The Refined Woman

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STYLED: Summer Lovin’

A while back I posted about our anniversary session with Tec Petaja … And even though it’s been a few months since we did these photos I appreciate them even more now that Aaron and I are getting ready to add another little one to our family. 

I’m also dreaming of summer. Warm weather. Wearing jean shorts again. And making our way back to Tomales Bay for oysters at The Marshall Store

Photos by Tec Petaja / Hair + Makeup by Skyla Arts 

Another post featuring my red jean shorts. Or chambray shirt

OUTFIT : Best of Kat

Kat is the one who is always pushing us forward. Without her, The Refined Woman just wouldn’t be around at all much less be where it is today. We have had an amazing year starting this journey on The Refined Woman. She is always moving forward, thinking bigger, and challenging me to BE more. I love her for that, and I think that’s why we are such a good team. I’m dreaming and scheming but Kat is the one who is always taking action. I love seeing how her photography has grown since I’ve known her and this year, I’ve loved seeing her evolve as a stylist as well. 

Here are some of my favorite outfits she’s put together for the blog in the past year and just a little bit about what I love about them. 

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red for fall - I’m crazy about this look because I just would never have paired a red wool pencil skirt with a brown turtleneck but it is just the best combo! I am dying over the tones together with a bit of chunky gold and leopard. Stunning styling. 

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first date material - This is another color combo I’m crazy about! bright canary yellow plus muted beige is so classy and sophisticated while still being super fun. I mean come on, how is this beautiful friend of mine still single? I don’t get it. AT. ALL.

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All I could think after Kat posted this fun mixed textured outfit was GET THEE TO CLUB MONACO. And also, get some hoop earrings! The military coat and patterned pencil are such a cool combo and the hoop earrings, I mean really. Too good. There are so many ways you could take this idea and run with it because a military jacket goes with everything (Kat and I were all about them this year…)

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I have always been a fan of a good romper but this post not only solidified my love for their versatility - it also made me go out and get some converse. Paired with the white blazer this outfit just killed me. I love how Kat wears patterns, which is one thing I’m working on for 2014, and I think one great takeaway from this outfit is to pick one pattern and pair it with all white or another color to really make the pattern pop. 

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It may be because the holidays are over and I’m already in post-Christmas depression, but I’m longing for spring already. Easy tied tops and skirts and color. And as much as dressing for pregnancy is a fun challenge for me, I’m already getting pumped about wearing clothes that don’t have to fit over the belly. I loved this color blocking post so much - and Kat’s combo here is perfect. Again, I’m all about the color. Predictable. 

Honorable mentions go to : 

blazers + ballcaps

camo pants!!

kat’s high-waisted trouser look for Rue

country boho - girl knows how to rock those cowboy boots

one blue dress 4 ways!

Cheers to an even better 2014! We love you for following along with us. 

Be sure to keep up with new stuff over on our Facebook page (the best place to ask us questions!) and our Pinterest!

xo,

Em

Merry Christmas + Happy Holidays

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Well Happy Christmas Y’all!  It has been quite the year for both Em + I.  So many adventures and new beginnings.  It has been so much fun to think about this year, and all it has entailed for us individually, and for The Refined Woman.

Time is a funny thing.  Undaunted by our circumstances or feelings; it just keeps on moving by.  Here are some of our highlights from this year:

  • We launched The Refined Woman.  Our dear friend Casey Wiegand helped promote our blog the day, and we were blown away at the response we got that first week.
  • Our dreams came true during February Fashion Week when we met our hero Jenna Lyons.  We felt like giddy school girls running around the city (during the blizzard) going to shows like Billy Reid, the JCrew Presentation, and Monique Lhuillier.
  • After New York Fashion Week I decided to move to the Big City, and gulpI actually did this August!
  • Em + Aaron celebrated their 5 year wedding anniversary in Paris for 3 weeks, and he scored some major points when he bought Em the Chanel purse of her dreams.
  • Em announced they’re adding a member to their family this fall, and I know I’m a bit bias, but she’s basically the cutest prego ever!
  • I experienced my first East Coast fall, and it was just as magical as I thought and hoped it would be.

