How the heck are ya? I am hopeful that this week I will get back on track with my blogging, and life in general. We are still having concerns for my mom in Kentucky. Appreciate any and all prayers and good thoughts in her behalf. But hoping the appointment she has on Tuesday morning will give us some answers and some help.
Today I want to share a guest post written by my Get Your Pretty On fashion friend, Lauren. She and I both participated in the GYPO fall challenge, although I did a lot more reading of others’ posts than posting myself. Alison Lumbatis, creator and fashion master mind behind GYPO is offering a $20 discount on her Style Challenge Annual Membership. Your annual membership includes all four seasonal Style Challenges, 4 capsule wardrobe shopping lists, 3 weeks (21 days) of daily outfit ideas x 4, advice & support in all 4 Facebook groups (which is where I met Lauren, and all of my Blended Blog friends).
Using my affiliate link, you can register here and I will throw in a Starbucks gift card to sweeten the deal. Consider it a snack break for while you are out shopping for the pieces on the Winter Challenge suggested shopping list. Heck, or get a Starbuck’s to-go and drink it at home while you shop your closet! If you are interested in just signing up for the Winter Style Challenge, registration opens on Friday. I will provide my affiliate link in an update to this post then.
Now let me introduce you to my friend Lauren. She is such a busy gal, with a very full life. I am thrilled that she found time to share a little of herself with us.
Beautiful picture of my friend Lauren and her daughter
Hello, my name is Lauren and I’m a wife, mom, archaeologist, health and fitness coach, college football fan and lover of all things fashion. I’m a native Texan but my family relocated to Southeastern Pennsylvania this year so the thought of getting to experience actual seasons is very exciting! As you might have guessed from the list of “hats” I wear, casual or active wear clothes are what you might find me in most of the time. I previously worked in an office where I could wear jeans and t-shirts with sneakers and shorts on “casual Friday.” I also exercise daily as a part of my fitness job; so my collection of tank tops, running shorts and leggings has at times been more extensive than the “regular” clothes I have hanging in my closet.
Isn’t she precious? Wearing fall challenge pieces: flannel shirt, black jeans, boyfriend cardi, flats
This doesn’t mean I don’t love other clothes though. I do! Even when I was little, I had a love of clothes and the way they made a person look. Dresses my mom wore, whether they be the soft sun dress featured in so many of my memories or a velvet New Year’s Eve frock, were items of allure to me as a young girl. I also recall a pair of red faux leather ankle booties that I practically wore down to the soles in elementary school.
Clearly I was always very “heh hem” fashion forward. But what those items represent to me now are bits of our respective identities, part not only of my childhood memories but a window into who we were at those times in our past. What we wear can be such a vivid form of self-expression. Our styles, the pieces we select and the way we put them together can say a lot about a person. Are they spunky or traditional? Preppy or boho? What colors and patterns do they like and why? Do the care more about looking chic or being comfortable? It’s fascinating really.
Styling fall challenge pieces – boyfriend jeans, striped long-sleeved tee, gray cardi, Toms-style flats
I was first introduced to the idea of a capsule wardrobe and the GYPO (Get Your Pretty On) style challenge groups in general by a dear friend of mine a couple of years ago. I noticed that she looked particularly put together one day and told her so. She explained that she’d joined this facebook group where the gal in charge provided a shopping list and then sent emails with the “OOTD” (official out of the day) to each participant for 21 days. The idea sounded genius to me. Because even though I love clothes, love shopping and checking out new trends, I was never any good at putting it all together. So, to have someone else do that part of the equation for me was definitely a no brainer. I’m a busy mom, so waking up and knowing exactly what to wear that day is a wonderful time saver. When the next season’s challenge rolled around for the Summer of 2015, I signed up and have been a challenger ever since!
I’ve also found that being given the list of capsule wardrobe items really helps me get a feel for what people will be wearing in a given season. It provides a great jumping off point for not only gathering basic pieces I may already own but also parameters for shopping so that I’m not lost in a sea of clothes at department stores. I need a place to start and a goal for where I’m headed. The style challenge list does just that. The in-between and interpretations of what those outfits look like with my own pieces are up to me. But I’ve also found so much creative inspiration from the other style challenge members, or “pretties” as we are called. I love seeing how they’re going to put the day’s outfit together and what substitutions they may need to make depending on where they live, what they do for a living, or what they have planned with their families. It’s a peek into the lives of all these lovely women from across the globe and results in one of the most positive, uplifting, and encouraging communities I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of. What they choose to wear and share in the group helps each of us feel like we e getting to know the other women we are connecting with over clothes and shoes and accessories. Their identities, expressed in their versions of the OOTD over the course of the challenge, become more known and make you feel like you’re talking fashion with your best friend, your mom, your sister or your aunt. That’s the part of fashion and women coming together that I love the most.
Borrowed from Lauren’s FB page, stylish even when running!
Personally, I’ve benefited from being a style challenger in so many ways. I’ve expanded my wardrobe, my fashion sense and my willingness to step outside the box when it comes to trying trends and pieces I might once have shied away from. Who knew I loved leopard? Who knew I could mix patterns on my own after seeing it done in the group and actually make it work? Who knew I could find random pieces in my closet and re-imagine them into something worthy of wearing outside my house? Not me! But I have learned all these things about my own style and more. I’ve also met amazing women who are now part of my daily cyber-life and who I get to share part of my life with. They bless me with their sweet words to me and one another. They make me laugh. And so too, especially in a year when I found myself across the country from my family and friends, they played a part in making me feel not so alone. Plus I’ve actually gotten to meet a few of them in person which is so much fun!
So, if you’ve ever found yourself in a fashion rut, a connoisseur mostly of yoga pants or workout clothes, or in need of a safe, positive place to try some new things, then I recommend doing one of these style challenges. There are some who buy every item on the list and some who shop only their closets. There are some who post every day and others who just quietly observe. Or, there are some like me who find themselves in between but still enjoy every single minute. After, even if you only walk away with a smart new blazer or must-have pair of flats, you’ll still be better off. But who knows, you may walk away with so much more.
Thank you, Lauren, for such an enthusiastic review of your experiences as a Get Your Pretty On challenger. I could say ditto to about everything you said. When I started with Alison’s very first challenge in spring of 2014, I was certain I would be the oldest participant in the bunch but I wasn’t. And throughout each challenge, I have made new friends and maintained friendships with some of my longest online buddies. Gals that I have featured several times on the blog, here, here, here.
Here’s to an easy post-Thanksgiving Day week for all of us. How’s your Christmas/Hanukkah shopping going? Anyone you struggle to buy for? Would love to hear from you in a comment below.
Hugs and kisses,