Trader Joe’s Beauty Haul: Beauty for Less

Hi everyone,

As if Trader Joe’s isn’t already obsessed over enough, I’m adding yet another reason why the store is my go-to. The reason: beauty products. The prices are right and the ingredients are minimal, what’s not to love?

I hope you guys find this non-sponsored review useful!

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I want to start with a disclaimer: I’ve paid for quite a bit of expensive beauty and hair care products over the years, telling myself that the brand made the expense worth it. When I stopped seeing results, and asked myself if I wanted to repurchase, I had a change of heart. And a perspective on my bank account.

The truth: you don’t have to always break the bank to get good quality products that work for you. And cutting back on expenses is such a relief. It adds up fast; 3 high grade skincare products may equal the cost of a flight for your next adventure. If you can find quality products for less, you won’t be stressed with your beauty expenses. 

The first on the list is my personal favorite: the moisture boost serum. The miracle ingredient is hyaluronic acid. It does make your face a bit sticky at first, and you need to rub it in well before it fully absorbs, but it provides the best hydrating base for your favorite moisturizer.

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I stopped using serums for months because I didn’t get the appeal, and now it’s clear that I just wasn’t getting results. The TJ’s moisture boost serum has just five listed ingredients, which to me is a miracle for a serum to be effective. I get nervous at products with laundry lists of ingredients with unpronounceable origins. 

This moisture boost serum locks in moisture and creates a protective barrier, so your moisturizer is more effective at hydrating your skin. I honestly can’t justify looking at another serum when this one retails for $7.99.

The next product is the TJ’s coconut body butter. It’s formulated with coconut oil, Shea butter, and vitamin E. I first found this in the Palm Springs Trader Joe’s store, when I was getting some essentials for our week trip. Going from the Seattle pre-spring weather to the dry desert heat was a lot on my skin, and this body butter was so effective for deeper hydration before I went to bed!

It’s also not a surprise that coconut scented products are sought after (and amazing), so this product was an awesome find. Props to TJ’s advertising for putting it near the checkout lines.

I did look up the body butter for allergens, and it passed as a 91% allergen free product. It’s paraben free, soy free, and gluten free. It’s also free of common preservatives (which I really try to avoid) and serves as a topical antibiotic from the coconut oil. Sold yet?

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The third product is another coconut love of mine: the shea butter and coconut oil hair mask. Not only is the packaging enticing, but the price is also. This 5.1 ounce tube is only $3.99. Seriously, I couldn’t believe that. I’m super into shea butter and coconut oil for my face and body the last couples of months.

There’s also argan oil and vitamin E in the formula as well, and all of the ingredients make a product designed to control frizz and produce a silkier texture to your hair. My hair is 100% on the drier side, and this mask really makes my ends softer.

This hair mask is consistently in the staff favorites section of the store, which is actually super on par (hiiii new cold brew favorite). Anyways, this mask smells and feels amazing. Once a week in your hair for five minutes and you’ll see what I mean. And compared to other deep conditioning treatments that can be anywhere from $30-60, you don’t have much to lose if you try to mix in a mask for such a small price in comparison.

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Another disclaimer: this sunset shoot outside of Trader Joe’s was definitely one for the books (of awkwardness). But that’s the commitment for these products ya’ll, I wanted the full effect. Happy beauty bargaining!

For more content on my favorite finds, follow my Instagram @k_stateofmind .

I wish you all a productive and inspiring rest of the week.

xx

-Kelly

BCAA’s Versus Pre-Workouts: Are Either Worth the Hype?

Hi everyone,

This week I’m sharing some insight on BCAA’s and pre-workouts, because I feel like there’s a lot of questioning of whether you need both or any at all. The simple answer (I would say) is it totally depends on your energy levels. What type of workouts you’re doing and what time of day you’re exercising are big factors.

Jumpstarting your day with exercise would most likely give you more energy than trying to get the intensity up at 9 pm. But we work with our schedules, and you might need a boost!

Let’s break it down financially. Pre-workouts can be pretty pricey for small containers. You don’t get a lot of bang for your buck, unfortunately. And I find very sporatic results depending on the type of pre-workout I try. The ones I’ve tried and the pros and cons of each are below.

