Life Update - August 2019


 

It’s been a few months since I last shared a life update, and it was a pretty crazy one full of lots of big changes. 2019 has been one wild ride so far! I wanted to check back in a few months later with a less dramatic post as we slowly settle into a new season!

Back in my last update in June, Aaron was early on in his recovery from an emergency appendectomy and we had just decided to close Botany. Closing down our company was a huge decision and has led to a completely different lifestyle for us. We were used to going, going, going and never having a chance to relax or really take care of ourselves. Aaron was working 80 - 100 hours a week at the café and I was splitting my time between roughly 70 hours on my business, 15 - 20 hours working at Botany, and trying to keep on top of chores and taking care of our pets, too. We were in survival mode and were just barely scraping by. The appendicitis honestly came as a relief in some ways because it effectively closed down Botany and released us from our hectic and unhealthy lifestyle.

So now, let’s move forward to life these days! Aaron started a Full Stack Development program at Lambda School three weeks ago and has been loving it! As a quick summary, Lambda takes a typical four-year computer programming degree and condenses it down into a nine-month program. Aaron is in class from 10am - 7pm Monday through Friday and spends a few hours each day reviewing and studying, as well. The program is notoriously intense and difficult, but is also renowned for the large amount of knowledge it crams into such a short period of time. The hire rate of students is very high, as well. The program has been an excellent fit for Aaron’s interests and learning style, and it’s been wonderful to see him working hard towards the future and even more wonderful seeing how much he has enjoyed his studies so far.

 
us1.jpeg
us3.jpeg
 
us4.jpg
 
 

It was definitely a bit of an adjustment to transition from spending most of our time apart - Aaron at Botany and me at home alone with our rabbit - to spending 24/7 together again, just like it was an adjustment when Botany opened! We both especially struggled before Aaron’s program started because there was so little structure in our day. I am usually very self-motivated, but having my best friend around all the time definitely made it harder for me to focus on getting work done. Now that we have the routine of school to build our schedule around, we’ve both been much more productive again and we’re feeling pretty content with where we’re at. It’s been so amazing to have weekends to do things like get brunch, have coffee together, attend church regularly, and go on fun outings like the Minnesota State Fair and the Art Institute. We’ve been attending a new Anglican church and have already felt so welcomed and loved!

 
us2.jpeg
IMG_8981.jpeg
 

While Aaron is in school, I’m still plugging away at designing! After working so many hours over the past two years, I have experienced true burnout for the first time and have been trying to take things more slowly in order to recover and heal from that. I was burnt out on everything - work, chores, and life in general. I haven’t been able to muster the energy to cook or meal plan like I used to, and Aaron has taken on over 50% of the chores. But instead of allowing guilt to settle in I’m working on just accepting where I’m at and giving myself grace and time to recover. I was also really burnt out on client work, having taken on far more clients over the last few years than is healthy for my own personal threshold. I’ve been working on my 2020 Botanical Calendar over the summer and have been feeling so revitalized by having creative autonomy on these paintings. It’s been such a relief and a joy to start finding pleasure in my work again! I’m hopeful that I’ll continue to bounce back and also that my ability to take care of our little home and family will mend and return over the next few months, as well!

 
paint1.jpeg
paint3.jpeg
paint4.jpeg
paint2.jpeg
 

I believe that I thought that I was immune to feelings of burnout because I loved everything I was doing so much. Art is my passion and has been ever since I could hold a pencil; how could I possibly tire of creating daily for my job? I adore Aaron above all things, so how could taking care of him and our home ever possibly become a burden? I spent four years as a barista before working at Botany, so being behind bar again was really exciting, especially since we were running the shop ourselves. But despite the love I held for all of these things, I have learned my lesson that burnout is inevitable for anyone who does anything too much for too long.

One major thing that has helped me begin healing over these summer months is reading! As a child, I would take regular trips to the library and check out with more books than my mother or the librarians thought was wise. Every time, I finished them all and brought them back on time! Reading has always been a form of respite and escape for me. But I wasn’t able to pick up one single book for the entire time Botany was open, and I had completely forgotten the joy of getting lost deep in a set of pages, of staying up way too late because it’s impossible to put a book down, of being content to do nothing but devour a story all weekend long. I was inspired to read again by my dear friend who started a book Instagram account, and I am so glad that I did! I’ve dashed through six books in six weeks so far and am still feeling so, so eager to pick up each new tome when I finish the one I’m on! I also can’t quite believe that I’ve actually had time to read. I sometimes almost have to pinch myself because it feels too good to be true!

Blogging + outfit planning has been another avenue that’s really helped with my mental health. I’ve loved having something to spend time on and pursue that isn’t work! It’s just for fun and there is no pressure, no strings attached, no expectation. Mostly, I really enjoy putting together outfits from what I have and doing lots of research and thoughtful planning before making my purchases. Having an Instagram account where I regularly post my outfits has forced me into being much more creative with the pieces that I own. I used to wear the same few pieces on repeat week in and week out because the only person who saw me regularly was Aaron! Posting my outfits has helped me come up with lots of different ways to combine and wear my pieces so that I don’t feel redundant. I’ve also really loved blogging because it’s helped me flex my writing muscles again. I can’t stress enough how nice it’s been to have a focus that is completely unrelated from my work, which has helped me diversify, place less stock on the success of my business, and has reminded me that there is more to who I am than my work and the being artist behind Esther Clark Co.

