H&M Vintage Jeans

This is me in my new high-rise button-fly vintage-fit jeans from H&M, wearing zero make up, the shirt I slept in and my new leopard flats from J.Crew. The jeans are VERY comfortable and I feel very good about them.

Here is what I know about this style of jeans: you see them all over the internet, but never IRL. Have you been obsessing about a pair of vintage Levi’s for the last few years? I have. This is basically what the inside of my brain looks like:

I have pinned and pined. I have tried on Levi’s at Nordstrom and found out what 0% stretch feels like. I have secretly wished for a $300 pair from Re/Done. I have scoured the thrift stores. I found a promising Etsy store that will work with you/your exact measurements.

My fear has always been that they wouldn’t look good on me, that they only look good on the super thin.

But then I was shopping at H&M and came across a cool look-alike pair that was high-rise (and comfortably so), a nice wash, somewhat stretchy and pretty flattering. At $29.99, I decided they were perfect. Later, at home, I almost changed my mind and returned them.

Once I decided to keep them, I had to make the call on whether or not to cut them. I was glad I came across this August Diaries post about how to cut the hem off jeans. I didn’t think there was anything I needed to learn, but I am glad I read it because she recommends washing your jeans first. Even pre-washed jeans can shrink. Once they’re washed, you should put them on and mark where you want to cut. Always start small and then try them on again and cut more if you need to. I found that once I washed the jeans (I always air dry jeans) — the tight waist was actually looser. As I wore them throughout the day, they got even looser. They had that I-never-want-to-take-these-jeans-off feel.

Here they are when I first got them.

And here they are after washing and cropping.

I think everyone needs a pair like this. Here are a couple other options I found: Levi’s Wedgie Fit  |  Madewell Perfect Summer Jean

Good luck!

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Let’s Get Fit 2019

Exactly four years ago, I started the very popular “Let’s Get Fit” series of posts about getting in shape. I remember it was March 10th, I was way heavier than I wanted, there was snow on the ground and something in me just “snapped.” In a good way. I decided I was going to get in shape no matter what. And I did. By Memorial Day (the unofficial get-in-shape-for-summer deadline here in the US) I was down to my goal weight and felt amazing! I did it by working out regularly, cross training, eating as healthy as I could and it really paid off.

Doing regular posts about fitness really helped to motivate me and I’m looking forward to sharing ideas and motivation with you. This time around I don’t think I want to focus on losing weight. My goal weight used to be 130 lbs, which became an unhealthy obsession over time. Last year I changed it to a range: 130-135 lbs with the expectation that winter would put me a little over 135. For reference I’m 5’5″ and a healthy weight for me is 114-144 lbs. I’ll still weigh myself but I’m going to focus on muscle tone, energy level, and mood as measurements of fitness.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration this time of year, I hope you’ll follow my posts. I’m going to compile all the things I do that work for me: cardio-vascular conditioning, weight training, drinking enough water, getting a workout buddy, eating real food, not eating when you’re not hungry, reducing sugar, stretching, taking vitamins, promoting good gut bacteria, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, adding “hidden exercise”, setting accomplishable goals, getting outside (even in bad weather) and lots more so by the time the pool is open we’ll be feeling great!

Check out the original Let’s Get Fit posts if you’re curious:

Let’s get fit

Let’s Get Fit: Arms, Abs & A**

Let’s Get Fit: Start Slow and Taper Off

Let’s Get Fit: BODY, MIND, SPIRIT

Let’s Get Fit: Spin to Win

Let’s Get Fit: The Treadmill: A Necessary Evil

Let’s Get Fit: Why Should Women Lift Weights?

Let’s Get Fit: How to Avoid Injury

Let’s Get Fit: Jazzercise! Seriously, Jazzercise.

