Hi Jaclyn! I love your blog and have been following you for a while but have never asked you a question. Anyway, I was wondering if you had any advice for one-piece swimsuits that don't look frumpy and also don't have ridiculous cut outs. I have very fair skin so I'm looking for something that is practical, cute, and reasonably priced (under $100). Thanks!
I’ve got great suggestions for you, but they’re definitely on the high end of your budget (and a little bit over in a few cases :/).
J.Crew’s ruched underwire suit ($110) and striped underwire suit ($115) are amazing. They are so flattering, can be worn strapless or with straps and the underwire offers some extra support. The ruched one is slimming—the ruching helps define the waist. The stripes are great for distracting from trouble spots. I’m a big fan of the looks of this wrap tank suit too ($98). I like the deep v-neck.
If the prices make you cringe, keep an eye on their website. They offer swim sales pretty regularly through the summer. I bought both last summer at steep discounts and they are my favorite swimsuits. I can’t wait to wear them this year!
Last time I told you about Isobel’s love for Dips. We had some roast chicken the other night and Isobel was not really feeling it. She normally loves chicken. I was getting irritated (I knew she was hungry) so I finally reached a point of desperation. Dip Desperation. I went into the fridge and got the ranch dressing. I put a bit into the corner of her plate.
She smiled and looked up at me and in the creepiest, softest little voice said:
I want to talk a little more about Creepy Iz Voice. She will use it at the most random times and it’s always funny (and also weird, BUT! more funny). She lowers her voice about 5 octaves and lands somewhere in between Darth Vader and Christian Bale’s Batman voice.
Examples of where this has been used:
"Hi Isobel!" "HI.”
[Doc Mcstuffins Theme Song] “The doc is…IN.”
"See ya! BYE.”
I don’t know where this came from, but I like it. I hope it sticks around for a while.
Iz has started saying “I love you” unprompted more often. She says it back to Brandon more though. I’m bitter about it.
The other night we were getting her ready for bed and I was going to put her down. I had her in jammies with her blanket and her book ready. Brandon says, “I love you Isobel!” to her. She says, “I love you. Dada.” He looks gleeful. I try to capitalize on this sweet moment by making it all about me.
Hey Jaclyn! I'm a such a big fan of your blog and I have a question for you! I'll be working at a PR firm over the summer, and I'm pretty much working from the ground up in starting a work wear wardrobe that is summer appropriate. The dress code is conservative with very casual fridays. I'm 20, so I'm always walking the thin line of dressing too young or looking like I'm going for something too mature. Do you have any ideas? Thanks so much! :)
Hey! I definitely get your dilemma. I think your best bet (especially considering you’ll be working over the summer) is to focus on basic, well-tailored shift dresses that are appropriate for a conservative office. You can wear a blazer/sweater over them at work (or just do what I used to do—keep a few neutral cardigans and a black jacket in an office closet) and a dress will be cool and comfortable for commuting or going out after work.
LOFT is a great spot for you to pick up work separates or dresses since they run sales all the time. Look for things you might be able to integrate to your everyday wardrobe. This crepe open jacket ($98, 40% off with code 4PEEPS) is the perfect layer for dresses or blouses, but you can wear it on the weekend with a basic tee, jeans and flats too. I am in love with this ivory textured jacket too ($98, 40% off with code 4PEEPS).
Use your accessories to keep your look younger and more modern. A lightweight scarf in the office looks nice (and can help keep you warm if the office has overactive A/C). Doublecheck the office policy on shoes. Some conservative offices frown upon open-toed shoes. If they do allow toe action, a pair of mid-height wedges is nice for summer ($90 from Nine West). Watch out for shoes with heels above 3” and make sure you take a pair of comfortable flats along with you. If you’re interning (I’m not sure if you are!), you may have to run a lot of errands and doing that in heels is zero fun. ZERO fun. Be prepared! Anyway, try ZARA for affordable heels that aren’t too high—like these slingback kitten heels ($60) or these medium heel court shoes ($60). Jewelry is another way to add a bit of individuality to your outfit, but don’t go too crazy. I’m not generally a big fan of statement necklaces or big earrings at work (they look too youthful), but be creative with bracelets. This cuff from Baublebar ($38) would look great with a white buttondown blouse and a pencil skirt. This one ($28) is pretty too.
I hope this gives you a place to start looking! Have fun and good luck! You’ll do great.
Hey there. I just got my first package from fabletics and I loved what I got. Have you ever ordered any of the bootcut pants? I'm 5'11 and usually a 34" inseam and was wondering if they were long enough on you. Thanks!