Vega Energizer:

This is my favorite pre-workout I’ve tried. The price on Amazon is around $40 on Amazon for the tub, which is relatively decent for pre workouts (but not by any means inexpensive). The taste is not overpowering or too sweet. I did move on from the pre-workout simply out of curiosity, and I felt that the effects could be stronger. But I felt that I had enough energy to smash out a workout. So I would recommend if you’re starting out and want a cleaner formula.

I love how the formula is dairy and soy free. It is also gluten free, if you are gluten intolerant. The caffeine is derived from green tea (hello antioxidants and no crash) and Yerba maté. Overall, I’d give it a thumbs up, if you’re willing to spend the money.

Vega Clean Energy:

I would not recommend this pre-workout, for two reasons. The taste really is brutal. I thought the reveiws could be exaggerating, but they weren’t! It honestly tastes like watered down, fruity sugar water. And sits heavy, which doesn’t make for a good pre-workout drink before you’re jumping around and getting your heart rate up. As for the strength, I hardly felt a difference in energy.

The Clean Energy formula drew me in with the promise of zero artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. The caffeine is derived from green and black tea, and come to think of it, I think the “bitterness” the reviews are saying may be due to the black tea addition. As for the price, it is substantially cheaper, sitting at $16.99 on Amazon.

I appreciate the vegan and clean formula, but I will not be repurchasing.

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Ūnico Athena Intense:

I was interested in ambassadorship for this brand, so I got a few Ūnico products to try out to see if I liked them. The pro of Athena Intense: it works. The taste is also awesome. The cons: I would get an uncomfortable tingling all the way up to my fingertips. Not to mention the price is steep at $39.99. Consensus: I would say not worth it. Definitely keep exploring your options if you wanna save some money and not feel like Legolas that first time in got drunk with Gimli in Lord of the Rings.

Now onto the BCAA’s!

BCAA’s I’ve tried:

Ūnico Yumino: 

I got the formula in the flavor blue frost, and I was impressed! The taste is great and you get a solid 40 servings out of the container. I really liked using it, however, I did not feel the boosted endurance as much as I would like. I did think it aided it muscle recovery and hydration from the added electrolytes!

Overall, I would say it’s a good product. But let’s check out that price of $59.99. I got it during Black Friday so I did not pay this price, but wow. That’s steep.

Evolution Nutrition:

I find these BCAA’s comparable to Ūnico’s. The factors that made me switch to Evolution Nutrition were the price and accessibility of the product. This one is available on Amazon for $19.99. I like being able to get purchases on Amazon to avoid shipping costs, spam emails, and be able to make quick returns if need be. The container does note that you may experience a slight tingling on your skin, and that it is normal. It’s not an uncomfortable tingling and is very brief.

There are zero added sugars and the formula is derived from more natural caffeine sources- green coffee and green tea. The price is right and the effects have been solid so far! I have an energy boost without a crash and I like the addition of electrolytes. Because let’s face it, I just drink water and kombucha all day. And some coffee.

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Now that I’ve shared the products I’ve personally tried, my thoughts are that you could get by with just BCAA’s, as opposed to both BCAA’s and pre-workout. I found that BCAA’s give me the energy boost I need to get my workout in, as well as the added benefits of muscle recovery and growth. I do prefer to have a boost, because I like to keep my workouts high intensity and complete for me to see my desired fitness results.

A disclaimer: The fitness industry is huge. Brands are popping up everywhere claiming their products are the next big thing, and blogs and social media posts are constantly sponsoring and promoting gym supplements. Suddenly you’re questioning if you need to invest. Don’t give in without proper research, reading reviews, and evaluating what these products would do for YOU, and you alone. The tricky thing with trends is that they often convince you to spend unnecessary money. No one has time for that money trap.

For example, I added a daily collagen powder into my routine for the benefit of my hair, skin, and nails. That and water are an amazing combination! Take new additions slow, and find what works for you at your own pace.

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My advice: stay SIMPLE. Don’t purchase multiple new things to try out, start with just one or two new ideas to add to your fitness success. Focus less on the hype and more on what would most compliment your personal workout regime.

