 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.

July 2020: Reader’s Top Five Favs

July Top 5

Our Reader Favorites is a series highlighting the top 5 products for the month. Think of it as a pre-approved round-up of pieces well-loved by women just like you.

For many of us, the summer extends well into September. This month features some buy now, wear now items to help extend your warm-weather wardrobe. So when it’s still hot and muggy in early fall, you have a few things on hand that feel fresh and new.

As we move through August, I’m focusing on staying calm and getting organized. The comfort I use to find in the pending school year, with its promise of routine and the kind of busy I find fun, has all but vanished.

So I’m trying to create new and different routine to give us back the structure we are desperately missing.

Reader Favorites: July 2020 

July Top 5

Part of that is getting my own wardrobe streamlined and updated. Next Monday and Tuesday, I’m excited to share all of our Nordstrom sale picks. Broken down into several categories. 

For now, here are your top picks, at great prices, with sizes for all. 

Tunic

July Top 5

Tunic, $30 

In regular and petite sizes, for $30 (with an additional 30% off at check out) this tunic was wildly popular. Pair it with slim cut white jeans and flat sandals for a lovely end of summer look. You can also wear it with shorts and create a long line of the body with a half tuck. 

See How to Wear a Tunic in the Summer here

Jersey Dress

July Top 5

Jersey Dress, $85

I initially suggested this dress (with hundreds of 5 Star reviews)  for those of you physically going back to an office, commuting through a hot city, and taking transit, that kind of thing. But don’t be shy about wearing this around the house either. I can’t tell you how much better I feel when I put on a dress during the day, rather than leggings or shorts, especially in our recent heatwave.

Size-wise, Boden has you covered, available in regular, petite, and long up to a 20/22, in lots of colors and prints, for under $100.

You can see the orignial post here. 

Denim Skirt

July Top 5

Denim Skirt, $135

Not just any denim skirt, but an updated, lighter weight option.  The a-line style of this skirt has been widely requested as an alternative to a straight or pencil style. Wear this instead of shorts, or capris, and dress up or down. 

Available in regular and petite sizes up to a size 18.

See How to Wear it Two Ways Here. 

Skort

July Top 5

Skort, $30 

Maybe it’s because I’m attempting to learn how to golf, but I’m really leaning into the skort this summer as an alternative to shorts. I love that they are sporty but still polished. This one from Talbots was super popular. It’s on sale for $30 (sizes are now limited). 

The pattern is fun and preppy, just pair with a white tee (below) and you’re all set. 

See original post, What to Wear When You Don’t Wear Shorts

White Tee

July Top 5

White V-Neck, $18 

Imagine a white tee shirt that isn’t see through, washes well, fits nicely and goes with everything.

Oh, and it’s under $20.

It’s real and it’s this v-neck white tee from Lands End. There is absolutely no reason to spend a lot of money on a tee shirt. They run true to size, and are priced so you can stock up. The fit is relaxed but not baggy. 

See here for my original round up of the best white tees, in lots of sizes at better price points. 

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.


 

 

 

June 2020: Reader’s Top Five Favs

The Well Dressed Life Top 5 for June

Our Reader Favorites Series rounds up the Top Five picks from the month. It’s based on our analytics and feedback from you.

Think of this round-up as a “must have” list generated by our readership. It’s always fun to see what ended up being popular from the contented I lined up a the end of May. 

June was all over the place. Opened! Closed! Opened! Closed!

Who knows what is going on anymore. 

From chatting with many readers, it sounds like we are all just taking it day by day. What else can we do?

Personally, I’m trying to savor every second of warm, beautiful weather because it feels like the summer is flying by despite being the longest year ever.

So as we get ready for whatever July is about to throw at us, we may as well do it looking good! 

June 2020: Reader’s Top Five Favs

 

The Well Dressed Life Top 5 for June

 

Once again, you picked some great pieces that can easily be worn now or later, whether you’re working from home, headed back into the office, or having dinner outside. 

Let’s break them down. 

Classic Striped Top

 

Boden Striped TeeStriped Top, $38

This striped top from Boden will end up being a reader favorite for all of 2020 – that’s how popular it is. 

Boden actually makes two options. This one is a slimmer fit. They call this a “slash-neck” top, which is the same as a boatneck. It’s available in sizes 2 -22. 

Your other option is their traditional Breton top, with a slightly more relaxed fit, also in sizes 2 – 22. 

Either is fantastic, it just depends on the fit you like best. 

Amazon Romper

 

Olive green romperRomper, $31

So much of the clothing I buy on Amazon gets returned. I try out all the popular picks that the Instagram influencers are pushing, to see if any of it is worth it. Remember, most of these influencers are getting paid by Amazon to peddle their merchandise. 

And most of it is crap. 

But I discovered this romper on my own (thank you very much) and it’s so great. It’s soft and cozy, just thing to throw on after the beach or pool, or if you’re simply hanging at home. 

You can’t beat the price, and it washes well. I take it out of the dryer when it’s still damp and lay it flat to finish. 

You can see it on me here:

 

Poplin Top

Striped Puffed Sleeve Blouse from Banana RepublicPuff-Sleeved Blouse, $63 (ON SALE FOR $25)

This blouse is on sale for $25 so if you need something for Zoom calls or you’re headed back to the office, grab it while there are still sizes. You can pair it with navy summer trousers, or simple white shorts. It’s available in “regular” and tall sizes. 

