Two Ways to Wear a Red Striped Sweater

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I’ll ‘fess up: I have a severe stripes addiction.  I have striped sweaters, tees, shirts, and shoes up the wazoo.  Out of all of them, though, this red one wins.  I can never wait for it to dry when it comes out of the washing machine, so sometimes it’s even a little damp when I put it on.  This thing is just so freaking soft and cozy!

A sweater like this can’t be worn just one way.  It deserves more than that.  Here’s a couple of my favorite ways to style my red sweater–and keep an eye out for more someday soon!

Look One

I’ve dressed it up a little bit by pairing it with a simple black skater skirt, tights, and pointed-toe flats.  My leather bag does a nice job of keeping the outfit from looking tooooo sweet and balances out my (frankly, quite) adorable Book of Deer hat.

Look Two

This one’s a much more casual look.  I’ve swapped out the skirt and tights for jeans and duck boots, and I’m wearing my wool toggle coat for just a little extra coziness (and by a little, I mean a lot).  Still gotta have that hat on, though!

How would you guys style this sweater?

How to Get More Comments on Your Next Post

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I was going through some of my old blog posts, and I discovered something quite unexpected: my personal favorite posts were not the most popular.  It seemed so weird at first.  I started questioning myself–didn’t anyone like what I liked?  Was I doing something wrong?

I did some digging, and I noticed a pattern.  The posts that got the most engagement were the ones that gave something of value to the readers.  Things like tips, tutorials, and how-tos.  It totally explains why my post about curating your closet got a lot of comments while my last one was, well, pretty silent.

Now I want to share a little bit about what I learned with you!  Here are a few ways you can get some more comments on your next post:

  1. Come up with a catchy title. Most of the time, when I write up an outfit post, I’ll title it something like this: “Outfit: Obscure 1980s Song Lyrics.”  That’s not really enticing, is it?  Not to mention it’s almost completely unsearchable.  Instead, a great blog post title offers something to the reader–maybe a how-to or a list of tips.  For my last blog post, instead of “Outfit: Blending In,” I bet something like “How to Wear an All-Neutral Outfit” would have gotten a little more noise.
  2. Find a way to help.  Going off the last point, posts that help the reader are the ones that get the most love.  If you can put together a hair tutorial or a review of your favorite (and not-so-favorite) beauty products, I can almost guarantee you’ll see positive results.  Of course, there’s also nothing wrong with some good old-fashioned inspiration.  Showing off an outfit with amazing pics is also an excellent way to attract readers–just make sure you don’t scare them off with a weird title.
  3. Ask questions.  Don’t just leave your reader hanging at the end of a post!  You’ve just spent a ton of time talking, so let them get a chance to weigh in.  If you’re posting an outfit, ask them what they think or how they’d style the dress you’re wearing.  Make it a conversation–and always try to respond to your comments.
  4. Leave comments of your own.  Nothing brightens my day more than a thoughtful comment.  When a person takes the time to write something nice to me, I always check out their blog, and if I have time, I like to return the favor.  The more you get out and engage with other people, the more likely you’ll see them reciprocating.

So what about you?  What strategies do you use to get more comments?

Outfit: Blending In

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Redoing my wardrobe has been marvelously helpful in so many ways: I’ve cleared out all the junk in my closet, I’ve learned to shop with intention, and I really look forward to getting dressed in the morning.

But.  (Yes, there’s a but.)

After spending so much time thinking about the kinds of clothes I want to wear, it’s been another thing altogether to put those wants into action.  I’ve spent a lot of time the last few years in little else but A-line skirts and dresses on the blog, which, while flattering, make it easy to hide the parts of my body I don’t like.  (Whether I think things are too big or too small or too short or too long, I won’t say–that’s not the point!) While I’m still very much in love with a good skater skirt, I’ve also found myself drawn to skinny jeans and pants lately–and you can’t hide anything in those.

Sure, I’m in jeans all the time, but I seldom wear them for the blog.  I always told myself it was because they didn’t look “pretty” enough for a blog post, but I do think that part of me always felt a little uncomfortable with how revealing they are.  I was definitely feeling a little insecure when I took these pictures.  People are going to see the parts of my body I don’t like!

The thing is, I really love outfits that incorporate jeans and pants on other bloggers, so why not me?  Why can’t I rock them too?  They’re essential to my new style, and I love wearing them when I’m not going to be “seen.”

It’s something I’m going to have to work out on my own, but I wanted to get this out there. I’m hoping that spending more and more time getting to know my bod in some new clothes will help–it certainly did in the past.

How Many Blog Post Pictures Do You Need?

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love taking pictures for this blog.  On the weekend, I can hardly wait for the sun to start going down so I can grab my tripod, timer, and camera to snap a bunch of pics.  When I’m out, I spend a good 30 minutes to an hour working on different poses and camera angles, and I can really get lost in it.