 
me1.jpeg
me2.jpeg
me3.jpeg
me4.jpeg
 

Finally, I’ve been taking daily two-mile walks in order to truly soak up this short summer season and get my body moving after a day of designing. We live about a five-minute drive away from one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in St. Paul, so I usually head over there and walk for as long as I can. The gorgeous old homes, beautifully landscaped yards, plentiful flowers, peace and quiet, and sunshine all combine to make my evening walks the highlight of my day! I’ve so appreciated the time to unwind and just spend some time with my thoughts.

 
house1.jpeg
house2.jpeg
house3.jpeg
house4.jpeg
house5.jpeg
house6.jpeg
 

This summer has been really rough in some ways as we’ve been reeling from everything that happened over the past few months, but it’s been glorious in other ways, as well. I’m so sad to see the warm weather leaving us and to watch the long days slowly wane and fade into winter darkness, but I’m also really looking forward to crisp, misty fall mornings, golden sunshine filtering through ochre leaves, and picking apples and the last of the late summer fruits. The change of the seasons is a truly beautiful thing, both in nature and in life. Until next time!

 

Summer Whites + Day Glove Review


 

Shades of white, cream, and ivory are my favorite colors to wear. I don’t follow the ‘no white after Labor Day’ rule and wear it year-round, but I’m especially drawn to lighter colors in the summer. This is partly because I don’t handle the heat well and love to stay cool, and also because I’m always afraid of staining my pale-colored clothing in the slushy winter months! But the top reason I’m drawn to white is because I just feel good in the color. It goes with everything and lends every outfit such an airy, light look. Unsurprisingly, many of my staple summer items are in the white to cream spectrum, and I wanted to share about my favorite new pieces this season:

The Poplin Wrap Top: Everlane | Lara Top: Reformation | Aura Short: Harly Jae | Day Gloves Flats: Everlane

First up is the Poplin Wrap Top from Everlane. I was so excited when Everlane sent me this shirt! I went with my normal 00 and found that it runs a little large, but since it’s a wrap top the sizing is more adjustable and flexible. The fabric is a 100% cotton poplin, and it is so light and breathable. The sleeves hit below the elbow, but the material is so cool and gentle on the skin that it still feels summer-appropriate. The fabric isn’t completely opaque, but there is little-to-no show-through with a light-colored bra. The sleeves flare out slightly below the elbow and are then gathered by a band at the wrist, which results in a subtle puffed sleeve look. Puffed sleeves are definitely trending right now, and I find that this top hits the perfect balance of being on-trend and practical at the same time because there isn’t too much volume in the sleeves. This will also be helpful for easy layering under a cardigan later in the year! Perhaps the best thing about wrap tops are how effortlessly stylish and versatile they are. My favorite way to wear this one is with the tie just off to one side, but it can also be tied in the back for a completely different silhouette. It’s also easy to dress this top up or down: try it styled with jeans for a casual weekend outfit, or pair it with straight trousers for an office-appropriate look.

 
wrap1.jpg
wrap2.jpg
wrap3.jpg
wrap4.jpg
wrap6.jpg
wrap5.jpg
wrap9.jpg

Poplin Wrap Top: Everlane | Cheeky Straight Jean: Everlane | Day Glove: Everlane

 

Another piece I’ve been wearing lots this summer is the Lara top from Reformation. This was my first Reformation purchase, and I’ve been so pleased with it! I’m quite devoted to period dramas, and I’ve been re-watching Victoria over the last several weeks. I was completely taken with the necklines of Jenna Coleman’s gorgeous dresses and soft, cottony white nightgowns throughout the show. I was so inspired that I spent hours searching for a top or dress that had a similar neckline (but with a more modern twist)! I eventually landed on the Lara top, and it’s been everything I was hoping for. The neckline has a pretty, feminine ruffle, and the overall shape of the top - with it’s nearly-off-the-shoulder-sleeves and square neckline - is so dreamy and whimsical. The shape of the top highlights the collarbone area beautifully and definitely nods back to Victorian-era off-the-shoulder styles. It’s everything that is delicate and lovely and makes such a fun addition to my wardrobe, which is mostly filled with more structured, simple pieces. Finally, the fabric is so soft and comfortable, with just the right amount of stretch. This top has been a wonderful, cool summer piece when paired with shorts, and I also love it tucked into a long linen skirt or high-waisted pants!

 
lara1.jpg
lara2.jpg
lara3.jpg
lara4.jpg
lara5.jpg
lara6jpg.jpg
lara7.jpg
lara8.jpg

Lara Top: Reformation | Easy Short: Hackwith Design House | Day Glove: Everlane

 

The Aura Short by Harley Jae is another ivory/white piece I can’t get enough of! I talked about these briefly in my last post about closet essentials, but I wanted to highlight them more because they’ve been in heavy rotation all summer. I purchased these in late spring because I had no shorts at all, which was definitely not going to work! I was looking for something that was easy and comfortable, something that would be a little nicer and more dressy-looking than a pair of cutoffs. I love wearing looser pants that have a high waist cinched with elastic, so I kept my eyes open for a similar silhouette for my shorts. I am so happy I went with this pair! The fabric is made of a bamboo and hemp blend that has a subtle chevron pattern. The material is so soft, and the pattern adds a beautiful texture and sheen to the design. I love the extra-high waist, wide waistband, and longer mid-thigh length. I haven’t ever owned anything quite like these shorts, and I love how they elevate any top I wear them with. They’re comfortable, classy, and help to lengthen my very short legs all at the same time.

