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gap

a work uniform for busy spells

a work uniform for busy spells

I don't like being busy. It's one of the reasons why I've left several jobs in the past. It may sound like a luxury to be able to say that, but the truth is, I'd much rather put myself on a strict budget than make more money and be busy. It's a personal choice. (Speaking of managing money, my husband and I are OB-sessed with this guy) Having said that, I've learned that in certain businesses, like personal styling, the busy-ness comes in waves. Spring/fall=crazy.  Between the last month and appointments scheduled for May, I'll be working with SIXTEEN new clients - multiple sessions each! I know that it'll slow down for summer and I'm grateful
to be doing what I love.

mindful closet st louis personal shopper stylist

Odds are, if you're one of those clients, you've seen me in this outfit. When things are crazy, it helps to not have to think about what to wear. I feel professional, comfortable, and "me" in this look - it's simple and clean but has enough unique details to satisfy me. The silk blouse is the same one from this post. A friend actually handed down these pants to me. Normally, I think hand-me-downs are a terrible idea, because you often feel compelled to hang on to things you wouldn't normally buy and that aren't quite right. If that happens to you, politely accept the gift you're being offered and then promptly donate whatever you won't wear. Every so often, you get something perfect, like these pants. The shoes are a purchase from Marshall's a few years ago, and I love the metallic heel and ankle strap detail. The bag is great for containing notebooks, camera, and measuring tapes I use for appointments. You can barely see it, but I'm also wearing a brass plate necklace that I got last summer at Forever 21.

mindful closet work uniform personal stylist

What's your go-to professional look? Do you get good hand-me-downs? Do you thrive on busy-ness?

 

(this post contains affiliate links)

cos stores review

cos stores review

Finding clothes that are casual, comfortable, and still a bit cool is hard. Some days I actually miss my office job (the grass is always greener, right?) because it gave me a chance to dress up. Not that I couldn't wear a belted pencil skirt and heels to Target or to dig around in a client's closet if I really wanted to, but, well, I don't want to quite that badly. But I still want to look cute, and not just in tee shirts!

During a conversation with one of my good friends who I've never met in person (what, you don't have those? thanks, internet), she recommended that I check out COS. I'd heard about this Swedish store (part of the same company as H&M) and remembered that they'd recently opened a store in NYC and started shipping to the US. Laura had visited the store and thought the clothes were decent quality, so I decided to check it out online. I really loved what I saw - clean lines, minimalist shapes, moderate prices. I ordered a truckload of things (when shopping online, always order a lot - multiple sizes, colors, etc, - you never know what's going to work) and ended up with two tops that go with my current uniform of top/skinny jeans/ankle boots. 

This winter, I'd been looking for things that are nursing-friendly, somewhat warm, and aren't too form fitting (thanks to my non-existent baby weight loss fitness regime). Even though I didn't want attention on my midsection, I still wanted something that fit in the shoulders and chest. Most of the tops I'd been finding were loose all over, with dropped shoulder seams that just made me look wider. By coincidence, these both have interesting back details - at top, a split back, and above, pleating. Also coincidentally, it seems I chose the same (Madewell) necklace to wear with them on different days. What can I say, it's a fave. I'm really happy with both tops, have worn them multiple times in the last few weeks, and got lots of people asking me where they were from. Here's the grey top above (on sale for a great price!). Unfortunately the charcoal top at the start of the post seems to no longer be available. As for sizing, one top is a S and one is a 6, and I'd say that's pretty true to American sizes for me right now, I'm usually between a S and M. You have to make a decision quickly, as you can only return items within 14 days, and unfortunately, the return shipping isn't included.

What do you guys think? Will you check out COS?

