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The Blog

Approachable inspiration for a stylish life. 

 

Fun Flat Sandals Under $50

Kristen Berry

I’m not the type of person who typically buys a bunch of new things at the very beginning of a season. I have to get back into the swing of things, revisit my current clothes, wear them a bit in the new weather, and see what really needs replacing.

At the top of my summer replacement list are my beloved flat silver gladiators. They’ve seen me through many warm weather days, numerous vacations, and countless blog posts. But they finally fully disintegrated during my recent camping retreat, and it’s time to find a new pair of comfortable, versatile, stylish sandals.

Here are 10 options I have my eye on, all under $50, that prove that “versatile” does not have to equal “boring.”

ASOS Fuerta Lace Up Leather Sandals, $36 at ASOS.com.

ASOS Fuerta Lace Up Leather Sandals, $36 at ASOS.com.

Topshop 'Daily' Ghillie Sandal in Coral, $48 at Nordstrom.com (also available in black and tan).

Topshop 'Daily' Ghillie Sandal in Coral, $48 at Nordstrom.com (also available in black and tan).

BCBGeneration Baldwyn Flat Sandal, $49.95 at DSW.com.

BCBGeneration Baldwyn Flat Sandal, $49.95 at DSW.com.

Zara Flat Metallic Leather Sandals, $29.90 at Zara.com.

Zara Flat Metallic Leather Sandals, $29.90 at Zara.com.

H&M Strappy Sandals in Silver, $8 at HM.com (also available in black and brown).

H&M Strappy Sandals in Silver, $8 at HM.com (also available in black and brown).

Boohoo Boutique Lace Up Suede Espadrille, $32 at ASOS.com.

Boohoo Boutique Lace Up Suede Espadrille, $32 at ASOS.com.

Zara Flat Sandals with Shiny Details, $49.90 at Zara.com.

Zara Flat Sandals with Shiny Details, $49.90 at Zara.com.

Mix No. 6 Scaglia Metallic Gladiator Sandal, $24.95 at DSW.com.

Mix No. 6 Scaglia Metallic Gladiator Sandal, $24.95 at DSW.com.

ASOS Falon Leather Flat Sandals, $33 at ASOS.com.

ASOS Falon Leather Flat Sandals, $33 at ASOS.com.

Topshop “Hot Stud” Ankle Strap Sandal, $48 at Nordstrom.com.

Topshop “Hot Stud” Ankle Strap Sandal, $48 at Nordstrom.com.

What are you updating in your summer wardrobe?

– Kriste

What to Wear to an Outdoor Office Retreat

Kristen Berry

Cutter Scout Reservation, Boulder Creek, California

Cutter Scout Reservation, Boulder Creek, California

If you know me, this will came as no surprise: I have never been camping. That is, until last week, when my company held its annual team retreat, this time during a two-night camping trip. As someone who likes to bring it wardrobe-wise at the workplace (and in every other way, really), this trip posed a bit of a packing challenge.

We were to depart for the campgrounds from the office Thursday morning. And while the itinerary for the trip was kept a surprise, I knew that previous retreats involved team brainstorms on business topics and presentations of the group’s ideas before the entire company. Given this, I wanted to kick things up a few notches above what I might wear on a casual camping trip with friends.
 

J. Crew V-Neck Band-Sleeve Top (on sale for $36) and Garden Short (on sale for $24), both in the print “Palm Frond.

J. Crew V-Neck Band-Sleeve Top (on sale for $36) and Garden Short (on sale for $24), both in the print “Palm Frond.

When I spotted this adorable two-piece set on super sale at J. Crew (an extra 40% off the sale price? Yes please!), I knew I found my perfect first-day-at-camp outfit. Normally I shy away from wearing matchy-matchy pieces at once. However, this set worn together gives off more of a romper vibe, which lends it a charmingly casual and playful vibe that feels appropriate for the setting. I also love that the elevated fabrics make the pieces comfortable and breathable as well as a bit more refined than actual campwear – the top is silk, and the shorts a surprisingly wrinkle-resistant linen. The other benefit of wearing a cute, work-friendly outfit to your trip? It works like a wearable conversation piece, just as I described in my recent post on the role fashion plays in my battling the downsides of being an introvert.