 
aura1.jpg
aura2.jpg
aura3.jpg
aura4jpg.jpg
aura5.jpg
aura6.jpg
aura7.jpg
aura8.jpg

Reversible Wrap Top: Formation Design Studio | Aura Short: Harly Jae | Day Glove: Everlane

 

The final piece I want to highlight in this post is the much-loved Day Glove, also from Everlane. I am not a flats kind of girl, and I honestly can’t remember the last time I owned a pair. However, I had heard nothing but rave reviews of the Day Glove since their release over a year ago, and I finally decided to give them a try. I took my time deciding on color - there are so many good options! - but finally settled on the Cream because I wanted something really low-profile. I’ve been thrilled with the color; it’s just a hint lighter than my natural skin tone and really melts into my foot for a barely-there look, which is exactly what I wanted. I ordered my usual size 6 and found that these fit perfectly across the toe area but were just slightly too long overall. I thought about sending them back and trying a half-size down for a true glove-like fit, but I was afraid they’d be too tight in the toes so I stuck with the 6. 

When I first put the Day Gloves on (immediately after pulling them out of the box, ha!), I couldn’t believe how soft the leather was. It legitimately feels like butter and started molding to my feet right away. I’ve never felt a softer leather. I was also immediately impressed with the shape of the flat. Most flats just barely cover your toes, but these come up about an inch or so above the toe area. This helps the shape of the shoe feels so much more long and elegant than a normal flat, and it’s the main style feature that won me over. I was also pleasantly surprised at how well the little side vent holes worked, keeping my feet ventilated and relatively cool even when walking for miles on a hot day.

 
flat1.jpg
flat2.jpg
flat3.jpg
 

The first day I had these, I wore them all around the house right after they arrived, took them out on errands, and finally wore them on an evening walk. We walked quite a ways, and by the time we got back to the car, my heels had some painful blisters. I was a little surprised by this because it seems like they have no break-in period for most people. However, I’m fairly sure the reason the blisters formed is because the flats are just slightly too long for me, which caused my heel to slip around a bit while walking. The blisters persisted through the next few wears, but it was nothing outside the realm of normal for breaking in leather shoes. I’m now able to wear them on long walks again and they’re almost perfectly comfortable. The soles are wonderfully padded and I genuinely feel like I’m walking in tennis shoes! Besides the blistering I had, these are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve worn. 

There are a few of my favorite white summer pieces! I hope some of these outfits are inspiring and that my review of the Day Glove is helpful if you’ve been considering them!

 
 

 
 

All opinions are my own, and this post is not sponsored by any brands. It does contain affiliate links, which gives me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support and the way it keeps my blog going! Two of the items in these outfits were gifted to me, but I purchased the majority of them myself and fully support each of these companies.

 

Closet Essentials


 

When I first committed to purchasing only responsibly made clothing, I was really into the idea of having a capsule wardrobe. We’ve lived on a low budget for a long time, and so my purchases have always been pretty limited. I’ve also moved almost once a year ever since I graduated from college in 2012, which led me to pursue minimalism in every area of my life because I hated packing so much! I’ve been working towards my goal of having a quality, versatile wardrobe that I truly love for about three years, so I’m now at the point where I’m starting to add a few more pieces rather than just replace items that were old, poor quality, or too trendy to last more than a season or two. Now that I know my style better I’m comfortable with starting to grow my wardrobe again. However, I do still have a small closet and it’s made up of mostly simple, classic pieces that can be mixed and matched multiple ways. A big part of the reason I’ve been able to make such a small wardrobe work over time is because I rely heavily on a selection of well-made essential pieces that I genuinely couldn’t live without. These items are the true workhorses that I wear multiple times a week and do the heavy lifting in my outfits by pairing well with anything and everything. They fit me really well and I feel fantastic wearing them, which is a big part of the reason I reach for them over and over. I thought it might be helpful to share a glimpse into my closet and give a brief overview about my most-worn items, why I love and wear them so much, and how they function in my closet. I’ll link everything at the bottom of each section!

 
 

Straight-Leg Jeans

I have two pairs of straight-leg jeans that I wear regularly throughout all four seasons. I like to have one pair in black and one in blue, and that way I know that I have a pair that will work with every single shirt I own. I used to be a die-hard skinny jean wearer, but I’ve been really gravitating towards straight-leg jeans lately. I like how they aren’t as tight or restrictive as skinny jeans, while still remaining form-fitting. This makes them a great choice for adding some shape or definition to a piece that would otherwise feel really flowy or unstructured - such as tunics, shorter dresses, or oversized tops. I also feel like the straight leg is completely classic and will always be in style, no matter what. I always choose a high-waisted jean because I have such a long torso and really short legs. I prefer a rise of at least 12 inches, which has the effect of balancing out my proportions and adding some length to my lower half. My absolute favorite straight-leg jeans are from Agolde, but the Cheeky Straight Jean from Everlane is a very close second at a more affordable price point. I’m also interested to try out the 90s Cheeky Jean from Everlane.

 
 
bluejeans.jpeg
blackjeans.jpeg
 
 


Tapered Pants

Another silhouette that I really love is a tapered, trouser-style pant. Tapered pants are nice to have because, once again, they work really nicely with any shape and size of top, from really loose-fitting to quite tight. They have a silhouette that’s pretty similar to a straight-leg jean, but they’re incredibly comfortable. They also look a little dressier, which is nice for an office setting or transitioning from day to night. My hands-down favorite brand for this style of trouser is Elizabeth Suzann. I really loved her Tilda style (which has been discontinued) but the Andy and Clyde pants are also favorites that are on very regular rotation in my closet. I particularly love my Andy pants in silk - the drape and texture of the fabric highlights their shape and structure so beautifully. 