Yes! I got one pair and they were about 5 inches too short. :/ The “tall” inseam on their bootcut pants is just 33”! They’re even too short on the model. (A dead giveaway.) If you’re looking for some bootcut yoga pants that will be plenty long, you have to try Aerie’s pants (on sale for $25!). The longs fit me perfectly.
Is it just me, or is Fabletics drunk? The few things I have from them I like, but it seems like the new items they're releasing are mostly focused on being "unusual" and "unique" rather than, you know, what women actually want to wear while working out or slugging around.
Yeah, April’s Fabletics release was by far the weakest I’ve seen. I hope they were just focusing on their new extended inseams and that’s why they had so few other good products. The prints were really ugly and the colors kind of strange (so much orange, why?!).
If I could give them some advice, here’s what I would say:
Always have basic workout attire in stock in all sizes in black and white—at least. This includes full-length leggings, crops, a basic tank without a shelf bra, a basic tank with a shelf bra and a hoodie or jacket. These are items they should always carry in every single size. I don’t see any reason why they couldn’t or wouldn’t do this.
Bring back best-sellers or stop using old, long since sold out pieces in marketing materials or on social media. They posted this on their Instagram a few days. This is completely baffling to me. Why even mention the leggings? They’re not available! Or this banner image, right on their homepage. I don’t think any of these items are available any longer. A few of the tops pictured are some of my favorite shirts I own—period!—so I’d like to see them come back.
Their initial releases were a lot less fussy. Recent designs have been way more trendy and, in some cases, bizarre. A transparent vest? A HOODED CAPE? Stop it right now, Kate Hudson.
Some months are stronger for slugwear and other months are stronger for actual athleticwear. They need to work on striking a better balance between the two. I’d like to see a better tank with a shelf bra or just a better, longer, higher-quality basic tank. The fabric quality on athletic tanks/tops seems to be a little off. I’m still off Lululemon, but their Cool Racerbacks or Power Y tanks can run circles around some of the fabrics Fabletics got their hands on. (I’m not a big Fabletics Embra tank fan.)
With all that being said, I was thinking I wouldn’t place an April order because I felt so meh about their options, but I ended up getting several pairs of their shorts and am REALLY happy with the fit and compression.
Basically, I’ve got my eye on you, Fabletics. Don’t let me down. Don’t make me quit you like I did with Ellie.
Long time listener, first time caller! The old high-waisted legging jeans / skinny jeans i wore have been discontinued and I'm on the lookout for new wardrobe staple to buy in multiple washes (a summer light blue and a true blue to start). Any ideas on where to look for moderately priced ones? (Note: I have declared Uniqlo Ultra Stretch a FAIL after wearing them a handful of times caused the waist to stretch 2 - if note 3 - sizes). :(
There are two brands that make my favorite high-waist denim:
AE’s High-Rise Jegging - This lighter wash is on sale for $25 and this darker one is $50. They are so comfortable and flattering and are available in different inseams (yay!). They’re stretchy, but don’t stretch out too much with only 1% Spandex. The high-rise skinny jeans are good too and are just $40.
H&M’s High-Waist Denim - I bought a pair of high waisted black skinny jeans from H&M in college and I still wear the damn things. They are my favorite pair of black pants. They’re on sale right now for $12 (from $40) sooooo I’d encourage you to try them. I love this pair with rips too ($40).
Needless to say, the sisterhood was not sated. Feminist website Jezebel asked why “the solution is to make girls cover up instead of … teaching boys to not be gross sexist pigs?” This echoed Dockterman’s complaint that “we tell women to cover themselves … but we neglect to tell the boys to look at something else.”
Let’s remember, we are talking about 13-year-old boys. Adult women have transformed children into monsters merely for finding the contours of a girl’s body attractive. The only people being shamed here are the boys. Their crime is being human.
This isn’t the first time pants created controversy. In 2013, Kenilworth Junior High School in Petaluma, Calif., banned “too tight" pants. According to a local news report, a mother wore skinny jeans in solidarity with her daughter declaring, “Boys need to be taught to respect women no matter what they’re wearing.” But a boy noticing a girl in body-hugging pants is not disrespectful. Nor is it something he needs to — or can — unlearn.
"The only people being shamed here are the boys."
These poor teenage boys! They must be suffering so, having their hormonal sexuality bandied about. Their shame must be acute. How embarrassing for them to have the distraction of teenage female bodies at every turn, taunting them, baiting them, with their inappropriately revealing clothing.
Forgive me—it’s been a long time since I was in high school—but I think the missing item here is the heterosexual teenage girl and her developing sexuality. When I was 15, 16, 17, what of the good-looking, sweaty basketball players coming off the court in their sleeveless jerseys? I remember fondly watching members of the baseball team come to class in their uniforms before or after games (“his ass looks good”)—and how dare they? Honestly—distracting me from my studies with their tight pants, quick grins, pinstripe-adorned asses. And then there were the shirt sleeves, wrapped tightly around muscular arms that reached down to pick up the book I dropped. It must have been too much for me to handle. All of these boys—everywhere—wearing things.
