STYLE: PREPPY STYLE ON A BUDGET

It’s no secret that my style is classic. I love the preppy look – New England and Southern prep. My style is very much a mix of the two and I’m totally okay with that. Think Lilly Pulitzer, J.Crew, Kate Spade, Vineyard Vines, Ralph Lauren, Longchamp, Jack Rogers, Sperry, Northface…you get the picture. Wearing the brands I love has the potential to be costly, but over the years (especially my years in retail) I’ve learned some tricks that make it easy to get that bright, classic, preppy look.

I think the number one piece of advice I can give anyone looking to curate a classic and preppy wardrobe is to skip the trends and invest in the classics. It might seem daunting to drop $300 on a nice wool coat, but I promise you the investment is worth spending $300 on one timeless piece versus 15 trendy outfits that you will wear for one season. Case in point: I have four pairs of Ann Taylor black skinny pants that I bought for probably about $100 each. I’ve had them for about 8 years. They literally do not go out of style. So my point: don’t be afraid to spend a little for quality.

I also understand that the preppy brands have the potential to cost an arm and a leg, so I’m teaming up with my friend Katie from Sunshine Style to share some ideas that help you get that preppy, classic look on a budget. I’m breaking my ideas down into tricks I use when shopping and examples of wardrobe pieces you shouldn’t hesitate to invest in.

TIPS AND TRICKS

Shop the Sales

Honestly, this is how I purchase ALL of my Lilly Pulitzer and J.Crew items.  Lilly Pulitzer only has two sales a year and everything except new arrivals are usually 40-65% off.   I budget about $150 each sale and I can usually find three outfits for that amount during these mega sales.  It’s the best way to shop LP.  And to be honest, I think I’ve only bought two or three pieces at full price! 

Buy in the Off Season or End of Season

The best time to buy a winter coat? At the end of winter and beginning of spring.  Retailers are trying to make room for their spring and summer collections beginning in February, so winter outwear usually gets marked down to up to 70% off! The same goes for swimwear.  Sometimes swimwear goes on major sale at the end of summer and beginning of fall.  It might seem foolish buying pieces as the season is winding down, but you’ll save more money by planning ahead and shopping these sales. 

Shop the Outlet Stores 

I’ve purchased some of my favorite J.Crew and Kate Spade pieces from the outlet stores! J.Crew Factory is actually my go-to for 75% of my shopping purchases. Everything is always timeless and classic and the prices are much more affordable than J.Crew. And another little trick I’ve learned – sometimes Amazon, eBay, and Poshmark carry older items from brands like Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren, Vineyard Vines, Jack Rogers, etc. If you are looking for an item from a few seasons ago, sometimes these sites will have those items at a fraction of the price.

WARDROBE STAPLES FOR FALL/WINTER

The following pieces are staples in my wardrobe and I’ve learned over the years not to skimp on these.  I always invest in these pieces because I will wear them season after season and year after year.  

Skinny black pants: My go-to places are Ann Taylor and J.Crew.

Wool Coat: J.Crew and J.Crew Factory are my favorite places to shop quality wool coats.

Winter boots:  Hunter Boots, L.L. Bean, and Sperry have the best boots.  You’ll pay over $100, but they will last you for years.  I’ve heard of some people owning their L.L. Bean Duck Boots for 10 years! 

White button up: Ralph Lauren, J.Crew, and J.Crew Factory have the best white button ups.

Holiday Dress: J.Crew, Banana Republic, and Lilly Pulitzer are my go-to’s for holiday dresses.  The most important features to look for when buying a holiday dress is fit and style. You want the style to timeless and the fit to be perfect (think Audrey Hepburn or Jackie Kennedy).

Booties: Nordstrom and J.Crew have the best (and most comfortable) suede booties. 

Fleece Pullover: Vineyard Vines, Lands End, and Columbia have the best options for cozy pullovers.  (I’ll be honest though, I’m very passionate about supporting local so my pullover is from Erie and Anchor!)