I hope these tips and my personal reviews on the above products helped! Have a great Wednesday. xx

For more of my fitness journey as well as nutrition tips, check out my Instagram @k_stateofmind

-Kelly

 

 

How-To Guide: Affordable and Quality Activewear

❄ Hi everyone, ❄

I created this how-to guide on deciphering quality and affordable activewear. Because, in the current financial climate, we can’t afford to keep winging it and ending up with disappointment. Ripped seams, questionable fit, undesirable price tags… we’ve all been there. We want performance quality clothes for the gym, that also look awesome on. It really is possible. And it’s a beautiful thing.

The two brands I’m featuring in this post are 90 Degree by Reflex and GapFit. Both have exceeded my expectations on style, fit, and durability. I received all of these items on discount (GapFit) or at a very reasonable base price (90 Degree).

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Here’s me on Christmas Day wearing my high waisted 90 Degree charcoal leggings, complete with fuzzy robe and Santa hat. 
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Same leggings, different day. This is the GapFit Breathe open-back top in Black. 

When you’re buying activewear, you are constantly debating price versus performance. Do you buy the Old Navy leggings in a pinch or splurge on the high grade $100 ones from (insert high price point brand here)? Tricky question, I know.

You can have both. The lower price point and the performance. My tips:

❄ When you buy matters a lot here. Taking advantage of sales and holidays really bring down price points. For instance, Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which is when I purchased all of the GAP clothing pictured in this post.

I received 8 items from GAP on cyber Monday for a grand total of $195, as opposed to the original price of $355. I’m currently loving my modal sleep joggers while I type these words of wisdom.

 

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These are the gFast High Rise Sculpt Revolution leggings in New Vineyard. I’m trying to add more colored leggings to my wardrobe! Shoes: Under Armor Lightning 4 basketball shoes.
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Top: GapFit Breathe open-back top in crystal dusk 

❄ Always read reviews. From actual customers, not the website. If multiple people are complaining of ripped seams or unforgiving fabric regarding the same brand of leggings, you want to take that into account. My advice: go to YouTube. Customers there are brutally honest, and you can find many videos actually comparing affordable versus high-end brands.

❄ Beware of social media influencers advertising activewear. I myself almost purchased GymShark leggings based on the promotional reviews of their top influencers, but once I went to YouTube, I found horrible reviews. I am not in any way judging this brand, I’m just using them as an example of oversaturated social media advertising.

Instagram lovers, I get you, but just know that these individuals are compensated to claim the quality of the activewear they represent. What fits one girl’s body shape might not fit yours. And 15 reviews of a ripped seam WHILE in the middle of a gym routine? I cringed. Definitely do your research.

❄ Even if you love that celebrity’s music, you might not want to invest in their activewear. Carrie Underwood’s activewear line was all over Dick’s Sporting Goods, and I  know how I feel about it. Kate Hudson’s Fabletics has gotten a lot of hype and a lot of hate for the quality of clothing and the strange membership requirements.

❄ Stick to brands you know. Whether you’re a Nike or Under Armour enthusiast, these brands (and many more) are designed for athletes and active people with performance needs. Buying activewear from brands that specialize in activewear is crucial.

I know it’s tempting to get the deal at Victoria’s Secret Pink for their leggings for the holidays, but for real, I’m not going down that rabbit hole again. Every brand out there is trying to make activewear, but what’s the common drawback? You buying the brand not the quality, and the clothes lacking performance. Sad, sad tale.

❄ If you love Nike, for instance, but don’t want to mourn your bank account, don’t go to the actual Nike store. Nordstrom Rack and Dick’s Sporting Goods, to name two, always carry discounted items from brands like Nike. And if you really want to be a pro, I would recommend TJ Maxx and Marshall’s. Target carries Champion, and Costco often has brands like Columbia and outdoor active brands.

What I’m saying here is, I can’t remember the last time I paid full price for clothes.

 

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Top: GapFit Breathe deep V-neck short sleeve tee. These are on final sale for $14.97! The Back says “Girl Pwr Wins” 
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Under Armor Lightning 4 basketball shoes in Black

❄ Fabric matters. If I can’t sit down, squat, lunge, or do a cartwheel in a pair of leggings, chances are I won’t purchase them. I only buy online if I know the brand or the fabric of the item, because I am so picky on fabric.

