a study in CONTRASTS »

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Ooh La La

A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La
A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La
A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La

A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La

A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La

A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La

A Study in Contrasts - Ooh La La

Do you know what’s the absolute BEST? Cute outfits that happen to be comfortable too. This skirt that I found at TJ Maxx is basically like wearing sweatpants. Except, you know, it’s a skirt. Now if only they can make tights that are equally comfy, we’ll be good to go! I bought this sweater at Old Navy less than a month ago and I’ve probably worn it 5 times since then. It’s bordering on ridiculous. But, it fits great & again, it’s that magic word, comfy. Even my boots are comfortable. I’m in a period in my life where I have zero tolerance for uncomfortableness (so not a word). Oh, speaking of boots, if you’re paying close attention up there, you may have noticed a wardrobe change. I started out with one pair of boots, the ones that I actually left the house in, and when I saw them on the back of the camera, I didn’t love them with the outfit. Isn’t it funny how you can think that something looks good in the mirror, but if you see a picture of it later, you’re all, “What was I thinking?!” So, I threw on my favorite boots & finished off the shoot with them. In all honesty, I think my simple black flats will probably look best, but the thing is, they’re so borrrring. I may like comfort, but I’ll never be a fan of boring;)

Trench – Old Navy (similar in wool & here)

Sunglasses – Target (last seen here)

Earrings – Furbish Studio (last seen here)

Sweater – Old Navy

Skirt – Max Studio (via TJ Maxx)

Mid-calf boots – Steve Madden (via TJ Maxx) – similar

Ankle boots – Target - similar (last seen here)

Lipstick – Revlon Color Burst in Wild Watermelon

Black & Gold

A Study in Contrasts - Black & Gold
A Study in Contrasts - Black & Gold
A Study in Contrasts - Black & Gold
A Study in Contrasts - Black & Gold
A Study in Contrasts - Black & Gold
A Study in Contrasts - Black & Gold

The above outfit has pretty much been one of my fall uniforms this year. I don’t always wear it with leather pants, but that sweater/skinny pant/boot combo has been a favorite for sure. I think the reason I’m loving this outfit so much is that it’s comfortable & looks cool without being too much. As much fun as it is to pull out the drama, it’s not always practical or appreciated in the midst of the cornfields.

I saw the sweater on another blog post ( I don’t remember where – sorry!) and fell in love. Imagine my delight when I clicked on the link and it turned out the sweater was on sale! Score! If you follow me on Instagram (aprilcsmith), you may have seen my post asking how to layer shirts under sweaters/sweatshirts without feeling like you’re in a straightjacket. The overwhelming response was that I’d just get used to it. I don’t do well with uncomfortable or annoying clothes, so I figured there had to be another way. I found this long, thin, floaty tank at Target & voila! Problem solved (at least for this sweater). I’ll still have to deal with being annoyed when it comes to another outfit of mine, but I think I can handle it for that one. One person did suggest wearing a tank over the button-down so as to tame the bulk & keep it from shifting around. I’ll definitely be trying that tip next time too. Thanks, Val!

Oh! One final thing. I have a hair appointment on Thursday and am dying to do something different. Of course I always want to keep it the same too. I’m thinking of cutting a few inches and maybe going darker? If anyone has any suggestions, I’d LOVE to hear them! Seriously!

Sunglasses – Komono (last seen here)

Sweater – Madewell (They’re sold out in gold, but it’s available in 4 other colors)

White Shirt – Target

Leather Pants – Topshop (Mine are from a few years ago, but these are pretty close)

Booties – Target (last seen here) – similar

Necklace – JCrew (My version is just gold with b&w tassels, but otherwise, it’s pretty much the same necklace)

Bag – It’s from TJMaxx a few years ago, sorry!

Houndstooth Jacket – Emerson Fry (old, sorry!)

