Fall wardrobe prep: Jackets

by thedemuremuse on August 24, 2015

It’s the last full week of August and I can’t help but think about dressing for the Fall. After doing a wardrobe clean out this season and donating over 5 bags of clothing, I decided to put myself on a clothing shopping ban for the next month. It’s pretty embarrassing to admit, but I found almost a bag’s worth full of clothing that I had purchased within the last 3 years where each piece still had tags on it or had only been worn once. Seeing this really put into perspective how wasteful I have been in the past. I used to buy a piece or two extra just to get free shipping when ordering online, and in hindsight I really shouldn’t have. Here we are a year (and then some) later and these items have been sitting in a corner collecting dust. :(

I’m trying to be better about my spending habits and making the most out of my wardrobe. I’ve put myself on a shopping ban for the last half of August and will reevaluate at the end of September. It sucks because I see all these amazing back to school sales happening right now, but at the same time, I want to make the remainder of my wardrobe that survived the closet purge work for the upcoming season.

With that said, I saved these 4 jackets (and a couple others which have also been worn on heavy repeat last year on the blog) and will be wearing these exclusively for the next season.

fall jackets 2015
1. Michael Kors dual zipper moto jacket (similar)
2. J.Crew quilted boyfriend jacket (exact, similar)
3. Calvin Klein asymmetrical zip coat (similar)
4. Michael Kors asymmetrical zip trench (similar)

All of these jackets were purchased either off-season or during an end-of-season sale in previous years. Although buying off-season means you might be off trend for upcoming seasons, the savings can be significant. For example, the quilted boyfriend jacket from J Crew was originally part of their Fall 2014 line, but I bought it at the end of the season (during a Black Friday sale) when it went on sale for over 60% off. I absolutely love the style and knew that a military-looking jacket is a hole in my closet that I needed to fill. Since I only got a chance to wear it a handful of times last Fall/Winter before it got too chilly, I’m excited to break it out of storage in the upcoming weeks!

After buying multiple faux-leather jackets from Forever 21 over the last few years that started to fall apart after a season or two’s worth of wear, I decided to splurge on a proper leather jacket. I ended up buying a similar MK moto jacket to the one above from Nordstrom Rack at the beginning of the summer. It’s awesome to find one-offs on the sale racks and I scooped this up immediately after seeing it from across the aisle. After last year’s purchase of the MK asymmetrical zip trench, I love the fit (and quality) of MK coats and will continue to look for them whenever they’re on sale.

I can only wish that pairing down the rest of my closet will be as easy as it was for the coats. Finding Fall wardrobe essentials while on a budget is totally doable, and I’ve found the easiest way to do it is to shop off-season.

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Back to school

by thedemuremuse on August 19, 2015

Hah! I wish I were going back to school… err, not really. I miss the fun aspects of school like hanging out with friends, playing video games for hours on end after class, and making cool things in our circuit labs. I recently switched wearing a messenger bag to a backpack on work days, and seeing these photos makes me look (and feel) like I’m gearing up for back to school season. I’ve been wearing this jacket almost all day, every day, because of the lightweight material and neutral earthy tone that works so well with my existing black, white, and grey palette. I am still so in love with the relaxed fit that layers so well over everything. Not to mention, it’s still on sale!

relaxed utility coat, canvas backpack

Looking back at the last time I styled this jacket, I can’t help but laugh a little because the outfit is almost identical because of the similarities in pieces in my closet. Trade out the paperbag bow pants for a pair of black skinny jeans, and the non-pocketed blouse for one with pockets, and you’ve got today’s outfit! The one thing that I wanted to do differently in today’s outfit was to accessorize better. With the simple solids and layers, I feel like the accessories are what really elevate the outfit.

loft relaxed utility coat
outfit details:
relaxed utility jacket: LOFT (exact)
blouse: H&M (old)
skinny jeans: Joe’s Jeans (similar)
backpack: Herschel Supply Co (similar)
caged booties: Hinge via Nordstrom
crystal necklace: c/o Soufeel (exact)
charm bracelet: c/o Soufeel (exact bracelet, exact charm)