Let’s Get Fit: How to Break through a Weight-Loss Plateau

Let’s Get Fit: How to make the number on the scale go down

What to do when you have an injury

Let’s Get Fit: The Final Reveal

 

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Obsession: The Just-Right T-Shirt

 

Once upon a time, a girl went out into the big bad world looking for the perfect white t-shirt. The first one she tried was too sheer, the next one too thick. One was too loose, and another too fitted. Some were too cropped, too boxy or had a rounded hem. Others had ruffles and twist ties! A few were too drape-y — modal or linen. Why were some tees distressed or marled? Why?! But finally, she found a simple 100% cotton tee that was soft and comfy and flattering: The Gap Vintage Wash Short Sleeve Crewneck T-Shirt. The End.

madewell
everlane
uniqlo
j.crew
gap
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Old Navy Try Ons

I went to Old Navy the other day to get tank tops. I have a black ribbed tank top and decided it was the best workout top and I should probably have it in a few more colors, or maybe all the colors. The next thing I knew, I was trying on a bunch of stuff and came home with a bagful of clothes just for me. Here’s what I got:

Wide Leg Chinos

Mid-Rise Wide-Leg Utility Chinos in Ochre to You

I’ve been considering this look forever. Everyone seems to be rocking’ the wide leg crop trend. The original is from Jesse Kamm, but you can get them at Everlane or Madewell. Their popularity doesn’t seem to be declining any time soon. My concern has always been that my ass would look enormous in them. And/or they would make my legs look short. (I’m 5’5″  and 135 lbs.) But, I thought I’d give it a go. I rarely ever buy pants at Old Navy and I wasn’t very happy to go from my usual 8 to a 10, but they feel really good and are fairly flattering. Okay, and god help me, here’s what they look like from the back:

The tee is Madewell and the heels are too, via Poshmark.

Next, I tried them with on with a sweatshirt and boots.

Pink Sweatshirt

Relaxed French Terry Sweatshirt in Blush on You

This might seem weird/ugly, but I’m loving it. I recently became obsessed with the combination of pink and mustard. I originally went looking for a pixie pant in yellow or pink but couldn’t find one that looked good on me. Also, I think I decided that the yellow has to be on the bottom and the pink on the top. Pink is better next to my face and not on my legs. The wrong pink pants can look like no pants!

 

Stripped Sheath Dress

Ponte-Knit Sheath Dress in Black White Stripe

This looked pretty good in the dressing room, but here it looks so matronly. What was I thinking? Maybe it would work if it were a little more fitted? I ended up returning it. Oh, and I should mention, it smelled horrible. I’m not sure why. Here’s the back:

Lastly, the whole reason I went…

Tank Top

First Layer Fitted Tank in Hunter Pines

I tried every color and I really only liked this olive green color. Sad since they were discounted if you bought three. They’re supposed to be fitted but I went up a size because I don’t need to emphasize my not-flat abs. I will wear it as a workout shirt but I styled it here with my new vintage-y jeans from H&M and those same ankle strap heels from Madewell.

That’s it. Not really a “bagful”, but I’m surprised how many good basics I’ve been finding at Old Navy.

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New Wardrobe Additions: February

I finally bought a long black puffer coat. I have been contemplating this forever. I never seemed to notice that literally everyone owns the standard Northface puffer in black until I did. I think it was my cousin Rachel who made me want one. She has such good taste — perfectly simple elegance. Uniqlo is not Northface, but was a much less expensive way to try it out. And if the number of times you wear an item is an indication of it’s worth, this coat is priceless!

Another try-it-without-spending-a-fortune pick was these H&M “vintage” jeans that I cut off. They fit a lot like Levi’s but are stretchy and comfy. Me like.

Then there’s the 3 things I picked up at Old Navy, 2 of which really surprised me. The wide leg jeans also fall into the inexpensive version test run category. I still think they make me look wide but I love the color and how they feel and I’ve worn them a bunch. The pink sweatshirt isn’t the kind of thing I’d normally pick but I love it. The olive tank top is super good too.