Jessica - April-I love that you are so committed to expressing yourself creatively and fashionably while mothering kids and living amidst the corn. You inspire me to do the same and try new things with clothes and makeup even on days when it feels like I could just stay in my pajamas—I always feel better equipped to take on the day (and the kids) with bold lipstick and a sassy (yet comfortable) outfit. I raise my post-bedtime wine glass to you. Xoxo

The In-Between

A Study in Contrasts - The In-Between

A Study in Contrasts - The In-Between

A Study in Contrasts - The In-Between

A Study in Contrasts - The In-Between

A Study in Contrasts - The In-Between

 

 

What are your favorite seasons? Mine are most definitely fall & spring. I love that it’s not too hot & not too cold (usually). Summer just makes me cranky & winter, well, I’m still not ready to discuss winter yet. I’m in a state of denial that it’s rapidly approaching. This fall has been pretty amazing though. I was so worried that we’d just skip right over it & head straight into winter. That’s just the worst. We’ve had perfect weather, & the leaves on the trees have been so colorful. The best part is that we didn’t have one of those crazy windy days early on that come along and rip all of the leaves off before we’ve even had a chance to enjoy them. So, yeah, I’d say it’s been a good fall. I love dressing for fall SO much. Scarves & tights & cute jackets. Yes, please. This outfit is basically the epitome of fall dressing to me. Well, this & a version of this with jeans too. Some fall days do require pants, lest you end up with your dress blown over your head. As you can see, I’m still all about mixing leather, plaid & leopard. Apparently I’m becoming predictable in my old age.

Sunglasses – Armani Exchange via TJMaxx. (very old, but you know, they’re aviators, you can find them anywhere)

Earrings – JCrew (I just bought these in store 3 weeks ago, but I can’t find them online – Here’s a similar style from Stella & Dot and a pair at Bauble Bar too)

Scarf – Target in the men’s section

Jacket – Target

Dress – Zara (old) – similar from ASOS, except it’s longer, which makes it even better, honestly. This one from Topshop is the same color, but a different style. It’s really cute though. One of you needs it!

Shoes – Sam & Libby for Target (old) – similar from Macy’s

Lipstick – A mix of Revlon Color Burst in Tutti Frutti & Sweet Tart

Rock & Roll Heart

A Study in Contrasts - Leather Skirt

A Study in Contrasts - Leather Skirt

This bag was another TJMaxx score. It’s pretty much the perfect handbag. I somehow feel ladylike and bad-ass when I carry it. A Study in Contrasts defined in one simple bag.

A Study in Contrasts - Leather Skirt

So, Finn followed us outside and wanted to be in the pictures too. Despite the fact that it’s 50 degrees out and he’s only wearing pajama pants, I’d say he’s working it.

A Study in Contrasts - Leather Skirt

I’m guessing this is his Blue Steel?

A Study in Contrasts - Leather Skirt

He’s recently started taking Karate class and so he thought he’d show us a few of those moves too. I should probably just set him up on his own blog now, right?

A Study in Contrasts - Karate

So here’s the deal… I have a thing for leather clothes. As cute as my polka dot & striped skirts are, I really prefer my clothes with a little more edge to them. What makes my love of leather even more fun is the fact that clothing manufacturers have finally figured out a way to make “vegan” leather look great. It’s still not as good as the real thing, but the guilt factor (not to mention the price) is a lot lower. I used to have a pair of deep-red pleather pants & as much fun as they were to wear out to the club, they were hella uncomfortable & squeaked when I walked. Yes, squeaked. Not good. So anyway, I have pants, leggings, dresses, and now a skirt. At the end of summer, I fell in love with a pleated leather skirt at Zara, but the fit of it was just “off” for me. I scoured the internet until I found another one, which was no small feat. There were a few different pleated leather skirts out there, but they were all midi length. I’m short, so that’s just a no-go. Finally, finally, I found this one at Victoria’s Secret. In the interest of full disclosure, it’s not perfect, the zipper makes a weird bump on my hip (which you can totally see in the second picture up there), but at this point, I’ve realized that I’ve got to take what I can get. Plus, it was on sale. Score! I threw in a little more pattern mixing because, well, why not? As if a leather skirt isn’t interesting enough on it’s own, I put a leopard print belt with it. Rock on.

 

PS- I added the text at the bottom of the post this time. Thoughts? I kind of like the way it looks better, but I also kind of like having an intro to the post at the top too. Let me know what you think!

 

Sunglasses – Target

Shirt – JCPenney (on sale!)

Skirt – Victoria’s Secret (on sale!)