 
 
andy.jpeg
clyde.jpeg
 

Andy Trouser: Elizabeth Suzann | Clyde Work Pant: Elizabeth Suzann

 


Wide-leg Pants

Wide-leg pants are such a fun look! I was really nervous to wear them for the first time because they felt so different from the skinny jeans I was used to, but after picking up my first pair (the Everlane Utility Crop) I was hooked. I find that I don’t wear these quite as much as my more fitted styles because they aren’t as practical for me and sometimes get in the way. They also don’t work with every top; if I were to pair these with a looser shirt or tunic, my petite frame would quickly get lost in all the fabric. However, they’re still a style that I wear really often and they make an outfit look instantly put together and chic. I really love how polished I feel when I put them on! My go-tos are the linen or silk Florence pant from Elizabeth Suzann because they’re so comfortable as well as stylish. I also really like the more structured look of a canvas or denim wide-leg pant, like my Utility Crop pants or the Wide-Leg Chino (which I haven’t tried personally, but have heard amazing things about). I’ve also been eyeing the iconic Kamm sailor pant for years now and am hoping to save up to buy my first pair this fall!

 
 
florence.jpeg
utilitycrop.jpeg
 

Florence Pant: Elizabeth Suzann | Wide Leg Utility Crop Pant: Everlane | Wide-Leg Chino: Everlane | Sailor Pant: Jesse Kamm

 


Shorts

You can’t live in the Midwest without a good pair of shorts for hot, sticky summer days! I have two pairs for this season and will look forward to adding more for future summers as I can afford them. I’ve found that my favorite shorts are pretty much the same style as my favorite pants - high-rise and fitted in the waist with an elastic waistband, and then more free in the hips and thighs for a look that has a little more volume around my legs. I like the vintage vibe of this style, and I also really appreciate the modesty of a slightly longer length. I also feel like the longer, high-waisted style helps lengthen my legs a lot! My two pairs are the Easy Short from Hackwith Design House and the Aura Short from Harley Jae. The Easy Short is so lightweight and comfortable and absolutely perfect for the hottest days. The Aura Short is made out of the most gorgeous, textured hemp fabric that gives them such a unique look, and I often reach for them when I want to feel a little bit dressier. I love having both a light and a dark pair of shorts because of all the styling options each color opens up! 

 
 
easyshort.jpeg
aurashort.jpeg
 

Easy Short: Hackwith Design House | Aura Short: Harley Jae

 


Simple Tees

Everyone needs to have a handful of good, basic tees in their wardrobe! They go with everything and can be used in every season: you can wear them on their own, layer them under a dress, or pair them with a cardigan. I always wear a tee under my sweaters in the winter, which adds an extra layer of warmth, keeps my sensitive skin from itching, and protects my sweaters, too. My favorites are almost all from Everlane; their tees are high-quality, come in a wonderful range of colors, and are so affordable. I really love the textured look of their micro-rib tees. These are my first choice to wear under dresses or jumpsuits, but I also love them on their own with a pair of pants. The ribbed fabric and longer sleeves help to elevate them from just a normal basic to a piece that’s a little more stylish and unique. I also love Everlane’s cotton crew. I haven’t been wearing this style as often as I used to since we closed Botany (which you can read about here), but when I was working barista shifts every day, these tees were definitely my work uniform. Tradlands also has amazingly soft, high-quality tees if you’re looking to invest a little more money in one that might last you a longer period of time.

 
scooptee.jpeg
ribtee.jpeg
stripetee.jpeg
boxtee.jpeg

Pima Micro Rib Scoop-Neck Tee: Everlane | Pima Micro Rib Crew Tee: Everlane | Cotton Crew: Everlane | Box Tee: Tradlands

 

Tanks + Camis

Tank tops or camis serve a similar function to tees but are more specific to the summer months. I pretty much live in a tank top + shorts or a skirt all summer long! Two of my favorite tanks are once again from Everlane: the Clean Silk Cami and the Air Cami. Both of these tank tops are long enough to tuck in but also look nice untucked for a more flowy, casual look. I also wear my Petra Crop from Elizabeth Suzann very frequently, and it’s the perfect length to wear with my many high-waisted bottoms. The linen fabric is so breathable and wonderful for summertime, but I wear my Petra throughout the cooler seasons under a cardigan, as well.

 
silkcami.jpeg
aircami.jpeg
petracrop.jpeg

Clean Silk Cami: Everlane | Air Cami: Everlane | Petra Crop: Elizabeth Suzann

 


Turtleneck

I’ve also found that it’s really important to include at least one turtleneck in my wardrobe. I love the classic alabaster option from KOTN because it’s thin enough to wear under other pieces, but is completely opaque and can also be worn on its own without any anxiety about my bra showing through. I wear my turtleneck most often under dresses and jumpsuits in the winter - I try really hard to wear as many of my pieces as I can through all four seasons of the year, and layering a turtleneck under warmer-weather pieces has been so helpful with that! I also really like the look of a turtleneck tucked into a skirt with tights, or with a good pair of high-waisted pants. 

