So much nautical, Lilly-inspired goodness, but mostly, I just wanted to share two of the cutest sweaters of my life…
I’m a sucker for any kind of personal shopping service, which is weird because I’m someone who LOVES shopping for myself. (To the point that I still, stubbornly, think that I’d rather pick out my own engagement ring. I’m such a jerk. Sigh.) Anyway, I think it’s kind of like taking personality quizzes. Chances are, you already know what your personality is, and you probably would live your life just fine without knowing if The Disney Princess You Most Resemble is Sleeping Beauty. (How did it know that I need at least eight hours to properly function?! Black magic.)
Anyway, back to the point, I like personal shopping services because I like to see what other people would pick for me based on my one sentence “sum up my style” statement.
Okay, here’s the break down, yo.
The Blues Jean Bar is exactly what it sounds like. A bar where you order jeans. (Seriously. They have a “jeanstender” and everything.) But, if you don’t live near one of their locations, they’ve come up with a “stylist in the box” type concept where they’ll send you a variety of clothes to try on in your house.
I think the first thing I liked was that I totally forgot I’d ordered it. I came home to my roommate going, “What’s with the massive box at the front door?” I thought maybe I’d ordered something random in my Amazon Prime haze (I get those every so often where I order weird things like slow cooker bags), so I was super confused for like three minutes as I tried to attack it with scissors to open. The other thing I liked is that the box had a handle (!!!) Lugging it up the stairs to my room was a piece cake. (That joker was heavy.)
I should have taken a picture of how everything looked right when I opened it, but I was pretty much like a six year old at Christmas and just tore into everything.
Each outfit was tied up with twine. Cute, right? (Brown paper packages tied up with string…getting new clothes is my faaaavorite thing!)
Here’s some of my outfits.
Definitely not my favorite outfit. In no world would I ever wear a peasant top. It fit weird too, if you couldn’t tell from the weird stretch. In happier news, I loved these jeans! They were Joe’s Jeans – The Skinny, and they had the perfect amount of stretch. I didn’t go for them though because I thought they were a little too low rise for my liking.
Okay! That’s more like it! The blazer was by Alpine Stars, and it was a gorgeous herringbone with leather details. Unfortunately, I have the shoulders of a linebacker (probably from a gazillion years playing basketball) so I have a hard time fitting jackets. Like ever.
My favorite outfit!!! This cardigan was a super soft knit with leather sleeves. (Also by Alpine Stars.) I think it was one of my favorite pieces, but I just couldn’t justify the pricetag. I think it’ll go live on my wishlist.
But don’t be too sad for me–I gave these jeans their forever home! Real talk: I’m 5’11, have a definitive pear shape, and finding jeans is one of the hardest things on the planet. Either they fit my hips and fall down from my waist. Or, they are long enough but give me serious muffin top. It’s a big reason why I stick to dresses/skirts like all the time.
But! These jeans were from a brand I’d never heard of called Henry & Belle. (The Super Skinny style.) They fit perfectly. Like leggings but with a super dark, rich color that I can wear year-round. (I actually just had a typo where I put “rear-round” and it just felt ironic.) They come high enough to wear you don’t have to worry about them giving you muffin top, but not too high that you look like a sad soccer mom.
What’s even cooler about Henry & Belle is that they donate a part of every purchase to charity. And that’s not all! You get to pick your charity! (I’m going with a children’s hospital.)
Lastly was another outfit I wasn’t crazy about. (I couldn’t even get the blazer across my back. But Emily styled it in her post! It’s the white/gray floral blazer.) I did love this shirt though. I’m a sucker for swingy, oversized knits. They’re so cozy with leggings and flats.
The downside is that everything ranges from around $50 to $250ish. This definitely isn’t Forever 21 in a box. BUT, I’m a big proponent that sometimes you have to pay good money for good clothes–especially jeans. I’ve found cheaper jeans (like my beloved AE jeans) fit well RIGHT after you wash them, but then get super stretched out.
The upsides? Well, unlike Stitchfix, you don’t have to pre-pay a $20 ($30? can’t remember) deposit every time you order a box.
