Sweater Play

Mar 20, 2014


SWEATER: Gap (similar: here
SHIRT: thrifted (similar: here and here)
PANTS: thrifted (similar: herehere and here)
BELT: thrifted (similar: here)
BOOTIES: Macy's (similar: here)
TIGHTS: Forever 21

Wait, today is the first day of spring- and Chicago is actually complying?! Do you see that behind me- actual grass. Granted it did snow earlier in the morning today, but it thankfully melted before I ran outside in nothing but my bathrobe and a blowtorch like some crazed loon. And in all seriousness, I would do it. I'm passed desperate for bare shoulders and gauzy dresses. 

But in the meantime, I'm trying to make the most out of my winter closet. Remember earlier last week when I said that I got into the habit of standing in front of my closet without the slightest idea of what to wear? I'd just blink at all the dresses and blazers blankly, not sure which one to pick and throw on. I figured out that the reason was because I kept gravitating towards the same pieces over and over again. I wasn't in the mood for any of my other winter pieces that were shoved to the back, so to get out of my funk I decided to challenge myself. And the challenge was to try and wear all of my winter sweaters before it was time to pack them away and toss them into the basement. Last post I wore my spotted black sweater, and in this one I'm pulled out my Gap wool one. I literally haven't worn this in over a year- the shame! Even though it looks like a neutral-ish sweater it gets kind of hard to pair because of the slight pattern, so I decided to go for some denim on denim action again. I absolutely love how it turned out- the shirt and jeans sort of create a romper feel since they're so similar in shade, and the sweater balanced it out from looking too boring. What do you think- would you wear it like this?

ALSO, I'd like your opinions! I've been getting into another funk lately, and it's been with this blog. I want to add more weekly features, but I'm not sure what catches your interest. So give me some direction! I've been wanting to make this more interactive (not just the usual "nice dress!" while I'm wearing pants) so do you like actually reading text on a blog or do you blow through it? Do you like my stories and personal insights, would you like me to ask you more questions...or do you want more style related segments? Like maybe thrifting, layering, or styling tips? Feel free to spitball in the comments below or maybe send me an email (messagesonanapkin@gmail.com) if you're shy. I really want to breathe some new life into this blog, so I'd appreciate any and all opinions :)



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  1. I love that you challenged yourself to wear all your sweaters (and I really love this one - it's a great pattern).

    I personally always like seeing tips on blogs (which is weird because I rarely offer them on mine) but layering and thrifting tips would definitely be things I'd love to read about here!

    Courtney ~ Sartorial Sidelines

  2. cute sweater :)
    xo jac

  3. Ooo, I love that sweater! So fun!

    I would love to see some of your thriftng hunting grounds! Also, just a small suggestion, I find myself skimming your text sometimes because of the smaller size - but, that could just be that I have the eyesight of an old lady. ;)


  4. "nice dress!" haha, no seriously, this's such a lovely outfit! the denim on denim with a pretty cardi is a wonderful combination:-) i do love reading text on blogs, especially your wee stories and what not! sometimes i might be in a hurry and just scroll down to look at the pictures, but i always go back to read it later. obviously i'm not against style related segments etc, but i suppose i prefer more personal posts? xx

  5. You are absolutely adorable! Really love the cardigan and your 90s denim shorts (:


  6. love your denim on denim look! also the sweater is adorable. I'm so over winter. All my outfit ideas are now spring and summer related but the weather is NOT catching up to me and my plans lol


  7. I really adore this outfit! And that hair. It's really beautiful and voluminous (hope I used that word right)!

  8. Okay, so I DO really like reading what you wrote (though, old lady that I am at almost thirty, I would love you forever if the font was a wee bit bigger.). I'd love some more discussion-y type posts, as you have very interesting things so say on a lot of topics and I adore your often very honest posts about life. I also enjoy being able to read others' comments too. Both the styling tips and thrifting tips sound fun. I miss layered like an onion too (partly because layers are so you and partly for the awesome pun!)

    Also- how many posts do you do a day? You might be seeing less engagement (perversely) because posting a lot can mean people come to your blog and need to "catch up." Which they do, but it means they don't write comments etc as often. I only ask because I blog daily M-F and have seen people say that is too much.

  9. I would love more of your creative writing! I love reading on your blog. I love your outfit posts. I also would love to see you collaborate with other bloggers somehow? Maybe some more of your creative photography?

  10. Super cool outfit
    and nice pics too

    I think it'd be freaking sweet if you did a #tbt every now and again because I, like most people, are totes fascinated with blogger's pre-blogger life and the lives of other people in general. Right?
    And it'd be cool if we did like writing prompts and maybe if other people were doing it we could all link to each other's post and read/support/be-amazed-by each others writing.

    Okay. But keep the regular stuff too.

