Dressing for Spring

SPRING STYLE + WHY I (SOMETIMES) AVOID SALES

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.

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HOW TO DEFINE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE

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 headband happens 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.

Now if only I had saved that velvet headband…

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SPRING STAPLES UNDER $150

The Steele Maiden: Spring Staples Under $150

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.

The Steele Maiden: Spring Staples Under $150

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The Steele Maiden: Spring Staples Under $150

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SPRING FORWARD: EYELET BLOUSE, OVERALLS AND PINK SUEDE HEELS

The Steele Maiden: Naturalizer Pink Suede Heels, Overalls and Eyelet Ruffle Blouse

While I can’t say that the weather has been hearing my cries for spring, my wardrobe has started to take note. And what better way to put a spring in your step than with pink suede heels?! This pair from Naturalizer gets major bonus points for the fact that they’re insanely comfortable (even on Soho cobblestone!) and just the right height that I can wear them all around town without having to worry about limping along.

For now, I’ve been wearing them with casual denim on the weekends, as seen with this eyelet and overall combo, but once the weather actually cooperates I can’t wait to wear them with a floral skirt or linen dress and bare legs. Ah bare legs. Do you even remember?! For now I’ll take bare ankles with cute ankle straps whenever I can.

Naturalizer Pink Suede Gianna Heels c/o

The Steele Maiden: Naturalizer Pink Suede Heels, Overalls and Eyelet Ruffle Blouse The Steele Maiden: Naturalizer Pink Suede Heels, Overalls and Eyelet Ruffle Blouse The Steele Maiden: Naturalizer Pink Suede Heels, Overalls and Eyelet Ruffle Blouse The Steele Maiden: Naturalizer Pink Suede Heels, Overalls and Eyelet Ruffle Blouse The Steele Maiden: Naturalizer Pink Suede Heels, Overalls and Eyelet Ruffle Blouse

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CASUAL SPRING STYLE: OVERALLS AND LEOPARD SLIDES

The Steele Maiden: Casual Spring Style - Denim Overalls and Leopard Slides

I’ve been sharing more of my everyday outfits in real time over on Instagram Stories (do you watch these? I think they’re such a fun way to instantly connect with you all) and last week I took a quick snap of this exact outfit and was blown away by how many of you sent me direct messages saying you loved it! So I figured I’d take a few more photos and share them here.

ps. As always – I love to hear what you guys are loving or want to see more of! Reach out via email (jessicaATthesteelemaiden.com) in the comment section here or on Instagram.

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Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle. Based in NYC.