Be my guest: Jane | Professional (and kid-proof) style from a children’s librarian

Our next guest post is from Jane, who’s a new children’s librarian. She’s learned a few things about looking cute and professional while still being comfortable and practical. Jane also has a library-themed blog — I’m thrilled she’s branching out of her comfort zone with a style post on my blog!


Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Jen!

I love working with kids, but it can be sartorially challenging. As an early literacy specialist, it’s important that I dress professionally, but there’s also high probability that I’ll be covered in baby slobber and glitter glue by the end of the day. Here are some things I’ve learned about keeping my style both professional and kid-proof.

1. Think breathable

Working with kids can be a sweaty business. My storytimes are high energy, and by the end of a program I’m usually glowing. Breathable fabrics like cotton help keep me cool, and I try to avoid fabrics like hold on to moisture, like polyester.

2. Give your outfits a test run

An outfit that works when you’re sitting at your desk might not work so well during a story time. Make sure to bend over, stretch up, twist and jump around in an outfit just to make sure that you won’t show off more than you intended to during your next rendition of “Head and shoulders, knees and toes.”

Be my guest:  Jane

3. Bend and stretch

To keep up with active kids I need to be able to move, so I seek out clothes with stretch that allow for a full range of motion. Leggings worn under dresses and tunics are stretchable, machine washable, and often inexpensive to replace. I can jump and dance with ease, comfortably bend down to reach the lowest bookshelves, participate in messy crafts and still look put-together.

Be my guest:  Jane

4. Keep it fun!

Being a professional doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with your clothes — I love book-themed graphic tees, and the button collection on my lanyard is out of control! Let your unique personality shine through in your style and find what makes you feel comfortable and confident. When you feel good, it shows!

Be my guest:  Jane

Be sure to check out Jane’s library-themed blog at janekwhittingham.wordpress.com!

Be my guest: Anna | 10 books to add to your style inspiration library

I have some wonderful guest posts lined up, on a MWF schedule. Enjoy, and I will see y’all back on the blog next month! Also, if you’re wondering about SIA, be sure to check out Jess’s Animated Cardigan blog today and Salazar’s 14 Shades of Grey blog next Monday. My next SIA pick will be on August 17. ~ Jen

First up is Anna Lee Beyer, a librarian in Texas who is constantly trying to figure out what “style” means in her life. I’m very excited that she is starting off these guest posts and sharing her Top 10 books for style inspiration. Check out her blog, Anna Be, at annabeblog.blogspot.com.


10 Books to Add to Your Style Inspiration Library

What is your personal style? I am constantly exploring what that question means to me — how to find inspiration, be different, be myself, stay frugal, be age- and shape-appropriate, decide if I care about age- or shape-appropriateness. Beyond the question of What do I wear today? is the joy in an aimless exploration of my own style potential. Here are some of my favorite books for that kind of daydreaming.

The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style: How to Wear Iconic Looks and Make Them Your Own

1. The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style: How to Wear Iconic Looks and Make Them Your Own

Though The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style is seven years old, I feel the styles are iconic enough to remain inspirational for many more years. When I first bought this, I labeled myself California Casual and Bohemian, but now I’m feeling a little Arty Slick and Posh Eclectic. Though it’s not important to find a mold and cram yourself into it, this guide is nice for identifying what style category you are drawn to and finding inspiration in its suggestions.

Women in Clothes

2. Women in Clothes

You might call Women in Clothes the intellectual companion to The Lucky Guide. There are few styled photos, no shopping guides, and none of that slick magazine feel. Instead, this book gives you the stories of how all types of women feel about their clothes. It reminds us how meaningful clothes are — beyond trends and price points.

Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: A Guide to Customizing a Hand-Stitched Alabama Chanin Wardrobe

3. Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: A Guide to Customizing a Hand-Stitched Alabama Chanin Wardrobe

Hand sewing in the detail suggested by Alabama Studio is beyond the skill and interest of most people. Still, what I’ve found in Natalie Chanin’s techniques are an appreciation for quality and simplicity. Even if you have never sewn a stitch and have no plans to, you can browse this book and imagine a wardrobe full of interchangeable pieces in fine organic knits and soothing, natural colors. For me, these patterns are aspirational.

Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange

4. Parisian Chic: A Style Guide

There is a whole genre of guides to teach Americans how to be more French. I don’t know if it’s healthy to fetishize a foreign culture, but this much is true:  books like Parisian Chic present a style with ease and a je ne sais quoi that is enviable.

The Lingerie Handbook

5. The Lingerie Handbook

Want to build your wardrobe from the inside out? This is a great guide for finding the basics and the secret beauties that make you feel and look your best.

Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom

6. Stylish Dress Book: Wear with Freedom

Here’s another sewing book for style inspiration, even if you don’t sew. There are plenty of these translated Japanese pattern books that present an aesthetic I haven’t seen anywhere else. From ditsy florals to edgy black layers, Japanese sewists give a great perspective on looks that are relaxed, feminine, and quirky.

What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society

7. What People Wore When: A Complete Illustrated History of Costume from Ancient Times to the Nineteenth Century for Every Level of Society

Lest you forget fashion didn’t begin and end with the September issue of Vogue, here is a glimpse into what clothing has looked like through the centuries. Books like this are not just inspiration for theatrical costume designers or Halloween partygoers; see how pieces from different eras can work for you today.

The Intelligent Layman's Book Jewellery

8. The Intelligent Layman’s Book of Jewellery

Though this particular book is not widely available, any book on the history of jewelry is a good accompaniment to a book on the history of costume. Or visit an art museum and browse the ancient jewelry as if you were shopping for yourself. If grandma’s jewelry box is your cup of (chamomile) tea, look for inspiration in guides like this.

Print & Pattern: Geometric

9. Print & Pattern: Geometric

For the daring person who likes to wear bold graphics or (gasp!) mix patterns, Print & Pattern is full of inspiration. Even for the not-so-daring, see how graphic designers combine colors in unexpected ways, and experiment with your solid pieces.

The New Bohemians: Cool and Collected Homes

10. The New Bohemians: Cool & Collected Homes

Though not about fashion, this new home decor book will spark the Bohemian inside of you (if there is one). It explores the casual, eclectic, colorful style I’m drawn to in both clothes and spaces.

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Biographical note: Anna Lee Beyer is a librarian, a writer, and a mother. Read her blog at annabeblog.blogspot.com

Monthly budget (July 2015)

A look at my monthly budget adventures for July… as you can see below, I kept it pretty low-key this month.

What I Got (July 2015)

Details:  grey trousers {exact}  //  black-and-white striped t-shirt {exact}  //  silver stud earring set {exact}

Replacing basics

I focused on replacing basics again this month. I discovered a hole in black-and-white striped top, seen here, and I lost one of my silver stud earrings. I replaced both recently at Kohl’s using a gift card and discounts. While we were there, I also spied these great trousers! Super comfortable and professional with that “trouser jean” look.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Monthly budget (July 2015)

  • Black-and-white striped t-shirt, Croft & Barrow for Kohl’s {exact}:  paid $11 (original price $24, on sale for $15.99, 30% off)
  • Silver stud earrings, Kohl’s {exact}:  paid $21 (original price $30, 30% off)
  • Twill trousers, Gloria Vanderbilt for Kohl’s {exact style}:  paid $17 (original price $34.99, used $11 gift coupon + 30% off)

Dressing room snapshots

I remembered to snap some extra pics of what I did and didn’t buy.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  Dressing room pics from Kohl's shopping trip

The striped top also comes in red, which I was hoping to also add to my closet, but my size was out of stock in the store and online. I will keep my eye on it, in case it comes back in stock.

Budget recap

TOTAL SPENT for this month:  $49
TOTAL SAVINGS for this month:  $39.99

TOTAL SPENT THIS YEAR: $472.07
TOTAL SAVINGS THIS YEAR: $2,338+

What’s next?

I have added items to my “to donate” pile and am thinking about trying out the online consignment site, ThredUp.


Linking up with Fran’s Budgeting Bloggers and these other lovely ladies!

What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

If you’re a regular reader (thank you!), then you know I prefer to plan ahead and be organized. I am a librarian, after all! ;) Sometimes, I go shopping on the spur-of-the-moment, but when I am planning on clothes-shopping, I also plan out what I’m going to wear, in order to maximize efficiency when trying on clothes. And yes, I try on EVERYTHING; that’s my #1 personal rule when going shopping.

