Transitioning into Fall — Jackets

Ah, jackets. Time to think about them again. Time to shop for more? Or not. I first wanted to see what I have. I think my favorite, or the one I’m most looking forward to being able to throw on is this buffalo plaid popover from J. Crew.

 

Next is an army green utility jacket from H&M. It’s lightweight (not warm) but cute and goes good with jeans.

 

I’ve got my new oversized jean jacket from Madewell. Love it. Get it here.

 

Another lightweight utility jacket from H&M. This doesn’t get a lot of wear but it just feels like me, so it’s good. I think I’m attached to it because it feels very Swedish and reminds me of my friend Madeline Lundberg.

 

A grey on white leopard print fleece from Old Navy. Every time I go through a closet clean out I think I should get rid of this, then I put it on and I love it. It’s especially perfect as a coverup to go to the gym. I don’t know why I don’t reach for it more.

 

Trench coat from Target. Why don’t I look like all the street style photos I see on Pinterest? I might have to accept that I don’t look good in a trench coat. I’m also starting to realize that masculine jackets maybe look better over feminine outfits (dresses).

 

Utility parka from the GAP. I’m letting go of this finally. It’s nice but I never wear it. Buy it from my Poshmark closet here.

 

And this black leather jacket from Lucky Brand. I don’t know if it’s the leather jacket look or this particular one. I used to have a vinyl one from H&M that I wore all the time. Buy it from my Poshmark closet here.

 

Lastly is this bomber from the GAP. It’s terribly warm and has a bright orange lining. It’s a keeper.

 

So that’s all my jackets. I think I probably have enough.

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New Wardrobe Additions: September

I think I did well this past month. Only 3 adds. #secondhandseptember

SEPTEMBER: $93

New Balance for J. Crew 520 (Used/Poshmark) $40  |  J. Crew

September was WARM in Pennsylvania this year. The shorts photo would have been appropriate all month but it was actually taken at the beginning, right after school started and I got these new sneaks. I love them. I’ve had my eye on them forever. So glad I found them, in perfect used condition, for only 40 bucks!

Banana Republic Boat Neck T-Shirt $9  |  Other colors

I have to be honest, I bought this shirt on a trip to BR that was strictly entertainment. I did not need another striped shirt. But it’s very flattering. The pink stripe looks really cheery on me.

J. Crew Black Wool Jacket/Blazer (Used/Poshmark) $44  |  Poshmark

I’ve been going around and around looking for this wardrobe staple: the black blazer. I finally realized why I was stuck and why I’ve never worn blazers I’ve had in the past. The classic, masculine style doesn’t really look good me. I wanted more of a feminine, Chanel little black jacket style. This one (top photo) is really cute.

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Transitioning Into Fall — Shoes

It’s time to put away the flip-flops. But it’s time to pull out BOOTS. Well, not quite. But, boots! I went through all my autumn to winter shoes to see where I stand when it gets chilly. How fun!

Tahari boots in black leather. These are very old. I almost got rid of these last year, but decided they’d be better if I removed the straps and now I like them. They’re high but still comfy. (similar | similar)

Franco Sarto boots in black patent. Also very old. I’m getting my money’s worth! They have a square toe and a sort of sixties vibe. They’re high but therefore flattering. Also, they’re good for rainy days. (similar | similar)

Clarks ankle boots in black leather. I love these. They have seen a lot of wear. Because of their rubber soles, they’re fairly weather-proof. More casual than the previous two. (similar | similar)

Madewell pauline boots in brown suede. I can’t wait to wear these babies! I got them last year and they are so good. (exact pair on Poshmark | similar)

Lucky Brand in brown leather. These were such a great choice. I’ve worn them for years. They go with everything. I love how they have aged and broken in. They’re so comfortable—with or without socks—and I don’t worry about them getting a little wet. (similar)

Troetorp clogs in navy leather. I’ve worn these all year ’round. They are the perfect shoe IMHO. (exact pair)

Dr. Scholls calf hair ballet flats in leopard. Perfect, perfect, perfect. Now, if I could find some in brown leather and black leather. (exact pair | similar | similar)

Steve Madden open toe booties in black leather. I love the way these look but they still give me blisters (across the top of the toe) Also, do they qualify since they’re open toed and heel? I think they work for early-summer-into-fall outfits. (similar | similar)

J. Crew calf hair maryjanes in leopard. These were an amazing find. I got them super discounted last year. #nataliebortonmademedoit (exact pair on Amazon | similar)

Analysis: 

I feel really good about my boots. I think I’ve got everything covered. Not shown were my J. Crew short black rubber rain boots (which my daughter has stolen for the purposes of horseback riding), a pair of black Hunter rain boots and some Sorel snow boots.