Belt – Target

Boots – Target (similar)

Bag – Vince Camuto via TJMaxx (similar at Vince Camuto) (similar at Target)

A Not-Fancy Backyard Get Together

A few months ago, Dustin told me that he’d like to throw a little get-together for some of his employees & co-workers. If you know me, you know I love to throw a party, so I’m all, “Hell, yeah!” Not so fast there fancy pants… He wanted me to throw a party for him, but I wasn’t allowed to “make it all fancy & decorate”. Cue the record scratch. Whaaaaat? I mean, we’ve been married for 15 years now, I’m assuming he knows me. But, considering it was his party & it was for his co-workers, I figured he knew best. He gave in and let me decorate to a certain extent because, let’s be honest, I don’t care who you are, when you show up to a party it’s always nice if it looks decent. I’m not going to lie here, I had a really hard time with this. I was more stressed out about this party than I was our vow renewal! I mean, I don’t go for “themes”, but I do need some type of creative borders to work within when I plan a party. A mood, or a style, if you will. I had no clue what to go for here. I procrastinated an unusually long amount of time (basically until the week of) & then went shopping. At this point I had a general idea & had ordered some succulents & a massive roll of kraft paper for the tables, but other than that, I was struggling. I hit up Target & Party City & bought a bunch of different styles of plates & napkins. I’m so glad I did because I was able to play around with them all once I got home to figure out what worked. Once I put these Wit & Delight plates down, I knew I had my plan. And once I have my plan? I’m on fire. I’m really, really, happy with how it all turned out. I think it looks nice, but not fancy. Masculine, but still pretty. In other words, exactly what I was going for. I just didn’t know it….

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together
A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together
A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together
A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

I had a couple of outdoor seating areas set up too. I love the idea of bringing the comfort of inside to the outside. I also really love lamps outside. I didn’t get any evening pictures, but it just adds a lot of warmth to have those lamps lit while people are mingling around.

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together
A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

The actual meal was catered by D&R, who also catered our vow renewal. Everyone raved about their food then, so I decided to go with them for this event as well. I’m smart enough to know that you don’t mess with a good thing. Especially if that good thing is food!

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

Carrot cake cupcakes from Something Blue Bakery. Their cupcakes are, no exaggeration, the best that I’ve ever had. Yes, including the famous Magnolia Bakery cupcake. SO good.

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together
A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

I’ll be honest, I’m not loving the way the bar photographed. In real life, I loved the way it looked, but it’s coming across pretty meh here. Side note… Dustin made me that table for one of our anniversaries from old scraps of our house & barn. See the doorbell there at the front of the table? Pretty great, right?

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

More Wit & Delight fun with these napkins.

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

I tried to source as much of the party as I could locally. There was actually another wine from Wildcat Creek Winery called Harvest Cranberry, but it was long gone by the time I took this picture. It was insanely good. Here’s another fun fact for you… My sister & brother-in-law have started the first commercial hops farm in Indiana (Hopknoxious Farms) and People’s Brewing actually used their hops to create a beer called Local Farmer Harvest Ale. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any in time for the party, but it’s still cool though, right? Right.

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together
A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

One fun little last minute addition that we added to the party was a Whiskey tasting bar. We’ve accumulated quite a collection of Whiskey/Scotch/Bourbon & this was a fun way to share some of them. I’m pretty sure it was a hit.

A Study in Contrasts - An Un-Fancy Backyard Get Together

Details:

Catering – D&R Market

Cupcakes – Something Blue Bakery

Tables, Chairs & Linen Rentals – Midwest Rentals

Wine – Wildcat Creek Winery

Beer – People’s Brewing Co.

White Plates & Silverware – Party City (plates link, silverware link)

Grey Plates – Wit & Delight

Cocktail Napkins – Wit & Delight

Straws – Kikkerland

Gold -Target (I can’t find it online, but I just bought it two weeks ago in store, so it should still be there)

Succulents – Amazon (Who knew?)

Terra Cotta Pots – Hobby Lobby

Gretchen Wakeman - Great Job! You ALSO photographed it beautifully. A women of many talents. And… who knew that Lafayette had a winery. When did L-Town get so “fancy”?