Be my guest: Salazar

Hope y’all enjoy the guest posts while I’m on vacation! Jen

Today, my fellow SIA co-host Salazar is here to share some traveling tips for footwear. Practical and stylish — my favorite combination! :)

Hello, readers of Librarian of Life and Style! I’m Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey, and I’m excited to be blog-sitting for Jen while she’s on vacation. Since Jen is traveling, and I just got back from summer vacation myself, I thought it’d be fun to show you guys some of my favorite traveling shoes. Shoes are, I think, one of the most important things in your suitcase, but also the most difficult thing to pick out, because they are heavy, bulky, and how do you pick just one or two pairs that go with everything? Anyway, here are the shoes I tend to reach for when I’m traveling, in this order (I tend to bring no more than two pairs, and most of the time, just one pair is enough for the whole trip):

1. Hiking boots:

blue jeans work boots by 14 shades of greyred striped shirt navy cardigan brown boots by 14 shades of grey

white dress navy cardigan brown boots by 14 shades of greyblack shirt embroidered skirt work boots by 14 shades of grey

I call them hiking boots, but they’re not actually sturdy enough for vigorous hiking. I don’t know what they are, actually. I got them dirt-cheap from Payless (they were on sale for like, $10 or $15!) about three years ago, and since then I have taken them with me whenever I go on a trip. I like traveling to mountain areas, and they are great for walking around in the dirt and rain. Even when I went to the beach, the beach is near a tropical forest, so I packed them with me as well! They’re neutral and basic enough to go well with jeans, but I’ve worn them with dresses and skirts too. I love them. I’m going to have to find a replacement pair before my next trip, because I have worn these absolutely to the ground.

2. Sneakers:

lam kinh by 14 shades of greyhanoi old quarter - the huc bridge - by 14 shades of grey

Well, this is a no-brainer. If you know that your trip is going to be mostly casual, you’re not going to the beach, and you’re not trekking around in the mud, then I think one pair of Converse would be enough for all your needs. They go with everything, and they’re comfy — what more can you ask, right? Just be careful in the rain though.

3. Tall boots:

balboa park - museumhuntington beach - outfit

These are great for cold weather, and you can dress them up or down. People always talk about how boots take up space, but my thinking is, if you’re wearing them on your feet, then you’re actually saving space, because one pair of boots is all you need. I did get blisters from walking around too much in boots though, and they’re not as hardy as hiking boots, so I would think twice about bringing them if I know I would be walking around in nature.

4. Flats:

temple of literature - gate - by 14 shades of grey

I have always packed flats with me when I travel, and I almost never wear them. They can work for a day’s walk in the city, but only if the weather is nice and dry. Still, they don’t take up much space, so having a pair with you just in case is always a good idea.

5. Sandals/Flip-flops:

ha long bay - beach - by 14 shades of greyha long bay - monkey island - by 14 shades of grey

I’d say bring them only if you’re going to the beach. Even if I’m just walking around in the city, I don’t want my feet exposed. Who knows where those sidewalks have been?

So those are the my choice for shoes when traveling. I don’t include heels or wedges because I almost never go on the type of trips that require those, and even then I would opt for a nice pair of flats or flat sandals or flat boots over anything with a heel. But hey, that’s just my preference. Depending on your destination and your plan, you can pick out the shoes that work best for you.

Thank you for reading, and thank you, Jen, for letting me guest post. I hope you’re enjoying your trip!

Be my guest: Erin

Hope y’all enjoy the guest posts while I’m on vacation! Jen

My blogger friend Erin is back, this time with some great advice and tips for getting the most out of an LBD. :)

Hello everyone! Erin from Loop Looks here to talk to you about one of my favorite topics: the little black dress.

You know, that item that every women’s magazine says is a must-have?

Well, I don’t necessarily think everyone needs to have a little BLACK dress. But having a dress that can go from a casual summer picnic to a day at the office is kind of a must. At least, I think so.

And if that dress can go from season to season? Even better! I’ve done an entire post on how to transition dresses from warmer to cooler months, but what about one specific dress? How can you wear it all year round? Well, here’s how!


spring-little-black-dressClearly the best way to wear a dress in the spring is to pair it with a cardigan. And if you have a solid, neutral colored dress, you can wear it with just about any color!

When the temps are cooler, wear closed-toed shoes, and as it warms up, you can break out your open-toed sandals.


summer-little-black-dressCardigans are still key in the summer, especially if you work in an air-conditioned office. But if you’re outside and the temperature is soaring, keep the accessories minimal and wear simple sandals. Maybe throw on a really light scarf if your dress feels too plain!


winter-little-black-dressBecome the queen of layering, and your dress can take you much further into the cooler months! Add a blazer or jacket, a scarf, some tights, and knee high boots, and you’re good to go!

No need to buy a different dress for every season. The right “little black dress” can take you through all of them with just some accessory swaps.

Be my guest: Stephanie

I am currently on vacation, so I will see y’all again next month. Until then, I have some wonderful guest posts lined up. Enjoy! ~ Jen

First up is my close friend and fellow librarian Stephanie, who I have featured several times on my blog, as seen here and here. Stephanie has also participated several times in SIA challenges, most recently on my blog in this post. I’m so excited that she is starting off these guest posts and sharing personal photos and a deeper look into her style perspective!


The Aha! Moment in My Style Journey

I started to go my own way, style-wise, when I was a teenager, battling the style nemeses of a school dress code and the conformity of going to a small PreK-12 school. I wanted to be different from my Polo- and Laura Ashley-clad classmates, but didn’t have much money to spend on clothes. Thrift stores fit the bill: I could always find something unusual and, back in the day, Ragstock was a haven of cheap, funky, mostly used fare. I spent hours combing the racks and sorting through bins, usually with fairly limited success.

