Keeping It Real

Eileen Fisher skinny jeans, J.Crew necklace, J.Crew Viv flats, statement necklace, pointed toe flats, Eileen Fisher linen cardigan, skinny jeans

I know my outfits can be rather boring and maybe a bit repetitive, but I don’t post anything that I haven’t worn IRL. I work in an office M-F and come home to a special-needs teenager, two dogs and often a basket of laundry. No red carpets, no high-profile charity parties, no art gallery openings. Maybe dinner out with le monsieur once a week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very good life, but just doesn’t provide a lot of opportunities for high style. My clothes need to be functional, appropriate for a Business Casual office and (mostly) washable.

I thought nothing would get my out of my NYDJ’s until I tried these Eileen Fisher organic cotton skinny jeans. I’ve tried other premium skinny jeans before, but a) the rise is always too low and b) the legs from the knee down are constricting to the point of triggering my claustrophobia. These on the other hand are comfortable, lightweight, flattering, and have a high enough rise that I’m not constantly tugging or feeling a draft when I sit.

(Another reality check: comfort is non-negotiable for me. If something squeezes, pinches, binds, needs constant adjusting or demands my attention, it has no place in my closet.)

J.Crew flower necklace, J.Crew translucent flower necklace, casual glamour, statement necklace
I’ve been having such fun finding ways to style this necklace!

J.Crew Viv Flats, Eileen Fisher skinny jeans, nude shoes, pointed toe flats, organic cotton jeans

The Stuff:

Cardigan: Eileen Fisher. (also available in Women’s and Petites) / Tank: Eileen Fisher from a couple of years ago. Similar (also available in Women’s and Petites) / Necklace: J.Crew. / Watch: Michael Kors / Jeans: Eileen Fisher (also available in Women’s) / Shoes: J.Crew.

What are your wardrobe “non-negotiables?”

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46 Comments

  1. PM
    July 10, 2013 / 3:28 am

    That I don’t look like my mother. I can walk, run in my shoes and they don’t look orthopaedic or sportswear. Nothing that needs constant adjusting nor creates static. I will stop now, it is a long list. I expect my clothes to be part of me, flatter me and not be a distraction to me or people dealing with me. Yep, I am fussy.
    I think you look great.

  2. susie
    July 10, 2013 / 3:59 am

    first of all, let me say thanks to you for such an inspiring journal! You have really helped me out. My problem is that I work outside with large animals and livestock, (yes, for a living!!) and I need to look presentable to go to meetings and referrals. On top of that, we are in GA which as you may guess, humid and hot to say the very least. What to do? Any ideas on how to look semi professional in this setting? And ps, I don’t mind spending a little more on the special meeting clothes, for the usual work its disposable (Old Navy stuff)

    • eleanorjanebirdy
      July 12, 2013 / 2:57 pm

      I work with colleagues who train animals. They tend to wear a uniform polo shirt (branded with our logo and provided by the company), trousers and covered shoes.

      The more smartly dressed staff where chinos instead of jeans, put on a touch of makeup, keep jewellery simple and uncluttered and hair neatly styled (not in a messy ponytail).

      For meetings, you could swap out your workboots for some smarter shoes and pop a light cotton blazer over the polo shirt? I guess the people you meet with don’t expect you to look super-formal.

  3. July 10, 2013 / 4:12 am

    Love this real-life look, Une Femme. It’s perfect for your lifestyle and you look feminine and confident. Why mess with perfection? I am also a comfort-demander. I donated some trousers last week because they pinched when I sat down.

  4. July 10, 2013 / 4:43 am

    I bought the same cardigan at Eileen Fisher in Chicago!! Love it…and this is how I often dress. I would love to try these skinny jeans…maybe after my diet brought more results. I think you look great and better than any red carpet style that just is not real life. The necklace is beautiful.

  5. July 10, 2013 / 5:27 am

    Your outfits are anything but boring. I cannot tell you how inspiring it is to see real women in clothes they really wear for the real lives. You look lovely. Comfort is a non-negotiable for me.

  6. catherine
    July 10, 2013 / 5:45 am

    Definitely not “boring”. Stylish real life. That’s why I have your blog bookmarked.

    • eleanorjanebirdy
      July 12, 2013 / 3:02 pm

      Amen! I specifically follow blogs of women who are ‘real’. I can’t be doing with super-skinny, young, rich women posing professionally in artful locations then talking about their perfect lives. I’m a real person and I like reading about real people living lives I can identify with.

  7. July 10, 2013 / 6:06 am

    I think your attitude deserves an applause! Comfort should be key, and the joy of being of a certain age is that it does not matter if anybody else does not approve or if it is not on trend, as long as you find comfort in whatever it is that you wear! I could never understand anybody wearing 13 inch shoes and intentionally inflicting injury to their feet-regretting it later in life!

