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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 

 

Six Go-To Shops for Fashionable, Affordable Workout Wear

Kristen Berry

People often talk about how casually people dress in L.A. And it’s true, there’s definitely a laid-back, slightly irreverent sense of style around here. But that isn’t to say that most people just throw on any old thing. That’s true for what they wear to the gym, too.

Angelenos may essentially be wearing yoga pants, sports bras and tank tops while working out, but these pieces often include little details that make them special. That make it seem more than reasonable to wear them to brunch at a cute outdoor restaurant following your pilates class (cue the “Activewear” video).

There is a lot of elevated workout wear out there (see Alo Yoga, Bandier), but I just can’t wrap my head around spending a ton of money on things I’m only going to sweat in. Here are my go-to destinations for affordable, fashionable workout wear.

The Sale Section at Spiritual Gangster

I love Spiritual Gangster’s whole laid-back, beachy, posi-vibes thing. I also love how consistently awesome their sale section is – both in the attractive selection and the price.

H&M

H&M is an obvious choice for stylish fast fashion, but if your regular trips through the racks don’t include their fitness attire, you’re missing out. The fabrics might not be as breathable and high-tech as what you might find at the Nike store, but they look damn good and hold up to washing and working out surprisingly well.

Old Navy

I’m consistently pleasantly surprised by the stylish, quality items available in the activewear section at Old Navy. I get some of the biggest compliments at the gym on pieces I’ve purchased from the store, thanks to the bold patterns and pretty colors they often feature. Old Navy is also regularly in the middle of a sitewide/storewide sale, so you can often get their already affordable items below retail price.

Boohoo Fit

I’ve come across Boohoo apparel on numerous occasions while perusing the pages of ASOS.com, but I had no idea they made workout gear until I was researching this very post. I’m loving the flattering cuts, cute cutouts and creative prints.

Nordstrom Rack

If you want big brand names at fast fashion prices, then the Rack is the shopping destination for you. And if sorting through actual clothing racks isn’t your thing, their online selection is seriously decent, too.

Target

As if you needed another reason for Target to be a bottomless black hole for your money, the workout section at the bullseye is quite dangerous (in a good way).

Jacket, Spiritual Gangster, no longer available. Sports bra, H&M, $30 at HM.com. Yoga tights, H&M, $35 at HM.com. Baseball cap, H&M, $13 at HM.com. Sneakers, APL Women's TechLoom Phantom in Dusk Purple, $165 at AthleticPropulsionLabs.com.

California Dreaming

Kristen Berry

I love living in L.A. There’s always something interesting to do/devour/experience.

Take last weekend, for example. A few friends and I attended a 10th anniversary live read of the film Juno supporting Planned Parenthood, performed by an all-star, all-female cast at the Ace Hotel downtown. Original cast members Ellen Page and Jennifer Garner were on the announced line-up, but the rest of the cast would be made up of surprise guests. The surprises included Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross, Kristen Wiig and Tig Notaro.

Only in L.A.

Events like these often pop up last minute, or take place immediately after work. Which is why I’m increasingly finding myself in need of versatile pieces that easily transition from day to night, work to play, and beach to city.

That’s why I love pieces like this Yumi Kim cold-shoulder minidress. It’s a perfect foundation piece. With a straw hat and flat strappy sandals, it’s casual enough for Saturday brunch or a stroll along the beach. Lose the hat, grab a leather jacket and step into a pair of lace-up booties, and it’s ready for evening.

I snagged this particular dress on sale a while back on Shopbop. And while it’s no longer available, you can find similar options here, here, here and here for under $120.

My New L.A.-Inspired Glowy Skincare Routine

Kristen Berry

It has been quite a while since I posted a new makeup tutorial. This is due to a few factors:

  1. When I relocated from the SF Bay Area to L.A., I was living out of a handful of suitcases while everything else was hidden away in storage, including the bulk of my non-essential cosmetics. Once I was reunited with the remainder of my makeup collection, I realized I rarely reached for much of it, and kind of enjoyed the simplicity of my pared-down, essentials-only makeup kit.

  2. I’m still in the process of settling into my new-ish apartment, and haven’t landed on a solid “studio” area just yet for filming.

  3. Now that I’m in L.A., the epicenter of the effortless, glowing no-makeup-makeup look, I’m increasingly inspired to focus less on elaborate face painting, and more on achieving beautiful skin.

So I’ve been experimenting with my skincare routine. This of course takes time, both in proving whether the new products work over the long-term, and finding the right balance of products to create my happiest skin.

I can confidently say I’ve landed on a new routine that’s working great for me, and has made a noticeable difference in my complexion. Below are the current products that I’m loving right now.

Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set for Combination / Oily Skin

Herbivore Botanicals’ all-natural, gorgeously packaged skincare products have been lauded by some of my favorite magazines, blogs and Instagram stars for a few years now, and I’ve been dying to try them. But they have so many amazing-sounding goodies that I didn’t know where to start.

When I came across their well-priced travel-sized set for folks with combination/oily skin like me, I knew I found my ideal entry item. The set comes equipped with several of their popular products – their Lapis Facial Oil, Rose Hibiscus Face Mist and Bamboo Charcoal Face and Body Soap.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that this little set goes a long way – I’ve been using the products every day since the end of January, and still have about a month to go before I’ll use them all up.