So, yes, let’s protect the teenage girls from the prying eyes of the teenage male. Because certainly, almost certainly, she never looks back at him! As women, we keep our heads down, focused on our studies. We are free of distractions, because who are we to objectify the male sex? It’s preposterous. It’s unthinkable.
Almost as unthinkable as a school making arbitrary decisions about a growing female body—saying, for example, that she is more desirable and thus unprotected in leggings than in skinny jeans. So desirable, in fact, that a teacher (perhaps a male teacher) may have to approach her, evaluate just how desirable she may be and then send her somewhere to change into something that makes her less attractive. Let’s protect her, they must say. Let’s ensure that the unpredictable, uncontrollable male does not get distracted from his studies. He will not always have our protection—he may one day actually see a woman in a short skirt, unbelievable!—but for now, we will guard his sexuality for him because our culture says he is unable to do it or learn how to do it himself.
It’s important to help educate teenage boys about sex and their own sexuality, but shielding them from leggings does not seem to be the most productive method of doing so. Instead of pretending that their sex drive does not exist outside of seeing a girl in leggings, why don’t we teach them about wearing condoms? Or why don’t we teach them that women do not exist solely for the pleasure of your sexual advances or interest, regardless of whether you find their clothes attractive or not? And we could take that a step further—that a woman interested in you does not necessarily mean that she is a woman who will have sex with you. And that’s okay. And they can learn to hear “no” without ignoring it, pretending like they didn’t hear it, going ahead with it anyway because she was wearing leggings, and don’t girls with leggings want to have sex? With anyone? With everyone? They might think: “My school said the girls who wore tight pants were the bad girls, the sexy girls. The ones who wanted to have sex. Now I’m older, stronger. There’s no dress code in college or at bars or at the beach. I’m distracted now and no one has educated me on how to behave if I am. So I guess I’ll go for it, right? She looks like she might want it.”
I live in sundresses all summer, I'm looking to buy a few cheaper ones but I'm not seeing a lot out there right now. Usually H&M or Target have great options at great prices but maybe they're not out yet? I'd love to see which ones you're finding these days! My daughter will be 9 months by summer so no more shorty short dresses for this mom, but I'd still love to wear cute dresses. Thanks!
Those are my two favorite spots for cheap sundresses too! Unfortunately Target has been letting me down the past few months. Their winter stuff was not so great and I’m feeling pretty meh about their current clothes too. Anyway, I did a bit of looking and found some cute sundresses from various spots—all under $50!
Hi Jaclyn! I am returning to work full time after 3 years off of traveling, freelancing and maternity leave. I'm sure you can imagine the state of my wardrobe. I need some great quality basics to get me back into the 9-5 groove. The office dress code allows for jeans and more casual wear. I am 5'11 and have always struggled finding blouses and bottoms that work for me. I also really struggle with building a versatile wardrobe with pieces that can be recombined effectively. Any pointers?
Love this question!
My ultimate versatile wardrobe tip is to decide ahead of time whether you’d prefer:
Neutral clothes with occasional pops of color as accents or…
Clothes in various complimentary colors and use neutral accessories to tie them together.
I follow the first method. I buy mostly neutral clothes and shy away from prints (unless they are stripes which don’t exactly count as a print) and then use prints/color very occasionally in items like scarves, coats, shoes, etc.
If that sounds like it will work for you too, start keeping an eye out for minimal basics in colors like black (OBVIOUSLY), white, off-white, taupe, gray, camel and navy. The same thing goes for denim: blue denim, black denim, white denim. Look for trousers or ponte pants in black or gray.
Let’s break this down a little more:
Denim: Jeans have come a long way and you don’t have to buy expensive jeans for them to look tailored and high quality. Since you’re tall, I’ll recommend some of my favorite spots. Don’t overlook AE just because you might have bought a hoodie there in high school or college or whenever. They have really fantastic denim at crazy-low prices. Their high-rise jeggings (like this, $35) are so comfortable and keep everything tucked up and in. They also come in long inseams and that is great. I’ve had great luck with Gap and Old Navy jeans of late. Don’t bother looking in the store—they often don’t carry the tall inseams and you’ll probably want them. The Gap 1969 line is especially good and these—a medium wash for $70—could be worn with almost anything. For black jeans, try Old Navy’s The Rockstar for $35. They’re a little stretchy and quite long if you buy them in the tall inseam.