DIY 925 silver charm bracelet

This necklace is quite possibly one of my favourite pieces. The shorter length means that it sits perfectly by the collar bones and is sparkly but not too loud, like most of my other statement necklaces. This charm bracelet is something else. Growing up, I missed the boat on charm bracelets (or rather, I was still in my tom boy phase and thought they were too girly), but am now growing to like them. The interchangeability of the charms gives the bracelet a while different vibe. I really liked that not only the bracelet, but also the charms from Soufeel were 925 sterling silver– perfect for someone whose skin is usually quite sensitive to metals.

I wonder if trading charms as an adult is a thing. If we were all going back to school with charm bracelets, would you trade?

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I’m pretty excited to geek out today over tech accessories! Just to be clear, this isn’t a sponsored review post. I bought this camera lens kit on my own and had a couple friends ask about the quality of the lenses, so I wanted to share my experiences snapping photos with them for the last few months. This review is for the 3-in-1 camera kit lens by Camkix, which is the budget version of the competitor brand, Olloclip (retails for $80 here).

clip-on lenses for iPhone camera

The prompt for investing in lenses for my phone started when I realized that my bus ride to work was basically a window of time I could spend editing photos on my phone and being productive. I had been shooting some product photos for a friend’s business (here, if you’re interested!) and wanted to see if I could do the whole end-to-end of photo taking to editing to posting, all via my phone. If it could work for this scoped project, I figure the same workstream/process could be applied to my own blogging process.

Originally, the Olloclip was my #1 choice because of the quality of the photos that I’ve seen on their Instagram account. My biggest hesitation with Olloclip is that I didn’t want to invest $80 in a set of lenses that were phone make/model specific. At the $80 price point, I would hope that I could easily interchange the lenses between phones since, with the way technology is being adopted and upgraded these days, I’ll be switching phones again in the next couple years and would have to invest in a new set of lenses. The downside of the interchangeability across phones is that the lenses do not play up to the strengths of each specific device, but this is a trade-off I’m willing to deal with.

universal cell phone camera lens kit

Each of the lenses screws onto a clip mount, which can be placed on either the back camera or the front-facing camera. This is awesome if you want to change the angle or field of depth for either cameras on your phones using the lenses. I’ll show you below a couple of test shots that I took with my lenses comparatively with just the naked iPhone camera.

Here’s what it looks like with the fisheye lens attached. A fisheye lens will give a “bubble” effect to your photos as it tries to capture a wider frame. I’m holding my phone at about the same arm’s length distance for both of the photos, and you can tell how much more of the background/scenery is captured with the fisheye lens than without. This is such a fun lens to play with, especially when you’re taking selfies with a larger group of friends and want to capture everyone in it. Only downside is that if you’re close to the edge of the frame, you will be distorted!

clip on fisheye lens for iphone

The second lens this kit comes with is the macro/wide angle lens. The macro lens is great for taking really close-up shots to show detailing (which I’ll show below), or extending the frame of your photos without the “bubble” effect like the fisheye. I purposely bought this kit specifically for the macro lens. As mentioned, shooting jewelry on a phone can be challenging, especially when trying to capture the details, so having this macro lens has been a huge help! I took a couple snaps of an air plant to show the difference that this lens makes. You’ll see clearly how the details pop out with the lens vs without:

trying to take macro photos with an iphone
trying to take macro photos with an iphone

As you can see above, even with the macro lens attached, the detailing is not 100% crisp, but it’s still significantly better than without the lens. I’ve been loving these little lenses and taking them with me in my pockets whenever heading out on the weekends. You never know when you’ll want to try to capture a moment on your phone and need some help with widening the frame!