It’s been a year of dream chasing, of goal orienting, stumbling, falling, tears, laughter, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

We are so very thankful to have had this adventure, and are excited to see the beautiful things that 2014 has in store for us!  Thank you for joining us on this journey!

XO,

Kat + Em

P.S.  Em and I sent out our first Christmas card this year.  Aaron shot our pictures on the roliflex at The Highline Hotel.  (We used Minted cards which we FELL IN LOVE WITH by the way)!  Here are some of our favorite shots!  Enjoy!

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em’s outfit!

dress : crossroads trading co. / shirt : jcrew (similar) / blazer : jcrew / necklace : jcrew (similar)

STYLED: Anniversary Shoot with Tec Petaja

One reason I love being a part of The Refined Woman is that in the past 5 years of being a photographer, I have become just as passionate about what my subjects wear as I am about taking the photos. 

There’s just something about the right outfit, in the right location, in the right light … when it all comes together, that is something that really fires me up. 

A few months ago, when Aaron and I celebrated on our 5 year anniversary, I wanted to get some photos done by a photographer I greatly admire in the city we have come to love so much. 

It was the best opportunity to get to STYLE a couple just how I would want to photograph them. And honestly Tec captured us better than I could have imagined. 

I love these photos but more than that I’m hoping and praying for more opportunities to come along to style more photo shoots. So if you’re looking for a stylist… 

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All photos by Tec Petaja

Hair + Makeup by Elizabeth Chang

Em’s OUTFIT - Jacket : H&M (old) / Dress : All Saints (old) / Pumps : Christian Louboutin

Aaron’s OUTFIT - 3 Piece Suit : Indochino / Tie : The Tie Bar / Shoes : Cole Haan

xo,

Em

OUTFIT : Denim Shorts

There’s just so much you can do with staple pieces in your wardrobe.  Take the Denim Shorts.  On Monday we showed you how to wear them 7 Different Ways!

Today we’re showing more of Em and I’s looks.  Notice how we both are wearing denim shorts, but our outfits could not be more different.

Em is totally getting rocker chic on us while keeping it casual with her strappy sandals.  On the other hand, my look is a little more dressy.  The blazer and silk blouse paired with my wedges makes me ready for a day of summer client meetings.  However, take my pony tail down and I’m ready for drinks with the girls!

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wayfarers: ray ban / shorts : thrifted / tank : madewell (old) / leather jacket : comptoir des cotonniers (similar) / sandals : frēda salvador 

photos : simply jessie / hair + makeup : melissa hoffmann

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Shorts:  Thrift (similar + on sale for $20!!)

Jacket:  Club Monaco + it’s on sale!!

Blouse:  Vince Camuto (similar)

Sunglasses:  RayBans

Happy Wednesday Ladies!

XOXO,

Kat + Em

Refined on a Dime : Boyfriend Jeans

"Great, just what the world needs, more women wearing baggy jeans."


- said my husband / when I told him what this post was about.

If I’ve learned anything from The Man Repeller, it’s that if my husband doesn’t approve, it’s probably awesome and I should wear it.

Take boyfriend jeans. They are so loose and baggy it’s like the next best thing to wearing sweatpants in public. I’ll probably be wearing them after they aren’t on trend because they just make me feel happy.

But have you tried to find boyfriend jeans at the department store? I could never find them with enough slouch - especially through the thigh - and I always felt like if they didn’t make my heart sing I sure wasn’t about to spend all that $$$ on them.

What I have found is that the thrift store is the BEST place to get them.

Here are some tips to make even the most daunting thrift store your friend:

1. Head straight for the men’s section (I guess that might be obvious but JUST IN CASE)

2. Look for Levi’s - especially 501 or 505 - those are classic fits that will have just enough straightness in the leg all the way through, plus the denim will be perfect - no elastic or anything weird like that to worry about. Lots of Levi’s will also have the waist and inseam on the back label so you can easily find a small enough waist size to work with.

3. TRY THEM ON. Seems like another obvious point here but I think many people don’t have thrift store success because they don’t want to commit to the dressing room but trust me YOU MUST go all in here. The waist size might say 32 but you want to know where exactly they are going to sit on your hips. Also the length is important. I usually am cutting them to make shorts or rolling them up - but depending on how long they are to begin with you will want to see whether they will require cutting. 