I should also note that this trip was largely more “glamping” than “camping” – check out the gorgeous accommodations put together by Shelter Co., which specializes in this sort of luxury outdoor event setup. This setting made my choice of outfit seem all the more appropriate.

If you find yourself invited to a similarly rustic company event, I recommend taking a similar approach of thinking through the types of items you would likely wear to the same setting sans coworkers (shorts, tank tops, jeans, t-shirts) and fancying them up just a bit by opting for work-appropriate silhouettes, attractive colors and patterns, and avoiding items that are too revealing or threadbare. J. Crew is my go-to resource for dressed-up casual pieces – I can always count on them for classic, preppy items with a stylish twist, and in cuts that I'd be totally comfortable with my boss catching me in.

These same rules apply for sleepwear, loungewear and workout wear, too. Don’t bring your teeny tiny hiking shorts or sexy yoga top for your activities, even if it’s scorching hot outdoors. You want these folks to respect you at your Monday morning status meetings.

Here are a few key wardrobe/beauty lessons I learned along the way to help you further rock your next camping/glamping trip:

  • Baby Wipes and Makeup Wipes Will Be Your Best Friend. Even though our tents were gorgeously appointed, we were still largely limited to port-a-potties in the bathroom department. Wipes were ultra-clutch when it came to quick clean-ups along the way.

  • So Will Water Bottles. Because brushing your teeth with fresh water right outside your tent sure beats having to hike seven minutes uphill in the dark to the one bathroom with actual plumbing.

  • Everything will Get Dirty. Like, filthy dirty. If you wear black, it will show every speck of dirt. Only wear comfortable, durable shoes you can basically throw in the wash (or can retire on the trip, as I did with the old metallic gladiators pictured above). Re-wear whatever you can to limit what will require laundering upon your return.

  • You Will be Colder at Night Than You Think. I regretted not having a hat, gloves and scarf with me around the campfire at night. Bring them even if you don’t think you’ll need them. I was extremely thankful that I had packed my fuzzy fleece PJs and thick, warm socks, though.

  • Get Your Beauty Sleep. Ear plugs kept me blissfully unaware of the sound of the port-a-potty doors slamming throughout the night. Next time, I’ll be sure to bring a sleeping mask as well, to keep the early morning sun at bay.

Special thanks to my awesome coworkers Erin for suggesting this post, and Allison for snapping the OOTD :)

Happy Camping!

- Kristen

Easy, Glowy Summer Makeup

Kristen Berry

You have better things to do this summer than spend hours in front of the mirror perfecting your makeup. Here's a quick and easy makeup tutorial focusing on glowy skin, flirty lashes and a bold, bright lip.

Here are the products I used in this tutorial:

  • e.l.f. Mineral Infused Face Primer, $6 at Target.com.
  • NARS Pro-Prime™ Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base, $26 at Sephora.com.
  • Maybelline FIT ME! Matte + Poreless Foundation and Powder, both in the color Toffee, $6 each at Target.com.
  • Maybelline FIT ME!  Concealer (now in a new formula than the one used in the tutorial), $4.40 at Target.com.
  • e.l.f. Studio Translucent Matifying Powder, $3 at Target.com.
  • Too Faced Bronzer in Jolie, available only as part of the Le Grand Chateau palette set, no longer available.
  • theBalm cosmetics Mary-Lou Manizer, $24 at Birchbox.com.
  • e.l.f. Blush Palette in Dark, $6, Target.
  • Maybelline® Lash Sensational™ Mascara, $7 at Target.com.
  • Glossier Boy Brow, $16 at Glossier.com.
  • NYX Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick, $6 at Target.com.

What’s your go-to summer makeup look?

- Kristen

May Faves (2016)

Kristen Berry

It’s that time again! From a punchy pout to my go-to YouTube yoga guru, here’s a quick rundown of the various awesomeness I’ve been digging lately.

Yoga with Adriene, Free on YouTube.com.

Yoga with Adriene, Free on YouTube.com.