Cashmere Sweater: J.Crew and J.Crew Factory have the best and most classic cashmere sweaters. Opt for colors in navy, camel, or blush pink (but also don’t be afraid to add a little color to your wardrobe).

Hopefully this post gave you some ideas and some inspiration for how to get that timeless, preppy look on a budget! And if you need more ideas, head over to Katie’s blog to read her suggestions.  


Slainte,
Shannon

STYLE: THE 9-5 EDIT, NAVY BLAZER

This past weekend we watched On the Basis of Sex and not only was the story brilliant and inspirational, but the fashion was fantastic. The outfits that Felicity Jones wears while playing the character of notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg are outstanding. One outfit in particular is the inspiration behind this month’s 9-5 Style Edit. In the very last scene of the movie, Felicity Jones is wearing a navy blue blazer with white trim and a white tee underneath (click here to see the outfit!). It’s pure perfection. I loved her look so much, I had to recreate it, changing it slightly to match the casual dress code of my job.

It’s always a good idea to invest in a blazer or two if you work in a professional or semi-professional field. Working in the PR world, I always have to look presentable, as I never know when I’ll be called upon by the media.

This navy blazer in particular is eight years old!! I bought it back in my retail working days at The Limited. It truly has stood the test of time and I think it will continue to do so. A classic navy blazer will literally never go out of style. And this one with the white trim detail adds just enough to make this classic blazer one notch preppier.

I love the look of a classic blazer over a casual tee. A white boyfriend tee with a front tuck makes this the perfect professional, yet casual look for the office. Polish it off with a belt (love the anchor detail), ballet flats, and skinny jeans (no holes please!) and you are office ready. I tend to grab my pink Longchamp or blue Kate Spade totes for a professional, put together look.

I’ve rounded up some navy blazer options below. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a quality navy blazer! J.Crew and Banana Republic have some great options, but you can also find a classic option at Old Navy too!

Navy Blazer Option 1

Navy Blazer Option 2

Navy Blazer Option 3 (great value!)

Navy Blazer Option 4 (amazing price!)

Navy Blazer Option 5 (found a Ralph Lauren on Poshmark with the white trim!)

Slainte,

Shannon

STYLE: THE 9-5 EDIT, SIDEWALK SKIRT

It’s been several months since I published a blog post from my 9-5 Edit series! With everyone working from home over the past year, this series was pushed to the wayside.  But many people (myself included) are slowly making our way back into the workforce so what better time to bring this series back to life.

Since tomorrow is officially fall, why not showcase a classic fall staple – the J.Crew Sidewalk Skirt. If you are a J.Crew shopper, you’ll recognize this skirt season after season. I have the best selling wool blend sidewalk skirt from J.Crew Factory in a gorgeous magenta. This skirt is the perfect skirt to transition from summer to fall. You can wear it in early fall with a button up shirt or sweater and flats, and as the temperatures get chillier, you can swap out the flats for tights and boots.

For this look, I styled my skirt with a sleeveless button down underneath a knit navy blue v-neck sweater and leopard flats. The perfect sixty degree day ensemble. I played around with a crisp white button up and a belt, as well as a striped crew neck sweater. You can also do a crisp button down or turtleneck with an open front cardigan. The options are endless!!

I do feel the fit of this skirt is a tad big. I’m wearing a size 2 and it’s a wee bit long for my short frame. And the elastic waistband gives you a lot of extra room, so my recommendation is to size down.

J.Crew and J.Crew Factory also offer this skirt in a summer linen version with a scalloped hem – so cute! This piece is perfect for teachers, collegiates, lawyers, my PR ladies – basically it’s the perfect skirt for everyone. It’s an easy dress up or dress down item and easily transitions from season to season. It’s a must have classic, preppy piece that should be in everyone’s closet in every color.

Slainte,

Shannon 

SHOP THE LOOK – You can always shop my looks by following me on the LiketoKnowIT App!