Trousers/Ponte Pants: Since you work in a casual office, I think you can put conservative work trousers on hold for a bit and just look for straight or skinny ponte pants. J.Crew’s tall Pixie pant($98) is a fantastic investment piece for you. You’ll wear them all the time. If $98 gives you an ulcer, check out Target’s ponte options. I have a few and am so happy with them. This pair is just $28! Watch for sales from LOFT too. Lots of ponte options, like these tall ponte pants for $45.
Blouses/Tops: I usually keep things pretty standard on the bottom (basic denim, black pants, whatever) but experiment with more trendy pieces on top. (By more trendy, I mean I wore peplum this year so take that with a grain of salt.) ZARA has some really fantastic blouses if you can look past all the nonsense crop tops. The prices are great too. This v-neck top ($60) is perfect for wearing with jeans or ponte pants and ballet flats or pumps. This oversize poplin blouse ($60) is long enough to be tucked in or worn as-is with a jacket or sweater. J.Crew Factory is a fantastic source for inexpensive, pretty tops and blouses too. This striped ponte peplum blouse ($44.50) would look great with a black or camel jacket. Their Charley sweaters are the Factory version of J.Crew Tippis. This neon one ($43) in pink would be a pretty color to spice up your denim or basic black pants/pencil skirt. Watch for J.Crew sales too. This matte crepe tee ($70) is the PERFECT basic short-sleeved work blouse. This silk sweatshirt top in ivory ($130) is something you could wear over and over again. It would dress up jeans or look chic with gray pants. Basically look for neutral colored tops in fabrics that you can dress up or down (silk, wool, poplin, crepe or viscose/another synthetic that mimics those fabrics). If you’re like me, it can be hard finding blouses with sleeves that are long enough (J.Crew is a chronic offender) so buy tall versions if you can, or simply get tops that have 3/4th length sleeves or sleeves that can be rolled.
Dresses/Skirts: To be honest, if your office is casual, you probably won’t be wearing pencil skirts very often so maybe get one or two (black and gray or black and a light-colored linen blend) just in case. Dresses are a better option and they’re easier for getting ready in the morning too. With skirts you have to figure out a top that will go with it and then make sure it tucks in properly (if it’s supposed to tuck in) and then you have to find shoes that work with the whole thing and maybe add a cardigan or a jacket so it looks finished and frankly, no. That’s too much work for me. The right dress is a complete outfit—just add shoes. Since you’re in a casual office, I assume you don’t want to wear too stuffy a dress so I’d look for jersey dresses in neutral colors. This gray one from Topshop ($58) is midi-length and could be worn with sandals for a more casual look or pumps if you want to dress up more. This midi-length black dress is just $50! You could style it a million ways: with a moto jacket, with a scarf, with wedges in the summer, with ankle boots. Tons of ways to wear it. This crepe shift dress from Wayf is just $58—so cute. A shirt dress is another great idea for you. It’s right between casual and dressy. Boden’s shirtdress ($128) is so pretty. I like their ponte dress too ($128).
Once you have a few of these key items, you can mix and match them really easily. A few colorful scarves—maybe cobalt, yellow, coral?—will look amazing set off against a neutral outfit. Because the clothes are so versatile, you can almost wear any shoe you want in any color you feel like. Flats, wedges, pumps, ankle boots—they can be worn interchangeably with almost everything I’ve listed here. The best thing about the items above are that they’re perfect for cross-season dressing. Add tights or leggings/boots for winter with the dresses. Throw a cardigan over the striped peplum tank in the fall. Wear jeans with flats or sandals during the summer and with tall boots or ankle boots in the winter. Simple clothes = less time to get ready and less time adjusting to seasonal wardrobe changes. Another great thing is that you can repeat items more often and no one is the wiser. You can’t wear a loud, obvious printed blouse to the office 3 times in one week (well, you could, but you know what I mean), but you could absolutely wear a basic jersey shift dress 3 out of 5 days. Wear it one day with a jacket and ankle boots. Wear it another day with a belt, a long necklace and pumps. Wear it another day with a scarf and wedges.
I’d suggest going in your closet and taking a look at what you know does not work for you and getting rid of it so that you can make a list and fill in the gaps with things that can be worn with multiple other items. It’s worth spending a bit more money on minimal items that you’ll wear over and over again, but you don’t HAVE to spend tons of money to find things that are flattering and good quality. Just be willing to do lots of returns! (Especially if you’re shopping online.)
Also check out these other similar posts I’ve done:
Hi Jaclyn! I am looking for a casual and/or simple white dress for my wedding ceremony in the courthouse. I am still trying to lose baby weight, so definitely looking for something that could cover problem areas. Thanks!! :)
I found lots of dress options for you—some are short, a few are long—and I hope that one of these works for you. :)
If you wanted something more boho-chic, this For Love and Lemons dress ($195) has gorgeous lace on the sleeves and on the hem. It’s a flowy style so you don’t need to worry about the problem areas! Another similar dress is this one on sale for $50 (from $168) from Free People.