The above also doesn’t include all my closed toe heels/pumps of which I have a good number (don’t need more).

I would like to add a few pairs of mules, loafers and/or ballet flats (especially of the d’orsay variety.) So, I’ve been looking.

And, of course, I’m considering adding another pair of clogs. Probably in brown.

Check out my Pinterest boards:

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The Un-Book Club

If you don’t belong to a book club but wish you did, welcome to my ever-growing list of suggestions.

 

The Courage to Be Disliked
by Ichiro Kishimi And Fumitake Koga 

My friend Jenny recommended this and I bought it on iBooks. I thought it was going to be a book about setting boundaries, but it really wasn’t. I have to say I thought the format — a Socratic dialogue — very awkward. Maybe it was the translation from the Japanese. It was like, people don’t talk like that. But once I accepted that, I was able to enjoy and benefit from the ideas put forth. Although the concepts weren’t new to me, I loved them! I won’t spoil it for you, but I highly recommend!

Raising a Screen Smart Kid
by Julianna Minor

This book has become my parenting bible. Limiting screen time is all my family talks (fights) about! Raising a Screen Smart Kid has helped so much. It is extremely well written (easy to read) and well researched. Oh my god, did Julianna do her homework! I truly answers all the questions. Please, for your sanity and survival, buy this book. Like, now.

The Miniaturist
by Jesse Burton

Okay, now a lovely novel. Set in 17th century Amsterdam, it feels a little like Henrik Ibsen’s A Dolls House. I love a good family secrets book. A truly enjoyable literary journey.

The Call of the Wild
by Jack London

I read this because my 11 year olds had to for school and I needed to quiz them on it, but I ended up loving it. So interesting. Quite violent. I’m glad I finally read this artfully worded classic based on real events in 1900 Alaska. I downloaded it for free on my iPad.

All the Light We Cannot See
by Anthony Doerr

I swore I’d never read another WWII/Nazi book. This was worth an exception. Two young lives, on opposite sides of a war, ultimately converge. Beautiful described scenes and action.

Lagom
by Niki Brantmark

Such a cute little book. I love Swedish design and culture. (I read and loved A Year of Living Danishly.) I’ve followed the blog My Scandinavian Home for a while and knew I’d love this book. I’m also a sucker for great photography and illustration.

Full of Beans
by Jennifer L. Holm

This is one of the books I read to my kids. I got it at the library. Their dad read The Third Mushroom and The Fourteenth Goldfish to them and they loved those, so I thought it would be good. So many kids’ books are a real drag for the parents but this one was enjoyable! It was fairly gritty, kind of a Elmore Leonard vibe. Set in Key West in the depression, it follows a sort of little rascals group of kids who are very resourceful.

Becoming…
by Michelle Obama

Not to be political, but I love the Obamas. It was obvious I was going to read this book. How fun to hear her life story, and all the presidenty stuff we already know, from her perspective. You gotta love her. Plus she is amazing in Carpool Karaoke.

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New Wardrobe Additions: August

AUGUST $128

The Oversized Jean Jacket in Wortham Wash $128

I only bought one thing in August: a jean jacket. I’ve been wanting it for a while but didn’t want to pay full price. In the end I got talked into it. And I don’t regret it. I think a denim jacket is such a versatile piece and a good investment. I already had a denim jacket (an old one from H&M) but it is fitted and doesn’t have pockets. This oversized one really feels cozy and soft. I’m looking forward to layering sweaters under it when it gets colder. (Almost identical one from Nordstrom)

So, although I spent a lot, I only added one thing which makes me feel good. I strive for a minimal closet where I love everything I have and I wear everything I have. I have experimented with capsule wardrobes and participated in 10×10 challenges but mostly I just keep all my clothes in one place. Most things are hanging in a medium size closet, with underwear, socks, jeans, pjs and workout wear in a dresser. I don’t pack away off-season clothes. It works for me to see everything I have. I like the way it looks. It makes me happy and it makes it easy to get dressed. I rotate things out as needed. I did a huge Marie Kondo clean out of my clothes back in 2016 and I haven’t had to do it since.