Sidewalk Skirt | V-neck Sweater | Leopard Flats | Pearl Earrings | Pearl Necklace | Pearl Bracelets

STYLE: FALL CLASSICS

The days are getting cooler, the evenings are getting dark earlier, and I find myself needing to grab a light sweater or cardigan in the early mornings – fall must be just on the horizon.  As sad as I am to say goodbye to summer in a few weeks, I do enjoy the cozy aspects of fall.  Think plaid, sweatshirts, red wine, OSU football, apple picking, pumpkins, yoga pants, striped sweaters, and cozy knits.  Ohio actually does fall pretty well (maybe not as good as New England), but we have a solid 3-4 weeks of gorgeous fall foliage and we try to make the most of this fleeting season every year. 

I’m excited today to be chatting about fall wardrobe classics with my favorite fellow mamas, Sarah from Cozy Little Joys and Stephanie from Linen and Littles.  The three S’s are teaming up again to share our favorite staples for fall.  

My fall look is pretty consistent with my summer look – easy and effortless. It might come across as slightly dressier though because I do wear a lot of button ups. I’m consistently inspired by the New England prep look for fall. I wish I could wear the warm/natural colors of autumn but my skin tone is just too pink so I stick with my signature blue and white aesthetic.

Below are some basic pieces that are must haves in my fall wardrobe. 

Puffer Vest: Honestly, everyone should own a puffer vest or two.  I have one in navy and I wear it all the time.  When the temperature hovers around 50 degrees, a chunky sweater with a puffer vest is the BEST.  These are so easy to layer and I even layer my vest under my puffer coat in the winter when it’s bitter cold. 

Hunter Boots: From October through April you can pretty much find me in my Hunter Boots.  These are the best fall/winter boots.  They keep your feet dry (although wear warm socks in the winter) in rain and snow.  And I just love how they look tucked into skinny jeans with an oversized knit sweater, puffer vest, and cozy knit hat.  I have these in their signature Hunter Green and black.  

Classic Striped Sweater: Everyone needs a striped sweater in classic navy and white for the fall. You can layer it with a button up underneath or a puffer vest on top – or both! It’s an easy, effortless, and always stylish addition to any fall wardrobe.

S.Lynch Knitwear Hat: If the temperature is under 55 degrees, you better believe I’m wearing a hat and the handmade knit hats from S.Lynch Knitwear are my FAVORITE.  I have three of them, that’s how great they are.  The quality is superb, the craftsmanship beautiful, and the styles are classic New England prep.  Do yourself a favor and get yourself one!! 

Classic Button Up:  I love a classic button up shirt. I wear these almost daily in the fall because they can be layered in so many different ways.  I tend to lean toward ones that are striped, gingham, or chambray – usually in shades of blue (shocker!). 

Sweater Blazer: The sweater blazer was a new addition to my closet last fall and I’m in love! I have a blush pink one and I wear it all.the.time. It’s perfect for work but it’s also equally perfect with a tee-shirt and skinny jeans. A must have for every fall wardrobe.

Plaid Scarf: This may be my Scottish heritage talking, but everyone should own a plaid scarf. Plaid is the ultimate print for autumn and you really cannot have too many plaid scarves. I’m fortunate enough to have three from Scotland, but L.L. Bean, J.Crew, and Gap always have great options. I mean, is there anything cozier that a plaid scarf and hot coffee on a crisp fall morning?!

For more classic styles, be sure to check out  Sarah (Cozy Little Joy) and Stephanie’s (Linen & Littles) fall staples!

Slainte,

Shannon 

STYLE: BEACH SWEATER

Last week on Instagram Stories I did a poll asking if you guys would rather see me style a beach sweater or striped terry top sweater.  It was incredibly close, 55% to 45% in favor of the beach sweater.  I personally was feeling the striped sweater this past weekend, so I decided to style both.  Full disclosure: there is little to no difference between how I styled these because I realized once we arrived at the beach it would be very hard for me to change! Nonetheless, I think the subtle differences create two different enough looks; and besides, “Simplicity is the key to perfection” (read that in a book and very much liked it!).