So here’s a typical outfit I wear when going clothes-shopping. I prefer to start with something buttoned, so it’s easier to take on and off. This light cotton shirtdress is perfect for that! (I haaaaate the static electricity your hair gets when you have to keep changing out a top or dress in the dressing room. I’m not the only one this happens to, right??) This dress also has deep pockets, perfect for storing things like a shopping list, coupons, chapstick, and my phone.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

I also wore my comfortable cognac wedges to give me a little height, for two reasons:  (1) I’m taller, so I like to be able to scan the racks in a store first, if possible, to get a sense of how things are organized in the store, and (2) I can see how longer pants and jeans look with heels, if needed.

And here are some better outfit photos we took in a leafy area outside the store:

Librarian for Life + Style  |  What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

Librarian for Life + Style  |  What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

Details:  Black cotton shirtdress, Walmart, old {very similar}  //  Cognac wedges, b.o.c. via Macy’s {very similar style from same brand}  //  Cognac tassel belt, came with another dress, old {very similar in cognac} {similar in grey} //  Orange ceramic pendant necklace, Vancouver BC trip  //  Straw + wicker vintage bag, local vintage store {tote bag option} {super cute striped straw bag with tassels}

Librarian for Life + Style  |  What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

Librarian for Life + Style  |  What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

Librarian for Life + Style  |  What I wore to go shopping | Black shirtdress + cognac accessories

Do you ever plan out what you’re going to wear for a clothes-shopping trip? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Tomorrow, I’ll be back with the items I bought for my monthly budget post!

Link ups:  Manic Monday, Monday Mingle, Sophisticated Style, Confident Twosdays, Turning Heads, Who’s Wearing What Wednesdays, Trendy Wednesday, What I Wore WednesdayThrowback Thursday, Top of the World, What I Wore to Work/Summer StyleFashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Charming Friday, Friday FavoritesSunday Funday

Six-month retrospective of monthly favorites in 2015

Each month, I do a monthly retrospective post with a reader poll so you can choose your own favorite outfit from the month. It’s already halfway through 2015, so I thought a six-month retrospective was in store.

I’ll go backward this time, starting with June!

June 2015 favorites:

Funny that Sam was the outlier this month — but he chose a similar outfit, a fit-and-flare dress with my thrifted white cardigan.

Librarian for Life + Style  |  June 2015 favorites

Most viewed + Jen’s fave + Poll winner  //  Sam’s fave

May 2015 favorites:

The MVP for May was definitely my berry cardigan. Sam was the outlier again, choosing my bright floral tunic.

Librarian for Life + Style | A collage of favorites for May 2015

most viewed + poll winner + Jen’s fave 1  //  Jen’s fave 2  //  Sam’s fave

April 2015 favorites:

A lot of different faves this month. The common theme I see is pattern! :)

Librarian for Life + Style | A collage of favorites for April 2015

most viewed  //  Jen’s fave  //  poll winner  //  Sam’s fave

March 2015 favorites:

Now I’m the outlier! I chose the grid print sweater as my personal fave back in January, and it kind of surprised me that this sweater-and-skirt combo took 3 out of the top 4 faves!

Librarian for Life + Style | A collage of favorites for March 2015

most viewed + poll winner + Sam’s fave  //  Jen’s fave

February 2015 favorites:

Another kaleidoscope month of faves! I like that Sam and I both chose my ’20s-inspired green-and-brown combo.

Librarian for Life + Style | A collage of favorites for February 2015

Most viewed  //  Jen’s fave  //  Poll winner  //  Sam’s fave 1, Sam’s fave 2

January 2015 favorites:

Again, so many different looks — and types of outfits! January’s faves include a dressy outfit (my New Year’s Eve outfit getting the most views), a casual work outfit (Sam’s fave), regular work outfits (the poll winner + one of my faves), as well as a casual outfit (my other fave with the blue tote bag).

Librarian for Life + Style  |  A collage of favorites for January 2015

Most viewed  //  Jen’s fave 1, Jen’s fave 2  //  Poll winner  //  Sam’s fave

Any of your personal favorites here? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Link ups:  Manic Monday, Monday Mingle, Sophisticated Style, Confident Twosdays, Turning Heads, Who’s Wearing What Wednesdays, Trendy Wednesday, What I Wore WednesdayThrowback Thursday, Top of the World, What I Wore to Work/Summer Style,Fashion FridayPassion for Fashion, Fun Fashion Friday, Charming Friday, Friday FavoritesSunday Funday