But here’s the thing–when it comes time to write up a post, how many of those pictures are you supposed to use?  I know how much work goes into each picture, but there has to be a limit.  As a reader, I really don’t like blog posts that feature pretty much the same photo over and over, with slightly different poses.  They don’t add any value, so what’s the point?

For the last year or so, that’s been my rule: make your point and move on.  Some bloggers, like A Robot Heart and A Clothes Horse, use their pictures to tell stories, and every shot has something different and interesting.  Other bloggers are all about the outfit, so they show one or two head-to-toe shots and a few detail pics.

A lot of the time, I like going for that narrative quality, but when I’m not, I honestly don’t think I need more than a handful of pictures.  In fact, because this outfit is so simple, I only needed two.

I think there’s a little fear that fewer pictures is a bad thing, but really, I think it’s better to pare down the number of shots you use.  Use only the best ones–the ones that add the most value to the post.

What do you think?  How do you decide which pictures to use for your posts?

 

Links a la Mode: February 2

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I’ve been featured on Independent Fashion Bloggers’ Links a la Mode again!  My post on how to curate your closet was included with 10 others by some really talented bloggers.

If you’d like to get featured as well, here’s how it works: submit your post to the IFB Facebook page by Tuesday of each week.  The top posts will be chosen and rounded up on Thursday.  If you were picked, paste in the roundup on your blog (like I did below).  This means that not only are you featured on the IFB website, but you’re also featured on lots of other blogs!

Here’s this week’s list!

Links à la Mode, February 2nd

3 Easy Ways to Curate Your Closet

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In my last post, I talked about how I’ve had a personal style revelation.  I was very much inspired by Chic Ethique’s winter capsule wardrobe and planner, and it sparked a change in the way I looked at my style.  After setting aside time to think about my outfits, I pulled together a framework to help me define and refine my look.  Today, I want to share some of the things that helped me–if you’re in a style rut, too, I hope these help!

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  1. Keep track of your favorite outfits.  Confession: I actually don’t really like most of the outfits I’ve posted in the last couple of years.  They simply didn’t feel right, and part of that is because I was trying to mimic other bloggers’ styles.  That being said, there are a few that felt perfect.  I made a secret Pinterest board with all those looks and studied them.  Why did I like them so much?  What were some of the common elements and colors?  Once I had those figured out, I moved on to Step 2.
  2. Pick a color palette.  When I analyzed my favorite outfits, a few colors stood out to me: neutrals, deep green, burgundy, and red.  They kept coming up over and over again!  With that in mind, I made up a color palette for every season.  Having a palette is a good way to make sure that all your clothes for each season work well together, plus you can incorporate the shades that make you feel best.
  3. Define your style.  Part of the fun of clothes is playing with different styles, but I’ve found it’s best for me to limit the majority of my closet to two or three.  Having a mix of retro, boho, preppy, classic, athleisure, trendy, and vintage stuff always made me kind of dread putting an outfit together.  Nothing seemed to go together!  Now, though, I’ve come up with a name for what I want to see when I throw open my closet doors: Classic Romantic.  I love lace and girly dresses, but I’m also drawn to very simple and refined styles.  Think Anthropologie meets J. Crew.

Already, these steps have made my life so much easier.  Getting dressed in the morning is effortless!  I know that most of my clothes are interchangeable, which means pulling together an outfit is a piece of cake.  And it’s helped me curb my bad, bad shopping habits.  Instead of buying anything and everything because I think it’s “cute,” I have a solid focus for what I want to add.  It’s shopping with intention, y’all.

So what about you guys?  What’s your style journey been like?  Did you find these tips helpful?

Tutorial: Easy Double Twist Bun

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I was playing around with a version of this style that has braids instead of twists, but you guys!  I’m getting tired of braids!  I came up with something quicker that’s just as pretty, and I bet it’ll be perfect for that holiday that’s coming up in a couple of weeks…

2017-01-22-01.26.08-1.jpg.jpgStart by sectioning off the top half of your hair.  Leave it like that, throw it in a bun, whatever–just keep it out of the way.

Next, take a strand of hair from one side and start twisting it away from you.  As you twist, add more hair.  Stop when you get to the middle of the nape of your neck, and hold it in place with a bobby pin.  (I finally got blonde ones! So excited.)

2017-01-22-01.26.05-1.jpg.jpgDo the same on the other side.  This time, when you get to the middle, take the twists from both sides and pull them into a ponytail.

Repeat the last two steps on the top section of your hair.

2017-01-22-01.26.02-1.jpg.jpgFinally, gather up the top and bottom ponytails and twist them into a bun at the nape of your neck.  And that’s it!

What do you think?  Is this something you’d like to try?  Remember, you can mix it up by using braids instead of twists!