Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015: top 10

As the end of the year nears, it is certainly a time to reflect on what has been & revel at what might be ahead. Tyler & I will be headed out to the woods to ring in the New Year, as we have for the last several years. It is such a wonderful way to reset & mindfully prepare for the fresh year ahead. This is also another way in which my 22 year old self that moved to Nashville 6 years would roll her eyes at me - funny how I used to crave crowds, late nights, & getting a little wild. We certainly plan to have some wild late nights at the cabin, but will be burning the midnight oil fueling our love of board games & dancing in the kitchen in our socks, & maybe just 1 or 2 shots of Fireball.

As I look back on 2015, I am thankful that I seem to be finding balance in my life… & in my wardrobe too. This year brought with it some of my favorite wardrobe additions & I wanted to share with you the top 10. These are all firmly in the I-should-go-ahead-and-buy-another-one-now because I love them so much! 

1. J.Crew Factory striped boatneck tee: I adore this shirt - the perfect weight of the fabric, the slightly boatneck, & the just right length. I actually do own two of these - I purchased one in XS & another in size S. I love both, but think that if I were to get a third (I'm considering it!), it would be a size Small, as it is slightly more of a tunic style. I literally wear this top with everything, & it is such a perfect piece to take on vacation because it is easily paired to create many different outfits. See all the ways I've worn this top on the blog here.

2. J.Crew Factory black & white striped button down (currently sold out in the striped pattern, but I'm hopeful the willy bring it back soon!): This was a piece I spotted & purchased on a whim, but it soon became a much loved top! I wore it here with a tweed skirt, & then again with jeans here. It has also been worn many times with my ripped black jeans (#5 on this list), & I always just feel good wearing it!

3. J.Crew Factory long white shirt: When I first purchased this shirt, I wanted to send it back, mostly because it was slightly out of my comfort zone. However, this has certainly become one of my favorite work shirts, I love dressing it up with scarves, bold jewelry, or just wearing it belted as I did in this outfit shown below. This was one of the times when going for something a little different really paid off (Yes, I am such a wild person that buying a slightly longer white shirt is my idea of living dangerously - watch out world!)

4. Michael Kors cross body bag: Well technically this was a gift (thanks mom!), but it is one of my favorite bags ever! The features I love the most: the chain strap, the perfect orangey/red color, & the padded pocket inside for electronics - that is the exact right size for taking my Kindle out with me (I love having it to read when an available moment pops up).

5. This year I discovered ripped jeans, finally shutting the running guilt trip of my mother out of my head ("I can't believe you are buying jeans with HOLES in them…"). My beloved pair of ASOS ripped black jeans (more styles on sale here) finds its way to the #5 position, but a solid runner up is the pair of  DL1961 ripped white jeans I picked up in 2015 as well. So why buy jeans with rips in them? 1. I think they are comfortable, it actually feels nice to have the wind on your knees! 2. But, I also think it just adds something extra to my outfits. I mean look at the great match up between the Lilly top & ripped white jeans below! See all the ways I've worn my black ripped jeans on the blog here & my white ripped jeans here. 

6. Chicwish black & white striped skirt: Another surprising favorite, although I shouldn't be too surprised as it is a mash up of two of my favorite things: stripes + midi skirts. See all 3 ways I've worn this skirt on the blog here.

7. J.Crew Factory Winnie pants: Ok, in full admission, I purchased my first pair of Winnie pants before this year, but in 2015 I did add another black pair, & a pair of navy (the navy ones are going to have their own special feature next week). These pants are glorified pajama bottoms that I'm allowed to wear to work, it's incredible! To me, these are the epitome of the Audrey Hepburn cropped black pants & they literally GO WITH EVERYTHING! See all the ways I've worn my Winnie pants over the years here.