With BJB Express, it’s a $1 deposit and free shipping both ways. AND you get two weeks to play with everything. (That’s awesome for someone like me who works crazy hours, tonight was the first I really got to try everything on and take pictures!)
I think another great reason for trying this is the ability to try on a lot of different jeans. I’m so used to sticking to the same brand that I rarely try on new denim brands, and with this, I was able to try five different brands with different styles, and finally decide on something I’ve never heard of but loved!
Have I convinced you? Cool!
Sign up here, and drop my blog name “The Preppy Leopard” in the referred by line (come on, people!). If you do, you’ll save 20% off whatever you like in your box. (Momma, I’m looking at you and your jean addiction! Try it!)
Nothing like dreaming over the newly released spring lines to help you forget the miserableness that is the polar vortex.
Here’s some of the things I loved:
Dream Jobs: Lilly Pulitzer Print Designer
When it comes to dream jobs, hanging in the Pink Palace and conceptualizing the bright, cheerful prints that have cemented Lilly Pulitzer as a preppy staple would be at the very top of my list. While any good brand knows that every single position (from service representatives to truck drivers) is vital to a company’s success, it’s hard to imagine Lilly Pulitzer without immediately thinking of her iconic prints. (For more, visit the official Lilly blog here for some gorgeous pictures and stories about a day in the life of a Lilly Print Designer!)
I first met Caroline on Instagram (@carolinedoodles), when she commented on a shot of me wearing one of her (and one of my favorite) Lilly prints—Dockhopper. I have to admit—I was a little star struck. It’s not every day you get to talk to the person responsible for designing your clothes! (Caroline also has designed jewelry!)
After a few months of trading comments back and forth, she agreed to answer a few questions about her position as a Lilly Pulitzer Print Designer and how aspiring artists can get their start working for the brand.
Tierney: Hi, Caroline! Thanks so much for talking with me. First off, tell me a little about yourself.
Caroline: Well, I’m a girl who’s obsessed with art and animals and fashion (in no specific order). Since I was a kid, I’ve had an interest in art. My mom is an artist, so she used creative projects to keep me busy. I just kind of never stopped making things. I grew up drawing and painting and cutting paper, and when I graduated high school I decided to attend an art college. I decided on Ringling College of Art and Design as an illustration major, the school is in Sarasota, Florida which was also a major plus. It made me love the warm weather and resort life. My senior year, Lilly Pulitzer came recruiting at Ringling and they offered me a full time spot on their print design team and that’s where I’ve been ever since!
Tierney: What did you hope to be when you grew up?
An artist! When I was 5 I saw The Lion King and went home and asked my mom to teach me how to draw that. That movie made me want to draw and just play with color, it still does. I almost majored in animation, but my passion is really just drawing and creating.
Tierney: Were you a Lilly fan before you were hired?
Caroline: Of course! Though I have to say, my sister was a much bigger Lilly fan than I was (now we’re a little more equal though).
Tierney: She was probably over the moon when you got hired then!
Caroline: When I called her to tell her, she was with her roommate, they both just screamed into the phone.
Tierney: Can you share a little bit about the application/interview process? Any tips for aspiring applicants?
Caroline: I should clarify, I started as an intern after graduation, but was offered the full time position before my internship ended. Lilly LOVES hiring their interns! It wasn’t difficult to apply since they were recruiting at my school. I had my interview and showed my portfolio. We had a very candid conversation and went through the usual questions of an interview. Everyone who interviewed was asked to create two prints each, one animal (a Lilly animal print, think Chin Chin, not leopard print haha) and one floral that could fit in with the other prints at Lilly. I did a fox print and a citrus orange print. The design team back at the Pink Palace reviewed everyone’s work and liked mine a lot. It was on Spring Break when I got the email offering me the internship. After graduation, I started, and two months later they offered me a permanent position on the team!
Tierney: Can you walk us through a print from start to finish? How much direction do you guys get? (Like, does someone sit down and say…”HEY! I’m thinking Llamas. Llamas are going to be HUGE this spring” and then people start working on llama prints? Or is there a lot of independence when it comes to print designs?)