I don’t know if you’ve thought of renting one, but RTR has a few dresses that caught my eye! This Shoshanna ($45) has a peplum and peplums are GREAT for disguising postpartum problem areas. If you were leaning toward a long dress, this Erin by Erin Fetherston one isn’t too stuffy or fancy ($100). This Tibi dress is just $40 and is very sweet and pretty. Last—this Vera Wang dress ($128) is made of cotton canvas so it’s heavy enough to disguise bumps and smooth over any areas you might feel uncomfortable about. I love the structured skirt.
Have a great wedding day and enjoy all these exciting things happening in your life! xo
Hi Jaclyn. Looking for some advice on work bags/totes. I travel extensively for work and am looking for a work bag that has a laptop sleeve/pocket and can hold a bunch of other travel essentials (snacks, folders, small toiletry bag. So bigger than a traditional laptop bag). I'm having trouble finding something that doesn't look like a regular old laptop bag, because I'd like this to be fashionable enough to use on the weekends as well. Would prefer to have a crossbody strap too. Thanks so much!
This was trickier than I thought it would be! It’s getting harder to find bags with built-in laptop sleeves (WHICH IS ANNOYING) but I think I found some that you might like. (A few have crossbody straps too.)
Herschel Supply’s duffle ($70) is one of the more affordable bags I found. It has a laptop sleeve and looks pretty roomy inside.
Banana Republic actually has a really good laptop tote ($165) that includes a cushioned sleeve area for a laptop. I don’t know if it’s large enough for you and it doesn’t have a crossbody strap, but wanted to include it.
Hex’s laptop duffel ($100) and tote ($80) both have laptop sleeves. I love that they have water-resistant coating too.
Yesterday Isobel was in a terrible mood when I picked her up. None of the kids had napped well and just as I arrived, she and another girl were sprinting and slammed face first into each other. I anticipated a really teary ride home and sure enough, as soon as I buckled her in, she started doing a half-cry/half-whine. At a stop light, I reached back to grab her hand. I’ve noticed she will calm down more easily if I hold her hand and rub the back of it. She did calm down and then she saw a bird and a truck and all was well…until I tried to take my hand away.
"HANDS. I have hands?"
I reached back and she grabbed my hand again. I waited until she saw something else to distract her and tried to take my hand back.
I snaked my arm back around again. She gripped it tightly. I had to drive the whole way home holding her hand.
It’s nice to have someone holding your hand at the end of a rough Monday. I get it.
Dips are the bane of my existence. Isobel wants something dippable with every single meal. She loves a dip. If she does not have a dip, she will find something that will work as a dip. If I am eating something that resembles a dip and she does not have any, she will get very angry.
We ordered pizza over the weekend and I got my usual mixing bowl-sized salad and we were all watching Doc McStuffins, chomping away, and Isobel realized I had something different.
She leans over to look at my bowl.
I freeze. There is horror. She thinks my salad and the dressing is one giant dip. She does not have this dip. She has pizza. Wait a second! She has pizza. Why would she want my salad when she has pizza? Please don’t let her want my salad. I want this salad. She will eat all the feta and leave none for me. MY SALAD.
"DIPS?" She holds out the crust of her pizza toward my bowl. She wants to dip her crust into my salad dressing. I oblige. She dips the crust, eats it happily. Then she notices my salad contains…
"That one? That one?" She points at my olives. I scoop them out onto her plate. Then she wants my fork. I hand it over. She peers at my bowl, seeing what other delicious tidbits may be contained in this Bowl of Dips and she then decides to sample everything. She’s got the fork, after all. She spears lettuce, tomato, olives, feta.
"Mmmmmm!" She says, triumphant. "Dips!"
"Can I have some?" I ask.
She hands me her half-gnawed slice of pizza.
When I dropped Iz off at daycare the other day, one of the teachers told me I had to see something. She goes over to the classroom iPod player thing and puts on What Does the Fox Say. Now, remember—it is about 7:50 AM. The other kids in the classroom are sitting at the table and eating breakfast. But when that song comes on, Isobel completely freaks.
She starts feeling the music in a way that I haven’t seen since the Let It Go from Frozen/MAMA’S A BUTTERFLY fiasco. She’s throwing herself around the room. She’s jumping. She’s doing interpretive dance. Hand motions, hair flips. And she’s singing the lyrics.
The other kids are still eating. Isobel is launching herself into the air yelling, “WAPAPOW POW POW.”
