In the Trenches with Faux Leather

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All black everything with a side of chic to go, please. Can I kindly request the entire French press pitcher as well? And next time, can you please do my French braid? It’s just kind of difficult to DIY while simultaneously drinking coffee and working.

It’s so surprising how quickly fall passes – there is a sudden explosion of color, followed by a lot of raking and mulching of leaves. This is my first Minnesota autumn that I’m not preparing for classes (or the one I spent scrambling to figure out post-graduation life and that subsequent move to San Francisco), and although time is whizzing by this year, these fleeting moments are much happier and I feel so much more at peace with my post-collegiate, #getitgirl life… ya feel me?

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

What I Wore Where I Bought It Eco-Chic Qualities
Black trench coat H&M, last year; mega chic J.Crew option here Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Black faux leather skinny pants H&M, last year Vegan Leather, Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Oversized white button-up H&M Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
White scarf Zara, old; similar Nordstrom option here Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Black wedge booties Cole Haan via Piperlime, last year; love these from Stella McCartney Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Oversized round sunglasses Target, very old Wear Another Year
Full-finger ring H&M; cool ASOS option here Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Wide sterling silver ring Independent artisan at the Minnesota State Fair Independent Retailer, Handmade, Made in the USA
Black faux leather handbag Zara, last season; pretty ASOS option here Vegan Leather, Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Pearl and CZ earrings Banana Republic; amazing Lulu Frost here Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Warm lip color Mineral Fusion, sheer moisture lip tint in “Blush” via Whole Foods Cruelty-Free Beauty, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Deep burgundy nail polish Mineral Fusion nail lacquer in “Garnet” via Whole Foods Cruelty-Free Beauty, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path

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I don’t feel I have “arrived,” and I don’t know what that will even mean for me, since I am a special kind of free bird that wants to break flight records but also have a nest to return to every day. I do know that I am well on my way to wherever I am going, and I wake up elated to be building my brick road, one caffeinated brush of career mortar at a time.

Sending plenty of #getitgirl vibes over to your trenches!

Xo, Sarah

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Layered Necklaces Are Actually In

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I just saw an article that said, among other things, layered necklaces are now out of fashion. Meeeerp, nope, wrong. Layered necklaces are so in and so around my neck. And, I get compliments on it every time I wear this combo, so I would venture to say the public is on my side.

Trends and their supposed rules are always funny to me in retrospect, and often even in the moment. My personal style was virtually nonexistent until I graduated from college, when I went through my fashion renaissance. In 2011, I was so into glitter nail polish, until I wasn’t. I wore exclusively silver jewelry until that one year I wore exclusively gold, and now I mix it up. I tried neons, then for a long time I liked black-and-white outfits with a passion, and now I also like gray. I have even started adding other colors to my saved online shopping carts – I know.

Wear what you like, wear what works for you and acknowledge but filter the noise from other people. So layer away with those necklaces!

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

What I Wore Where I Bought It Eco-Chic Qualities
Gray sweater H&M, last year; cute Ann Taylor sweater with zips Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Sheer white button-up H&M, last year; love this fair trade organic voile shirt from Kowtow Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Dark gray skinny jeans H&M Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Black faux leather jacket Zara, old sale score; fab ASOS option here Vegan Leather, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Gray pumps Stuart Weitzman via Nordstrom Rack Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Silver fleur-de-lis necklace H&M; pretty Nordstrom option here Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Silver coin and chain necklace H&M; great Nordstrom option here Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Wide sterling silver ring Independent artisan at the Minnesota State Fair Independent Retailer, Handmade, Made in the USA
Black faux leather handbag Zara, last season; pretty ASOS option here Vegan Leather, Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
CZ stud earrings Nordstrom Rack; identical here via Nordstrom Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Round sunglasses Target, very old; gorgeous Jason Wu here Wear Another Year
Warm lip color Mineral Fusion, sheer moisture lip tint in “Blush” via Whole Foods Cruelty-Free Beauty, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Dark burgundy nail polish Mineral Fusion nail lacquer in “Garnet” via Whole Foods Cruelty-Free Beauty, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path

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I also pretty much had to justify wearing more gray when these Stuart Weitzman pumps I’d been eyeing on every trip to Nordstrom Rack were reduced to $44. That’s right folks, I bought my first pair of Stuart Weitzmans for less than a fifty-dollar bill. Think of that brilliantly low cost per wear over the lifetime of love they’ll get. Zomg! Oh wait, I forgot that expression is totes passé now… too bad, I like it. Zomg!

Xo, Sarah

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Hello, Fall Fashion

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Goodbye, summer. Hello, fall. The weather has already taken quite the turn in Minneapolis. My neighbor’s maple tree has already lost all but maybe eight leaves, I have packed up all my shorts and sandals, and my parka has already made an appearance twice since we last spoke. Oh, the humanity!

I may not be emotionally (or sartorially) prepared for winter, but with a little self-steeling and some cozy layers, I think I can make this autumn thing work.

I’m launching a fun change today on my blog – rather than only using Better World Shopper to grade my purchases, as I have for about a year now, I am expanding my outfit posts to take a wider look at the role each piece plays in the eco-chic lifestyle I am building. Better World Shopper is an excellent way to kickstart smarter shopping by supporting businesses that do better by the world, and the book and app really changed the way I vote with my dollars. Since it’s literally a one-man show at BWS, there is no way he can evaluate every single retailer or update it every year as companies do better – or worse.