Why I love these two brands: 

These 90 degree by reflex leggings are available on Amazon for an average cost of $22.99, and they are so comfortable. I bought them in charcoal grey and black to start out with the neutrals. The material is wicking, so they are great for cardio as well as weight sessions. I can kick high and squat low in these babes (they did pass the squat test).

These are the high waist leggings, full length, and I can’t tell you how important a compression waist is for me. Nothing bothers me more than a slipping waistband. My hips to waist proportions give me a very hourglass figure, making it difficult to keep pants up without the high waist. These even have a hidden pocket in the front waistband! I love them, and three washes in, they haven’t lost any shape.

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GapFit has been a longtime success for me. I feel like the regular prices are more reasonable than high end activewear, and I still get the same quality. I love high waisted leggings, and there are always multiple styles online and in store. I stick with the gFast high rise sculpt revolution line, because I like the fit and waistband, so I actually purchased two capris in addition to the purple leggings photographed above.

Gap has sales all the time, so I would highly recommend trying one of their leggings or workout tops. No pilling after washes, either.

I hope you guys liked this hybrid post of product review and how-to guide. Have an amazing rest of your Wednesday! Any questions on the above purchases, just drop a comment below.

The links: 

Under Armour basketball shoes for $74.99 as opposed to $94.99 (although I purchased them during a sale for $54.99)

GapFit Breathe Deep V-neck short sleeve on final sale

GapFit Breathe open-back top (they are all out of the ones that tie, but here are similar tops with the same colors)

gFast High Rise Sculpt Revolution Leggings (same style in Capri version as well)

90 Degree by Reflex High Waist Power Flex Legging (check out all of their colors!)

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Vegan Skincare Essentials: Velvet Report

Hi everyone,

I had the chance to attend the vegan blogger brunch and the product launch of Velvet Report, hosted by the creator, Lindsey Arnold. The brunch was hosted at Bar Melusine, located in Capitol Hill! If you love bright aesthetic and awesome vegan food, definitely check them out.

Lindsey was so refreshing to listen to about her mission to obtain a 100% vegan line, in partnership with Herbivore Botanicals, Kani Botanicals, and Formulary 55. The goodie bags for the brunch were Lindsay’s Rose Vegan Beauty Set, complete with her own Micellar Water. Safe to say I adore this set. Who doesn’t love clean beauty, that is cruelty free and is rose scented?

I’ll touch upon each product included in the set, the first being her micellar water.

Micellar water is the beauty trend in France, where women there live by using micelles in their skincare routine for cleansing. So many women there just use micellar water and not a cleanser!

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My personal routine is a double cleanse, starting with the micellar water and then with a cleanser for a deeper clean. Velvet Report’s micellar water, after a week of use, is now my go-to. I’ve been using the Garnier’s version for years now with relatively good results, however,  I can already tell this formula is better for my sensitive skin. There are 8 ingredients on the bottle, in fact. Simple and refreshing.

The next is the Herbivore Botanicals Rose Lip Conditioner. Small and quaint, but just a tiny bit will give your lips and non greasy, effective layer of moisture. I recently find myself best friends with aquaphor as my lips adjust to the colder weather, and this little beauty really helps my lips from cracking. Herbivore not only has a super creative name and product aesthetic, they also make a great face mist.

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Kani Botanical’s Hibiscus and Rose Toner is also in the set, and it reminds me of Herbivore’s facial mist with the rose scent. However, this one from Kani Botanical’s doesn’t have the coconut water emphasis. It’s so light and refreshing, and the small 2 oz bottle is even travel size! You could slip it in your purse for a long work day. Face mists and spray toners make for great midday pick-me-ups, and this bottle is also 100% recyclable.

The last product in the set is the Formulary 55 rosehip and clay facial mask. To start, the packaging is so unique with the fact that the mask is in powder form. You can get two uses out the mask for an $8.00 value, according to the package. I personally feel that you can get four uses out of it, given how easily the mask spreads when mixed with water.

This adorable rose scented set comes with the Velvet Report book box, which is a great personal touch from Lindsey. I have a discount code (VELVET10) to get 10% off for those that are interested. Her website: velvetreport.com

I hope you all enjoyed this skincare chat! Happy Monday.

