5 Autumn Sweaters to Cozy Up In

5 Autumn Sweaters to Cozy Up In | Writing Between Pauses

Me: I’m going to buy ALL the sweaters.

Also me: *sees sweater prices* well, let’s see which ones I should prioritize.

I love a good sweater, but sometimes it is hard to sort through all the trendy sweaters (I’m looking at you, Dinosaur Fair Isles that show up at Forever 21 every year) to find ones that won’t just be a good sweater this year, but for the next 5-10 years. I’ve done a little bit of digging and have found 5 of the best Autumn sweaters I can find; these will carry you through not just Fall and Winter, but into Spring as well.

Old Navy Autumn Sweater

1. Classic Boat-Neck Sweater from Old Navy, $20

Who doesn’t love a classic stripey sweater? I love the soft, oatmeal-gray color of this one, as well as the longer, tunic shape. It’s perfect for a quick outfit over leggings; but you can also wear it with jeans or trousers and a blazer for a more work-appropriate look.

H&M Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

2. Knit Sweater from H&M, $34.99

The big cozy. I feel like I’m always looking for the perfect oversized sweater. For being so popular, they are sure are hard to find. This one from H&M is perfect: soft, cozy, and oversized. It will look great with leggings when you’re running errands. Or with your sweatpants when you’re at home. You know, either one.

ModCloth Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

3. Play It Cowl Sweater from ModCloth, $59.00

We often think of Autumn colors as purely in the warm family; however, I consider all jewel tones, like emerald and teal, to also be Autumn colors. That’s why I picked this sweater; I love the rich teal color, as well as the comfy cowl neck. It’s perfect for wearing with trousers to work, then going to a Holiday party afterwards. Honestly, it’s just the perfect sweater. This may be one I’ve ordered for myself. It’s that cute!

American Eagle Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

4. Impossibly Soft Cable Knit Sweater from American Eagle, $44.95

I love American Eagle sweaters and despite being considered somewhat of a “teenager" brand, they hold up really well. This cable knit sweater is such a classic—and I love this burnt orange color! It will look so cute with jeans and a scarf, as well as over a skirt and tights. Plus, it’s super, super soft—that means no itchy wool!

Madewell Autumn Sweater | Writing Between Pauses

5. Crofton Striped Pullover Sweater from Madewell, $69.99

Ah, this sweater. It’s cute, classic, and can carry you through all the seasons, at it is a bit lighter than the others sweaters here. I love the colorblocking because you can wear it with lots of different combinations of skirts, trousers, and jeans. I also love the slightly baggy, relaxed shape. It’s a little expensive (nearly $70 on sale!), but with good care, it will last you several years.

4 Ugly Christmas Sweaters for Under $60

4 Ugly Christmas Sweaters for Under $60 | Writing Between Pauses

I love ugly Christmas sweaters. This isn't a controversial or even new opinion. Ugly Christmas sweater parties have become incredibly popular and it feels like the internet is always trying to outdo each other with their sweater. Personally, I like to keep my clothes wearable, so the light-up, bow-adorned, bauble-covered options aren't for me. If you want to get in the spirit, but don't want to go all out, I found 4 options for you: under $60, wearable, and cute/ugly enough to be part of the crowd at a Christmas party. 

1. Dinosaur Sweater, $18.95

So, this is actually a children's t-shirt, but if you're looking for something last minute to wear, it's a good choice: you can get it in the largest size and layer it under a cardigan, plus since it's on Amazon, you can get insanely fast shipping. Also, I think a dinosaur wearing a Santa hat is just the cutest thing on the planet. 

2. Unicorn Sweater, $26

When I originally picked this sweater, the women's version wasn't sold out--luckily, the men's version isn't and it's actually way uglier and cooler. The unicorn is breathing green fire. Sign me up! For only $26, it's a shoe-in for ugliest sweater award. Add some festive bows to really kick it up a notch.  

3. Corgi Sweater, $24.99

I picked some t-shirts for this post because, truthfully, many of us aren't in climates that get cold cold. This corgi ugly sweater t-shirt is the perfect combination of internet funny, ugly, and cute. You've got sweater pattern. You've got breathable cotton. You've got cute corgis. And it's $24.99? 

4. Ugly Cat Sweater, $34

For the cat lover, this sweatshirt is actually so cute it hurts me a little bit. It comes in white or pink, so you have two amazing choices. You won't be winning the ugly sweater award, but you will be getting compliments from all the cat aficionados in your life. 

4 Outfits to Wear This Winter

4 Outfits to Wear This Winter | Writing Between Pauses

Winter is one of my favorite seasons for fashion. It might be because I love sweaters; I also just love being warm. However, in the winter I struggle with staying warm, especially at work (and also at home, to be honest). I tend to always be wearing more than one layer at a time. 