FEBRUARY $180

UNIQLO Women Ultra Light Down Hooded Coat in Black $90

H&M Vintage Fit High Waist Jeans (Similar) $30

Old Navy Wide Leg Chinos in Ochre $35

Old Navy Crewneck Sweatshirt in Pink $15

Old Navy Fitted Tank in Olive $10

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Shopping My Closet: Creating Outfits with What I Own

long sleeve tee (similar)  |  jeans (similar)  |  leather jacket (similar)  |  suede heels (similar)

I love this leather jacket… so why don’t I ever wear it? I have so many pins on my Pinterest style board reminding me of how cool I’ll look if I wear a black leather jacket, yet it sits in my closet. I tried it on to see if I could figure out how to wear it. I’m liking it. The jeans are ok. They’re soft and loose fitting. And the heels are probably my favorites. (They have cute like tassels on the backs.)

long sleeve tee (similar)  |  jeans (similar)  |  suede heels (similar)

The outfit sans jacket.

floral blouse (similar)  |  pants (similar)  |  flats (similar)

I’ve had this floral top from LOFT forever. It’s a winner. The much-worn chino/jeans from the Gap are very comfy and flattering. The shoes (and, again, every blog seemed to demand I own them) never get picked. I think they look good here. I liked this outfit so much, I wore it to a speaking engagement later that night.

button down  | pants (similar) |  clogs

The white button down! Everyone says you need one. I don’t think I really do need one, let alone two. It looks rumbled here. I can’t figure it out. The clogs probably aren’t helping. I think a black heel might be better. And a trench coat over top!

short sleeve sweatshirt (similar)  |  jeans  |  ankle strap heels (similar)

I love this Joie tee but haven’t found a reason to wear it. The jeans are new and I LOVE them! I bought them on a trip to the Gap when I had the kids with me and they said, “Those look SO good on you, Mommy” so obviously I bought them. The shoes are Madewell from Poshmark. I think they’ve been waiting for these jeans. This outfit feels very “me” and I feel Très Française in it.

tee shirt  |  jeans  |  ankle strap heels (similar)

The same but with my new favorite white tee!

striped tee (similar)  |  jeans (similar)  |  jean jacket (similar)  |  sandals (similar)

I somehow switched over to summer. Or maybe spring. This is an imitation of an old outfit from Sincerely Jules. Only she wore it with nude flats and I didn’t like how mine looked on me. I do like this J. Crew/St. James t-shirt. But, these white jeans usually get passed over. I have another pair of white pants I like better. I obviously cut them too short. The sandals (Steve Madden, $5 at Famous Footwear!) are my favorite although they’re quite platform-y. And, the jean jacket… I’m supposed to love a jean jacket. This one is flattering but I think I’d wear it more if it were more oversized, you know? It’s not comfy or cozy (and that’s what I look for in a second layer).

striped tee (similar)  |  jeans (similar)  |  sandals (similar)

This is how I’d probably go — jacketless. I tried tying it around my waist and that was a definite no. Maybe this post should be titled, “Why I Don’t Wear a Jacket” or “Layering—I’m Clueless”

tee shirt  |  trousers (similar)  |  heels

Okay, the black trousers. Essential, right? I’m feeling better about them with the plain white tee and of course, these black heels from Banana Republic. Maybe I’ll actually wear them out of the house.

sweater (similar)  |  trousers (similar)  |  sneakers

This look. All. Over. Pinterest. Just add a long menswear coat and crossbody bag. How I wish I liked these sneakers. I think they’re too clunky. I don’t know. The sweater is good. Very good. A black turtleneck truly is a must-have, for me.

sweater (similar)  |  trousers (similar)  |  heels (similar)

I’m liking this much more. All black and one other color. A heel looks way better to me, makes my legs seem longer.

sweater (similar)  |  trousers (similar)  |  boots (similar)

This is good too. I stole this look from Style This Life. I call it, “Black-Black-Brown.”

That’s it! I had a lot of fun putting together outfits. And enjoyed reconnecting with and appreciating my clothes more. Every time I do this I get a little closer to knowing what I like and being okay with just being me. It’s nice.

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New Wardrobe Additions: January

I wrote a post last year about new clothing purchases, which felt a little uncomfortable since it listed everything I bought and how much I spent, but it really helped make me accountable (to myself?) and made me think twice before buying something new. I’m trying to stay within my budget and also not fill my closet/house/life with too much stuff.

