Basics that every fashion blogger owns.

My dad has a special name for UGG boots. He calls them “Ugg-ly” boots. “You can’t say UGG without saying ‘ugh’,” He says. “It’s part of the name!” #DadJokes

For the record, he wasn’t just wandering around the mall searching for UGH boots (ugh, now even I’m doing it) – UGG BOOTS, he passed by them while we were Christmas shopping in Macy’s two years ago and felt the need to comment when I told him that I needed a new pair. 

Yep. I’ve been saving that joke for two years, guys. 

Not really. But that memory popped into my head today while I was – once again – Christmas shopping in Macy’s and passed by the shoe section where they’re ALWAYS ON DISPLAY. “Should I get a pair of UGGs?”, I thought to myself. “Do I *need* a pair of UGGs? Am I too old to wear UGGs? WILL I wear them? Are they still trendy?”

Were they ever trendy? I mean, really? Because the only time I can remember it being socially acceptable to wear them was back in college when it was socially acceptable to wear them with leggings and a NorthFace jacket on your way to class. 

And – before you can say anything, I would just like to point out that – OF COURSE I was one of those girls in college who wore UGG boots, leggings, and a NorthFace jacket on her way to class. I mean, really – did you expect anything else? If you held any sort of notion that I wasn’t a 100% basic pumpkin-spice-latte-and-UGG-boots kind of girl in my early twenties…. then, I’m touched. I truly am. But you’re giving me wayyyy too much credit. 

I *wanted* to be basic in college. It was practically a compliment. 

I don’t know why. “Oh. You think I look like everyone else? Well – if everyone else is wearing it, then it must be okay! So, THANK YOU!” 

Sure. Thanks. I’m trying to fit in. Thank you for noticing and acknowledging the fact that I look like everyone else. Mission accomplished. Thank you. 

I’m going off on a tangent here. I should also point out that I started telling a nice story about Christmas shopping, and – whilst Christmas shopping – seeing some expensive boots that I wanted to buy…FOR MYSELF. Apparently I’ve mentally added “meeee!” to the Christmas list of people I have to buy for. 

Oh, stop. Like you guys don’t do it too. 

Maybe you don’t. Congratulations. You’re a better person than I am. 

I mean, I didn’t BUY the UGGs, so it’s not like you’re not THAT much better than I am. But I thought about it. Because they looked sooo comfy. And because they reminded me of a simpler time when I could wear sweatshirts and leggings every day of the week and spend Friday night cozied up under a blanket with my Marketing 101 book and Christmas movies playing in the background. 

Look. I’m not saying I want to go back to to college. As I write this – I’m cozied up under a blanket on the couch with the Chicago Bears game on in the background, so it’s not really THAT different. But still. UGGs, man. Whatever happened to UGGs? 

Whatever happened to UGGs? I don’t know, Jenn – whatever happened to being a college student who doesn’t wear real pants? 

I had the bar set HIGH for myself as a college student when I thought about my post-college style.  “Once I have a real job, I’ll look professional ALL. THE. TIME.” I thought. “I’ll be an adult. I’ll dress like an adult. It’ll be great!”

You guys, I literally thought I was going to dress like Olivia Pope every day of the week. 

Neutrals. Classic pieces. Polished looks. Clean cut. 

It turns out, my style ended up somewhere in the middle. Not quite college-senior-during-finals-week, but not yet Olivia Pope. I’m working it. I’ve come a long way from messy buns and leggings every day of the week, so I think I deserve SOME credit, okay?

It’s easy to get caught up in the trends – but the key to looking polished is working with the basics. A fashion blogger can build an entire outfit around something as simple as a basic black camisole. Invest in the basics and you’ll have a stylish outfit ready for any occasion! 

How to stop buying clothes you never wear.

I’m searching for a new purse, “for winter”. A black chainlink cross-body purse, to be exact. I don’t know what winter has to do with it – but I saw some girl in a movie wearing a grey peacoat with a black chainlink cross-body purse and black high-heel booties with big sunglasses and a long black and white scarf, and I was like “That’s it! THAT’S what I want to look like this winter!” 

I don’t know where this comes from. I don’t know why I see a random stranger in a made-for-tv movie and think that I have to change up my entire look for a season. It just happens. It happened with Peyton Sawyer on One Tree Hill when I suddenly decided I needed a leather jacket. It happened with Serena Van Der Woodsen on Gossip Girl when I decided that my “new style” should be “boho chic New Yorker-y”. It’s even happened with YouTubers. After watching two hours of Carly Cristman videos, I committed to only wearing neutral colors for a year. A WHOLE YEAR. 

My entire wardrobe has been decided by fictional characters and people that I’ve never met in real life. That’s probably normal, right? 

The worst part is that there is a tiny part of me (a TINY, tiny part of – the part that hears a noise in the middle of the night and is convinced there’s a murderer outside) truly believes that this new jacket or scarf or pair of tan suede boots is going to alter my identity. I mean – not totally, it’s not like I think I’m going to become a transformer just because I’m wearing new skinny jeans with fake pockets – but like… a little. 