The set that I purchased comes with everything you see below (one mounting clip, one macro/wide angle lens, one fisheye lens), as well as lens caps for both lenses, and a carrying pouch. The mini size of everything makes it super portable and easy to tote around. The quality of the photos are not going to be close to the quality of a DSLR, but they’re a set closer and only require having a cell phone to attach to!

universal clip-on lenses for iphone

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New goal: Running start

by thedemuremuse on August 10, 2015

With the impending doom of Seattle’s beautiful summer days slowly slipping through our fingers, I’m trying to get out and soak up as much sun and enjoy the outdoors before the rainy Fall comes pouring in. Now that the STP ride and bike training is over (more here), I’ve been trying to find other ways to stay in shape. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to bike and ride out to go thrifting every few weeks, but I will not be keeping up with those 50 mile rides on Sundays anymore. ;)

To battle my usual couch potato habits, I’m trying to make an effort to run at least twice a week after work. I know it doesn’t sound like much, but for someone who really sucks at running (and by really sucks, I mean I get winded after like 3 blocks of light jogging), this is quite the challenge!


outfit details:
tank top: H&M
sport bra: c/o Brooks (exact)
Greenlight Capri: c/o Brooks (exact)
PureCadence 4 shoes: c/o Brooks (exact)
sunglasses: Moorea Seal

This goal happened to beautifully align with getting to preview the Brooks Fall line for this year (check out the full collection here). I’ve taken the PureCadence 4 shoes out for a test run and absolutely LOVE them! As someone who has an over-pronated stride, I’ve had a lot of trouble finding supportive, but lightweight, runners in the past. My past few pairs of sneakers have been chunkier heeled (which is the price you pay for extra support), which also meant they were pretty heavy to run in. These runners are really nice and lightweight, and the bright pink makes me heart super happy!

I’m also a huge fan of these capris. They’ve got a nice compression fit to them, which I’ve learned to really love after owning compression shorts for biking. For someone who is a bit more of a wimpy athlete, I have highly favoured compression apparel because it helps with the endurance and promotes better circulation. It doesn’t hurt that these pants are also fully reversible (!!) and can be worn in a solid grey, as well as this fun striped pattern. There are also two secret pockets in the waistband, one which is big enough to fit my phone in. Whoever designed these pants really deserves an extra high-5 because I absolutely adore them!

I’m going to keep pushing myself and hope to get to the 1 mile mark of continuous running before the rain starts!

P.S. I know this post probably seems like a giant ad for Brooks, but I wasn’t asked to write it. I was offered a few pieces to try from their new collection and absolutely loved them so much that I couldn’t help but write about them. No doubt, I plan to buy new pairs of capris or tights from their new line as time goes on!

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Go with the flow

by thedemuremuse on August 5, 2015

Seattle weather: one day it feels like you’re in the highest heat of the summer, the next day it’s nothing but clouds and cool breezes. This weird wishy-washy weather makes it a bit hard to plan a wardrobe around, but it also means that I get to trial a bunch of Fall outfits early! After seeing this handkerchief top make the rounds on the style blogs this season (thank you for introducing me to my new favourite top in this post, Kendi!), I waited and waited for Anthro to put it on sale. It finally went on sale for $39.95 and I scooped it up so fast!

anthropologie maeve laiken henley
anthropologie maeve handkerchief top
outfit details:
striped handkerchief top: Anthropologie (exact, on sale!)
denim: Paige denim c/o Zappos (similar)
caged booties: Hinge via Nordstrom (similar)
messenger bag: Jack Spade (similar)
triangle necklace: c/o Masha Moon (exact)
wood watch in maple: c/o Jord (exact)

anthropologie-masha-moon
anthropologie-maeve-hankerchief2
anthropologie-jord-wood-watch

Everything about this top, from the way it drapes to the way it hides a food baby, makes me love it over and over again each time I put it on. Even though this is technically a summer top, I am getting so excited to layer this under sweaters (hello cocoon sweater on repeat?) and blazers in the upcoming months.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about my accessories and tastes in those are I get older. I’ve teetered between minimalist to statement pieces over the last few years and am slowly wavering back to the minimalist side. It used to only apply to necklaces and earrings, but I’m slowly translating this into my watches as well. There’s something really nice about distilling everything down to their core functions and admiring the beauty of the simplicity.

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