Beach Sweater 

Every classic lady needs at least one beach sweater. I enjoy this grayish-blueish sweater from Old Navy, but I also just bought this pretty sky blue one from J.Crew. I’ve actually been pairing this beach sweater over my t-shirt dresses lately, but for our beach day, I chose white cutoff denim shorts with a basic white tee underneath. This time of year the mornings are chilly so you definitely need a sweater, but I also suggest dressing in layers, hence the white tee underneath.

To finish this look, I grabbed my favorite sunhat, my classic Rayban’s, and my favorite slide sandals. Simple, classic, and timeless!

This sweater would also be cute paired with white denim jeans and a baseball cap as the days continue to get cooler.

Striped French Terry Top Sweater

A striped sweater and white denim shorts are always a perfect pairing for the beach. To switch this look up slightly, I swapped my Rayban’s for my oversized Tortoise shell sunglasses, and removed the white tee and sunhat. I also did a front tuck, which I almost always do because I think it makes wearing a sweater with shorts look less frumpy. Again, easy, simple, and classic.

I know these outfits were very similar, but hopefully one or both will provide you with some inspiration. And if ever in doubt, simplicity is the key to perfection.

Slainte,

Shannon

SHOP THIS LOOK:

Beach Sweater | Striped Terry Top | Denim Shorts | White Tee | | Rayban’s |Tortoise Shell Sunglasses| Sandals (similar)

STYLE: SUMMER BLUES

I must preface this blog post with a recap of this photoshoot and a little behind the scenes. Taking photos with a toddler in tow is always exciting and unpredictable, but this photoshoot in particular was exceptionally challenging. When we arrived down by The Docks, Rob and I both realized we forgot our wallets at home (for those not local, The Docks are a row of high end restaurants situated snugly along the Maumee River with gorgeous views of the Toledo skyline across the way). Eeeek. Not a huge deal as we were not planning to eat or shop, but a big deal if we happened to get pulled over!

Fast forward a bit and as I gave Rob the go ahead to start snapping away, three geese came out of nowhere, charging towards me! While I had geese chasing me for food, Rob realized that our camera battery was dead. Clearly we were not off to the best start! To add to the frustration, L fell and skinned her knee and we realized after 30 minutes of being out in the sun, we forgot to put sunscreen on L. Oy! Nonetheless, we continued on with the photo shoot and L had a great time running along the boardwalk. And looking back we can have a good chuckle about how imperfect this blogging world truly is.

Now onto the fun stuff! It’s that time of year where some people hold on to summer, some rush towards fall, and some try and blend the two seasons as best they can. I’m definitely feeling those summer blues and I’m more apt to hold on to summer as long as possible, but the cooler mornings and evenings means that fall is inevitably on its way. I’m finding myself reaching for my beach sweaters and button ups as an extra layer in the morning and then going back to full on summer come the afternoon. Sometimes the transition in between seasons is the most challenging to dress for, so below I’m sharing some ways that you can keep blend two seasons together.

For this outfit, I styled a three quarter length button up tunic in summer stripes (fall style with a summer print), navy chino shorts in navy (summer shorts in a fall-ish color), swapped out my sandals for tassel loafers, and kept my summer straw tote and rattan headband – it is summer after all.

For Those Team Summer

> Do keep styling your straw tote and tortoise shell sunglasses.

> Add a rattan headband or straw hat – rattan and straw are both must have styles of summer and are perfectly acceptable to style through Labor Day. 

> Keep wearing stripes! Stripes, especially blue and white ones, are the epitome of summer style.  Never stop wearing blue and white stripes.

> As long as it’s warm out, keep styling those shorts. I love to wear my shorts with a tee and layer with a beach sweater or cardigan.