She takes a break from singing to focus on her dance moves, and then at the “your fur is red, so beautiful, like an—” part, she screams—at the top of her lungs—ANGEL IN DISGUISE.
We recently weaned Isobel off the paci. It was overdue but we had still let her use it for naps and at night. Then she started getting very territorial (Milo stole it once and she ran after him shrieking, “MIWO A PACI MIWO A PACI NO MIWO NO”) and we knew it was time.
Our pediatrician had told us that the best way he’s found is to snip the ends of the paci and then cut it shorter and shorter until the kid realizes it’s basically useless and they forget about it. “It usually takes two or three days,” he said.
Two or three days MY ASS.
Anyway, we snipped paci on Day One. It wasn’t a very big snip, but I gave it to her right before bed and said, “Uh oh, it looks like paci is getting yucky!”
She put it in her mouth and clenched it between her teeth. The next morning, it was still clenched.
Holy shit, I thought, she’s not playing around.
We snipped it shorter that night—short enough that she couldn’t really hold it between her teeth. I gave it to her at bed. “Paci looks yucky,” I said. She took it and tried to make it work. She tried off to the side, then the other side, then clenched. She took it out and handed it to me. “Paci yucky.” She looks around her room. “Where’s a paci?”
"Here it is," I said. I handed her back the same one. She pushes my hand away.
"Nooooooooo. Noooooooo. Paci, paci, paci."
I put her to bed. Predictably, she screamed. Angrily. It wasn’t crying. I doubt there were even tears. That lasted about 10 minutes. At first we were horrified and tense (we haven’t had to deal with crying at bedtime in a long, long time), but as it kept going, we couldn’t help it. We’re going to hell for this, but we both started laughing. It was a full-on temper scream. If she had known to curse, she would have been saying:
"FUCK YOU ALLLLLLLL I’LL GET YOU FOR THIS"
That’s basically what she was saying, except just screams. And then she’d talk to herself and walk around a bit and come back to the door and remind us about how we’d just ruined her life.
The next few nights were less…angry, but she remembered paci. At every turn, “Paci? Paci yucky.” It’s like she was testing us. Is paci REALLY yucky? Are you SURE? Because I remember a time when paci was not yucky. Do you? Do you remember?
It’s now been about two weeks.
She’s doing really good, but she still talks about it. First thing in the morning. “Paci yucky.” As we get her into the car, “Paci yucky.”
A few days ago she started saying this weird thing.
"What color is paci? Blue."
I heard her say it at least a dozen times. I told Brandon about it.
I was 99% convinced she had a blue paci hidden somewhere in her room. I wanted to train Milo to be a Paci Sniffer dog. I told Brandon that this is what parents must feel like hunting for weed in the back of smelly teenage closets. Where’s the damn paci, Isobel? I TOLD YOU NOT TO HANG OUT WITH THE KIDS WHO HAVE PACIS. Anyway, I scoured her crib area. I looked in her drawers, her dollhouse, her kitchen. I checked under her changing table and in the corners of the chair.
Then I spotted the bedside table. Could it really be that easy? I opened the top drawer.
Hey Jaclyn! I love your blog and am so hoping you can help me. I am looking for one dress to wear to both my masters graduation under my gown and to a destination wedding in Punta Cana in June. I'm looking to spend under 100 on it. My style is pretty boring haha I usually wear all j crew and a fun necklace. I have a very hourglass figure and I'm tall so I'm having trouble finding something flattering. You are always on point with your style so I hope you can help me! Thank you!!!
Revolve Clothing is another spot I checked. Since you need something that works for a more formal event and for a more fun event, I tried to find dresses that could look great for both. This minimal Bailey 44 dress ($77 from $160) has a subtle peplum. I love this Kain dress ($98 from $140). The length is appropriate for a graduation ceremony. If you want something brighter, this pink MM Couture dress has a flattering shape ($58). This Eight Sixty dress might be a bit short, but I love the basic shift shape and the bright color (it’s $88). So easy to dress up or down.
I’ve organized the following by dress length. (Here is how to tell if a maxi dress will be long enough for you.) I’m exactly 6’ and prefer maxi dresses AT LEAST 61”, though 62”+ is even better. These measurements should take into account the shoes you wear. I usually wear sandals or flats with maxi dresses.
(The brands listed usually make their maxi dresses in a standard length, so feel free to search a particular brand/retailer below for more options if the one listed doesn’t strike your fancy.)
60” INCHES - (Will fit those approximately 5’9”-5’11”)
I’ve had good luck with Target maxi dresses in the past, but it’s best to try them on in person if you can. (Or just know that you might have to return!) Some styles run longer than others. (I’ve also had to size up to get enough length.)
