Fashion Advice: The Personal Touch

In honor of our Make Your Life Better contest I decided to give some personal style advice on the blog for the very first time!  Not long ago we received an email from Caiti, a middle school teacher in her late twenties and an Emma Approved fashion blog fan, looking for advice on updating her wardrobe.

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Her main concerns?

  • Dressing maturely for work without falling into the boring teacher cliche.
  • Celebrating her figure, and avoiding being frumpy, without being inappropriate at work
  • Shopping on a teacher’s limited budget.

I completely understand your dilemma Caiti! Making good fashion choices is often all about finding a balance while still struggling to be an individual. You want your pieces to be affordable but well made, figure flattering but appropriate for work, fun and youthful but more mature as you enter your thirties. And though you asked for some summer staples, you want pieces that you can use year round, especially on a teaching budget. So I’ve come up with a few examples, currently available in your size, to help you on your way!

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Step 4: Nobody Puts Baby in The Corner

IMG_8533 IMG_8543Dress: Lulu’s  |  Purse: Forever 21  |  Heels: ModCloth

Harriet’s latest lesson, which she has struggled with in the past and finally conquered, is avoiding social comparisons. She has informed me that she finally realizes her own worth and no longer feels that she is unequal to anyone. That the only person who decides where she belongs is her. Which Harriet says she learned from me, and I can’t be anything but proud of that. On the heels of this declaration Harriet decided to dress more womanly, sophisticated, and confident than I’ve ever seen her dress before. A real showstopper in this fitted, stretch knit, coral dress with a notched, scooped neckline and cap sleeves. It makes a statement and says she now knows her own power and isn’t afraid of it. She really showcases it with her hair swept up in a bun and adds to it with black and white, checkered pumps that indicates a woman more complicated than she might otherwise appear. Last a structured, white handbag big enough to be a briefcase because this outfit is still for work after all.

Step 4: Make Amends

IMG_8547 Ep_68Top: Color Block  |  Skirt: Darling  |  Heels: ModCloth  |  Bag: Irene’s Story – Similar here

It’s not enough to apology for your past mistakes, you must learn from them and prove to the people you’ve wronged that it will be different from now on. This requires you to handle delicate situations with care, balance, and courage. So with that in mind, I chose this artsy, sleeveless blouse with a gorgeous, multi-color abstract pattern somewhere between a stain glass window and calligraphy. It suggests care, precision, and high-minded ideals. Paired with a sophisticated and bold red-orange pencil skirt for bravery, and black and tan, peep toe platform pumps for simplicity so that there are no more misunderstandings. Finally, a pure white structured backpack to carry all your good intentions.

The Boy Is Mine – Ep: 68

Episode 68 with Harriet Smith.

See my looks from this video, here.

Enter our Make Your Life Better contest for a chance to win a $150 ModCloth gift card!

Love Advice: How to Maintain Your Identity When in a Relationship

Young romantic valentine's couple

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about couplehood. Usually before you enter a committed, monogamous love match you have a pretty good sense of who you are. Your thoughts, opinions, likes and dislikes. And when you start dating someone regularly it’s a great opportunity to discover new things, or see things through their eyes, as well as sharing your favorite pastimes in the hopes that they will appreciate them as much as you do. Like any relationship, it’s a chance to learn and grow.

But unlike friendships, couplehood carries a much greater chance of “I” becoming “We.” Seeing each other daily, living together and marriage turn you into a unit. Compromise ensues, and sooner or later you realize that you now never make a decision without taking the other person into account. While a certain amount of this is very healthy for your partnership, it can also be scary because it can make you feel like you have lost your sense of self.

Compounding that sense of loss can be the way the two of you are now automatically associated together in social or business circles. Suddenly it can feel like any statement made or opinion expressed by your partner is connected to you…even if you disagree with it! As a single, independent woman, I’ve put together a few tips on how to maintain your individuality while still growing together as a couple.

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Frank and Jane – Ep: 1-9

Episodes 1-9 with Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill.