Moving forward, I’ll be calling out the eco-chic qualities of each piece in my outfit. In addition to some favorites that earned positive grades from Better World Shopper, such as Nordstrom, H&M and J.Crew, you have probably noticed I wear a lot of Zara and ASOS. Both of those companies have great mission statements and often provide options like organic cotton or vintage pieces. Also, for example, H&M has made leaps and bounds over the past couple of years with their dedication to sustainability, and I’m sure their rank has improved since BWS’ last edition. On the flip side, despite the supposed A- grade, I refuse to support American Apparel based on their highly questionable treatment of models.

I want to support the larger brands that are working to make a difference and share their successes, since those are the most accessible retailers for everyone to shop. I also want to do more to support and promote independent retailers with sound business practices.

And I want to do this without compromising my style or its accessibility.

Read more about my updated approach to see how I shop and where I shop, and learn about how you can make a difference with your dollar, too.

Outfit details while shopping to make a difference:

What I Wore Where I Bought It Eco-Chic Qualities
Gray pea coat H&M; similar here via ASOS Wool, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Black faux leather jogger pants H&M; great Nordstrom option here Vegan Leather, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
White cropped sleeveless sweater Zara, a couple seasons ago; beautiful winter option from Ann Taylor here Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Flax patent heels Cole Haan via Nordstrom Rack Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Full-finger ring H&M; cool ASOS option here Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Wide-band pavé ring Nordstrom Rack, years ago; identical here via Nordstrom Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Wide sterling silver ring Independent artisan at the Minnesota State Fair Independent Retailer, Handmade, Made in the USA
Black faux leather handbag Zara, last season; pretty ASOS option here Vegan Leather, Wear Another Year, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
CZ stud earrings Nordstrom Rack; identical here via Nordstrom Large Brand on a Sustainable Path
Warm lip color Mineral Fusion, sheer moisture lip tint in “Blush” via Whole Foods Cruelty-Free Beauty, Large Brand on a Sustainable Path

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Looking forward to more eco-chic fashion fun!

Xo, Sarah

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Feeling Good

Aviator sunglasses: 1903s in black c/o Ellison Sunglass Co. // Angora sweater: Ann Taylor // Faux leather skater skirt: H&M // Faux fur vest: Rachel Zoe (last season, similar from this season here) // Black opaque tights: L’eggs via Walgreen’s (similar from ASOS here) // Black bow flats: Ivanka Trump via Nordstrom (sold out, similar here) // Bordeaux handbag: Michael Kors Astrid satchel // Gold tiered necklace: Target // Men’s watch: Invicta, borrowed from le hubs

When I discovered Ellison Sunglass Co. through The Facets Magazine, I was really moved. Not only do they have beautiful design, with every purchase of a pair of Ellison sunglasses, they cover the cost of a corrective eye surgery for someone in need. Their motto, “Look Good. Do Good.” is exactly what I love to see in fashion. Brands that find a way to give back top my list, and I couldn’t be more proud of my Ellison 1903s! Le hubs also loves them and has already borrowed them a few times. Nothing like a pair of his-and-hers sunglasses to make a relationship solid!

This #getitgirl is also feeling good about life. On a sartorial note, I have been slowly adding some spice to my wardrobe of basics, and I am loving the way my style is growing. This applies to life, too: as I grow wiser and more seasoned, that makes the sweetness that much better.

Xo, Sarah

Black on Black

Faux leather panel pencil skirt: Forever21 // Gold-trim button-up: Forever21 // Pointed pumps: Nine West // Black moto: Target // Round sunglasses: Target // Perfume necklace: H&M // Men’s watch: Invicta

I kind of love these photos, because you can’t even see the textures of the outfit with the magical backlight of the perfectly pastel Pacifica sunset. My favorite way to do a single-tone outfit is to incorporate multiple fabrics and finishes, and this faux-leather panel pencil skirt from Forever21 is one of my favorite recent finds, considering my affinity for donning black. The gold collar detail on the sheer black blouse adds a regal flash of sass to a boardroom-ready ensemble. Paired with my favorite pumps, this outfit took me through multiple meetings and a few intense deadlines with nary a flaw to be seen.

The beauty of a black on black look is that you’re virtually guaranteed to present a polished front. The fact that I’ve seen some tweets calling this a fall trend makes it even better. Parisian chic, order for an entire season. Check, please!

Xo, Sarah

The Sweet Escape

White dress: Max & Cleo (from my wedding, similar here) // Faux leather moto: Target // Black leather wedges: Steve Madden (similar here) // Black wristlet: Coach (similar here)

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A Fresh Start on Stylish Ambitions

I am so excited to be launching my new blog! With a refined focus and more inspiration than ever, I am proud to give you the new Sarah’s Ambitions. I’ll be delivering ambitiously stylish fashion, beauty and lifestyle posts, and the new #Getitgirl features may just be my favorite. But most of all, I feel like a real, live fashion blogger: here is my first-ever outfit post!

Faux leather moto: Target (on sale now!) // Mint sweatshirt: Gap // Black scarf: Uptown Minneapolis boutique (similar here) // Destroyed denim: Express // Pointed heels: Nine West // Mini wristlet: Coach (similar here)

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