Librarian for Life & StyleFast-forward to my late 20s: I had upgraded to vintage stores, but I had a hard time adding items to my closet. One day, my then-boyfriend and I were browsing at Lula. I was complaining to him that I loved vintage clothes, but that nothing ever fit me. The owner of the shop piped up: “That’s because you’re looking at the wrong clothes.”

She came over to where we were browsing. “You’re looking at mostly late ’60s stuff, but that’s all wrong for your body type. You’ve got an hourglass figure, so you need to look at dresses from the ’50s. That way, the only measurement you usually need to worry about is your waist.” She shuffled quickly through the rack, pulling dresses off to hand to me. Before I knew it, she’d handed me ten dresses – all of which fit well and looked good.

In this post, also seen at right above, you can see a sundress I got at Lula after my style awakening.

It was an “Aha!” moment that completely changed the way I looked for clothes. Thanks to that saleslady’s comments, I knew to look for fitted tops, dresses with a defined waist, and A-line skirts. I can rock a ’50s cotton shirtdress like nobody’s business! As I became more comfortable with the styles of clothes that fit my shape, I also started to play more with pattern, color, and accessories.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieOne of my favorite vintage looks: the cocktail suit. I loved this celadon suit, and I had my hair marcelled for a special occasion in early 2003. In fact, I love the celadon cocktail suit look so much that I got another one from Xtabay Vintage as my wedding dress (see pictures here).

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieI got this vintage maxidress trimmed with marabou for a New Year’s Eve party in 2003. The bodice is fitted, and the skirt flows nicely from the waist.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieBack in 2005, I paired a fitted short-sleeved mock turtleneck with a plaid stretchy pencil skirt and orange arm warmers made from repurposed sweaters.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieI looooove this navy and cream dress from Kate Spade that I tried on last year, complimented by a bow belt and silver sequined heels. Sadly, it did not make its way into my closet. :(

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieNot vintage, but this thrifted eyelet Ann Taylor dress embraces the same style principles: fitted bodice and waist with a nice addition of paper bag detailing and a full skirt (with pockets, natch!).

[Editor's note:  While thrifting together last summer, I picked out this dress for Stephanie to try on! It's perfect for her curves, isn't it?! :) ]

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieThis is a more modern interpretation of the basic silhouette and one you’re most likely to find me in on most work days nowadays:  fitted tee, knit A-line skirt, cardigan, and Mary Janes. I put this look together based on some cover art for Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series for an SIA challenge.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Be my guest:  StephanieThis is another typical workday look for me:  shirtdress from Donna & Toots, cardigan, and Mary Janes. Also seen here in another SIA roundup.

Librarian for Life & Style | Celebrations + smilesMe with my host blogger Jen at the JASNA party for Jane Austen’s birthday this past winter. Did I mention that I also love jackets? I love them so much that my husband built me a separate closet just for them. This fitted, boiled wool peacoat from Italy is one of my all-time winter favorites.

Thanks to Jen for letting me dip my toes into blogging waters with this guest post, and for inspiring me with color and pattern-mixing!

Preppy professor style

Yesterday, you saw an outfit my husband insisted on taking photos for. And today, I returned the favor. ;)

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Preppy professor style

This is a teaching outfit my husband put together (he is teaching a summer writing class at a local community college). I thought my husband looked preppy + color-coordinated in his striped polo shirt, mustard-colored pants, and striped-and-checkered fedora. So handsome! And just the right casual-yet-professional combination for teaching a summer class.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Preppy professor style

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Preppy professor style

Details:  Striped polo:  Old Navy  /  Mustard-colored pants:  Kohls  /  Fedora:  Kohls  /  Shoes:  Teva via REI

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Preppy professor style

And hats off to y’all, dear readers, as we head on out for vacation! But please keep on stopping by the blog, as some fabulous guest bloggers are all lined up to feed and water the blog — along with your style appetites — while I enjoy a brief holiday hiatus.

I’ll see y’all in September!

Black + tan summer casual

If you haven’t done so already — and thank you if you have! — there’s still juuuuuust enough time to vote for your fave outfit of mine last month. Just click here to vote in the poll.

I was not planning on featuring this summer casual look on the blog, but my husband liked it so much that he insisted on taking pics. So y’all can either thank or blame him for this post. ;)

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Black + tan summer casual

For a day of appointments and errand-running, I donned a tan cargo skirt with a simple v-neck t-shirt, both pieces I’ve had in my closet for ages. Very simple combo that didn’t take much thought beyond being comfortable. For a bit of pick-me-up shine, I added metallic accessories:   gold-and-crystal circle earrings and my new metallic sandals. As I was walking out the door, I added my white-and-tan straw hat, which was Sam’s favorite bit. :)

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Black + tan summer casual

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Black + tan summer casual

Details:  Black t-shirt:  Local boutique in Wisconsin, old  /  Cargo skirt:  Wal-Mart, old  /  Metallic sandals:  Naturalizer via DSW, this summer  /  Gold-and-crystal circle earrings:  Here We Go Again resale boutique, last fall  /  Tote bag:  Christian Siriano for Payless, winter 2013

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Black + tan summer casual

Link ups:  Look What I Got  /  Summer Style  /  Tres-Chic Thursday  /  Spotlight Weekly  /  Favorite Fashion Friday  /  Passion for Fashion  /  Fashion Friday