  12. This denim on denim look is on POINT. And is it just me or does your hair keep getting perpetually cuter?


  13. i love love love your stories & personal insights. i loved your guest post on clear the way kate's blog - that was super awesome & inspiring & i totally get that you wouldn't have things like that to write about all the time, & that sure took a lot of guts to open up that much, but i love your quirkly, silly personal insights too & would love to hear more about you/your life.... aka stalker style. anyway, i have been doing this w/ sweaters too, actually just the same one every day this week so thx for the reminder to get some use out of my others while i still can (evenings only, really). i love the double denim look w/ the sweater on top here & i esp love how you link your "similar here" to vintage shops. have i told you that before? I suuuper love it bcuz everybody already knows about the big shops bloggers usually link to & the lovely small businesses you give to of course need the traffic.

  14. I read the text in the blog posts since I really enjoy reading your stories. Try adding a blog poll, that's what I've been doing to get feedback on what type of videos and blog posts people want to see. I would really love to see some thrifting tips myself since you always seem to find really great items. :-)


  15. hey, nice dress! ;)

    I personally love when you share details about your life and ramble on and on. But that's because I love the way you write. Fashion-wise, layering how-to's and such would be awesome. Or maybe something where you take a current fashion trend and show how to style it with vintage pieces? You would be good at that.



  16. I know exactly how you feel! I've been in the biggest blogging funk all year long. I think mainly b/c I just don't have a lot of extra time on my hands to actually take a moment and sit down and type right now. I really love the direction you've been headed with your blog over the past 6 months or so though. All the extra features are so catchy (especially the shop with me additions and I've actually discovered so many new Etsy shops through it ha!). I tend to love reading personal stories as well as tips on styling, organizing, thrifting, you name it! It engages me much more than someone just writing about "oh look I just bought this new dress at Forever 21. Isn't is great".

    Anyhoo, the way you've mixed these pieces together is just fantastic! I always feel quite good about finding an older piece in my closet and throwing it into the mix once again too. That sweater is a beaut!

  17. Honestly I love reading text if it has a story to it. I get a bit bored when the bull of a fashion post's piece is about the quality or thread count. In this, for instance, I enjoyed hearing about your sweater challenge and how you've been gravitating toward the same staple wardrobe pieces.

  18. I love this sweater and your hair looks darling! I'm in a blog funk too! Soldier Boy has been refusing to help with outfit photos, so I've been stuck with the tripod/timer and am working so much that I only really have about 5 minutes to attempt to get good photos! Ugh! I would love if you could do a feature on creating outfits with vintage pieces or on how to vintage shop. I love vintage clothes, but when I buy pieces that I like, I have a tough time working them into my wardrobe!

  19. I feel like there are so many outfits that only you would be only to pull off because the way you wear this sweater looks absolutely SICK, BRO (collegefratdudevoice) and I'm pretty sure only you could be the one to appear snazzy in it.

    I like reading your stories. Anything that has to do with your creativity and writing skills I'd love to see more of from you!!

  20. I love that sweater!! Going to the gap to see if I can find one like it! I personally am a wannabe thrifter and would love to learn a little more about what your process is. People like you make it seem so easy!

    Allison Katelyn @ Http://SimpleSilverLinings.blogspot.com

  21. I don't own many winter sweaters, just a few ones which I already had to ditch because it is getting warmer and warmer in here, although temperatures are going to go down tomorrow... Shit.
    However, I'd love to read about styling tips! I always appreciate good styling tips from different points of views so they can give me different ideas and great advice! xx

  22. What a cute sweater! Glad you're getting some spring- hopefully no more snow until fall. I don't always read wordy posts, but I do yours! I think you're funny and I really love your writing style. Plus I think if that's what you want to do, it's a good place to practice and develop what works for you! Keep it up!

  23. I love the pink in your sweater! I read the text in your blog, and your personal reflection are a big part of what keeps me coming back. I like the eye candy, but I don't read blogs unless I'm invested in the writer's personality and journey.

  24. What a fantastic look, Marlen! Loving the double denim and the pattern on the sweater is fantastic. And yes, I love reading the text of your posts! You're one of the best (if not the best, seriously) writers I've come across in the blogosphere and I always enjoy hearing about your fun adventures, silly mishaps, and hilarious familial encounters (those fish drawings your mom is leaving in the fridge kill me). Excited to see what will come next :)



  25. I love your double denim, why can you pull off such different looks and look so perfect in them!! so jealous. Im obsessed with my denim shirt currently lol! You wear yours so much better.

    Lucy xxx
    Florals & Corals

  26. I love your sweater!


  27. I'm kind of late to the party, but I would definitely love to see more style/layering tips! I really feel like you have a distinctive style and it would be interesting to see you sort of extrapolate and generalize from that to offer tips about how to style certain things (like vests, midi skirts, whatnot) using previous posts to illustrate different looks.

  28. Hi! I love reading your posts! I always appreciate your genuine thoughtfulness and how much of your personality comes through in what you write. I can really, really relate to a lot of your musings and experiences, so they're always refreshing to read!

    It would be totally exhausting to respond to every comment, but to increase interaction, you could pick a few comments to reply to for each post. I think people are more likely to put thought into their comments - and that thoughtful readers are more likely to comment, period - if they know they're being heard.

    Anyway, keep up the good work! I can guarantee that you have readers really reading :)


  29. I vote for more personal content! Maybe a weekly recap, book reviews, or thrifting hauls?


Talk, talk, talk!

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