For Those Team Fall

> Swap out sleeveless shirts for button up shirts.  You can roll the sleeves as the day continues to warm up. 

> My summer style is very casual and mom chic (I have to chase a toddler after all!).  To transition it slightly, I swap out my denim jean shorts for my chinos in dark navy.  

> Pair ballet flats or loafers with shorts and a three quarter length shirt.  

> Vice versa, you can style denim pants with sleeveless tops.

You can choose your color palette and accessories depending on your preference for summer or fall. Really though, the most important style tip to remember when you have two seasons colliding is to dress in layers.

Happy End of Summer and Happy Almost Fall!

Slainte,

Shannon 

SHOP THE LOOK:

Chino Shorts | Striped Button Up | Loafers | Rattan Headband | Straw Tote | Tortoise Shell Sunglasses

STYLE: FALL HEADBANDS WITH S.LYNCH KNITWEAR

With the official start of fall less than a month away, (eeeek!!) many people are starting to think about transitioning their wardrobe to fall.  Fall is actually my second favorite season, so I will embrace it in due time, but I prefer to love summer until the last possible moment.  I won’t officially break out my fall wardrobe until October, but I will start to add in subtle touches like ballet flats, leopard print accessories, and maybe a denim jacket.  

I’m thrilled that S.Lynch Knitwear designed a collection of autumn inspired headbands.  This is the perfect way for me to subtly acknowledge the end of summer and the return of fall.  The fall collection of headbands from S.Lynch Knitwear is so good.  Think purples, dark gingham, leopard, and fall florals.  These headbands are the perfect way to blend my summer wardrobe and autumn inspired colors. 

Below are two ways I’ve styled two of the new patterns from the fall collection.  Be sure to shop the new collection from S.Lynch Knitwear on Instagram when it drops this Friday, August 28 at 7:00 p.m. est. 

LEOPARD PRINT 

I paired the leopard print headband, which is a perfect neutral for fall/winter with a striped t-shirt dress, white canvas sneakers, and a classic denim jacket. The perfect amount of summer and fall mixed together. Don’t be afraid to treat leopard as a neutral and mix it with other patterns!

GINGHAM PRINT

I knew the minute I saw this print I needed it. I love gingham all year round and the deep purple makes it an easy transition into fall. I paired this headband with classic denim white shorts and a three-quarter length chambray shirt.

Are you team dress for fall or team wait until it’s official?

Slainte, 

Shannon 

STYLE: TIPS FOR A STYLISH BEACH DAY

As many people start looking forward to fall and all that comes with the crisp season (sweaters, denim jeans, plaid, pumpkins, scarves, etc.) I’m holding onto summer even more. I’m not ready to give up on these long, hot days full of sunshine, swimming, bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and jaunts to the lake. If you follow me on Instagram you will know that I’m wearing a summer dress every day (M-F) until I can’t anymore. I just love my summer wardrobe and want to be able to enjoy all my summer pieces.

We visit the Lake Erie beaches often enough that I’ve discovered what to wear and what not to wear. Below are some tips for a no fuss, stylish day at the beach.

  • Always pack a straw hat or baseball hat. It’s extra windy near the water, so a hat is a must (otherwise your hair will be a mess in your face like mine in some of these photos).
  • Choose no fuss clothing – I like to wear denim shorts and a tee (love this Salty tee from Ohio based Shore Society) or a dress that won’t billow in the wind. You can easily wear your bathing suit under both options – this provides for a stylish coverup and a quick transition into the water.
  • Keep your jewelry minimal. I wore my everyday pearl earrings and just a handful of my nautical bracelets from Allison Cole Jewelry and KJP.
  • Choose sandals or flip flops – you’ll take your shoes off as soon as you hit the sand so don’t wear anything too cumbersome like tennis shoes, flats or heels.
  • Bring a straw or canvas tote to carry your towel, book, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc.
  • And most importantly, don’t forget your sunscreen!! We were guilty of this and I ended up looking like a lobster by the end of the day – definitely don’t recommend!