For this post on winter outfits, I decided to share some of my favorite outfits I've saved from Polyvore; they've been inspiring my outfits for the last few weeks. With each outfit, I'll provide some modifications for every climate. Let's jump in! 

1. In the Office

I love a long sweater; I've been wearing this similar one from Maurice's pretty much nonstop since September. I love pairing it with dresses and tights; this high-neck floral one featured is perfect, but this is another good option. Pair with loafers if you're somewhere like Oregon, where it never gets too chilly, or boots and over-the-knee socks. 

2. On the Weekend

I love this outfit because it's so light and bright. Sometimes, in winter, it's easy to go for dark colors--but mixing it up with some wintery whites is a great way to change things up. This plaid sweater is adorable; if you want an alternative, this plaid top from Forever 21 is a great statement piece. Pair with your favorite jeans and some gray or tan booties, a rose gold bag, and muted make up for a pretty-and-pale winter look. 

3. At a Fancy Party

Picking fancy party attire is one of my favorite tasks every holiday season. This outfit is incredible because of the sequin top; it's hard to replicate, but this top comes close. I decided to switch the color scheme up and recommend this metallic bodycon skirt. (Remember when everyone wore bodycon skirts every day!?) Finish with some tights to keep warm, your favorite coat, and some cute boots or pumps. 

4. At a Casual Party

Not every party requires sequins, unfortunately. This is one of the outfits that probably everyone can throw together from their closet: a sweater dress topped with your tried-and-true denim jacket and a plaid scarf. Add your favorite boots or moccasins for a look that's comfy and cool. 

Refresh Your Workout Wardrobe This Spring

spring work out clothes

My husband and I recently rejoined the gym. If you read my blog(s) (um, this one or the one before, or the one before that), you probably know that, until I got pregnant, I worked out nearly every day. At least 5 times a week for sure. I love working out, but once I had Forrest, it became really challenging. 

Going back to a gym routine lately has been so much fun. On the downside, however, all my work out clothes are from pre-pregnancy. Can you see where I'm going with this? 

It's a sad situation right now. Especially the sports bra situation. So let's look at some options for refreshing our spring workout wardrobes. 

1. Sports Bras

Sports bras are always a challenge. Hopefully I'm not alone in this. Everyone has a particular style they favor and a particular fit they like. I picked three different types: a very traditional sports bra (the Nike); a cute-almost-crop-top sports bra; and a high-backed sports bra with lower sides. All three are super cute and not super expensive. 

2. Tops

Athletic tops are one of those things that I believe are inherently a little scammy, right? You can wear just about any shirt to workout in, as long as you're comfortable. I prefer loose fitting tank tops, so I picked three cute ones for your enjoyment (I'm loving the World's Okayest Runner tank). In general, I buy my workout tops at Forever 21 or Target: wherever I can get some affordable that I'm totally ok getting covered in sweat. 

3. Leggings

Honestly, I could spent the rest of my life in athletic leggings and be absolutely fine. Also, if I ever become magically super wealthy, I will just buy hundreds of pairs of the best leggings I can find. I love them. My favorite workout leggings are from Aerie and they unfortunately don't make them anymore (grumble), but these "chill joggers" look super comfy for workouts and for lounge. If you're more a traditionalist, the black Nike workout pants are classic and the GAP leggings are perfect for late Spring/early Summer runs outside. 

Just a Little Spring-to-Summer Outfit Inspiration

spring to summer outfit inspiration

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably noticed I had a small blogging crisis the other night. I've been struggling to feel motivated regarding my blog lately... and then I start to panic about what I'm doing, whether what I'm doing opens me up to criticism I'm not sure I can handle, and if what I'm doing is safe for my son. I don't talk about Forrest very much anymore and I'm very careful about the photos I post about him now, especially on Instagram and Twitter. But opening yourself up can be challenging. I love blogging and it is very hard for me to separate my life as I know it from my blog... because blogging is so much a part of my identity. 

I guess what I'm saying is: thank you for the messages I received, the notes of love for my blog. It really helps me feel like what I'm doing has some kind of purpose (even if it is just bringing a small piece of joy to other people) and I feel more comfortable with what I've shared so far. 

Anyway, whenever I'm feeling a little down about my blog, I try to go to some of my "easier" post ideas. I wanted to share some of the pretty Polyvore sets I've been liking for that spring-to-summer transition. If you follow me Instagram, you know I've been working out a lot and eating healthy. I have finally (FINALLY!) after nearly 5 years of struggling started to lose weight; I think I just found the right balance and motivation. So I'm excited for summer, obviously. 

Here are a few outfits to get you inspired too. 