 
 
turtleneck.jpeg
 
 


Sweaters

Minnesota winters are absolutely brutal, and have been especially so the past two seasons. We’ve had foot after foot of snow from multiple blizzards, many sub-zero days, and the season has lasted from early November until late April. It’s not a stretch to say that I literally would not survive winter without warm, cozy sweaters to help block out the cold. I’ve really fallen in love with cashmere over the past few years, and I’ve purchased all of mine from Everlane. Once again, they have lots of colors and styles, and the quality for the price just can’t be beaten. My favorite styles are the turtleneck, the crew neck, and the v-neck; this covers just about every situation and creates plenty of opportunities for versatile pairings. I love cashmere because it’s so warm without the sweater needing to be really heavy or chunky. I have pretty sensitive skin and have never had a problem with irritation from these sweaters like I sometimes get from a more scratchy kind of wool. The cashmere is really soft and gentle. I also love cotton sweaters, and the Modern Fisher sweater from Tradlands gets lots of wear all through fall and winter as well as into spring. The cotton is warm and so gentle on the skin, and I love the texture of the cable-knit fisher sweater design!

 
crew.jpeg
cashmereturtle.jpeg
vneck.jpeg
fisher.jpeg

Cashmere Crew: Everlane | Cashmere Turtleneck: Everlane | Cashmere V-Neck: Everlane | Fisher Sweater: Tradlands (linked to updated version)

 


Cardigan

I also wouldn’t be able to make it through winter without at least one cardigan. I like to choose cardigans in the most neutral colors to make sure they pair well with all of my tops. The natural cotton cardigan from Babáa was my favorite this past season, and I have my eye on L’envers as my next brand to try when the weather turns cold again. I love that both of these companies offer cotton as an option alongside wool so that I don’t have to worry about itchiness. I also rely on cardigans to carry me through fall and spring, so it’s really essential that they’re high-quality, long-lasting, and classic enough to wear month after month. 

 
 
cardigan.jpeg
 
 

Skirts, Dresses, and Jumpsuits

As much as I love pants, I also like to have a few options for a more dressy, feminine, free-flowing look. I don’t own a huge number of dresses and skirts because the styling options tend to be a bit more limited. However, I love wearing them throughout the summer because they’re so cool and breezy, and I’m learning how to style them in the colder months, as well. My favorite skirt hands-down is the linen Bel Skirt from Elizabeth Suzann, which I managed to score second-hand. However, I love it enough that I’m strongly considering adding a silk one to my closet at some point, as well. I really appreciate the midi length, the high rise, and the soft pleating in the shape from the elastic waistband. For dresses, the Georgia dress from Elizabeth Suzann is one I wear really frequently, and Everlane’s new shirtdress has been more than pulling its weight this summer, too. Another place I love to shop for dresses is Not Perfect Linen; their styles are simple, timeless, and so easy. I also love jumpsuits for their ability to be such a simple, one-and-done outfit that still looks so polished and classy. I don’t wear these as often as dresses because I don’t like using the restroom in them, but they’re a wonderful option in every other way!

 
 
bel.jpeg
georgiadress.jpeg
 
 
shirtdress.jpeg
tankdress.jpeg
 

Bel Skirt: Elizabeth Suzann | Georgia Dress: Elizabeth Suzann | Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress: Everlane | Smock Linen Dress: Not Perfect Linen

 

Shoes

When it comes to shoes, I have a relatively small collection. I try to make sure that I always have one pair of each of these styles: sandals, flats, mules, heels, ankle boots, taller boots, and some kind of clog. Mules and clogs are definitely my most-worn styles; I wear them on their own in the summer and with socks in the colder weather, and the fact that I can make them appropriate for all seasons is what draws me to them again and again. However, I do also really like to have a pair of flats and heels for some variety, sandals are a must for the summer, and boots are even more important for the winter months. My two favorite shoe companies are Nisolo and Everlane, and they make up the majority of my collection. I’ve also been really impressed with St. Agni and Bryr Clogs and plan to purchase more from them in future years. I purchased a pair of taller boots (currently sold out) from Aquatalia during an amazing sale last winter, and I couldn’t believe I’d managed without them before because they made styling wide-leg and cropped pants throughout the winter so, so much easier. They are the most expensive pair of shoes I own, but the fact that I wore them to death and they’re in near-perfect condition after a six-month Minnesota winter makes them completely worth it in my book.

 
sandal.jpeg
loafer.jpeg
stagni.jpeg
palomma.jpeg

Liria Double Strap Heel: Inné Studios | Modern Loafer: Everlane | Paris Woven Mule: St. Agni Studio | Paloma Mule: Nisolo (linked to similar)

dayheel.jpeg
bossboot.jpeg
isaboot.jpeg
aquatalia.jpeg

Day Heel: Everlane | Boss Boot: Everlane | Isa Boot: Nisolo | Janine Boot (similar): Aquatalia

 
bryr.jpeg
clog.jpeg
 

Emma Closed-Toe Clog: Bryr Clogs | Old School Clog: No. 6 Store

 


That pretty much wraps up my closet essentials! I do own a few other pieces outside of the categories listed above, but these are far and away the items that get the most use in my day-to-day looks. As I continue to grow my wardrobe, I’m looking forward to greater variety and a few more options! But this core collection of pieces has served me so well over the past three years and will continue to do so for a long time to come. I hope this is helpful to think about if you’re considering a capsule wardrobe or simply starting fresh with more quality pieces!

 
 

 
 

All opinions are my own, and this post is not sponsored by any brands. It does contain affiliate links, which gives me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support and the way it keeps my blog going! A handful of these items were gifted to me, but I purchased the majority of them myself over years and fully support each of these companies.