8. Steve Madden black heels: This is one shoe shape that I know will be in my closet for as long as I am wearing heels. I have had the nude version for several years now (see all the ways I've worn them on the blog) & don't know what took me so long to get their black counterparts. Note - I am on my 3rd pair of this shoe style & every single one has fit me slightly different. This is definitely a pair to go into the store to purchase. I got my last pair at Dillard's & it was a great experience. 

9. Hunter boots: I just gushed about my Hunter boots in yesterday's post, but these are truly a hero piece in my closet. I wear these bad boys at least once a week to walk the dogs, or on my way to work in the rain. Maybe not the most glamourous piece I own, but one that I appreciate so very much when I need them!

10. Nisolo sandals: These shoes defined most of my summer outfits (see all the ways I've worn them on the blog here). Not only do I adore the Nisolo brand & what they are doing for conscious consumerism (more on their story here), but these sandals are pure perfection. Perfect color, perfect little ankle strap & perfectly comfortable (tested by a weekend of heavy walking in San Francisco). 

These are my 10 most loved pieces added in 2015. What were the major workhorses in your closet this year?

I'll be back on the 1st to share a 2015 wrap up post, but in the mean time, be sure to follow along on Instagram & Snapchat (username "jesshereandnow") for our weekend adventures in the woods with pugs & friends! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

freshy freshness

scarf: handmade by my lovely sister, but this one from J.Crew Factory is almost identical. 

boots: Hunter rain boots (this is the original style in a high gloss finish)

I got my first pair of Hunter rain boots when I was in college, & 10 years later they are still saving my feet when walking the dogs, or treking out & about in the rain (see how I have worn my Hunters on the blog over the years). Sadly, they recently got a small crack in the bottom, so they will have to be retired for those not-so-rainy days. But I was spoiled this Christmas with a shiny new pair! 

Nashville is still experiencing very mild temps, so bare legs are totally possible, but I added warmth to this Old Navy swing dress (previously worn in this outfit) with my shiny new boots, a DIY scarf (similar style), & this J.Crew Factory puffer vest (if you have had your eye on one, shop it now, they usually pull this style soon after the new year).

What were you most excited about unwrapping under your tree this year?

Tyler and I decided to stay in Nashville for the holidays & had a wonderfully cozy time curled up together on the couch, reflecting on what an amazing year 2015 has been! Now off to the woods to ring in the New Year! See you in 2016 folks!!

Monday, December 28, 2015

Coat Collection

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a lovely time celebrating the holidays in your own style. For the first time ever, Tyler & I decided to stay in Nashville over my Winter Break, & while it is hard to be away from family, it has been so restorative! We got to see my whole family over Thanksgiving, & we will be seeing all of Tyler's family throughout January, so for now, we are enjoying our us time!

Thank you for all the feedback on my Shopping vs. Style post. I often struggle putting my thoughts into coherent sentences & appreciate those of you who took the time to read & comment in response.

In addition, I spend a significant amount of time working on my blog, & I totally understand the drive for bloggers to make money off of their sites - in fact, bloggers that pull off sponsored posts WELL are very impressive, that is no easy feat. As a blog reader myself, I know that readers can tell when what the blogger is sharing is just for money, & greatly appreciate genuine posts that share an original outfit, styling tip, or must have product that they just can't shut up about. I write my blog like I'm talking to my girlfriends & am excited about exploring some new projects to share in 2016!

One of the topics that was a driving force for the creation of Here&Now, was the idea of curating a versatile wardrobe built around a foundation of "closet staples". If you haven't been here since the beginning, you can read more about my Closet Staples series. I also want to make this topic come back to the forefront of my blog content, so I'm putting that into practice today! Let's talk about coats.

Coats are capable of not only taking up a large footprint in your closet, but they can also eat up a large portion of your shopping budget. This is the first year where I have felt completely equipped with the coats I already have, & wanted to share the ones I consider my staples, how I purchased them while sticking to my budget, & share some similar styles if you are looking to add to your coat collection this season.