Banana Republic has been incredibly dependable during this shut down. There shipping is still fast, and their inventory is one of the few in retail that is still offering a solid size range. 

Linen Pants

 

Old Navy Black Linen PlantsLinen Pants, $30

Need a lightweight alternative to shorts? Give these linen pants from Old Navy a try. I live in these bottoms. They are currently under $30 and available in a range of colors in “regular,” tall and petite up to an XXL.

Skip the color “feather” it’s see through. 

To style them, you can keep it stay-at-home simple with a cotton tee, or pair it with a silk cami and heels for dinner outside. 

Tinted Moisturizer

Bare Minerals Tinted MoisturizerTinted Moisturizer, $33

There are a lot of reasons I don’t regularly feature beauty products. First, I’m not an expert, second, I’m loyal to what I use so I don’t have a lot of “new” recommendations, and finally, beauty brands are notoriously limited in shade offerings. 

But bareMinerals has always done a great job including the fairest (me) to the deepest shades. I love this tinted moisturizer for days you need light coverage with a smoothing effect. It feels good on your skin and doesn’t clog your pores. A little goes a long way. 


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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Personal Stylist Note for February

Megan's Top 5

What I loved the most about working as a personal stylist was the relationships I developed with clients. It sounds silly in such a cynical world, but I sincerely mean this, I had so much affection for all of my ladies.

It’s hard not to bond when you’re standing in someone’s closet or a dressing room listening to their most personal insecurities – most of which I shared myself.

About three years ago, I knew it was time to scale. So I closed my styling business to focus entirely on creating an online community.

My idea was simple: provide the same level of advice and recommendations to a broader audience.

Often, when I write these posts, I imagine I’m standing in a dressing room with you, handing you things to try on, and explaining why I picked that particular piece – just like I did in appointments.

Over the last year, our readership and our social following have grown significantly, and thank goodness since reinventing a business at 38, while pregnant with my third was a disastrous idea to some;)

It’s also allowed me to reignite many of my relationships with clients and start new ones with readers.

Nothing makes me happier professionally than hearing from all of you.

I want you to know a few things. 

First, I try to get to know as many readers as possible so I can learn about the group as a whole. That’s one of the reasons I host our Free Wardrobe Challenge (a new one is just weeks away).

So I read and answer every comment made here and on social. If you are going to take the time to write to me, I am for sure going to take the time to write back. 

Second, everything I recommend I stand behind. Of course, not everything is going to work for everyone, but I genuinely like the pieces I promote. Many I own and wear myself (you can see that on Instagram and in the photos we publish here on the site.) 

Third, to the best of my abilities, everything will continue to be size-inclusive. I wish I could, but I can’t control what a retailer produces, so I do my best to find appropriate alternatives. If there is no suggestion in your size, it’s because I don’t like the available options. 

Finally, I’ll continue to be unsponsored. People think I am insane for leaving that kind of money on the table, and maybe I am, but it has taken me so long to build your trust, I don’t think it’s worth it.

I have much bigger plans for us as part of my long term strategy. 

A New Series

One of the things I use to do with clients is send out notes that said, “Hey, here are a few things you could use to get you through without me coming over.”  Because, after a while, I’d rather have them save my fee and pick up things they needed. 

It’s a wonder I ever made any money. 

So I thought it would be helpful to feature my top five picks each month. I share a lot of content in these pages, and sometimes it might be hard to see the really good stuff, the things that will build and expand your wardrobe, especially if those pieces are hidden in the text. 

Today I’m kicking it off. Look for my Top Five on the last Tuesday of every month. 

Let’s dive in. 

My Top Five of February

Megan's Top 5

Dress, $149  |  Zebra Top, $85  |  Booties, $60  |  Hoops, $55  |  Striped Top, $38 

Dress

Love, love, love this sweet dress from Ann Taylor.

Wear it now with black tights and boots, later with sandals or flats and a denim jacket.

Sizing is phenomenal. Available in petite, missy, and tall sizes. Tall goes up to an 18.

Zebra Top

When you need a simple top with a little more than the basics going on, this tie waist top from Banana Republic is idea. It’s what you grab and pair with your favorite black pants for a low key day at work. It also looks great with jeans. 

I’m featuring the zebra print (see two ways to wear it here), but there are five other colors to choice from. 

Booties

There’s not much I can say about these booties that I haven’t already said, and hundreds of you have picked them up. The Whiskey Leather is my top pick, since it goes with everything and adds a lovely richness to your look.  You can see me in them below from my Instagram: 


 

Hoops

I’ve been wearing these hoops on repeat since I bought them a last month. It’s SO HARD to find affordable, yet high quality jewelry. These are $55, look super posh, are comfortable on your ear and go with everything. I worship the entire Gorjana line. 


 

Striped Top

I’ve never met a striped top I didn’t love. This one by Boden is one of my favorites. The ivory/black and ivory/navy combinations are timeless. I pair them with jeans and loafers in the spring, and with a crisp pair of shorts in the summer. 

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 Instagramand join our Private Facebook Group to access more advice and exclusive in-depth conversations with other like-minded women.