I had been dreaming of this trip for a long time. The first time I went to Paris was 11 years ago. I was just 20 years only and followed my study abroad tour group with big eyes and a stomach hungry for crepes. It was an amazing few days but honestly most of it passed in a blur. As the years ticked by I would think about Paris often and how grand the city felt, thinking – just hoping someday I’d get the chance to go back.
A year ago I made a list of places I’d like to travel in 2019 and Paris sat firmly in the Spring. For 6 months I thought about it wistfully but it seemed unattainable. But then I realized – everything is unattainable until you make a plan. And so I did. Adam and I decided not to get each other Christmas presents, I took 3 whole months off from shopping and I packed my lunch every single work day so far this year. We slowly set aside our pennies instead. I combed AirBnB to find a cheap option in the neighborhood we were dying to stay in. I tracked flights religiously to find the best deal. We researched how to take the train from the airport to save on costly taxi rides. In short – we found a way to make the dream a reality.
I wanted to share all of this before I dove in to sharing the “pretty pictures” because I think blogs/Instagram often gloss over all of the realities. I see a lot of people take these extravagant trips and share this gorgeous “content” – and say nothing of what it might have taken to get there. Sure, maybe some of them are just lavishly wealthy, but I’d guess a lot of them are likely cutting the same corners as we do and have to carefully save their money too. But not a lot of people mention that. So it comes off looking/feeling like everyone but you is leading a glamorous life.
I don’t want you to feel that way when you look at our pictures from this trip. Instead I hope you feel inspired to set a big goal for yourself and then make a plan to get there. Paris lived up to every single memory and wish I had for it – and then some. And it was even sweeter knowing that we had worked hard to get there. As opposed to my last trip, I know I’ll be remembering this one in crisp detail for many years to come.
Stay tuned for the full travel guide + lots more outfits of the outfits I wore there that are perfect for spring/summer!
I’ve been seeing quick little styling videos pop up on Instagram lately and I love how kind of unpolished and in the moment they feel. So I decided to do a try-on session using one of my favorite new closet additions – this linen blazer. It’s the perfect neutral and lightweight so you can throw it on in a chilly office or in the morning before the temps warm up, and I like that it looks lived in so it’s casual enough for weekends too. Watch my full video here – and below I’ve linked each outfit so it’s easily shoppable.
(P.S. It looks like this blazer has sold out in a lot of sizes right now, but definitely check back because I find that they re-stock often enough you can usually grab your size – if not, this or this would be a good alternative)
Back when I decided to give up shopping for a month (you can read about my Dry January here), I hadn’t realized just how many sales there are in a given month. Especially in January. And apparently… in April. Armed with my new shopping philosophy this year (less is more, stay true to my personal style and think of my bigger financial picture before hitting ‘buy’) I had been doing extremely well so far this year. In fact as of today I’ve only bought ONE SINGLE ITEM OF CLOTHING so far in 2019. #humblebrag
But then this past week hit and it was like all of my favorite stores conspired to put their cute new spring clothes on sale and tempt me. I nearly hit ‘buy’ at no less than 3 different stores this past weekend alone. But each time, something stopped me. And that’s my “wishlist”. About a month ago, knowing I would inevitably want/need a few new things for the season ahead I made a list of things that made the cut. A new spring blazer (the ones I had for work in Fall and Winter got a ton of wear so it makes sense to get a lighter weight one for this season), a belted shirtdress (the one shown in these photos was something I got last summer and wore countless times – a new color will be good to add into the rotation). And so on.
So this past weekend, every time a sale nearly tempted me (hello cute gingham swimsuit that’s only $27!) I referred to the list. Is it on there? If not, then pass. For god sakes I already own a gingham bikini! But it’s so easy to get swept up in 50% off and something shiny and new. I’m not saying I’ll never impulse buy again, but after years – nay, decades – of that habit, I’m more than willing to at least finish out this year with a more stringent approach.
That being said, a new spring bag was on my list and this one (which is, ahem, on sale right now) hits all the marks. Feels fun thanks to the gingham print but the neutral colors means it will match with nearly everything in my wardrobe. What’s on your “wishlist” this spring. See more of mine here.
If I scroll back a few years into the blog archive there are quite a few outfits that don’t feel like “me” – not to say that I’m embarrassed of anything I wore, it’s just that it would likely have been better suited to someone else. A floral kimono comes to mind.
The funny thing about defining your personal style is that it can take years to figure out.. but at the same time you kind of knew the answers all along. Think of the icons you loved when you were a kid. Mine were Jackie Kennedy, early Elvis and Dolly Parton and the cast of shows like The Wonder Years and Happy Days. I’ve always known that I loved tried and true American staples. A 50s-era full skirted dress, New England fisherman sweaters, borrowed from the boys vintage Levi’s and 70s-style stripes. It’s what I feel most myself in. So why did I try to fight it with those palazzo pants or that body-con dress? Maybe, like finding a partner, you just have to try things on for size. Even if you know they won’t be right for you in the end.
Years ago I wore a huge velvet bow headband to my Mom’s 50th birthday party. It was a whole look. But it felt like me. A little bit vintage schoolgirl prep, a little bit modern without trying too hard. My sister’s boyfriend at the time asked me if I thought I’d look back on pictures of the party down the line and regret such a bold fashion choice. I figured I’d see myself in those pictures and feel pleased that I was confident enough to wear exactly what I wanted at that moment. And p.s. exactly that style of headbandhappens to be having a major moment right now. But I’m willing to let bygones be bygones.
The point of the story is that if it feels quintessentially “you” at that moment, then wear it. Even if what feels like “you” shifts over time. Although spoiler.. I still love a good hair accessory.
I’ve been thinking a lot this year about my wardrobe and the fact that I’m a happier with fewer things, but ones that all feel quintessentially Jess. The funny thing is that back in my shopping heyday I would have found this idea sort of stifling, but in fact it’s been so refreshing. Every morning I get such a happiness boost when I look into my closet and realize I truly love everything in there. And when I go to add new pieces, I simply ask myself if I’d feel like “me” when wearing it.
Oh hi there! It’s been awhile. But since it finally feels like Winter may be done, I figured it was as good a time as any to pop on and share a few easy (and affordable) options to update your Spring wardrobe. I’m eyeing those tortoise hoops, side button denim dress (just $60) and white straw bag as a way to update my own closet this season. All pieces that feel very right now but also super versatile and like I’ll get a ton of wear out of them all Spring/Summer long.
And while it may still not be quite warm enough in New York for sleeveless dresses, it is warm enough for a chic striped blazer, straight leg jeans and neutral accessories. A simple outfit (as pictured above) that I wore nearly exactly this time 2 years ago and I still repeat often. Fingers crossed for 70 degree days around the corner.