    I adore your jeans, they are flattering, fun and fabulous! They fit like they were custom made! To be stylish also means appropriate dressing for the occasion, and if we follow that rule, it is obvious that we should not be overdressed for a casual environment, we’ve all seen women arriving at morning functions with an evening dress, looking completely out of place no matter what the outfit cost or who the designer is! You go girl!
    FF

  8. Jeri
    July 10, 2013 / 6:29 am

    This outfit is me to a tee! I love this look and it both real AND on trend. Casual yet classy. I am constantly inspired by your blog and pics of the outfits you select. Out of all the bloggers I read – I relate to your style the most. Thank you for the inspiration!

  9. Ellen
    July 10, 2013 / 6:42 am

    You look great! You are so right about comfort!
    And please keep your haircolor this way, it’s gorgeous!

  10. Jill
    July 10, 2013 / 7:15 am

    You look great and I am so deeply digging that J. Crew necklace that I feel a retail accident coming on…XO, Jill

    • JAC
      July 11, 2013 / 5:19 am

      Retail accident….I love that!

  11. Carol Wayne
    July 10, 2013 / 7:37 am

    I think you always look wonderful….I am a school librarian….I spend my days on the floor reading to children, shelving and running books to teachers…..my style is comfortable…. If you look at Jackie Kennedy’s working wardrobe…..post White House, it is a lot like yours! There is too much else to life to be fussy about clothes….

  12. Marg
    July 10, 2013 / 8:03 am

    Wonderful as always Femme! I’m a huge fan of Eileen Fisher clothes. They are the backbone of my wardrobe, always appropriate for my casual non working life. The necklace must be so much fun to wear!

  13. sisty
    July 10, 2013 / 8:13 am

    Boy, you are the best advertisement for the upscale t-shirt/tank. Is it silk? Whatever it is, it really does look more sophisticated than a plain cotton tee, and takes the whole outfit up several notches.

    Also, the sweater that “reads” as a jacket — perfect for my lifestyle (which sounds a lot like yours).

    I still haven’t gotten used to the whole nude shoe thing, so I would have defaulted to black flats, but I’m typically behind the times.

    • une femme
      July 10, 2013 / 7:58 pm

      Hi Sisty, yes the tank is silk jersey. I love these silk jersey tanks and tees. They travel well, can be washed and hung to dry overnight, and always look great.

  14. Kathleen
    July 10, 2013 / 8:25 am

    I love that your outfits are real. Thank you. Now, I’m wanting that J.Crew necklace as a way to have fun with a casual look!

  15. kathyleeds810
    July 10, 2013 / 8:27 am

    I also dress very casually and for comfort, but will sometimes suffer a bit for a great looking blazer. Love your outfit, but your shoes look too big/wide for you? Other than that, quite perfect and I love your necklace!

  16. Hostess
    July 10, 2013 / 8:29 am

    Love your look and where did you find that fabulous necklace? It looks like it might be JCrew. I find nothing boring about your choice of clothing, dressing for ones lifestyle is honest. It shows integrity.

  17. kathyleeds810
    July 10, 2013 / 8:29 am

    I also dress casually which fit my lifestyle, and I like to be comfortable, although will occasionally suffer a bit for some great blazer/jacket. Love your outfit, but your shoes seem too wide/large for you? Love the necklace!

  18. Lynn
    July 10, 2013 / 8:33 am

    I agree with the comfortable and simple, but I don’t understand the attraction of Eileen Fisher. It is probably just me, but her clothes seem shapeless and are almost always too large even in the petites.

  19. Juliewentz.
    July 10, 2013 / 8:36 am

    There is nothing boring about your outfits. This blog has helped me so much at this somewhat awkward age! The clothing is practical and accessable to many. I can actually go out and find the clothes and wear them in my life. Perfect. I have purchased many of your items and have not been dissapointed. Keep it up. I am looking forward to your take on the nordstron anniversary sale items and any reccomendations you may have. Also I purchased the J Crew pineapple tee and am curious about how you styled it. Thanks again for your truely helpful blog.

  20. kathyleeds810
    July 10, 2013 / 8:41 am

    I dress comfortably and casually as well as it fits my life, although I will admit to suffering occasionally for a great jacket/blazer. I do love your outfit, but think your shoes look too large or wide for your foot? Love your necklace!

  21. kathyleeds810
    July 10, 2013 / 9:04 am

    Sorry for the 3 posts – it was submitting properly and then showed up!

  22. July 10, 2013 / 9:09 am

    I’m a red carpet free zone too. I like your J Crew pumps, very neat!

    • lynn couch
      July 10, 2013 / 11:39 am

      Your outfits are never boring and if you feel they’re repetitive it’s because you have found your ‘uniform’,as have Ines and Carine and all those other chic ,elegant women we all (of a certain age!) admire.

  23. July 10, 2013 / 11:34 am

    Freedom and comfort of movement are important to me. I like the easy layering with accessories for added fun. Your necklace is a great piece!