As I recently shared, I’ve ditched the gym and haven’t looked back, favoring at home workouts via YouTube instead. I’ve found a number of fine cardio replacements, but still ventured to a studio for my regular yoga fix. That is until my pal MK pointed me in the direction of the Yoga with Adriene channel on YouTube. Adriene offers a wide variety of tutorials for yogis of all experience levels, whether you have five minutes or an hour to spare for your practice. She’s incredibly down to earth and funny, making every online class fun, approachable and enjoyable. Adriene encourages her viewers not to take the whole yoga thing too seriously, to allow themselves to explore the practice that’s best for them, and to grow stronger without unnecessary pressures or comparisons to the practices of others. Her classes are always the best way to start my day.

“Another Round” Podcast, FREE on iTunes.

“Another Round” Podcast, FREE on iTunes.

This month’s podcast shoutout (because apparently this has become a monthly thing) goes out to Heben Nigatu and Tracy Clayton, the ladies behind “Another Round.” These smart and funny women tackle topics including pop culture, race, and gender as well as the latest in hilarious animal news (courtesy of “Tracy’s Animal Corner”). They also regularly feature a slew of impressive guests, from Lena Dunham to Lin-Manuel Miranda (creator and star of “Hamilton”) to Melissa Harris-Perry. Beware before you listen to this podcast at the office, though – I’ve been known to explode in uncontrollable laughter thanks to these two.

NYX Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick, $6 at Target.com.

NYX Matte Lipstick in Indie Flick, $6 at Target.com.

I’ve already found my go-to, pared-down makeup look for summer: smooth glowy skin, a flushed cheek, loads of mascara and a punchy lip, no eyeshadow, no eyeliner. It’s fresh and youthful, and it also shaves several minutes from my makeup routine. With a bold color like NYX’s Indie Flick, that vivid pop is all you need to make a statement. I love the matte finish of this shade, and somehow the formula isn’t drying the way many other matte lip products often are. I also adore the simple, sturdy packaging, which clicks satisfyingly as you snap the cap into place. All of these elements give this lipstick a feeling that’s so much more luxurious than its $6 price tag.

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero, $25 at Audible.com.

You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, by Jen Sincero, $25 at Audible.com.

You are a Badass isn’t a self-help book so much as it is a funny and affectionate must-needed kick in the pants. Jen Sincero’s book is all about facing and annihilating the fears, doubts, and self-destructive behaviors that keep so many of us from living our lives to the fullest. Sincero approaches career, money and relationship subjects the way your wittiest, wisest, most sharp-tongued and no-nonsense friend might. I’m keeping this audiobook on my iPhone for easy access any time I need a good pep talk, a reminder that I’m capable of so much more than I realize, or the reassurance that I have the power to completely transform my world by willing it so – and by putting in the necessary work.

What are you loving this month?

- Kristen

What to Wear to Work When It's Too Damn Hot

Kristen Berry

It’s not quite summer yet, but we’ve already had a few swelteringly hot days out here in the Bay Area. While the heat is ideal for a trip to the beach or poolside reading, it’s less appealing during the workweek, when you have to find something to wear that will keep you cool, comfortable and office-appropriate all day long.

I always add a few fresh dresses to my closet each summer for just this reason. Nothing feels quite as light, breezy and pretty as an easy dress in a breathable fabric. I look for forgiving cuts and materials that allow me move freely – or sit in front of my computer for hours without feeling like I’m wearing a corset.

Here are ten options (including one jumpsuit for good measure!) that will help you beat the heat in style this summer.  

H&M Sleeveless Dress in White/Blue Patterned, $50 at HM.com.

H&M Sleeveless Dress in White/Blue Patterned, $50 at HM.com.

This dress is perfect to help beat the Monday blues as well as look chic at a dressy weekend day party. You can easily turn the formality down a bit with a pair of flat sandals, or play up the fancy with strappy heels.

Everlane Silk Tank Dress in Persimmon, $88 at Everlane.com.

Everlane Silk Tank Dress in Persimmon, $88 at Everlane.com.