I feel good about sticking to a budget and being very organized and minimal. I don’t feel good, however about the fact that I do contribute to an industry with a very dark secret. I recently worked up the courage to watch The True Cost and now I can’t un-know it. I have to make some changes. A cheap tee shirt from a fast fashion store is not truly cheap. Some of the imagery in the movie will haunt me forever. We just can’t keep causing so much harm, to other human beings and to the planet. It’s just not worth it. But with all social change the goal is not to wallow in guilt, but to make the small changes we can. You choose. It will make a difference. I think twice whether or not I need a new item. I look for it from a responsible company. I try to find it second hand. And I take good care of it! Then I find someone else who can use it after me. I am so grateful for the life and lifestyle I’ve been given.

What about you? How has your outlook on fashion consumption changed over the years?

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How to Style Clogs

I never realized how popular my #cloglife blog post would be. It is really due to the recent resurgence of the love of clogs. And Lauren Mechling. So, here’s some more clogophile content:

 

I love my Troentorp Clogs. (I have the Da Vinci in Dark Blue.) And, for $99 plus free shipping you too can experience true love.

I didn’t realize just how much I would wear these, but they are such a favorite and seem to go with everything. (Sometimes I feel bad for my other shoes.) Why do I pick them over and over? Maybe it’s that they make me taller (without being heels) or that they slip on? I just can’t get enough of them.

troentorp clogs

How do you style clogs?

I actually wondered this. I soon realized that you just put on any clothes and then slip on clogs. I rounded up all the selfies I had wearing clogs. I love the way they look when your ankles show and I’ve gone sock-less even when it’s somewhat cool out. But they also look terribly cute with socks.

I think they are the perfect shoes to take you from too-cool-for-sandals all the way into the Fall and Winter months.

#cloglife #livingmybestlife #livingmybestcloglife #troentorp #sweden

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I Bought It. I Returned It.

Hi. My name is Leigh and I’m super picky. And thank god, or I’d be broke. I like to carefully research things and then save the things I want on a Pinterest wish list. After a while, I’ll realize I don’t really want them or else I will buy them, and then sometimes after all that, I’ll realize I don’t want them. I guess it’s a normal part of online shopping.

Madewell Ruthie Sandal
I ordered 4 pairs of very similar sandals and this J Crew pair was the clear winner. If I hadn’t picked them, I would have chosen the “Ruthies.”

Madewell Boardwalk Sandal
No go.

Steve Madden Alexandra Sandal
Not very comfortable.

Madewell Tribune Blazer
I’ve been looking for a black blazer forever. This one was weird, tho. Very stiff (not drapey) and an unusual lapel.

Madewell Harper Mules
I obsessed over these! Finally ordered them even though they were pretty pricey. And you know what? I didn’t really like how they look on my feet.

Madewell Ryder Cardigan
Also, obsessed about this cardigan. It didn’t wow me.

J Crew Chino Shorts in Olive
I haven’t been able to find a replacement for a pair of olive shorts I had years ago. These were too long and too big. J Crew, stop messing with your sizes!

J Crew Leopard Sweater
Strangely unflattering.

J Crew Tippi Sweater in Rose
Not fantastic so I couldn’t justify it.

Rainbow Flip Flops
I heard these we the be all end all of sandals and that they are very comfortable (once broken in) but they just weren’t great in person.

Athleta Swim Top
I love that Athleta has a good return policy — like you can wear something and really try it out and then return it if it doesn’t work. This top was pretty but the fabric of the lining would shift and because it was a different color, it showed.

J.Crew Shorts
I loved these but decided the color wasn’t flattering. Too close to my skin color? Should have gotten the blue color. Also, they run very big. I sized down one size but should have sized down two.

L.L.Bean Cardigan
I bought this in store! But, I ultimately decided this wasn’t right for me. Usually if I don’t wear something right away, and often, it’s not as perfect as I thought. That’s two sweaters I bought and returned. The white cardigan quest continues.

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New Wardrobe Additions: July

New Madewell tank top, purchased on my trip to DC with Madewell jean skirt and JCrew slides.

JULY $186

Athleta Swim Shorts $19
Suddenly decided I wanted more modest/covered-up options for the beach. These are perfect. They run big and I sized down to a small.

Madewell Tank $19
A trip to Madewell with my kids when we went to my home town, DC, and they talked me into this top. Not my usual style but I’m loving it! I can never figure out the knot thing but this comes with a weird front tail that forms a perfect knot without making the shirt too short.