  24. Janet S.
    July 10, 2013 / 12:31 pm

    I always chuckle when I see the posts about “street style” and the women are walking in 5 inch heels, yes they are cute if you just sit there, but if you have a life without maids, cars and drivers comfort must be considered. I love the look of those jeans.

  25. Cornelia
    July 10, 2013 / 12:47 pm

    I have these jeans and also its white version as an ankle jean and like both very much. I have to dress up a notch more for the office, except Fridays, but I look much like you day-in day-out. I have often thought that your clothing style and mine are very much alike, except I don’t wear nude shoes with dark jeans either. 😉

  26. Mette
    July 10, 2013 / 9:59 pm

    For me, comfort, functionality and aesthetics are the three most important things, to which I pay attention when buying whatsoever.

  27. Susan Daniel
    July 11, 2013 / 5:54 am

    About Eileen Fisher items looking shapeless. EF makes quite a few styles and it is possible to avoid the voluminous. I don’t consider the particular jacket/sweater to be in the shapeless category. I have these jeans and think they are great. One caveat–the fabric is extremely stretchy. I am normally a 14 and bought them in a size 10 because I could remove the 14s and the 12s down over my hips without unzipping them!

    My everyday outfits are EF dresses–cooler in our hot climate. I particularly like the viscose jersey and prefer sleeveless even though my arms are not perfect. I like to style them with different scarves and necklaces. Some of the dresses are quite fitted around the ribcage area (this flatters my hourglass figure) and then flare out.

  28. July 11, 2013 / 8:01 am

    You look fantastic! I admire your integrity regarding outfit posts. My non negotiables are pretty much the same as yours. It’s just too much effort to deal with anything that I can’t just put on and forget about until I remove it at the end of the day. Love your necklace so much, I have a similar one that’s vintage diamante and I just can’t wait to wear it. Oh those pointy shoes – love too!

  29. fashionovafifty
    July 11, 2013 / 4:10 pm

    I’d rather have boring than a trumped up outfit that isn’t worn too! Not that you ARE boring but I understand where you are coming from. This is REAL and I appreciate it! xoxo

  30. July 12, 2013 / 10:14 pm

    I think this outfit looks great. The texture of the white cardigan and necklace add a special luster to daily outfit. So pretty, delicate in a way. Plus the shine on the blush shoe is great with your blonde hair.

    blue hue wonderland

  31. July 14, 2013 / 9:36 pm

    Love the jeans on you!

  32. July 14, 2013 / 10:04 pm

    Keeping it real is what it’s all about and believe me, you are far from boring. More like classy in my book, and this look says it all, a great pair of jeans paired with neutrals and accesssorized with just the right amount of bling and then complimented with a pair of beautiful nude shoes. I have been searching for the perfect pair of jeans so I can’t thank you enough for the hint.
    My non-negotiables are shoes that can take me walking all day.

  33. July 15, 2013 / 5:27 am

    I do love that necklace. I believe your clothes should allow you to run in case of zombie attacks.

  34. alteregomex1
    July 15, 2013 / 7:00 am

    Sometimes I feel the same way about being repetitive with my outfits, but we do have certain styles and lifestyles to consider, for sure. I think your look is totally together! It is essential to find the right (higher waisted) jeans…I live in them, too! But the real knockout piece is that necklace!!! LOVE IT!!!

  35. heyvix
    July 15, 2013 / 7:44 am

    A bit late to comment — I hear you on the lifestyle realities — but you look so fresh and lovely I had to throw in a compliment.

    Glad the (flattering!) jeans are a success for you, but the sweater is what really caught my eye. It looks perfect for non-grubby summer office work or running around.

  36. July 15, 2013 / 11:39 am

    You make casual look so chic

  37. July 15, 2013 / 5:56 pm

    I would never use the word boring to describe you. Chic and elegant seem more fitting! I love the addition of the necklace and pointy toed flats to your ensemble.

  38. July 16, 2013 / 3:20 pm

    Yes to the necklace! Such nice styling with that filmy cardi, lady-like tank, jeans and your peachy little flats! Isn’t it fun to wear some sparkle that, years ago, we only would have worn for evening? One of my favorite trends of recent eras. You look suitably cool, professional and just a bit edgy … a great look.
    And yes to dressing as you live, or IRL.
    Dressing for the restaurant puts me in different kinds of outfits than are *real-life* for lots of women. It’s what I like best about weekend evenings … I can suit myself and doll up just a bit. I mean it to set the tone for the restaurant. If I go too casual, diners tend to treat me less respectfully. I tend to over-dress a little to go into the Big City … it’s way too casual here in Mid-Bumfuzzle for my comfort.
    But as I said in my post to you earlier today … you’re a style icon for me. Never boring, always chic!

  39. July 25, 2013 / 3:05 pm

    You are far from boring. The recent photographs of you are really beautiful. My wardrobe non-negotiable at the moment? No T shirts, if I can help it (it’s not always possible).

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