Last week was Vivi’s Halloween parade at school, and there is nothing cuter than three-year-olds in costumes.
The morning started how it usually does, chaotic and over-scheduled, me thinking I had more time than I did.
One minute I had an hour to meet my deadline, and the next, I had to be out the door. So I threw on a comfy outfit and worked off my hotspot in the car as we drove to school.
I was just about to complain about how ridiculous are schedules are right now, how I can’t catch my breath, when I stopped and remembered I took a huge risk when I was 26 to have a chance at this kind of morning.
Around this time, about sixteen years ago, I was an assistant buyer at QVC and newly pregnant with our oldest, Maddie.
One night in the office, well past when we should have left for the night, I walked past a colleague hunched over in her cubical, looking defeated.
She was a little older than me and had a few little kids.
It turns out it was her son’s birthday, and her whole family was celebrating at home, but she wasn’t allowed to leave. I didn’t understand why she didn’t just go, but she explained that her boss said she needed to stay.
Until then, I had never once considered how I would work this stupid, demanding, over dramatic job and have a family. I hadn’t thought past having the baby.
A few days later, I had to tell my boss I was pregnant because I was falling asleep standing up, and her response was, I swear to you, “That’s a problem.”
The toxicity of that environment stuns me to this day.
I quit a few days later, and never looked back.
It was a pretty reckless decision. There were no savings, no strategy, just a mortgage, student loans, and a deep, burning instinct that I needed to get out.
By the time Maddie was born, I had started my first business and an entirely new and unexpected chapter in my life.
And even though there were many lean years, times when we didn’t know how we were going to pay the bills, and a lot of uncertainty, I knew going out on my own was the only way to craft the life I wanted.
So it’s mornings like this when I sort of marvel with gratitude that everything worked out.
I tell you this not to boast, but because I know how lucky I am. The fact that I can work and not miss these moments with my kids is a huge privilege.
Outfits in Real Life: Chilly Morning Layers
Anyway, I digress, back to my outfit.
Honestly, I could have shown up in my typical bridge-troll attire, and no one would have flinched, but I’m glad I put in a little effort.
And this outfit is made up affordable Amazon finds, anchored with a better bag and shoes.
The parade was outside, and it was a little chilly, so I grabbed these fleece-lined leggings.
I initially ordered them for mornings on the Schuylkill River, watching our now 15-year-old Maddie row.
They will keep you toasty warm if you are also freezing your tush off on a sideline somewhere.
Available in XXS – 5X. I am 5’10, and a size 10 and ordered the large.
To create a casual black column, I wore our favorite tank by The Drop, an exclusive Amazon brand.
I have at least three of these in black and white. The wear and wash well, fit true to size, all-round a 5 star find.
And with a column of color comes a top layer that makes the outfit.
They are calling it a shacket, but as you can see, it’s really more of a lightweight coat.
The shoulders have a slight drop, but other than that it has a slim fit, and three quarter length. So I don’t feel like I should be carrying an ax.
I bought a neutral plaid pattern, but there are a lot of options to choose from, including some solid colors. I’m thinking of picking up the solid navy or maybe the pink.
One of the reasons I encourage spending on a bag and shoes is because they will help elevate your look. And when I say spend, I mean buy the best quality you can afford, not go in debt for something designer.
My new bag for the season is a Coach Crossbody, it’s sold out in the style above, but this one is similar in price and style.
Outfits in Real Life
Outfits in Real Life is our weekly series in which I share my outfits made up of recently featured and new items.
I share photos entirely unfiltered, with zero photoshop and no airbrushing. I’m not working professional hair and makeup – clearly, and no one is steaming my clothes. I
’m getting dressed amid chaos like everyone else to reinforce the point that you can pull together classic and chic outfits with a bit of guidance from The Well Dressed Life. 😉
This post is not sponsored or gifted. I buy everything myself so that I can advise with no strings attached.
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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.
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