None of these tips are rocket science, but I have learned that when planning a day at the beach, you want to keep it simple and easy. You are there to relax and enjoy the views. The last thing you want to worry about is how you look.

Enjoy these last couple of weeks of summer!

Slainte,

Shannon

BRAND SPOTLIGHT: MADDIE AND CONNOR CO.

I’m exceptionally excited to share this latest brand spotlight with you all! A few months ago I connected with a fellow mama, Sara Feeney, on Instagram. We quickly bonded over motherhood, classic children’s clothing, the coastal life, the list goes on. Early on, Sara mentioned a dream of hers to create her own brand of children’s clothing that was preppy and classic. Over the last couple of months, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Sara bring her dream to life. And so, without further ado, I introduce you all to Maddie & Connor Co.!

Maddie & Connor Co. offers timeless and classic clothing that captures the joy and essence of childhood. All of the styles are designed by Sara herself and her attention to detail is top notch. Think stripes, seersucker, embroidery, eyelit, and scallops. The designs are so timeless that they can be passed down from sibling to sibling, and generation to generation.

One of my favorite designs in the new collection is the Lighthouse Beach Dress. You guys know I’m a sucker for blue and white stripes so I knew right away this style would end up in Lilly’s wardrobe. The ricrac along the ruffle and hem make this dress so incredibly sweet. And the fabric is really lightweight – perfect for hot, summer days down by the water.

When I’m shopping for clothes for Lilly, I look for quality, style, and price. And Maddie and Connor Co. hit all three of these criteria. The quality is beautiful (the Lighthouse Beach Dress washes so well!!), the style is timeless and classic, and the price is completely affordable. If you are looking for a great children’s clothing brand, I highly recommend shopping Maddie and Connor Co.!

Slainte,

Shannon 

STYLE: CLASSIC POLO DRESS

The classic polo.  The polo shirt is an American staple that has been made popular by brands such as Ralph Lauren, Kiel James Patrick, Vineyard Vines, Lacoste, and Abercrombie and Fitch. 

Even before attending Miami University, the college often referred to as the “Ivy League of the Midwest” or “J.Crew U,” polo shirts were a part of my wardrobe. Although I wore less and less of them during my “fashion years,” they have re-emerged in my wardrobe in my “classic style” years.

Over the years I have found there is no wrong way to wear a polo. You can wear it all buttoned with the collar down, half buttoned with the collar down, half buttoned with the collar popped, or not buttoned with the collar down or popped. Honestly, the styles are endless. Pair a polo shirt with chino shorts, denim shorts, skinny denim pants, skinny black pants, a denim skirt, boyfriend chinos – the options are endless.

Perhaps my new favorite way to wear a polo is in dress form. The polo dress has quickly become one of my favorite styles of dresses to wear in the summer. It’s seriously SO EASY. You throw it on in the morning and you are instantly put together for the day. I love wearing these to work (when we actually go to work) because they are professional, yet casual. The polo dresses from Kiel James Patrick are my favorite for their fit and quality. These particular polo dresses are soft, lightweight, and have the perfect amount of stretch. I have it in navy and white and I plan on adding a new color to my collection each season.

If I’m opting for a dressier look with the polo dress, I opt for classic pearls, a straw tote, a chic headband, and my Jack Roger sandals. I throw a cardigan over my shoulders for the iconic preppy look (and to use if the evenings get too cool). If I’m looking for a more casual, everyday look, I opt for minimal jewels, classic sneakers, and a baseball hat. However you choose to style a polo dress, you will always come out looking classic,stylish, and put together.

You can shop this entire look by clicking on the links below!

Slainte,

Shannon 

SHOP THE LOOK

KJP Jamestown Sailor Polo Dress | Jack Rogers | KJP Sailor’s Luck Bracelet | KJP Navy Wavy Bracelet | KJP Tahiti Sail Bracelet | KJP Pearls | Draper James Straw Tote