Lucky Jean Shorts $45
I became obsessed with the AGOLDE shorts but couldn’t bring myself to spend $128. I ended up finding these and they’re the perfect replacement for my old Lucky cut offs that I’ve had since 2015!

Everlane Romper (Poshmark) $13
I wanted this when it first came out. When I came across it on Poshmark, I grabbed it. Looks and feels like PJs but I’m okay with that.

Athleta One-Piece Swim Suit $50
I bought this with every intention of returning it but it looked so darn good. God, I love it. Again, feeling like more coverage looks better on me.

J.Crew Rash Guard $40
Also within the theme of modesty, age-appropriateness and responsible skin care, I finally got a rash guard.

All of these pieces were great additions to my summer wardrobe!

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Let’s Get Fit — Ready for Summer

 

My reveal photo from 2015

Let’s get real. I did not follow through on my goal to get fit in time for summer. I completely abandoned the idea. As soon as I set out to promote the idea of “getting into shape”, it felt altogether wrong. I mean, getting and staying healthy isn’t wrong. But setting a deadline and trying to look a certain way just suddenly seemed misguided to me. And right around that time, I started to see and hear people advocating for the idea of accepting ourselves as we are and acknowledging that we are so much more than our size. So, I just couldn’t do it.

In the past I set a goal of getting down to a certain weight in time for summer, by the time I had to put on a swim suit. I felt like a needed a little push to be more active (a good thing) and eat healthier (a good thing) but ultimately like I needed to fit into an arbitrary aesthetic ideal (maybe not a good thing). And, as I get older, it seems, well almost cruel to keep holding myself to this standard.

Goal start: March 10, 2019, 137.1 lbs.

Goal end: May 27, 2019, 135.6 lbs.

During the first few weeks of my fitness regimen, I worked out 2-4 times a week at the gym with lighter workouts on the other days. I didn’t do anything radical in terms of diet. I was more conscious of my choices, but continued to do my usual “just-eat-real-food” philosophy with maybe a little bit of “intuitive eating” thrown in. All along I was nursing a really old injury I always referred to as “tight IT bands from running”. I stretched them religiously and they didn’t get better. They almost seemed to get worse! Then I went to the Chiropractor and he admonished me for stretching what was overstretched and explained that I had a muscle weakness/imbalance. That was a turning point when I had to face the fact that I did not know what was best for me in terms of fitness. I sort of surrendered.

The next couple weeks I was in California and didn’t do much formal exercise. My pain pretty much went away and I resumed workouts, roughly 2 hard classes a week and a little walking. By the time school let out, I willingly gave up the gym and just did whatever. At some point I stopped worrying about planning workouts and recording them on my calendar. So I can’t really tell you what I’ve done this summer. I do know I started really running and it feels amazing. I recently had some suspicious chest pain and actually saw a cardiologist. After I learned that I my heart was 100% healthy I’ve been feeling so grateful for my health and ability to do pretty much anything. That’s what it’s really about, right?

Do I still want to lose weight? Kind of. Do I wish I had more toned legs? Totally. But this is me. It just is. And it’s good.

It’s summer. And I’m ready.

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New Wardrobe Additions: June

JUNE $236

J. Crew Brown Sandals $48
I LOVE these sandals. I tried a bunch of similar options and these were the winners. I wear them all the time, with everything. I feel like Jackie O. on holiday.

Nike Running Shorts $20
I’ve wanted these forever and couldn’t seem to allow myself to buy them. Why? Now I have them, run in them and am finally living my best cool-girls-track-team life.

Old Navy White Tank Top $7
I love this white tank and wear it so much. When it’s in the laundry, I long for it. Seroiusly perfect basic.

Old Navy White Crewneck Sweater $12
I get cold in the summer (?) so I love having this… just in case. It’s a soft and comfy cotton and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it so I feel validated for choosing it.

Old Navy Black Denim Skirt $30
@jillgg made me do it. This is something I didn’t think I needed as a summer basic, but apparently I did! It’s stretchy, casual but an upgrade from shorts.

L.L. Bean Dress $119
I bought this for a recent wedding. You have no idea how long I looked for something wedding-y (but made me look hot, but not hotter than the bride, but also age appropriate and not too dressy…arg!) but I love this and I think I’ll wear more than the once. It’s also a great example of my current style shift I’m calling, “New England Matron”

 

 

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