Coat 1: The Dress Coat

I can't remember exactly when I purchased this J.Crew coat, but when it first appeared on my blog in 2011 (outfit here), I listed it as being old, leading me to believe that it must have been at the end of college or beginning of my grad school years. What I do remember about this time in my life, is that my shopping budget was almost nonexistent, & this was a major purchase for me!

This is the coat I wear to complete my fancy outfits, but it isn't too crazy to render it useless during other outings. I spent a bit more on this coat so it would add polish to my nicest outfits. This coat won't be worn as much as your other coats, so I think that it is worth it to pay a little more, because it will stay looking nice for many years. If you are shopping for a "dressy coat", my recommendations are:

1. Go for an eye catching color! Since this isn't going to be your everyday coat, you won't be held back by going bold.

2. Look for tailored cuts. This coat is almost always covering dresses, & I don't need for it to accommodate bulky sweaters or layers (probably also helped by my living in the South). This coat is slim cut, & I like that when I button it, it gives me an hourglass look, with the tucked in waist detail.

3. Think about length. Too short (like a pea coat type style) & it looks like you took a jacket from a child, too long, & you come off looking like you might be naked underneath. This style falls right at the same length as most of my dresses, just a couple of inches above the knee.

original posts: 1 // 2 // 3 (coat also featured in this post)

Shop my favorite dress coat styles:

The exact style of my jacket is the J.Crew "lady day" coat (now on sale & available in 5 colors!) & J.Crew Factory also has a similar style (currently only $115). If you have your heart set on a red one (I LOVE that I chose red), this one from Guess comes in petite sizes & this ASOS one has a fun mod feel to it.

Note: many of these styles are currently on sale & the sale price is not reflected in the prices below.

Coat 2: The cocoon coat
This is one of those pieces that I never realized how much I would wear it when it was initially purchased, but this has come to be my everyday work coat. I love that I can throw it on over anything, it is warm & so far nothing any kid has tried has damaged it (the color surprisingly hides stains, including the full iced coffee that a kid spilled on me a few weeks ago).

I think a neutral color "cocoon" style coat is great for everyday use, for a few reasons:

1. The cut is generous enough to allow for bulkier under-layers (even the arms, which is pretty rare!). I have worn a tee, sweater, & down vest under this baby & not looked like I was smuggling honey hams.

2. The neutral color goes with everything, and I like that it doesn't stand out too much, allowing me to style it with many different types of accessories to get many different looks. It can be equally sporty or glam depending on the finishing touches.

original post here. See all the ways I've worn this coat here.

Shop my favorite cocoon coats:

My exact coat is still available from Chicwish, & most of the styles linked below are currently on sale (click through to see the sale prices). I just saw this style in person at Old Navy & the sherpa texture is much softer than it looks in the online photos. 

Coat 3: Faux Fur

For some reason, the faux fur coat reminds me of Audrey Hepburn, a little cheeky, always sure to draw compliments from strangers. And dang, it is cozy! 

This is the craziest of my coat recommendations, but I swear it is so fun, & yes, you CAN pull it off! If you are considering a faux fur coat in your future, take these tips with you:

1. It is easy to look like a muppet when your whole upper half is covered in faux fur. To differentiate yourself from Elmo, fit is key! You don't want to be swallowed, sleeves should be tailored, & length kept in mind.

2. If you want to wear this style often, a neutral style might be your best bet. For me, leopard is a neutral & I am always surprised by the versatility of my leopard faux fur jacket.

3. Keep your faux fur looking well loved by treating it to a dry cleaner's trip at the end of each season. Sorry, but unless you are doing spot cleaning, this is a style that will need to be taken care of professionally.

check out the original outfits: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

Shop my favorite faux fur coats:

The style most similar to mine is this leopard coat from ASOS. If I was going to pick up another faux fur coat (I would have to figure out a way to sneak it past my husband first…) would be this glam neutral number from Ann Taylor - so chic (& 60% off with code WINTER60)!