I am obsessed with the color of this dress. I would add a bit of shape by cinching the waist with a belt, and pop a jacket on to beat the chill of the AC while at the office. Keeping makeup limited to a nude lip and a bronzey eye would let the brilliant hue of this dress shine.

Zara Linen Shirt Dress, $70 at Zara.com.

Zara Linen Shirt Dress, $70 at Zara.com.

Doesn’t this look like it would be a slice of office-chic heaven on a hot day? I love that the slightly flirty slits in the skirt provide a bit of extra movement (and, ahem, extra airflow when it’s sweltering out). I’d wear a pretty pink lip, a girly ponytail and a pair of heeled sandals with this one.

H&M Crinkled Dress in White/Feathers, $35 at HM.com

H&M Crinkled Dress in White/Feathers, $35 at HM.com

How adorable is this print?! I love the multicolored feathers, as well as the overall femininity of the cut. I’d wear this dress just as it’s pictured here for a Sunday Funday with my boyfriend, or pop a pair of heels on to dress it up further for the office.

Everlane Silk Short-Sleeve Dress, $98 at Everlane.com.

Everlane Silk Short-Sleeve Dress, $98 at Everlane.com.

The relaxed cut of this dress is just too good, with the rolled sleeves, body-skimming fit and high-low hem. There’s also a slim keyhole cut in the back to show just a sliver of skin. I’d probably toss a belt over this one to accentuate my waist a bit and introduce a little color, or a nice metallic shade.

Zara Printed Tunic, $70 at Zara.com.

Zara Printed Tunic, $70 at Zara.com.

Guys, this print!! It’s so beautiful and summery and delicious. And it already comes with its own little tie to cinch in your waist. I’d wear my hair up and pop on a bright poppy-colored lipstick (playing up the same shade as in the dress) wearing no eyeshadow at all, just piles of black mascara. I’d stick to a nude shoe with this one – no need to compete with all of these bold, gorgeous colors.

Aya Cupro Draped Twist Dress in Charcoal, $102 at Modern-Citizen.com.

Aya Cupro Draped Twist Dress in Charcoal, $102 at Modern-Citizen.com.

So, you know I’ve been playing around with proportions in my wardrobe, especially introducing a few skirts and dresses with longer-than-usual hemlines. I love that the asymmetrical cut of this dress offers the best of both worlds. The simple gray hue and crewneck neckline is the perfect canvas for a fun statement necklace, or layers of simpler necklaces in different lengths. Whenever I wear a longer skirt, I like to pair it with heels to avoid feeling matronly. And I’d definitely rock a bold pink or orange lip to brighten up the gray.

Zara Lace-Up Shirt Dress, $50 at Zara.com.

Zara Lace-Up Shirt Dress, $50 at Zara.com.

A sleeveless shirt dress is one of the crispest things you can wear to work on a hot-ass day. I love the contrast top-stitching on this one. And if you’re worried about perspiring as you’re running around, a dark color like this navy number will be more forgiving. I’d lighten the look up a bit with a pair of blush wedge sandals.

J.Crew Factory Chevron-Striped Dress, $64 at Factory.Jcrew.com

J.Crew Factory Chevron-Striped Dress, $64 at Factory.Jcrew.com

So I’m going to be honest – I thought this dress was adorable when I saw it from the front, but it’s the back that makes me want to throw money at it. However, I wouldn’t recommend showing off your lower back in addition to your arms and legs in the office, so I’d pop a little jacket on top while at work (preferably a distressed white denim jacket), and take it off for happy hour.

Zara Jumpsuit with Open Back, $100 at Zara.com.

Zara Jumpsuit with Open Back, $100 at Zara.com.

Even I occasionally get tired of wearing skirts (or just don’t feel like shaving my legs) and need to reach of a pair of pants. I love jumpsuits for this reason (as I recently shared). It’s so easy to reach for a single piece rather than having to pull together a bunch of separates. I love the conservative cut of this one, combined with a peek of back. Because your legs are covered, you might be able to get away with the cut-out back at the office, but you can easily toss a jacket on top if it makes you feel self-conscious.

What are your go-to pieces to wear to work when it’s blazing hot outside?

- Kristen