New Beginnings

IMG_8570 IMG_8683                    Top Blouse: ModCloth  |  Bottom Sweater: ModCloth   |  Pants: Similar here                    Sandals: Similar here

Hello everyone! Meet Maddy Bates, the newest member of the Emma Approved team! Maddy is a long time member of the Highbury Partner’s Lifestyle group with her own successful business, Bates Financial Services, and Emma Approved is just one of her lucky clients. How did we become one of the lucky few? Well, knowing her since I was born might have helped. But seriously, we were in need of some help and despite having a packed schedule Maddy swooped in to save the day. Because she has the biggest, most generous heart of anyone I’ve ever met. And her fashion sense has always reflected her larger than life personality and sense of fun. Starting with this adorable, black and white, button up blouse. Worn with trim black slacks it’s completely professional in both style and fit, and covered in a pattern of tiny hearts. Because if there’s one thing Maddy understands better than finances it’s how to love. And what can top that? Just this lovely, V neck cardigan in a glowing shade of honey yellow. It’s snug fit shows off her awesome curves and the color is as happy as a sunset and welcoming as a hug. Paired with black skinnies and casual summer sandals, this sweater is prettily put on display. Maddy’s fashion sense is just one of a long list of talents I hope to learn from her in the days to come. Thank you Maddy, for being my hero, and welcome to the Emma Approved family!

That Special Glow

IMG_8697Top: ModCloth  |  Shoes: Lulu’s  |  Jeans: Similar here  |  Bag: Similar here

Who says maternity has to mean giving up your favorite stores! Not that you can’t get some gorgeous. designer maternity clothes nowadays but shopping in pregnant-lady-only stores isn’t always convenient because you can only wear them in the short term. But Annie does everything right, always, and knew that if you buy loose fit tops a few sizes up you can continue to wear them after the baby is born.  Especially while you try and lose that baby weight. Case in point, this simple and casual button up blouse with a light blue, grid pattern that gives it texture and helps distract from her baby bump. She wore it with low rise skinny jeans that goes under her belly so no elastic waist is required! Then a sturdy pair of brown strappy sandals she borrowed from me, with so many crisscrossing straps that her shifting weight is held secure and a large, roomy tote for all her pregnant lady on the town needs. From handling a friendship to expecting her first child Annie always knows just what to do, and looks beautiful doing it.

Step 3: Be Optimistic

IMG_8665 IMG_8670Dress: ModCloth  |  Shoes: Lulu’s  |  Bag: Ollie & Nic, ModCloth

Although she’s had her moments of sadness, just like any of us, I think this step is the easiest for Harriet because of her naturally positive attitude. And never let anyone say you can’t dress optimistically! This sweet, classic dress in turquoise is soothing to the eyes and flattering in fit with a structured top and full skirt. It has a complementary., burnt orange, abstract pattern that looks to me like birds in flight, suggesting uplifting spirits and the freedom to soar. Her accessories are cute and practical as though she’s preparing for a busy, productive day. Camel colored Oxford lace-up flats with cutout sides for the ultimate in comfort, and a large, structured, two toned mauve cross-body perfect for carrying important documents and anything else you might need. If Harriet were going to enter our Make Your Life Better contest this might be what she would pick. Harriet wakes up every day and dresses as though this is the day anything and everything might happen, and I think that’s a great way to get the most out of your life!

See more of Harriet’s looks on her Style Gallery.

Step 3: Learn From Mistakes, Find a Mentor

Ep_67 IMG_8748 Dress: ModCloth |  Clutch: Similar here  |  Necklace: ModCloth  |  Heels: BCBGeneration

Onwards and upwards.  Next up on the recovery to-do list is to learn from past mistakes and seek advice from those that know better.  I’ve already taken a step in the right direction by beginning my round of apologies and trying to learn as much as I can from the wonderful Maddy Bates, the newest addition to our team.  But there’s still a few more stops on this part of the ride, and as always I’ve tried to dress for the occasion.  This proper and innocent, yet still fashionable, red plaid dress harkens back to the schoolgirl look.  I hope it can bestow on me the fresh slate of being young and the studious dignity of someone trying to learn.  Added to that black platform heels for confidence, a small black clutch, and this simple pendant necklace with two arrow shaped charms.  Like cupid sending love out into the world the small arrow for the person I have been, and the large one for the person I’m trying to be.