I’m in love with this charcoal soap. It has a gorgeous lightweight lather, and makes my skin feel fully cleansed without drying it out. And the Rose Hibiscus Face Mist is like a spa in a bottle. It’s a lightly scented instant shot of refreshing hydration. It’s definitely not designed to be a moisturizer-replacer, and is probably the product that feels the least as though it makes a noticeable difference in my skin, but it’s a wonderful pampering experience. I bet it’s also killer after a long, skin-drying flight.

I’ve been dubious about the whole facial oil thing, given the already oily nature of my skin – even though I’ve heard for some time that using the right oils can actually be incredibly beneficial for someone with my skin type, and help to create the right, healthy oil balance. I’ve found that to be incredibly true for the Lapis Facial Oil. This product was especially formulated for combo/oily skin types, and is designed to reduce redness and clarify the complexion. The product is made from pure plant oils, and it makes my skin feel comfortably, lightly hydrated without clogging my pores.  

Rather than buying all of these products separately, I fully plan to re-purchase this exact same set when it runs out. It has become an essential step in my go-to skincare routine.

Herbivore Botanicals Travel Set for Combination / Oily Skin, $48 at HerbivoreBotanicals.com.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream

I’m pretty fortunate when it comes to the whole undereye area. I’ve never really suffered from undereye bags or darkness or wrinkles (knock on wood). But now that I’m in my thirties, I feel like taking preventative measures might be a good idea. And I have begun to notice a bit of dryness in this sensitive spot.

A Sephora sales consultant recommended that I try the Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream. He said that it’s lightweight and hydrating, helps to smooth, moisturize and gently brighten the area, and sinks into the skin for easy makeup application. I’m nearly done with my first tube, and have been pleased to find that everything the consultant said was totally true.

Of course, while I only purchased this product in early February, and I’m already falling in love with it, it’s already been discontinued (though it’s still currently available in limited quantities on Amazon.com). Though given my experience with this product, I’m planning to try another Caudalie eye cream next.

Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream, $37 on Amazon.com.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

While completing another recent Sephora purchase, I elected to put a few of my Rewards points toward a sample of Sunday Riley’s Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment. I’ve heard quite a bit about Sunday Riley’s products (and their luxury price points), and I’ve been curious.

I Googled the product that night, and was immediately floored by the price for a full-size bottle – $105 for a single ounce. I balked. I proclaimed that such a price was against everything I stood for. I searched online for dupes.

And then I tried it.

Good Genes is billed as a powerful exfoliator that brightens skin, smooths fine lines, and reduces hyperpigmentation to reveal a more youthful complexion. A major skin-related annoyance of mine is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation – dark spots that linger on my skin long after my blemishes themselves have faded. It’s one of the primary reasons why I reach for my MAC foundation on a daily basis. While I’ve tried a number of over-the-counter products to treat this over the years, nothing has really seemed to speed up this healing process.

After just two nights of using my itty-bitty Sephora sample of Good Genes, I already noticed a difference in my skin. My old spots were fading, and my overall complexion appeared smoother, and more luminous. In short, this stuff WORKS.

A little also goes a long way – it’s pretty powerful stuff, and I’ve started to use it just every other evening. My tiny little sample is still going strong after more than a week of use. The smell is pretty unpleasant – strong and chemical-y – but for something this effective, I’ll suffer through it (it also fades pretty quickly). I decided this was one splurge I’d be willing to make – I bought a full-size bottle this afternoon.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, $105 at Sephora.com.

What are your current skincare faves?

All Tied Up

Kristen Berry

I have this slight problem with tops. The problem being that I really don’t have many of them.

I gravitate toward dresses, skirts, and even fun pants to an extent. But I rarely find myself reaching for a top while shopping. And when I do, I’m often turned off by the price. I don’t know why I always assume they should be more affordable than the other things I buy.

It’s easier for me to focus when I’m shopping online. I’ve been trying to stock up on classic cuts with interesting details, like the bows on the shoulders of this ASOS top.

These Paige jeans are also the latest example of why I only buy my denim at Nordstrom Rack. They always have an incredible selection. I found these babies on a recent hunt for 60% less than the retail price.

  • ASOS Blouse with Tie Cold Shoulder, $49 at ASOS.com.
  • Paige Verdugo Ankle Jean, no longer available on NordstromRack.com, but similar styles can be found here.

Chill Mode

Kristen Berry

Okay. So truthfully, I don’t often lounge on my apartment floor reading fashion magazines in a sweater dress. But if I ever were to do so, this is the dress I’d do it in.

I love this thing. It’s made of a lightweight knit, making it warm and cozy but not overly hot. The body-skimming cut and open left shoulder make it subtly sexy, while the long sleeves and knee-length skirt keep things classy.

You might recognize it from my recent “Workwear in the Time of Athleisure” post. And everything I said is true, it does easily go from the office to a happy hour date. Just last week, I went from an afternoon meeting to dinner and a comedy show with girlfriends in this little number.

On a separate note, the apartment is slowly but surely coming together. Shoutout to the boyfriend for designing and building this amazing (and highly photogenic) bookcase from scratch.

ASOS Knitted Midi Dress With Cold Shoulder Detail in Navy, $46 at ASOS.com.