 

Summer Staples with Everlane


 

After an unbearably long Minnesota winter that lasted from early November until the end of April, I am so thrilled that it’s finally summer! I always look forward to walking around outside without a coat, not to mention the longer evenings, generally sunny weather, and delicious food that Aaron cooks on the grill! However, dressing for summer isn’t always my favorite. I love layering and I’m usually a little less comfortable with lots of skin showing.

 
 

Enter Everlane and their beautiful, classic, quality pieces. I mentioned on Instagram a little while ago that I was accepted as an Everlane affiliate, and this is my first blog post written in collaboration with the brand. I’ve been a huge supporter of Everlane for years: I made my first purchase (The Street Shoe) in 2015 and Everlane has been a staple in my closet ever since! They are my go-to for denim, basic staples like t-shirts, sweaters, shoes, and even undergarments! The quality of Everlane clothing is top-notch, and they work closely with their factories to maintain a healthy environment for their workers. They are also careful to keep any negative impact on the environment as low as possible, and they are very transparent about all of their endeavors. In addition, Everlane keeps their prices very affordable, which makes the brand much more accessible than lots of slow fashion brands. You can read more about their sustainability practices here. I am so thrilled that I have the chance to be an affiliate for a brand that I have supported for so long! Two of the pieces in this post were gifted to me, and the others I purchased myself.

 
 
 
 

Let’s start out with the Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress, which was so kindly sent to me by Everlane. For reference, I am 5’3, and my waist is 23.5 inches, and my bust and hips are both 33 inches. I ordered a 00 in the dress and the fit is perfect; roomy, but not too loose. I can already tell that this dress is going to be something I reach for frequently this season (in fact, I’ve worn it three times since receiving it a week ago, ha!), and I’m really looking forward to styling it for fall and spring weather, as well. The whole idea behind the Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress is that it’s a really easy, stylish one-and-done outfit that looks polished and chic without much effort. And it definitely delivers! The dress is 100% cotton, which makes it really breathable and cool. I was a little skeptical of it working well for me in the summer because of the longer sleeves, but I wore it on a mid-80 degree day and felt comfortable all day long. The cotton is soft and textured and feels really lovely against the skin - even better than I was expecting from the photos. I would normally choose the feel of linen over cotton every time, but I was very pleasantly surprised by the cotton weave fabric. The Cotton Weave Shirtdress is available in four colors: I got navy/white mini stripe, and there’s also a plain navy, covert green (which is a gorgeous olive tone) and blue/white wide stripe.

 
1.jpg
2.jpg
 

There are a lot of things that I really love about this dress. It hits me a couple of inches above the knee, which is a wonderful length; it’s long enough that I’m not worried about flashing anyone, but it’s still short enough to help me stay cool and to give the effect of lengthening my short legs. I do want to note here that I’m quite a bit shorter than the Everlane model at 5’3,” so it does look significantly longer on me than is shown on the website.

 
 

The sleeves are Everlane’s ‘blouson’ style, meaning that they flare slightly towards the ends and are then gathered in at a tight cuff, which creates a gentle puff sleeve. They are whimsical and feminine, and I love the chic feel that they lend to the dress while still remaining practical and not overly voluminous. I initially balked a little bit at the longer sleeves because I work with my hands and generally prefer my sleeves to be either short or pushed back behind my elbows. I was skeptical of how well that would work with this dress, but they stayed out of the way really nicely whenever I needed them to. The belt is wide, so it tapers in at the knot and forms an elegant silhouette at the waist. I also really liked the simple, no-fuss collarless style. Last but not least, the dress has pockets, which is always a huge plus! They’re big enough to be practical, but are also smooth and low profile so there’s no added volume near the hips.

 
one.jpg
two.jpg
three.jpg

Everlane: Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress and Day Heel | Windblown Jewelry: Uplifted Necklace | Jewels & Aces: Earring Capsule

 

I wore this piece styled very simply because it was a warm summer day - I just added a brass necklace, earrings, and shoes and called it good, which is right in line with how the dress was designed! But I could tell immediately that it is going to be really versatile, and I’m looking forward to styling it in lots of different ways. The dress would look great un-belted for a more relaxed look, with a blazer for working in an office, over jeans on a cooler day, with a cardigan in the spring or fall, with a sweater over the top for a shirt and skirt kind of look, or even unbuttoned all the way down and used as a jacket. It can be dressed up with jewelry and a nice pair of heels, or it can be dressed down with mules or tennis shoes and a sweater.

 
3.jpg
4.jpg
 

On Friday morning, I put this on right away and wore it throughout the entire day to really see how it felt. I sometimes get tired of wearing dresses after a few hours and swap to a shirt and pants, but I didn’t feel the desire to do that at any point with this dress! I wore it to coffee with Aaron in the morning, through the entire workday in my studio, and then out again for dinner and drinks in the evening. I would have happily worn it on our usual evening walk, as well, but rain came along and canceled our plans.

 
 

The only con that I could find in the dress is that the fabric wrinkles a little bit, which is to be expected with cotton. I don’t mind a slightly rumpled look, but the cotton weave material would iron or steam very easily for a more professional, clean style. I also noticed that the dress stretched a small amount throughout the day (mostly at the tied waistband and the sleeve cuffs), but it was minor and would certainly shrink back after being washed. 