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Grail Hair Products: Aveda

Hi everyone,

I am happy to report that switching to salon quality hair care has been the best solution for my dry hair. I get my hair done at a salon in downtown Seattle that sells and uses Aveda hair products, and I finally made the splurge.

I totally understand if you are skeptical of paying more money for salon products. I was in the same mindset for years. I was in that mindset up until 5 months ago. I already use higher grade skincare (shoutout to First Aid Beauty), so I was stubborn at first to invest in Aveda. I want to mention these amazing products, take what you will for personal purchases! My opinions and reviews are not sponsored.

I’ve always had dry hair. My ends get even drier, and I haven’t found shampoo and conditioner that have made it more moisturized. In fact, the coconut and organ oil treatments, hair masks, and shampoo and conditioners I’ve tried have not even come close to penetrating my hair follicles. Bummer, right? Right. Hence the recent investment.

The first product I tried was the Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil. Its formula is with organic buriti oil, originating from Peru. I wouldn’t say this a stand-alone product to transform dry hair, but it is a very good aid. I use about 4 or 5 drops a day on the ends of my hair to keep them softer and more manageable. The little bottle seems like it wouldn’t last long given how often I use it, however, it has lasted me 3 months and counting!

The next products are the smooth infusion shampoo and conditioner. I do like this line for an introduction to Aveda products, however, as the formulas take out frizz, they also reduce “unwanted wave.” I don’t want to take out any wave or curl so I hope to try the “Be Curly” line and use it in combination with the dry remedy oil to keep my hair in check but still bouncy with some waves.

I do have a review of the dry remedy shampoo and conditioner as well, after about two weeks of use. I love the conditioner for my ends, but the shampoo is a bit too much for my scalp.

Speaking of scalps, do you cleanse yours? I had no idea this was such an important thing to do, but now I’m totally sold on it! I have been using the Pramsama purifying scalp cleanser for a month, after exfoliating with the Pramsama scalp brush, and I’m in love. My scalp feels healthier, and any buildup gets washed away with my shampoo in the shower. Just like your skin needs to be exfoliated and cleansed, so does your scalp! It was news to me.

I love Aveda products because they are color safe, plant derived, organic, and without any gross chemicals or questionable ingredients. Not to mention everything smells fresh and amazing.

I took some shots of my hair fresh the next day after shampooing. Curl is definitely coming back into my hair after the help of the dry remedy products. Another tip: before going to sleep, brushing thoroughly from roots to ends helps bring the oils down from your scalp and to your ends. This way, you wake up with a fresher look.

My hair has lots of life to it when using the right products, and I feel that Aveda has easily done the best job with this! What are your experiences with Aveda haircare? Leave comments below, I’d love to hear them.

Thanks for reading my product review, for more photography and updates check out my Instagram page @kstateofmind, as well as my portraits page @kellyzphoto.

xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

Dressing Quirky With Linen Cropped Overalls

Hi fashion loves,

So i’ve never purchased overalls, thinking they would be a clash with my tall frame or a disaster with my long torso. It took me needing to find a white outfit for a series shoot to pick up one of my new favorite pieces to wear: the Emmie Cropped Linen Overalls .

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They’re so simple in all white, but the fact that they’re cropped makes them perfect for those that are usually concerned with short inseams. Plus, you don’t have to worry about getting them dirty. They’re white and linen material after all.

I love the silver buttons down the front and the slightly synched cut of the waist to give you shape.

I wear this look two ways: with a tight darker colored tee, or a white lacy bralette. I actually got the whole look from Urban Outfitters. A tee underneath gives a quirkier, casual look, and the bralette is more dainty and classic, with emphasis on the white.

Comfort: These linen overalls are super comfortable. I found them perfect for a recent 70 degree Seattle day near Pike Place, where I had a BTS (behind the scenes) shoot on first avenue. I chose the tee for this outing, to be more covered up around a group that particular group of creatives.

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From these featured pictures, it’s clear that these overalls pair really well with a sunflower bouquet. How perfect!

Overalls have now gone beyond the jean look, which I’m very relieved about. I like to play with different textures, colors, and fabrics with the overalls look, and I think these ones nailed it for me.