Edit: When I looked closely at my account info, it seems that I paid $6 shipping for my COS order and wasn't charged for return shipping, so I might be reading their policy incorrectly. Also, the jeans in the first pic are
great for moms or anyone else who doesn't want to show their tushie to the world - they're Old Navy Rockstar High Rise Super Skinny Jeans. And with that link, I now have to tell you there are affiliate links in this post. If you're not a blogger and are wondering what that means, it means that I make 5 cents anytime anyone clicks on the link. I've made $18.86 to date. Raking it in, I tell ya.

 

real life

real life

It feels like it's been a while since an outfit post. It's hard enough getting out the door these days (baby, dog, winter gear) without snapping pics, but then I realized I've only posted outfits on those occasions when I get dressed up all fancy. That's not real life, so here are a few real life outfits - snow, rain, overexposures, and all.

st louis personal stylist

Neiman Marcus poncho (similar), Gap jeans, Madewell necklace (no longer available), Sam Edelman booties. As an aside, this poncho is a silk cashmere blend, but I've managed to continue wearing it even with a grabby 7-month old - maybe because it lifts over his head while nursing?

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Forever 21 top, H&M scarf, Old Navy jeans, Sam Edelman booties

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Neiman Marcus poncho, James Jeans, Blush necklace (have you been to Blush? it's the cutest boutique in downtown Kirkwood - you should go!), Sam Edelman booties

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Old Ann Taylor LOFT cardigan, old Gap tee, Gap jeans, flea market necklace, Franco Sarto booties. I'm realizing that all the booties I'm wearing in this post are suede! People always tell me they don't want to buy suede because they won't be able to wear them in the rain, but clearly, I don't let that stop me. I just use a basic spray suede protector and don't splash in any puddles!

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Old Zara cardigan (similar), H&M scarf, Gap jeans, Sam Edelman booties. I bought a couple of cheap scarves this fall to change things up a bit - it's a bummer this one isn't available online in the camel color anymore - I love it!

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Eddie Bauer parka, Paige jeans, Sam Edelman booties

Whew, that's a lot of outfits! I'm going to go ahead and wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - I hope everyone has a calm and restful holiday! Keep in touch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

(this post contains affiliate links)

diy scarf top

diy scarf top

When I'm thrifting, I often see amazing patterned scarves that either too large or too stiff to wear comfortably around your neck. I also had the realization that some of my favorite tops (here and here) are basically just large silky squares with a neckhole. So, combine the availability of large scarves with my love for a simple shape, and I thought I could probably make a pretty cool top.

It's so easy, I'm not even sure a real tutorial is required. Basically, you find a large square scarf. Fold it in half and mark the center point (you can also do this by folding again, into quarters). Measure five inches or so along the fold to each side from the center point for the neck. Cut a very shallow dip for the neckline, too much and it will become too scooped and not boatneck. Fold and sew down the raw edges around the neckline and then make a seam halfway up each side, like so (my extremely technical drawing):

mindful closet st louis personal stylist: diy scarf top
mindful closet st louis personal stylist: diy scarf top

That's it!

Easy, right?! Let me know if you make one...

(wearing thrifted diy top, Target nursing tank, Gap jeans, Target sandals)

the search for a dignified diaper bag

the search for a dignified diaper bag

I could have called this post "summer uniform: white+denim, part forever".
Can't stop, won't stop.

 Forever 21 top, Gap jeans, Target scarf (similar), boots free from Avalon Exchange after trading in clothes (affordable similar and high quality similar versions)

This started out as an outfit post, but since I'm also using my diaper bag in this photo, I thought I'd write a bit about it. I wanted something that didn't scream "diaper bag", and nothing with cutesy prints on it. (pardon this tangent - why is everything that is to be used with babies bright colored and floral patterned? The baby is not going to be entertained by my nursing pillow, however it is going to sit out at my house a lot and I don't want to constantly look at pink and purple polka dots!! How about some nice solid colors?) That might beg the question, why not just use a normal purse or tote as a diaper bag? I did consider that, and sometimes I do just throw a diaper and some wipes into a smaller bag. However, I wanted some of the special features of a diaper bag: a changing pad, wipe-clean material, and many, many pockets. I went with the Skip Hop Versa diaper bag, and I love it.