Coat 4: The Puffer Coat

This is my weekend coat. I love how warm it is, & the nylon fabric wicks all kinds of nasty things that life throws my way - especially pug hair (the bane of my existence!)

1. The main mistake you can make when purchasing a puffer coat is not getting one with a belt or some middle defining detail. A waist defining feature will take you from the Ghost Busters Marshmallow Man to a stylish lady on the go in 2 seconds flat!

2. One other thing that I didn't even realize I liked about my own coat until I saw it on other people, is the outer fabric isn't shiny. I think the flat black color makes it very polished!

Shop puffer coats:

Mine is super old from Old Navy (still a sale score that tops my list of amazing after Christmas sales prizes), but it is very similar to this J.Crew Factory style (now on sale) & I can't get over how much it looks like this $1,000 Burberry style (maybe in 20 years I can upgrade!)

What are you mainstay coats? How did you select the coats hanging in your coat closet? And tell us your tips for getting them on sale!

What are you mainstay coats? How did you select the coats hanging in your coat closet? And tell us your tips for getting them on sale!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

shopping vs. style

dress: Old Navy long sleeve swing dress (the long sleeve version of this dress I was obsessed with over the Summer)

shoes: old from DSW, but these open toed mules from Sole Society are similar & so chic!

A month or so ago I was out with a fellow blogger & she made a statement that caused me some inner-blog reflection. We were shopping & she had found the MOST adorable skirt on the clearance rack. I remarked that the skirt's fun colors/patterns would make for a really pretty blog post, but she replied that no, the skirt would most likely not be featured on the blog, because it was a clearance rack item & she wouldn't be able to link to it with Reward Style (meaning it was older, & probably wouldn't be in stock for people to purchase from her commission links)…

This stopped me in my tracks & has stayed with me over the last few weeks. Why would you not want to share an awesome skirt you found just because you couldn't make any money off of it!?

Since I started down this blogging road 5 years ago, I've seen bloggers that started their sites around the same time as me catapult to internet fame, some pulling in tens of thousands of dollars each MONTH. But along the way many of these same bloggers lost the spark that was the reason I started following them in the first place. Now, after reading some blogs I'm left with the feeling of, "I have to go out and SHOP to create that look" - which has been responsible for some feelings of envy & even inadequacy.

The feeling I want to leave people with after they read my blog is: "Wow, I want to go recreate that in my closet". I know my focus on "closet staples" has been less explicit than it was when I first started blogging, but I still firmly believe in building a strong foundational wardrobe, one that doesn't require you to go out & do massive amounts of shopping each month.

The only new piece in this post is the Old Navy swing dress that I scored on sale for $15, & will be featured in other outfits to come. The other pieces are older, & in the instance of these shoes (which I'm obsessed with), the exact style is not currently available, but I highly recommend this type of shoe & I did enjoy looking for similar styles for you. In this case, I love these shoes, they have been extremely versatile for me, & if you too want shoes like this, I've already started the search for you - linking 1 option above & some more in the shopping gallery below.

So the point? I want to stick true to my "personal style" blog's goal, while I sometimes get carried away with thoughts of "I could totes be making money off of this", at the end of the day, the part of blogging that I enjoy is sharing my outfits, & hearing comments along the lines of: "I have pieces similar to this in my closet & I can't wait to try them in this combination"…

Style doesn't mean purchasing a new item each week, I believe that the truly stylish can create unique outfits using the pieces already hanging in their closet.

What are your thoughts on this battle of the shopping blogger vs. the style blogger? What do you read blogs for? To have a personal shopper? Or to see items that you might already have, styled in a new way?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


sweater: Francesca's houndstooth sweater (super old, but Francesca's is still a great sweater destination - this faux fur collar cape is a current favorite)

skirt: J.Crew Factory pencil skirt (also loving this mod mini skirt with pocket details)

necklace: old boutique ribbon necklace

Continuing from yesterday's office to office party outfit post - this look is also something that could totally work for a day to night transformation.

