Winter Cardigan Style Guide

I love cardigans. I love wearing things over other things. I like adding a “topper” of some sort to the base outfit. In the cold weather: cardigans, blazers, light jackets. In the summer, kimonos, lightweight dusters, oversized blouses.

But for today, I thought I’d share some style tips I’ve learned (or made up!) about wearing cardigans.

One of the easiest cold weather outfits is pants and a light sweater or knit top. To me, that feels a little unfinished, so I like to put a cardigan over top.

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Charlotte Russe blanket cardigan 3x, Old Navy Rockstar jeans 22, silk-trimmed long-sleeved tea from Avenue 26/28, Avenue booties

With pants I always like a cardi (or blazer, kimono, etc) that’s at least a little longer than what you’re wearing underneath.

I also prefer when the top layer is darker than the underneath layer. This might just be me, but to me colors have weight. Dark colors carry more visual weight than lighter colors, and wearing the lighter over the darker just always feels “off” to me. In this case they’re kind of close, they’re both grey, but the long sleeved tee base top is a lighter grey than the cardigan over top.

Here’s an example of the opposite…and it’s not TERRIBLE (fortunately my closet is not full of too many “don’ts”!). Lighter over darker. I’d have to really be down to just a few things in my closet to opt to wear these pieces together.

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Another favorite outfit of mine is a cardigan over a dress. In this case, I like the two to be almost exactly the same length. This can be more difficult to arrange unless you’re buying both pieces at the same time, so it’s especially nice when it works out like it does here.

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Michael Kors blue cardigan 3x, Alice & You swing dress 22/24

I didn’t have a good example to show from my winter closet, but I really only like shorter or cropped cardigans over a dress with a defined waist. With a loose trapeze or swing dress like the one shown here, I opt for an equally long, loose and swingy overpiece. I feel like when the bottom hem lengths of the two pieces are too disparate that it can cut the body horizontally too many times – and most bodies don’t benefit from horizontal chopping. Does that make sense?

Here’s an example of wearing a top that is shorter than the bottom piece. Again, imagine the bottom piece as even longer, like a tunic – I had to work with what I currently have!

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Mustard yellow cardigan old, 3x; Avenue cream silk-trimmed long-sleeved tee 26/28; Charlotte Russe Refuge jeans 24 short

Who wants multiple horizontal lines cutting across their butt?? Not this girl!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m really enjoying the athleisure trend. In the past, I would have only thought of a sweatshirt or zipfront jacket over leggings but now there are darling hoodie cardigans to wear. My “rule” in this case, is to be sure that either the under or over piece covers your butt when you’re wearing leggings. That said, if you’re tall and slim this rule does not apply 🙂 But for us mere mortals it’s nice to have some guidelines.

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All items (except Adidas sneakers) from Avenue: grey waffle-knit hoodie 22/24; cream silk-trimmed long-sleeved tee 26/28; navy cropped pima cotton leggings 22

Another type of cardigan is the oversized wrap. My little rule with this is: baggy on top, snug on bottom. If you’re wearing an oversized piece on top, then wear skinny jeans or leggings or slim tailored pants or a pencil skirt on the bottom. Below I’m showing another “don’t.” These jeans are just too baggy and wrinkled at the knees to look their best with this oversized cardigan. My black skinny jeans would be a much better choice.

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BB Dakota blanket cardigan via Gwynnie Bee 3x; cream Gloria Vanderbilt Amanda jeans 24; Avenue grey silk-trimmed long-sleeved tee 26/28

It’s important when putting outfits together to not just think of what colors go together, but what scales work together, and what the lines of the clothing are doing to your body.

All that said, WHO THE HECK AM I? Ha! Anyone who knows me knows that “Bettye Breaks the Rules,” so read what I’ve written and then put your own spin on it. These are just things I’ve learned that work for me, that when I can, I apply to my wardrobe. But you do you 🙂

I like to really analyze outfits I see that I like…and try and understand WHY I like that one, and not another one. It’s more complex than just “ooh, that baby pink looks so pretty with camel.” Color can be the most obvious characteristic of an outfit but I wouldn’t say it’s the most important. Scale, balance, ratio, fabrics, line, style: all extremely important. And ha, this is “do as I say not as I do!” With this body I often have to take what I can get – based on what fits, so even *I* am not able to follow all my guidelines all the time. But I’m always mindful of them. And I hope after reading this you will be too.

Week in Review: Week 44

This week was work work work cough cough cough. I’m just feeling a lot of negative input from around my life and the people close to me. A lot of illness, sadness, loss. I really need to find a little bright spot in the week ahead.