Here's what I like about the Versa bag:

  • The look - I chose black for versatility and I like the gold hardware and zippers which add a bit more style.
  • A cross-body option is a must for having hands free. This one can be cross-body or a shoulder bag because of the adjustable strap.
  • There are straps for attaching the bag to a stroller handle.
  • The main inside pocket is very roomy and there is a zipper down the middle of the bag to expand it even more. You can see this in the manufacturer's photo. I usually keep it closed because the bag feels enormous when expanded.
  • The changing pad is in its own zipper pocket on the back of the bag. In our Jeep diaper backpack, it floats in the main pocket and gets all scrunched up.
  • On the front of the bag, there are open pockets for items that need to be easily accessible, like phone and keys.
  • Also on the front of the bag, there are zippered pockets that are perfect for keeping bottles upright.
  • On the inside of the bag, there are four additional pockets - I use one for diapers, one for wipes, one for my wallet, and one for burp cloths.

Instead of trying to find something that my husband and I would both feel comfortable carrying (i.e. something that wouldn't look like a purse when he carried it), I got the bag with the look I liked and we registered for this Jeep backpack (thanks Kyle and Jennedy!) for when my husband will be carrying the bag. Mr. mindful closet loves it (another aside - my husband says he likes it when I mention him on the blog and call him Mr. mindful closet.. Here you go, honey. It's almost as funny as when I used to work with kids and they'd call him Mr. Gillespie. They didn't know that we have different last names.) We try to keep both bags fully stocked at all times so that it's not a huge pain to switch back and forth.

After checking out the Versa bag in person, I bought mine barely used on Ebay for about half the retail price. If you wanted to go through Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you could use those 20% off coupons that are always coming in the mail for a pretty great deal. P.S. Did you know you can use those Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons at Buy Buy Baby too? Keep that in mind for the next time you're buying a friend a gift off the registry there.

Anyone else have great tips for choosing a stylish diaper bag?

 

(this post contains affiliate links)

 

white+denim, part deux

white+denim, part deux

Since we've established that white+denim is my fave summer uniform, here are a couple of examples from this summer.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist - summer uniform white+denim

If this outfit looks familiar, it's because I wore the exact same thing while pregnant.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist - summer uniform white+denim

For a slightly dressier night out, I wore an H&M top, Gap jeans, vintage necklace and thrifted wedges.

How are you wearing your summer uniform?

an impractical wish list

an impractical wish list

Since I'm no longer pregnant, I am itching for new clothes. Hours of one handed shopping on the iPhone while nursing has provided me with lots of temptation. Unfortunately, my current circumstances (clothes need to be nursing-friendly, I'm transitioning in size) are limiting what is practical for me to buy/wear. So I'm blogging my wish list instead of buying.

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

I've quickly realized that my favorite dress shape, a shift (seen multiple times above), is not nursing-friendly. Full disclosure, though - I did buy the black and white striped Zara dress on the top right while I was still pregnant and crossed my fingers it would fit post-partum (it does). It'll be for those special times out sans bébé this summer and will become more practical as the baby gets older. I really don't need any new shoes, no matter how cute, although I'm seriously tempted by the Rebecca Minkoff snakeskin sandals (center) - at least they're a practical height for running around in. I could use a pair of jeans that fits while I'm between sizes, and my own mom looked great in this cute pair of Gap high waisted skinny jeans. The white button down blouse from Old Navy (left center) is practical and affordable for being something that will get spit up on constantly (seriously, why didn't people warn me about the spit-up??), and it might get bought.

In the meantime, my main purchase has been a boatload of these tanks. Not so glamorous, but certainly practical.

 

(PS I doubt anyone actually waits with bated breath for my posts, but they'll definitely be more sporadic and infrequent for awhile. I hope you'll continue to visit!)