 
 

The shoes that I paired the Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress with are the Day Heel in natural suede, also kindly gifted to me by Everlane. I have been eyeing the Day Heel for months and months and was so excited to give this pair a try! I was really nervous about wearing such a light-colored shoe, but I’m happy to report that the pale suede held up really well throughout the day! I absolutely love the texture and look of suede, and most of my shoes are in shades of tan or brown so the lighter color really filled a hole for me. I did spill my drink on the heels on Friday night (classic), but with a little elbow grease the stain came right out and the shoes are good as new! 

 
 

I honestly haven’t worn a pair of heels in years! I’ve either worked as a barista or worked from home since 2013, so I never really saw the need to own a dressier shoe. However, in the last few months I’ve really been missing a shoe that would add instant polish to my outfit, and these fit the bill so, so well. The heel is the ideal size; it adds some height to my petite frame, but is still really easy to walk in. I’m one of those people who is driven crazy by ‘toe cleavage,’ and the toe of the Day Heel covers all of my toes no problem. I also absolutely love how easy it is to slip right into these shoes, and the loop + elastic at the back really help with that. 

 
shoe1.jpg
shoe2.jpg
shoe3.jpg
 

The Day Heel is called the Day Heel because they’re supposed to be comfortable enough to walk in all day long, despite the fact that they’re heels. I had read a few reviews suggesting that sizing up is a good idea in this style, but I stuck with my normal size (6) because I didn’t want the shoes to slip off my feet as I walked. I originally planned to wear the Day Heel all day to see if they held up to the hype, but it felt a little pointless to have them on at my desk in my studio so I didn’t stick to that. Still, I did wear them for a good number of hours, and while I found them to be mostly comfortable, I think it’ll take a few more wears to break them in for that really perfect fit. I noticed a slight hot spot on the outer ball of my right foot, but it was only minor and I’m confident that the leather will relax and mold well to my feet over the next few wears (update: I also wore these most of the day on Sunday and already felt a significant improvement. There is a break-in phase, but it’s quick and mostly painless). My biggest concern was that the shoes would slip off at the back, and while that did happen once, I really liked the way that the gathered heel area helped them stay on. It took me a few minutes to adjust to walking in heels again (I’ve been living in mules and boots for so long), but the transition was easier than I thought and I really enjoyed how lightweight the heels felt.

 
 
best1.jpg
 
 

I have a normal foot - neither wide nor narrow - and I found that these ran true to size. I wouldn’t mind a tiny bit more space in the toe area, but I think a larger size would mean that the heels would be more prone to slipping off my feet so I’m happy I stuck with my normal 6. I absolutely love the clean lines and simple, elegant style of the Day Heel, and I won’t be at all surprised if I end up adding the Pecan leather color to my wardrobe before too long.

 
 

I also wanted to briefly mention a couple of other Everlane items that I added to my closet for the summer weather and have been so impressed with! I went into this season with only a couple of sleeveless, warm-weather-appropriate tops, so I ordered the Air Cami and the Clean Silk Cami to fill that hole in my closet. I have been so happy that I added these pieces this year! 

 
 
silk1.jpg
silk4.jpg
silk2.jpg
silk3.jpg
 
 

Everlane: Clean Silk Cami | Elizabeth Suzann: Florence Pant | Everlane: Day Heel | Windblown Jewelry: Uplifted Necklace

Silk is one of my top favorite fabrics to wear, and The Clean Silk Cami is no exception to that rule. The fabric is smooth, light, and so flowy. I ordered the Grey-White color (size 0) and the double-lining really prevents even such a pale color from being sheer. I have used nude undergarments and there has been absolutely no show-through. I really love the simple design of the tank; the spaghetti straps are very delicate, and the scoop neck is elegant and chic. The cami is long enough to tuck in easily (my preferred way to style pretty much any top), but would also look really pretty un-tucked. I’ve only worn the Clean Silk Cami on the hottest days of the summer so far, but it would also look great under a blazer for work, and I’m sure I’ll layer it under cardigans to stretch it through into cooler seasons!

 
 
air1.jpg
air3.jpg
air2.jpg
air4.jpg
 
 

Everlane: Air Cami | Elizabeth Suzann: Florence Pant | Everlane: Day Heel | Windblown Jewelry: Uplifted Necklace

I have also been really happy with the Air Cami, which I ordered in black (XS). I am normally an XXS in Everlane tops, but I sometimes size up to an XS because of my bust. I think I could have gone with XXS here because it is designed to have a relaxed fit - I ended up sending it through the washer and dryer once and was really happy with the fit afterwards. The Air Cami is made out of a very light cotton that is slightly sheer, which once again makes it perfect for those unbearably hot summer days. The cotton is so soft and drapes beautifully, which makes this tank perfect for tucking in or leaving untucked. It has a curved hemline, which is a really nice detail that elevates the style! Since I ordered the cami in black, I haven’t had any issues with sheerness, but I might be a little concerned about that in a lighter color. The double-v neckline of the cami is such a fun detail; I am all about a dramatic back, and it also helps with keeping me cool! The straps are just wide enough for normal bra straps, but I prefer to wear a strapless option just so I don’t have to think about it at all.

 
 

All four of these pieces are going to be staples for my summer wardrobe and I’m so excited to continue wearing them throughout the course of the year! I hope that hearing my take on these items has been helpful and informative. I’m happy to answer any questions and would love to hear about your Everlane favorites in the comments below! 


 
 

All opinions are my own, and this post is not sponsored by Everlane. It does contain affiliate links, which gives me a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support! The Cotton Weave Collarless Shirtdress and the Day Heel were gifted to me.

