I’m Wearing: My 2014 Casual Staples

I’ve always shopped with my heart on my sleeve. I will happily give my heart to any piece that gives me goosebumps or makes me feel like a million marshmallows (read: comfortable and delicious). Shopping for “outfits” is something I only did when I needed to be somewhere outside of my comfort zone (corporate job interview?!), and thus bought entirely new clothes.

Have you ever seen those features in InStyle – Shop Like a Fashion Editor? Three editors are each given monthly budgets, one is given $400, another is given $2000, and the last is given $4000. Their job each month is to invest their own budgets into what they consider to be integral pieces for the current season and the current set of trends that are dominating the streets and market.

That… is my dream job. My obsession with efficiency and extreme budget-consciousness are a perfect match for that assignment. So imagine my delight when Zappos wanted to partner up with B&B to help promote their extensive and under-appreciated clothing departments! Yeah, did you know Zappos sold clothes? Like… good clothes? They’re more than just shoes, these days, and I’ve got the goods to prove it.

I decided this was the perfect opportunity to live out my “integral pieces within a budget” dreams, but I wanted it to cover more than just a month – I wanted to spend my $300 budget on what I consider to be my fashion staples for 2014. And I wanted to think in terms of outfits. Like, really think it through – so much so that I went through the entire Zappos inventory to make sure I was going to make the best decision.

You guys think I exaggerate when I say “extreme budget-consciousness” – I am really not.

I started by thinking casual. What could I add to my limited and honestly shrinking wardrobe that would provide a versatile and functional and attractive quality to my closet?

This is what I came up with.

Outfit: Batwing Sweater & Prana Cargo Pants

A flying squirrel suit.

Just kidding.

Meet my new favorite pants and my new sweater that goes with everything. These skinny cargo pants by Prana are magnificent. I’ve never worn something by Prana before, and I can assure you that these pants won’t be the last. What sold me was a review on Zappos website from a backpacker who said she wore these every single day while traversing Europe for a month. A glowing review from someone who definitely knows comfortable & functional pants – what more could you ask for?

Outfit: Prana Cargo Skinny Pants

Hi, boots.

(These are my Dolce Vita boots. They are not from Zappos, but they look awfully good with Zappos wares, don’t you think? They’re delicious.)

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The pants really are as comfortable and stretchy as the reviews claim! (Prana makes yoga gear, so it’s not entirely surprising.) They aren’t jeggings, they have a button and a zipper and little mesh front pockets for you to put your fingertips in (…?). They could definitely pass as straight leg pants, as the bottoms aren’t completely tapered to the ankle. Obviously, this shouldn’t stop you from tucking them into adorable ankle boots. (Hi, boots!)

Outfit: Christin Michaels Sweater Tunic from Zappos

Sweaters like this are either perfect or a disaster. Stretched out, this can look like a prairie nightgown and I don’t want any part of that. This long batwing sweater from Chrstin Michaels is fortunately prairie-free, and despite its epic coverage, manages to fit both tightly and loosely in all of the right places.

Outfit: Batwing Sweater & Prana Cargo Pants

It’s fairly sheer, and I need to invest in a great t-shirt bra that will allow me to forego a camisole, but for the time being, I have a tissue thin tank that easily hides underneath this semi-sheer knit.

The combination of brown, olive green and white has always been a favorite of mine, but things weren’t gaudy enough, so I added this hearty (multi-pound-weighing) chain from Carolee for a touch of “wow can you get your hand out of the sun because I can’t see.”

Outfit: Christin Michaels Long Batwing Sweater & Carolee Chain Necklace/Bracelet

Much better.

I did my nails in ultra neutral colors because I didn’t feel lie taking away from the solid blocks of color I already had by busying it up with weird nails. So, I instead used butter LONDON Yummy Mummy with an accent of Julep Ginger (which might be my new favorite polish).

So as far as my first two items of my $300 budget, I have…

  • Prana Meme Pants, $75
    A pair of cargo pants that will take me from lunch with friends to…a hike in the woods! Seriously, they’re waterproof.
  • Christin Michaels Quincy Top, $35.99
    A long, comfortable tunic sweater that can be worn with pants leggings, or maybe even tights!

Not too bad, considering I still have way over half my budget left! Can’t wait to show you guys what else I snagged from Zappos as part of my 2014 staples! Stay tuned and watch this space.