I am going to do it again this year and I hope you’ll indulge me, or maybe even be encouraged by it. It’s helpful to me to keep track of good choices (or bad) and nice to be able to offer recommendations. You can view my Wish List on Pinterest to see all the things I’m thinking of adding in the future (or talking myself out of!)

JANUARY $104

LUCKY Varsity Sweater $45

GAP Short Sleeve Crewneck T-shirt in White $15

GAP Soft Wear Mid Rise Curvy True Skinny Jeans (Short) in True Black $20

GAP Fit Textured Stripe Leggings in Sculpt Compression in Bristol Blue $24

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New Year, New Workouts

I have been exercising more. And I have been observing myself. I always find my self oddly amusing. Before I start, let me say for the record, I have made a lifelong habit of exercise. I won’t pat myself on the back too much for this since it was sort of an accident and mostly due to vanity. So, I’m not one of those “resolution-ists” that are crowding up the gym this time of year. But there I am, having just joined a gym and recommitted myself to fitness. And it sucks. Here are some things I’m learning.

Getting back into fitness is so much harder than never stopping

Back in July, I wrote about how I stopped exercising (which meant I wasn’t forcing myself to to do regular official workouts and instead just did the everything else including renovating half our house) and I actually lost weight and really felt better all the way around. Mind you, it was summer. Well, now I’m feeling the effects of losing a lot of muscle and a lot of the ability to do any workout I try and it’s very discouraging. So, please, for your sake and those around you, don’t stop. Ever. Just do something. Easy or hard. Just do a little (or a lot) consistently and keep up muscle tone, flexibility and cardio vascular conditioning.

January is the best (and worst) time to start

So, back to the newly-committed-overly-crowded gym of January. Last year we joined the local YMCA as a family. I had been considering it for a while and they were running a promotion in December: one free month and no join fee. Here was a place, 17 minutes from our house, where I could do group fitness, hubby could work out with weights and weight machines and the kids could sign up for gymnastics, dodgeball, swim, etc. And it would be so much less expensive than the combination of all the many places we were going previously. It wasn’t easy though, actually is was a bit heartbreaking, to say goodbye to my favorite classes at Jazzercise, the Yoga Loft, and CSS group fitness. I can’t say for sure I’m gone for good. But I decided to try something new. I just have to make it through the first few weeks of it being mobbed with people.

I feel super old

For the first time in my life I’m feeling like the “old person” in class. Everyone seems to be in their 20s and 30s and I’d like to say it doesn’t bother me, I would be a liar. I think one of the biggest obstacles to working out — in public at least — is comparing yourself to others. All these complete strangers are all younger, cuter, fitter, and more stylish. And they seem to know what they’re doing. I’m that complete dork who’s watching others get set up: weights, um, mat, more weights, barbell (???!!!), step, risers, paper plates (?) and copying them. But acting super cool like I’m not. Asking questions is not an option. And then I have to pretend I can do everything, and that I’m not dying. “I’m cool. I got this. Am I the only one wanting to barf?” All the while trying to be careful to not throw out my back. Why, oh why, did I allow myself to lose all my core strength? Why Leigh? Saddest part: lots of women much older than me seem to be fine.

I haven’t died yet

So far so good, you know? I’ve been taking it slow and trying to be patient with myself. I’ve done a few different classes. So far I’ve done: Group Cycling, Pilates, “Grit” and “Body Pump”. Grit is like all the worst of 7th grade gym: high knees, burpees (what we  used to call “squat thrusts” back in the day), suicide sprints, until you, like, puke. Note to self: stand in the back next time. And Body Pump is where you burn most of your calories dragging every single piece of equipment out of a closet (in competition with 30 other people) like barbells and those circular weights that go on them and the little clippy things that hold them on and try to guess which amount of weight you’re going to need and lift all those things a whole bunch then put it all away afterwards. FYI, Grit and Body Pump are taught by a woman who literally has an Ironman tattoo on her arm.