4. Be Careful with the Scissors - I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ruined a good pair of denim attempting to make them cutoffs because I thought I would just wing it with the length. You want to cut them much longer at first and roll them to get a real sense of how short they are going to be. You might also find that they look better rolled up than cut and in that case you’re done!

5. Distressing - If you are lucky you’ll find a pair that some man carpenter wore for years and there will be paint or distressing on your jeans already. If not - you can always add your own by rubbing them with a cheese grater and ripping a bit away as you go. But just be warned it takes a while to get it right and it gets messy. I guess there’s a reason designer jeans cost so much….

And that’s all there is to it. Feel free to spend the whole of the $185 you saved on some fabulous accessories, shoes, etc. and feel ridiculously good about it. 

Your boyfriends, husbands, brothers + fathers can send me thank you presents anytime.

xo

Em

ps. Do you have specific ideas for Refined on a Dime? We’d love to hear your feedback here. I promise we’re nice. 

OUTFIT : Out to Brunch

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We were in Wine Country this weekend for this sweet couple’s wedding + I convinced the Mr. to shoot with me by bribing him with a night in Napa and (quite possibly our favorite thing in the whole entire world) BRUNCH.

We ate a Farmstead and it did not disappoint us. We had a cocktail that even Ron Swanson would enjoy. In short, it was glorious.

It was the perfect chance to wear my new (old) men’s jeans (turned shorts.) 

I’ve also been LIVING in my new sandals from Frēda Salvador. I found these gals when I shot a feature on them for Apartment 34 and I agonized for weeks over which pair I wanted to invest in. When I finally went back a last weekend there happened to be a Friends & Family sale (Can you say Destiny) and I *may* have walked out with 2 pairs… You will definitely be seeing these babies in Chestnut soon. These sandals are made of the most amazing leather and the crystal detail is unique but in black and tan it goes with everything I own.

Alright. Onto the outfit already. 

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Try pairing a beaded blouse with your denim to add interest to some boyfriend jean shorts.The slouchy shorts will come in handy if you accidentally overindulge in brunch goodness.

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Silk Blouse : Scotch & Soda

Boyfriend jean shorts : Thrifted

Aviators : Ray Ban

Sandals : Frēda Salvador

Kat has convinced me to do a little tutorial on what I look for in my boyfriend jeans for this week’s Friday fun post so get excited for the first Refined on a Dime tutorial!

xo

Em

The Refined HOW TO STYLE YOUR STAPLES Series: The Pencil Skirt

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The Pencil Skirt.  Every woman should have at least one if not multiple.  As a working woman on-the-go; it’s one of those wardrobe pieces that you cannot live without!

Our favorite place to get pencil skirts you ask?  JCrew’s No.2 Pencil Skirt does it right every time!

There is such freedom in wardrobe staples.  BUT if you’re anything like me, then you get stuck wearing your staple pieces the same way over and over.  I get so uninspired when I stare at my closet each day.  Sometimes you just need a fresh set of eyes to get you to rethink the way you put together outfits.

We thought what better way to get inspired on getting out of your comfort zone with those go-to pieces then getting together with some of our favorite bloggers once a month to see how they wear their staple pieces!

Em and I are simply tickled pink that such fabulous women are partnering up with us on this collaboration!  

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Em of The Refined Woman.

  • What we love about Em’s look is the mixture of textures and patterns.  The necklace is the perfect piece to tie in two such opposing patterns!

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Kat of The Refined Woman.

  • We love how Kat chose a POP-O-COLOR with her skirt, then kept it simple by staying neutral with the rest of her pieces.  Her tan and white belts softens the white and yellow nicely.

Casey Leigh of The Wiegands

  • Miss Casey from Texas is a SoCal girl at heart!  We love her flowy untucked top with her DIY scarf + fedora!

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Hilary of Dean Street Society.

  • Last week Hilary told me "keep it simple, keep it preppy", and her outfit reflects this statement wonderfully. We love her color blocking + who would have thought to pair a sweater with a pencil skirt!  LOVE IT!

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Sara of Glitter and Grace.

  • We adore Sara’s neutral color palette. Her graphic tee keeps this look casual, yet her sassy heels keeps her uber feminine!  We love how she took advantage of adding color with her accessories!