One of my tricks for gussying up a pencil skirt is a belt. The belt in these pictures is actually one of my wardrobe secret weapons! It has been featured in many outfits of mine, but I've never really talked about it. But today is the day that changes!

The key to this belt's magic, is that it doesn't have any holes, & instead cinches to any size - making it the perfect finishing touch for any dresses/skirts/trousers in my closet. This magic accessory came on a dress from years ago - I don't even really remember which one it was, but I have rounded up belts that have a similar belting mechanism (relying not on holes, but on cinching).

This pencil skirt usually sits pretty low on my hips, landing the hem right at my knees, but using the belt, I like to create a "paper bag" waist, raising the hem up a little.

Another way you can take this sweater + pencil skirt look to a more glam level, is by adding a touch of {faux} leather in the shell, & a dazzling collar necklace.

Monday, December 21, 2015

office to office party

purse: Coach purse ℅ Dillard's Green Hills - 2 similar styles available now: 1 // 2

heels: These are old from Shoe Dazzle, but I found super cute glitter heels now available at Sole Society. Shop these similar styles: glitter d'orsay pumps // glitter pointed toe pumps // glitter almond toe pumps

tights: ℅ Hanes

necklace: I layered 2 old necklaces to get this look. Achieve a similar style by layering this pearl statement necklace + this sparkler!

See makeup details below.

The most annoying part about holiday work parties (except for those that limit you to 2 free drinks… are you serious!?), is the limited window of time that you have between actually being at work & then being expected to be at the event. 

Today's look in inspired by this gorgeous blue shift dress from HumbleChic.com (love the scalloped details on the sleeves & hem!). It is a perfect frock that looks great at work & transitions seamlessly for after hour celebrations.

For day, a bright coat, cozy faux fur snood, neutral purse (big enough to hold what you will need to change into for the party!) & practical (but chic!) wedges are office appropriate.

To take this look to night, I belted the dress (gives it more shape & takes the hemline up a bit), layered on blingy necklaces (layer this on top of this), threw the essentials into this monogrammed clutch & switched out the practical wedges for party ready pumps!

The final touch is make up updates. This is my day makeup routine (I LOVE all of my It Cosmetics products!), but for night events, add some glam to your face with this bronzer/blush/highlighter palette, red lipstick & glitter on your lids. I like the look of layered black eyeliner + a swipe of this glitter liner (goes on liquid, allow it to dry for 30 seconds before opening your eye) to really up the drama.

My beauty look was done in partnership with Ulta Beauty. For more holiday make-up inspiration, make sure you check out the tags #UltaTrendAlert and #StyleHunters4Ulta on social media, and follow @UltaBeauty for more tips & discounts!

HumbleChic.com has lots of party ready looks - shop my top picks below:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Shine ON

jeans: Old Navy rockstar skinny jeans (love the higher rise on this pair)

I love that the holidays are open season to wear all things shiny & metallic, with lace & sequin details an added bonus. The rest of the year most of these items are hidden in the back of our closets, only brought out during dressy occasions. But this magical time between Thanksgiving & the New Year makes everything shiny & decadent OK for the day time. 

For me this means adding special little touches of sparkle to my everyday wardrobe. I love that everything in this outfit is a truly versatile piece, things that I have already worn multiple ways, or have plotted many more outfits around. 

These golden flats are so easy to throw on, yet always bring compliments from strangers. This sweater is a big comfy cocoon, but feels so chic in its blush pink state. And this fair isle scarf is one that no one will believe you snagged for $8 at Old Navy!

How do you zest up your everyday December outfits?

Shop these exact pieces + similar items that I am loving from Old Navy lately:

This post was sponsored by Old Navy, but all reviews reflect my own opinions. Old Navy is a brand I truly love & it is a special treat to partner with them on this post!