From one tall girl to another, where can I find basic, cheap tee shirts that are long enough in the torso? Target's tees are a little too short after washing. Old Navy and Gap long tees are great size-wise, but the colors and styles are lacking right now. Other suggestions? I love scoop necks (which I can rarely find recently) and v-necks, and I prefer earth tones (impossible to find the last year or so), plus gray and black (OBVI), although I have WAY too many of the latter already.
One of my all-time favorite topics! (Next to leggings.)
The secret to finding good tees at Gap is staying away from their regular tshirt selection and buying from the GapFit or Pure lines. I have this GapFit slub tee ($24.95) and wear it constantly. This one looks good too ($27), though reviews say it runs large. The GapFit Breathe v-necks are GREAT ($25). The Pure Body v-neck tee (just $17!) is a standard wardrobe must-have for me. They run nice and long.
If you want something a bit more slouchy to wear with leggings, Georgie posted about these oversized tees ($16) from Boohoo a while back and I bought several. I wear them a lot. They look especially good with a jacket.
Target’s drapey tunic tee from last year ($15) was AMAZING but they don’t have many left. Have you seen the new linen drapey v-neck (colors, neutrals) and scoop neck tees? They’re $12 each. They’re similar, but I think they’re cut even longer. I’ve found with Target tees that washing in cold water and letting them air dry—then fluffing if the fabric gets too stiff—is the best way to avoid shrinkage.
H&M is another favorite spot for basic tees. The prices are insane and the jersey tees are similar to other overpriced jersey tees (from LnA, Monrow, etc.). I have the pocket version (just $8) and like it. This linen-blend one ($25) looks really nice.
I’ve had good luck in the past with Aerie’s tshirts too. They tend to be a little sheer, so know that going in. But the fabric is always super soft and the styles are flattering.
I got a few tees from ZARA last summer that I loved. This tee ($35) looks similar.
Hi Jaclyn! Love your blog and your style. Hoping you can help me: for the past few summers, I have worn and loved this basic black maxi dress from Brandy Melville. It wasn't flowy or billowy like a lot of maxi dresses, but it also wasn't a body-con dress and didn't clung to my curves in an unflattering way. It has finally bit the dust and I am desperately seeking a replacement. Any advice? Thank you!
Yes! I bought Michael Lauren’s Edison dress ($79) on Revolve Clothing last year and love it so much. It’s exactly like what you were describing you wanted. It’s out of stock right now, but looks like they’re restocking somewhere around April 5.
Hello. We had a baby a few months ago. Do you have any suggestions for books about keeping the marriage on track after a baby? Also, can you keep the name anonymous? My husband is very private. Thanks!!
I wish I had more for you. I wish I could list 10 books that helped but I can’t. I can give you just one really good recommendation: All Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior. (My review is here.) The portions about why couples can fracture post-baby was the first time I read anything that mirrored my own feelings and experiences.
(I’m going to go off on a tangent here for a second so feel free to skip.)
I’m always careful to toe the line between privacy and openness here on my blog and this post is no exception. Marriage dynamics post-baby are very tricky. I think that’s why no one talks about it. Well, almost no one. You see a million “DH is a deadbeat, I’m divorcing him tomorrow!!!!” posts on mom message boards (Babycenter, ahem). But if you look to other online communities—Instagram, Facebook, whatever—you’ll hardly ever see anyone write anything of substance about marriage post-baby. And you’ll never, ever see a prominent mom blogger discuss it unless they mention it briefly and then tritely wrap it up with how they are still so in love, and the partner is so supportive. Somehow protecting a brand is synonymous with perfect marital happiness. Other difficult, private things can be discussed, but the marriage relationship must never be examined thoughtfully. The result of this is a lot of women that look they are in perfect marriages with perfect guys that do perfect things to support their perfect home and perfect clothes and perfect meals. I used to read these blogs and go I HAVEN’T SHOWERED IN 5 DAYS HOW CAN YOU MAINTAIN THIS FLAWLESS FACADE. And I still don’t know how they do it. I don’t.
However, I’ve determined that there may be a “type” of marriage that can navigate the first year of the first child with a minimum of external tension. That marriage is a more traditional one. In a heterosexual partnership that adheres to traditional gender roles PRE-BABY, there is already an expectation that the male will do traditionally male things and the female will do traditionally female things. And post-baby, the traditionally female things will include the bulk of childcare. (Maybe all the childcare.) It probably also includes cooking, cleaning, organizing, doctor’s appointments, shopping. It may also include bills and finances. In this case, in this more traditional marriage, there is a clear expectation of what is expected from both parties long before the baby is born. Therefore, it’s no big surprise when baby arrives and Mom assumes the bulk of childcare. Dad is comfortable with his role, Mom is comfortable in her role. Tension is minimal because the expectations of child-rearing have been established for a long time. Maybe since the couple met.