This was the night I said goodbye to my daughter…as she is returning to Florida to live. Caleb and I went over to see her one last time. I know she’ll be back soon to visit…but it is just not the same.

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If you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen this – a Throwback Thursday to my Very First Outfit of the Day post back in September 2015.

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Karen Kane swing dress, 3x; Kohl’s Apt 9 cardigan, 3x; Old Navy flipflops

Getting ready for a photo shoot that didn’t happen.

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Most every night this week I came straight home from work and got on the sofa with a book. I didn’t even feel like being on the computer. And I ALWAYS feel like being on the computer. So I was very happy when a friend was able to go into Brooklyn with me yesterday to see the Marilyn Minter “Dirty Pretty” exhibit at Brooklyn Museum. Very interesting.

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We sat and watched this film several times through, it was mesmerizing, this is just about 30 seconds of it. It was the size of the wall, so maybe…14′ high by like 20′ across.

And this one also…

We looked at some other exhibits but as soon as we realized it was snowing we hightailed it out because driving in snow is one of my least favorite things to do! This was as soon as we left the museum…but it took over 2 hours to get home and by that time the roads were not good 😦

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And now I’m on day two of a three day weekend and then it’s back to work…and some sad things. So…I’ve got my eyes open for a “nice” opportunity because I could really use that this week.

Hope you all have some joy this week ahead.

From the Fitting Room: Avenue

It’s all this shirt’s fault. I’d had no intention of clothes shopping so soon after Christmas…but Avenue is right next to the doctor’s office and this shirt was hanging in the window and it looked like something I could combine with several other pieces in my wardrobe, so…I drove away. Ha. Tricked ya!

Went home, had some lunch. Could Not Stop Thinking About the Shirt. Drove BACK to Avenue. Found the shirt inside…and as long as I was going into the fitting room anyway I grabbed a couple other things on the way.

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In the end, the plaid blouse did not pass muster. It was too…flimsy. It was a lightweight rayon and didn’t have enough body to stand up under a cardigan, which is what I wanted it for. So back it went.

BUT…I *have* been needing a couple more athleisure type tops to wear over leggings and sneakers, and this soft supple sweatshirt w cute asymmetric layered bottom filled the bill. It came home with me.

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AND…two very nice lightweight long-sleeved tees – a light grey and a cream (cream not shown)…also made their way into my bag…

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And THIS, waterfall thermal knit hoodie, very soft, very fluid, easy to wear…also came home with me. It looks nice over either of the long-sleeved tees.

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So, for once a SUCCESSFUL try-on…and just when I’d been sort of down on Avenue. Sorry, old friend. You can still be my resource for leggings and sporty tops.

What I’m Wearing:

My Week in Review: Weeks 40-43

Ooh, I’ve been remiss! In my defense: Holiday and Sick. So I’m doing a big Week(s) in Review catch-up here and can then proceed as usual starting next week. Do you guys even *like* Week in Review? I’m coming up on Fashion Schlub’s 1 Year Anniversary and am thinking about switching some things up. I feel like I get more new people liking and commenting on the WiR posts, which I guess is good? I don’t know? I’m just stumbling my way along in Blog-Land. Thoughts?

Gosh, THIS seems forever ago! I’m actually just taking the tree *down* this weekend. Sadface.

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Janey was helping not helping decorate the tree. Funny little crooked-faced cat.

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Janey loves sitting with me at the computer. And the sofa. And bed. And the toilet. You get the picture.

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I’ve been trying to eat more fruit. My reward for eating an orange is a vegan gingerbread cupcake from Batata Cafe in Northport.

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I love old building advertising. I loved painted signs, I think they’re so much more charming than big plastic or polyvinyl (or whatever those canopy type things you see everywhere now) signs.

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Meh. I so loved the other book of hers I read, Secrets of a Charmed Life…I was disappointed by this one.

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The last day of work before vacation is lovely. We’re all so productive and get just tons of work done.

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I drank a toast to the start of vacation. Alright. I drank a *couple* toasts.

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Exmas Eve with my baby.

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Christmas Day. We exchanged gifts at my apartment then went to dinner at our favorite Chinese restaurant and drove around looking at Christmas lights. It was a nice low-key day. I like a low-key holiday.

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My boy.

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We drank a toast to the holiday. Alright. We drank *several* toasts to the holiday.

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I LOVED The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. Do recommend.

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Ha ha. Christmas had too many toasts and threw up in their front yard.

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I spread my friendship wings (ha ha, someone dear to me used that phrase once when I was making a new friend and it has just always stayed in my heart and head) and made a new friend when we photographed one another for our respective blogs – Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me. You can see some photographs I did of her here.