 

Button-Up Three Ways


 

This is my first outfit post and I’m both excited and a little nervous to share it with you! I decided to keep things simple and classic with a button-up and several different ways I’ve been wearing mine so far this spring. 

I haven’t really enjoyed wearing button-ups in the past, for some reason, but something changed this year and now I can’t get enough of them! I absolutely love how versatile they are, and a good button-up is such a classic piece that won’t get old or go out of style. The top in these photos is the first one I got this season, and since then I’ve purchased three more button-ups to fill the gap that I had in my closet for basic, go-with-anything tops.

The button-up I chose for this post is the Box Top in Emerald Bamboo by Tradlands. I am an affiliate with Tradlands and they are the first company that reached out to work with me, so they hold a really special place in my heart! Tradlands specializes in high-quality, well-made basics that are menswear-inspired and will stand the test of time. They are a small team of four amazing women, which speaks to me even more, as I also run a small business with a very small staff! They are committed to sustainability and ethical practices, which you can read more about here.

The Box Top fits so well in my closet and definitely embodies everything that Tradlands stands for. The fit is spot-on! Tradlands uses eight buttons to eliminate gaping or poor fit in the bust which I really value. There is also a really lovely curved hem that adds so much interest to the shape of this top. Bamboo isn’t a fabric that I’ve tried before, but I’ve been so happy with it; it’s so soft and comfortable, and it drapes beautifully. I also love the rich, deep green Emerald color! I’m all about neutrals, but this top is the perfect pop of color in my wardrobe. It’s brighter and richer than anything else I own, but it’s still neutral enough that it works well with most of my bottoms and cardigans and I still feel comfortable in it! Now, let’s look at some different ways to style the Box Top.

Loose and untucked.

The first way that I styled this top is the simplest. I wanted to highlight the lovely drape of the fabric and also the unique hem! The curved hemline makes the un-tucked look so much more flattering and prevented me from feeling frumpy, even though the fit of the top is a little oversized. I paired the top with my favorite black skinny jeans and a pair of woven mules and could have been good to go. However, I chose to add a sculptural pair of statement earrings and braid my hair to add a little more interest to the simple way I styled this! I felt really artsy in this outfit, and I love how simple and easy to throw on it is! I felt put together but still casual, and the look was so comfortable. I’d wear this outfit for just about any casual occasion!

 
1.jpeg
2.jpeg
3.jpeg
4.jpeg
5.jpeg
6.jpeg

Everlane: Cigarette Jean | St. Agni: Woven Paris Mules in Almond | Shop Indio: Kelsie Earrings

 

Tucked into a skirt with a v-neck.

I wanted to get a little more creative with styling my Box top, so I tried unbuttoning the top three buttons and opening the collar, so that the lapels lay flat against my collarbone and shoulders instead of staying up around my neck. I haven’t styled button-ups this way before, and while it wouldn’t work with every neckline (i.e. a Peter Pan style collar), I really love the look with this top! The soft bamboo fabric helps the collar lie flat, and it stayed in place well while I was taking photos. For a slightly dressier and more summer-appropriate look, I paired the top with my linen Bel skirt from Elizabeth Suzann. I love the contrast of the textured flax linen with the smooth, deep green of the top! The high-waisted skirt also adds length and height to my petite figure. I opted to wear tan-colored clogs for footwear to tie in with my skirt and then added a simple, delicate gold necklace to complete the look. This is a dressier way to style the button-up, and I’d be most likely to wear it on a date with Aaron or to dinner with friends or family.

 
2.jpeg
IMG_3688 2.jpeg
3.jpeg
4.jpeg
5.jpeg
6.jpeg

Elizabeth Suzann: Bel Skirt | Bryr Clogs: Emma Closed-Toe in Bone Nubuck | Mejuri: Zodiac Necklace (gifted)

 

Tied at the waist.

My final way of styling the Box Top was also new to me, although I’ve seen many others wear their button-ups this way! I have been loving the look of button-ups being tied at the waist, and I knew this would be the perfect top to try the style out with for the first time. Because of the drape and flow of the fabric, the tie was relaxed and rested easily against my waist, rather than getting in the way or being in danger of falling out. I feel most comfortable when I’m not showing too much skin, so I intentionally kept the hemline of the top at a place where it overlapped with my waistband. I also chose to button the top buttons instead of going with more of a v-neck look, just in case the hemline did ride up and show my stomach at some point! I wanted to accentuate my waist with this look, so I paired the top with a floaty pair of silk Florence pants. Honestly, this outfit really felt like wearing pajamas even though it looks fairly dressy, which is always a win! I really wanted the beauty of each of elegant, well-made piece to speak for itself, so I finished everything off simply with my St. Agni mules and left it at that. This look could work for just about anything - it’s easily comfortable enough for running errands or working from home, but is dressy enough for dinner, drinks, or meetings!

 
1 2.jpeg
2 2.jpeg
3 2.jpeg
4 2.jpeg
5 2.jpeg
6 2.jpeg

Elizabeth Suzann: Florence Pants | St. Agni: Woven Paris Mules in Almond

 

I hope you enjoyed this post, and that you might have been encouraged to try wearing a button-up top in a new or creative way! 


All opinions are my own, and this post is not sponsored by Tradlands. It does contain an affiliate link, which gives me small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support! The Box Top in Emerald Bamboo was gifted to me, but I have also purchased items from Tradlands on my own and fully support the company and their ethics!