“These jeans would make me look so skinny!” I think to myself. “I could wear with them with anything! People will see me on the street and think, ‘wow! look at that super skinny girl!…'” I don’t know why my thoughts consider other people looking at me and commenting that I’m skinny. This motivation doesn’t seem to work when I need to go to the gym – but spending $50 on jeans? Totally. “But I need new jeans anyway!,” I think to myself. ” I mean… sure I have jeans at home, that I CAN wear… ‘TECHNICALLY’… but they’re not THESE jeans. I don’t have THESE jeans at home. Therefore, I need new jeans.” 

Spoiler alert: Did NOT need new jeans. 

Spanx. They aren’t just for Moms.

I wouldn’t say that I have “anxiety” about wearing Spanx (and honestly, no one SHOULD have anxiety about wearing a brand of sucky-in-y underwear – because that’s essentially all they are) but I HAVE noticed that when I’m wearing a tight dress, along with – what is essentially a modern day girdle – I feel, a little…. well, anxious. Stiff. Uncomfortable. There’s a tightness in my chest…/abdomen. 

I mean, most of that is the sucky-in-y part of the underwear that I paid $50 to literally wedge myself into so that I could look good in a dress for a few hours, but you know what I mean. I worry. The Spanx alter blood circulation to my brain (probably, I don’t know.  You’d think they’ve got to be cutting off some circulation around my torso. Otherwise, are they even doing their job?) My inner fat girl that needed the Spanx in the first place starts sending paranoid, worried signals to my brain. 

“What if people can tell?” I think. “Can people tell that I’m wearing a girdle?” 

I honestly do not know how anyone would ever be able to “tell”, unless they came over and lifted up my dress and said, “Hey I see you’re wearing some funny underwear under there.” And if someone ever does that to you, I can PROMISE you that the the highlight of that story will not be “I was wearing Spanx”, it will be “A stranger lifted up my dress. It was weird.”

Sometimes I worry that if I give someone a hug, they’ll be able to tell. Like they’ll feel it under my clothes and be like, “HEY WHAT’S THAT?” or worse – “Wow! Your core is ROCK SOLID! Have you been doing Pilates? Let’s see that six-pack!” 

Again. That would require me to lift up my dress. And the highlight of that story would be, “Someone asked me to lift up my dress in order to show them my super rock-hard abs. It was weird.” 

But what if they can FEEL it, I think. What if someone has their arms around me and feels the top of the Spanx? Or that little rod-stick thing that goes down the sides of some of them like a legit corset? I mean, I’m wearing this super tight dress. Surely they can FEEL that stuff.

In all of my years of hugging people – all of the people, including ones who are wearing tight clothes – I have never once embraced someone long enough to literally FEEL THEM UP. I have never tried to rub my hands along someone’s side while hugging them, unless I was, like, DATING that person. Because otherwise it’s super inappropriate – and the highlight of THAT story would be, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me. It was super inappropriate.” — not, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me and THEY COULD TELL I WAS WEARING A GIRDLE. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING.” 

How to dress yourself skinny.

I like to call this pose – that thing you do when someone says “look natural” and you totally DO NOT LOOK NATURAL. Fashion bloggers use all of these tips and tricks when they’re trying to model. Like “stand on the balls of your feet” and “stand with one foot in front of the other” and “know your angles”

What are my angles? I knew I should have practiced this in the mirror before we left the house.

Eventually my boyfriend, who is also my extremely patient photographer, was like “What are you doing? Just stand still so I can take your picture.”

Look, I get it. You’re supposed to look natural. I mean, they don’t say that in any of the fashion blog-y photo tips, but it makes sense to look natural as opposed to someone who looks stiff and uncomfortable. So I strive to “look natural” –  but not like TOO natural, because my ACTUAL natural state is  “slouched over with an occasional case of Resting Bitch Face”, so… you know. It’s really all about trying to look skinny. Right?

This concept was lost on me as a teenager. I didn’t know know how to look skinny in pictures. I was just doing what all of my friends were doing and wondering why I – being 5’9″ and 155 pounds – didn’t look like my friends who were 5’3″ and small enough to say things like “Ugh. They didn’t have a size zero, and the size two was too big!” 

I’ve never been “fat” fat, but I’ve also never been thin enough to complain about swimming in a size two. When you’re sixteen and buying clothes that are literally three times larger than that of all of your friends – it can make you feel “fat” fat. In my mind, my friends looked like normal teenage girls, and I looked like the momma duck. I had these hips that made me “curvy”, and a stomach that was – I don’t know, enough to make me uncomfortable wearing a bikini.

So I tried to fit in. I mean – I didn’t try TOO hard, because it wasn’t like I started doing sit-ups or trying to cut out pizza, which would have been the healthy way – but I learned that if I stopped trying to wear “belly shirts” (yea, remember when those were a thing?) and low-rise jeans, I could LOOK thinner. MAGIC. Optical illusions. Laziness.