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That day we shot was cold and super windy and we were out in it all day and I got SICK. This is what sick looks like.

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I’m trying to tackle some small projects in the apartment this winter. This is one of the cubbies staring me in the face when I sit at the computer and I was tired of it. The top pic is the before, the bottom is after. Ahh. But where did I put those chocolate chips??

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Which brings us to today and it is snowing out so I’m staying in with some work, some projects and some reading. But not enough snacks. Unless I can find those chocolate chips.

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Phew! All caught up! Holidays are over, tree is coming down, now the long cold blah winter begins. Will have to make effort to spice things up! Who’s with me??

Stepping Outside the Box

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I am normally a pretty basic dresser. Solids, neutrals, limited palette, that’s my usual wardrobe. And then THIS happened. This floral tunic by American Rag that I’ve rented from Gwynnie Bee. I feel so HAPPY in it! I felt a little like a Matryoshka – those brightly painted Russian wooden nesting dolls. In a good way!

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Sometimes you just have to take a little walk on the wild side, try something new, step outside your box. It’s so interesting to me how *difficult* that can be with something as seemingly insignificant as clothing. Yet sometimes wearing something DIFFERENT…in PUBLIC…can be The Most Terrifying Thing.

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But it’s a good thing to slip a little strange into your normal routine, know what I mean? Don’t dress and live The Same Exact Way day after day after day. There are just so many days. Explore, adventure, spread your friendship wings, wear a brightly colored blouse.

LIVE.

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What I’m Wearing:

Do you think you might like to try Gwynnie Bee? It’s a clothing rental service for sizes 10-32. And the first month is FREE! If you want to give it a try (and you know you want to), just click the banner ad below. I’ve been a member for almost 2 years and it has helped me on the road to finding my fashion style because I can try so many different things without filling up my closet or emptying out my bank account!

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If you do join through this affiliate link, I will get a small commission (thank you!). But I wouldn’t recommend the company if I didn’t REALLY love them (and I do).

My new friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me was my photographer once again – thanks, Marcy!

One Dress: Three Outfits

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a) HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Okay, so, one of my requirements for new items to be added to my wardrobe is that they must be versatile. I ask myself if an item I’m coveting can be worn three different ways. If not…it has to REALLY have something else going for it. I especially like pieces that can be dressed up *and* down just by switching out accessories.

This is one of those items. I got this dress from JC Penney’s Boutique+ plus size line. I love the fabric and fit, it floats across my body barely touching it and has a lot of swing and movement when I walk. And it’s simple without being boring – the lace-up detail at the neck gives it a little sumpn-sumpn. And it dresses up and down very nicely. I’ve styled it here for a date look, out for a drink with friends, and a comfortable work look.

For the date look, I’ve worn it with over the knee boots and a slightly sparkly cardigan…some swingy earrings and a little arm bling.

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I would wear the next look out in the evening for cocktails with friends (anyone wanna go out for cocktails?), with my faux leather moto jacket, black booties…and dangly brushed silver earrings that I forgot to photograph. Bad blogger. Bad!

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And lastly, a comfortable work or afternoon at the coffee shop outfit. A cozy longline cardigan, low-heeled booties and this darling ring my daughter got for me.

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I’d like to thank my new blogger friend Marcy of Fearlessly Just Me who took these photographs – she did a really good job, don’t you think?

What I’m Wearing:

  • Wine swing dress, 3x, JC Penney Boutique+
  • Black sequin cardigan, 3x, TJ Maxx (old), similar here and here
  • Black boots, Avenue (old), similar here
  • Black Bongo faux leather moto jacket (old), similar here
  • Black faux leather Myla booties, Avenue
  • Taupe longline duster cardigan, INC from Macy*s (old)

Year in Review 2016: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In 2016 I started this blog. I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, but I started it anyway. And I’ve learned and grown along the way.

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I used to keep myself pretty covered up, but I’ve gained some body confidence this year.

I bared my arms.

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I bared my legs.

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I had fit fails.

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And learned of my latent penchant for “nightgown dresses.”

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And started to get a sense for my own style.

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I went to The Curvy Con! It was amazing to be surrounded by beautiful, confident, plus size women and I can’t wait to go back in 2017.

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I was a director (aka bossy).

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I was The King of the World!

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I laughed…

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I let the wind blow in my hair…

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I twirled…

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And threw my hands in the air.

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Sometimes I don’t know WHAT the heck was going on…

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But through it all, I had fun, I’ve made new friends, I’ve had the help of many wonderful new people…so I’m saying SO LONG, 2016…

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And I’m looking forward to what awaits me in 2017. I have some new goals: both personally and for the blog…see ya in the new year!