Working out is better with a friend

One of the things that made me want to joint the Y was that a couple other mom friends are members. I will go with or meet one of them there and it is more fun. I don’t feel so insecure and I think it’s motivating. I did not come up with this idea. It’s, apparently, a thing. Try it!

January will end

I’m looking forward to the gym getting less crowded. Not that I want everyone to stop exercising! But it will be nice. I am one of the lucky ones. I created an exercise habit in my early 20s. I schedule my workouts. I try new things to keep it interesting. I do it when I don’t want to. I do it all year ’round. You might say I just care what I look like. And you’d be right. But my vanity might keep me healthy on the inside just a few extra years. And don’t forget, exercise is good for your mood. And that’s something I can’t get enough of.

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New Year’s Resolution: Wear More Scarves

I cannot figure out scarves. Which to choose. How to tie them. I really only wear them when I have to. I also get hung up on whether or not they go with my coat, and if they should coordinate with my hat and gloves. I feel like I’m failing here.

That being said, I have added two new scarves to my collection. (Which brings it to a grand total of eight.)

 

NEW: J. Jill Tasseled Scarf

This is the kind of scarf I always covet on other people. It seemed like a good pattern choice to offset solid colors and go with all my navy-black-white-gray clothes. It’s not what I would call a cold-weather scarf so I don’t know why I bought it now.

 

NEW: J. Jill Plaid Scarf

This scarf is big and soft and PLAID, which I love.

 

OLD: Red Cashmere Scarf

A gift from my mom. I would never pick red but starting to see how great it is because it stands out!

 

OLD: Gray Waffle-Knit Infinity Scarf

I’ll always be a little befuddled by the infinity scarf but I’m trying. This is a pretty all-purpose scarf, so I don’t know why I never wear it.

 

OLD: Gray Adidas Scarf

I bought this on a trip to Paris 12 years ago. Never wear.

 

OLD: J. Crew Multi Stripe Scarf

I love this scarf. It has navy, hot pink, chartreuse, white and gray stripes which are all the best (preppy) colors. Sadly, I damaged it when I removed the tag years ago. It’s my daughter’s favorite scarf to steal.

 

OLD: Polka Dot Cotton Jersey Scarf

I got this at my sister’s clothing store. It’s my go-to for taking on a plane — it feels like a security blanket.

 

OLD: Old Navy Sarong/Scarf

This is another summer scarf that I love but never seem to wear.

 

There they are: the complete collection of neglected scarves. Keep? Toss? Add to?? If you have any scarf-related advice for me, please comment below.

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New Sweaters

After my thorough clothing inventory of 2018, I have been very cautious of adding anything new. I was also very good this year and did not shop for clothes for myself before Christmas. Here are a few things I got as gifts that I made room for in my closet:

Gap Sweater in Navy

I already had a navy v-neck sweater but this one is different. It’s nubby and soft and stretchy and I knew it was a keeper when it was the first thing I pulled out of the pile to wear on Christmas day.

Gap Waffle Knit Sweater in Light Blue

I think this shrunk a little in the wash. It’s okay. It’s a good color and it’s comfy.

Gap Fair Isle Sweater

I am loving this more and more. I had zero fair isle sweaters, until now, which is criminal considering I’m Scottish.

Gap Factory Cardigan in Red

I wasn’t sure about this. I don’t usually wear red and it’s a bit cropped. But it’s pretty classic so I’m going to try to make it work.

J. Jill Sweater Dress in Black

This was on my wish list so I wasn’t surprised that I liked it. But… I have never owned anything from J. Jill and wouldn’t call myself a J. Jill person. I think it was recommended by another blogger but I can’t remember who! It’s lovely. With tights and clogs I am fully embracing my inner “Norwegian art teacher.” They run big. I’m wearing an XS where I usually wear a M.

That’s it! I was so happy to get some nice gifts this Christmas and sometimes it’s hard to keep a minimal closet when you have a generous family! I got a bunch of PJs and socks as well—not so fashionable but warm and cosy.

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