So where does that leave other partnerships or marriages? In our case, my husband and I both worked full-time. We evenly split household duties, chores and responsibilities. How post-modern of us! How progressive!
But, holy shit, when Isobel was born, it’s like the world was turned completely upside down. I think Brandon expected to assume more of the childcare than he could do or that I would let him do. (That last one is key.) For my side, I expected him to anticipate and complete every single possible task that could be related to childcare on any given day. (DOESN’T HE KNOW THE BABY NEEDS A BATH) Then, I’d want to do those tasks myself anyway because I could do them faster, better. I was angry at myself for not giving him more space to carve out a place in the household and I was angry at him for not insisting on it. We were both frustrated at the traditional marriage/gender roles that we slipped into, almost immediately.
There are some extraneous things that really affect the way this plays out. Maternity/paternity leaves, for example. Brandon used vacation time to take almost two weeks off. I took a very short maternity leave and then juggled baby and full-time work from home until she was about 12 months old. Two weeks wasn’t enough time for dad to grow accustomed to the schedule and rigor of newborn care. Additionally, it’s difficult for Dad to wrap his brain around helping with a 3 am feeding when he’s got to be up at 6 am for a 12 hour work day. If we had started Isobel in daycare when she was an infant (which I would absolutely do if we ever had a second child), I think that could have helped with some of the issues that arose. I was trying to be a hero to too many people and I ended up being nothing but a failure to myself.
Another thing that really contributed to the traditional gender role tension—and is something that I almost never see discussed—is the way that breastfeeding changes the childcare dynamic. I breastfed for about 8 months (though I was only nursing in the morning and before bed by the last few weeks). I would breastfeed again. But fuck, I wish someone had told me what to expect. I don’t know what I was thinking, but for some reason my brain did not process the fact that I would be assuming the bulk of the night wakings and feedings. I had intermittent trouble with my supply and struggled to stash enough away for bottle feedings at night (which Brandon could have helped with). I also waited a long time to give a bottle in general. It was just long enough for both of us to have accepted that if the baby cried at night, I would go. And frankly, I was so highly attuned to the crying, that even if he’d helped, I would have had trouble going back to sleep. It was a very fragile, sensitive time for me. I had difficulty sleeping, difficulty waking, difficulty moving through my day. It was a fog. Anyway, my advice to moms who are breastfeeding or planning to breastfeed is that they establish ahead of time a list of tasks that the partner can accomplish since they may not be taking the night shift much at all. This could include: Making breakfast, keeping on top of the laundry, 15-20 minutes for Mom in the morning to shower, running errands for Mom before or after work (or during lunch break). If you are able to stash enough breast milk so dad can assist with a bottle at night, get earplugs, use an eye mask and kick him out of bed to do go it. Every single night. That might get you an extra 2-3 hours of sleep per night. That is A LOT. These are all things I wish I’d thought about before giving birth, because by the time the issues were actually happening, we were both too tired and overwhelmed to make logical, helpful decisions in ways that would have been beneficial to us both.
It was really difficult for me to ask Brandon for help. It was difficult for him to ask what I needed help with. This stalemated the situation and created a vicious cycle of inactivity and resentment and echoed a lot of what I read in All Joy and No Fun too. We both just wanted a few minutes to ourselves. The difference was that I felt I had to ask permission or ask for assistance in order to take that time. Ugh, it’s a mess, huh? I noticed that I sometimes thought of Brandon more like a babysitter (“Can you watch Isobel for 30 minutes so I can go get a pedicure?”) instead of my husband and her father (“I’m going to go get a pedicure, there is a bottle in the fridge, Bye!”). This was frustrating for Brandon too. When we look back on this time, we’re both irritated by how little we communicated about our frustrations and how easily we slipped into tired cliches. (They’re cliches for a reason, I guess.) He didn’t like that I would be like, “Are you sure you’re okay to watch her while I go to the grocery store for 10 minutes?” He’d think, well, she must not trust me to be a very good dad! And I’m thinking to myself, I wish he’d noticed we needed groceries! Finding a way to reconcile the way we used to split household responsibilities with all the new childcare responsibilities was challenging.
I don’t have a magical piece of advice that can string all of this together. But what I can tell you is that although I don’t know the specifics of your situation, I can sympathize with your general question. I’ve been there. We’ve been there. It was difficult for us to translate an equal marriage (in terms of us having a dual-income household that we held equal responsibility for) into equal parenting. The silver lining here is that once we pushed through the difficult months and sat down to discuss our individual issues, our relationship improved. A lot. We felt stronger and happier for having had to navigate through this major life change together.
I hope you’re still reading given that I kind of blacked out and just typed 10 paragraphs. :/