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Jen of The Effortless Chic.

  • Jen offers another take on the graphic tee + sassy heel look.  She keeps her color palette simple, the tee + lace skirt make this a very wearable outfit, yet her sparkly heels and jazzy jewelry takes this look to the Effortless Chic style that Jen holds to!

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Erin of Apartment 34. 

  • We’re smitten with Erin’s blue color blocking!  There is so much freedom in color!  Her billowy top makes her skirt feel more bohemian.  

Stay tuned for our Wednesday Post as Em and I give details on where our looks are from!

XOXO,

Kat + Em

P.S.  Mark your calendars for our next Refined How To Collaboration Post Monday June 10th!

OUTFIT : Em + The LBD

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I loved Kat’s post on Monday about the importance of the little black dress. It really shows how deeply we love a good black dress. 

So when considering the styling for our launch shoot with Bess it was kind of a no-brainer to go LBD. If there is anything we want you to take away from The Refined Woman, it’s that style doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. All it takes is the right little black dress to make you feel amazing. 

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I love this dress because I think it’s hard to find a good dress with sleeves that doesn’t feel too frumpy.

I will admit that the long sleeves / high neck / long hemline combo can be a tough one to pull off but somehow I like it in this dress. I think the key is the fitted sleeves and the slightly puffy skirt. 

In any case it makes me feel classy and I think how you feel in a dress sometimes can be equally as important as how it looks

If what you wear not only looks great but makes you feel great, then it can have the power to make you a more positive and (potentially) more productive person. 

With that, I think I’ve given you a pretty compelling reason to go shopping (You’re welcome!) If you do -  go find something that makes you happy to get dressed for work in the morning! You are worth it. 

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dress : xtabay vintage / pumps : zara (old) / tote : coach

photos : bess friday / hair + makeup : priscilla francine

xo,

Em

OUTFIT : Kat + The LBD

"A girl should be two things: Classy + Fabulous" Coco Chanel

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Timeless.

Tailored.

Classic.

The Little Black Dress. 

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There are a few non-negotiable staples to every ladies wardrobe:

Little Black Dress

A Tailored Black and Navy Blue Blazer

White Silk Blouse

Pencil Skirt

Classic Black Pumps

Dark Denim Skinny Jeans

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Photo by:  Bess Friday; Hair + MU:  Priscilla Francine

Our focus today:  The Little Black Dress.  Really every woman needs one, or two, or three.  The LBD is that wardrobe staple that you can wear to a wedding, drinks with friends, client meeting, or date night.  They are so versatile, and for the The Refined Woman versatility is EVERYTHING.

Now officially in my late 20s (yikes) I’m done trying to keep up with the latest trends.  Gone are the days where my wardrobe is made up primarily of “throw away” trendy clothes that break apart after two wears.

My mother has always said Less is More, and I believe this to be true for many things… especially my wardrobe.

It is best to have a few well crafted staple pieces in your wardrobe as opposed to a closet full of poorly made trendy clothes.  (Now don’t get me wrong the trendy stuff isn’t evil.  You just have to know that it’s trendy.  So don’t drop $400 on a pair of floral pants that will be out of style next season.  Go to H&M or TopShop for those).

Here are a few tips when finding your Little Black Dress:

Find a dress around knee length.  If you’re 5’8 or taller, you can go a bit past the knee.  If you’re under 5’7, look for a dress 2-3 inches above your knee.  This will help with proportions.

When trying the dress on if you can come up with 3 different ways to wear the piece; it‘s a keeper  i.e. the cap sleeves on my dress and the cotton material allows me to wear this dress in all seasons. I can wear the dress as is, pair it with a blazer + pumps, a jean jacket and wedges in the summer, a cardigan and skinny belt in the fall.

Is it moveable?  Let’s be real you gotta be able to move around in this thing.  If it’s tight or uncomfortable in the fitting room; it will be 10x more uncomfortable after a night out.


Outfit Details:

Dress:  JCrew (Similar)

Shoes:  ColeHaan

Necklace:  Bauble Bar

Clutch:  Target

 

Stay tuned for Em’s LBD on Wednesday as well as more details behind the scenes on our shoot with Bess Friday!

XOXO,

Kat