Additional accessories: wide brim hats. My go-to wide brim is my black one from Nasty Gal, from about 3 years ago. It’s no longer retailing, but I would recommend investing into a wide brim to add something extra to these quirkier looks. And this is not because of the PNW creative Instagram pictures of girls running around the forest in black hats, I would wear one regardless of my geographic location (ignore this joke if you have zero idea of what I’m referring to). ❤

Wearing white has never been easy for me, let alone linen clothing that can be prone to wrinkling or getting ruined from exterior influences. But white is a classic. I have to admit I can count on one hand how many white pieces of clothing I own, so these overalls have been helping me out trying to balance out the black excess!

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So much about clothing is how you feel in them. To be honest, it’s the main thing for me. If I don’t feel great in something I won’t buy it. If it’s not a 10, I put it back on the rack. These overalls weren’t on sale, which was against my usual habits. But I loved them enough to splurge a little! They retail for $89.

Lastly, the above photographs were all taken by the lovely Harley Rae. Her photography website and Instagram are linked. She succeeded at making me feel like a forest nymph.

My first time wearing these was frolicking around on a beach during sunset and crouching in tall grass, so if that’s not showing versatility I don’t know what does. I hope you enjoyed this review and showcase of this look. Stay edgy and quirky, peeps! xx

-Kelly

 

 

 

 

Two Ways to Wear Boyfriend Jeans

Hi fashion babes,

Today I wanted to share two different looks I put together that sport boyfriend jeans. Sometimes I don’t feel like putting on tight yoga pants or tighter jeans, so I reach for my Gap boyfriend jeans (I admit I purchased them in clearance too).

The first look is a bit preppy meets relaxed, with my Banana Republic pinstripe button up. To dress the look down, I use the boyfriend jeans. Coupled with my oversized hippie ZeroUV sunglasses and a messy bun, I have a mix of preppy and casual.

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 PC: Karya Schanilec 

I find that, unless I’m going to a interview or a highly dressed event, I don’t need to go full preppy with an outfit. I definitely don’t when I work! Boyfriend jeans are not meant to look perfectly sophisticated, but more like you’re trying less and you’re actually more comfortable. Effortless looks sometimes are the best!

The Banana Republic button up is actually a bit long if it’s not tucked into a skirt or tied, so I tied it in a knot in front to make it a little more fun.

For the shoes, I went with  my favorite black booties from Cole Haan. They gave me a little lift in my posture, instantly making the boyfriend jeans less slouchy.

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Now onto the second look (my personal favorite): boho meets boyfriend jeans.

The bralette in the photos is from a Free People pant set I’ve actually already posted. Sometimes I wear the bralette by itself because it’s a great color and it looks awesome with cardigans and flannels.

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For the shoes on this look, I chose brown loafers. I got mine from Chinese Laundry a couple years back at Nordstrom Rack. If you don’t already shop for shoes at Nordstrom Rack, consider this incentive. The loafers give the look a bit more of a studious feel with a hipster edge. Very Seattle, I know.

Athleta C Laugh

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The cardigan is from Athleta. It’s super soft and I like to drape it off my shoulders to make the look a little girly. And the cream goes great with the light wash jeans and the browns from the shoes and the bralette. I re-wore this exact outfit a couple days after this shoot, I was in love! And I was comfortable, best of both worlds.

Of course, I was in my natural habitat hanging around a coffee shop in my second look. Spoiler; I can’t wait to share my favorite Seattle Coffee shops!

I hope you all enjoyed these two ways to wear boyfriend jeans.

OUTFIT OVERVIEW:

Banana Republic Pinstripe (similar)

Gap Boyfriend Jeans (they were clearance)

Chinese Laundry loafers (similar here)

ZEROUV Oversized Sunglasses

Athleta Cardigan

Free People Pant Set (sold out)- Check site for inspo!

If you don’t already, catch my outfit posts and other inspirations on my Instagram (with its new handle) k_stateofmind.

HUGE THANK YOU to the photographer behind these photos, Karya Schanilec!

Her website: karyaschanilec.com and her IG is karyaschanilec.photography

Thanks for reading xx

-Kelly