Caroline: It’s kind of a mix of both! We concept what our delivery for each season will be, and brainstorm motifs. We research trends, pull tears, and get inspired. Some prints are just inspired while others are suggested trends, like jungles or cats!
Tierney: What’s your favorite print?
Caroline: Chin Chin. It was designed by Jeff, and I’m pretty sure I bought everything it came in (he makes fun of me for it too, but he gave me the original drawing and I love it). I just love the colors, and how could you not love elephants?
Tierney: Is your favorite animal an elephant then?
Caroline: My favorite animal is a fox! Everyone on the team knows it, anything with a fox on it I pretty much need.
Tierney: What’s your favorite piece of Lilly?
Caroline: This always changes, but right now it’s the blossom dress in the skinny dipping print. I wore it to the Palm Beach Bash which Lilly throws after Christmas, before New Year’s in Palm Beach for the Red Cross every year. The print designers were there live painting, and I pulled that dress out. It’s so cute and fits so well, plus with some blingy jewelry it’s really pretty.
Tierney: I fan girl so hard over that party. Really, I just want to walk on top of the pool.
Caroline: It’s super fun, and walking on the pool top is surprisingly scary. It rained a little this year, so it got really slippery. But it’s REALLY fun to walk across it.
Tierney: Describe your typical day. Do you spend most of it painting foxes?
Caroline: It depends where we are in the season. In the beginning I spend most of it painting, then once we decide on the prints for the season, we all get to cleaning the prints and preparing to send them to be printed on fabric. We spend most of the day painting and creating, and sometimes we field other things that come across our desk like store design plans and things like that! As with any job, there are some non-creative aspects like preparing art to be sent, but it’s 98% creative work!
Tierney: Do you have any cool side projects? Where else can we find you online?
Caroline: I always work on my own stuff. As you know from my ‘gram I have a serious problem, I can’t stop cutting paper. I’m always dreaming up some new illustrations! They end up on my etsy, and my website. It’s a really unique medium and i love people’s reactions to it. I’ve started doing a few street fairs here in Philly too. I’m just always making things and posting things on my instagram and tumblr!
instagram; carolinedoodles or http://instagram.com/carolinedoodles
The only time I really feel okay shopping at J.Crew is when they do their big additional % off their clearance sales. It’s mostly because I had such a great discount when I worked for the company, and now I can’t help but calculate what I used to be able to get certain items for. Forty percent off is definitely close to what I used to get!
Use code GIFTNOW
Here are some of my picks:
Schoolboy Blazer – on sale for $106 (great price!)
I actually already have this in black, and it’ s one of my favorite dresses for work. I wear it at least once a week.
(Great grown-up version of a trend that can be a little too twee baby doll for work.)
(This looks a lot like recent season Lilly Pulitzer and that one dress from Anthro.)
I don’t know why I love this sweater so much. But I do.
And now for the men’s sale! I sometimes find great things hidden in here, although sometimes the sizing is hard to estimate.
I admit, for a style blog, I’m not very good at documenting what I actually wear. I blame part of it on my schedule, which keeps me out running around usually from 7 AM to 10 PM, but also on the fact that I feel silly asking someone to take a picture of my outfit.
I do take the occasional mirror selfie on Instagram, so I figured I’d share a few of my recent outfits from there.
My vintage Woolrich sweater from a recent “Ugly Sweater” party I went to. (Although, I was adamant that my sweater was NOT ugly.)
My official uniform whenever I work from home. The tank is from Rowdy Gentleman, and it’s kind of awesome.
Snowday outfit. I was also super sick, hence no makeup. My hat is from Southern Proper, but I think it’s sold out most places. Field Jacket is from J.Crew, and it’s currently 30% off!
Another day, another field jacket picture! The sweater is from Land’s End, but it seems to be sold out now.
Meg, from The Red Spoon, and I were partners for a cookie party contest! We won Best in Show, which might not be that fair since she runs an amazing food blog.