1. Neutral

I'm feeling extremely covetous of that little lace top, but for now, it's outside of my current confidence zone. That being said, the blush-tan neutral is a great way to transition a winter wardrobe to spring and then to summer--and these items are particularly work appropriate. 

2. That floral


Spring by duma-duma featuring a sun hat

If you know me, you know I love a floral--and I'm particularly loving the lush, vivid florals we are seeing lately! The bold print of this shirt dress would be perfect for the office (with some leggings or tights, of course) topped with a blazer; and then you could also wear it to the 4 million weddings and graduation parties we are all attending in the next few months. 

3. Day-glo

I'm normally NOT a neon fan, but when I saw this set, I actually looked at this dress and seriously considered buying it. It is gorgeous, right? I love a Peter Pan collar and I love a floral, but this dress is unlike any I've ever really seen. Combined with some funky sunglasses, it's another great graduation party option--just remember to slather on the sunscreen because in an outfit at bright as this, you're gonna need some sun protection. 

4. Striped Preppy Classics

Again, not confident enough to high-waisted short shorts at this point in my life, but I'm really loving the bomber jacket and letterman jacket trend. This one is particularly cute (and comfy looking). Paired with a striped top and jeans, it would be perfect for a casual weekend day or even a more casual workplace. Plus, you'll stay warm in the air conditioning that I know is torturing most women in office buildings right now. 

5. For vacation

I'm actually looking for a dress like this for my vacation this summer. I love blush pink, but it does wash me out a bit. However, I also love the off-the-shoulder look (I know) and this dresses silhouette is particularly flattering. Paired with a strappy sandal and a little bag, it's perfect for a fancy dinner at home or on vacation. 

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5 Absolutely Affordable Spring Dresses

affordable spring dresses

Is this annoying? When bloggers start posts with things like, "ooof, it's been a hard week"? And it's only... Wednesday? That's how I wanted to start this post. I'm typing up this post, that I've had ready, at 6:45 in the morning, while Forrest sleeps after waking up at 4am. Remember how I had the flu in March? I heavily suspect he now has the flu. (This is where, if we were speaking in person, I would groan loudly and without end.) 

Anyway, at least the little sick man is giving me a chance to type something up, even if it's... a shopping inspiration post. I always have conflicted feelings when posting things like this, because the emphasis on shopping in blogging makes me quite uncomfortable. That being said, however, we all need a little wardrobe update from time-to-time, especially after the long winter days. 

And you know what? Looking at dresses is fun. So here are 5 absolutely affordable (yes, affordable!) spring dresses. 

1. Contemporary Open-Shoulder Dress, Forever 21 - $17.90

affordable dress for spring

We'll start with the most affordable. $17.90 for a t-shirt dress is still a little on the "hmmm" side for me, but it's still less than $20. Also, this dress is super cute and would be appropriate for almost every body type. And hey, if you don't like the sack look, a cute belt would nip it in at the waist. I normally don't like the "cold shoulder" look, but for spring, it's starting to grow on me. For a day look, top with a leather jacket and maybe some leggings, if you're in a colder climate. 

2. Palm and Collected A-Line Dress, ModCloth - $79.99

cute palm spring dress coachella

I can see the look you're giving me right now. "Michelle," you say, "I thought you said affordable." Ok, maybe $79.99 isn't super affordable for some people. For me, it would totally be a splurge. But... look how cute this dress is. It's so cute! It's appropriate for the office AND a party AND you can wear it into summer. And, hear me out, I think you could even take it into Fall. This is a Long Haul Dress because it's got sleeves, a lower hem, a cute print, a practical style... C'mon. $79.99 is a steal if you wear this dress once a week for a year. Also, consider it with a cute pair of kitten heels and a light cardigan at a barbecue. I think I've made my point. 

3. Angie Shirt Dress, Nordstrom Rack - $24.97

spring shirt dress

Look at this cute print! The minute I saw it, I knew it would be perfect for this post: it's cute, it's affordable, and it has SLEEVES. Is anyone else perma-cold in Spring? As the weather gets nicer, it feels like everyone turns on the air conditioning unnecessarily and I end up just as bundled up as during winter! Shirt dresses are universally flattering and I personally love a rolled up sleeve on a dress. With sandals or pumps (or even tights and boots during winter), this is really another long haul dress at a killer price. 

4. Contemporary Floral Print Dress, Forever 21 - $19.53 (Sale)

floral print spring dress cheap

I really, really love the pajama look top of this dress. I think it's casual and interesting. This is another dress that you can definitely make work for every season, but feels especially appropriate for spring--when the weather can still be chilly and wet, but can unexpectedly turn into a beautiful day. Plus, at a little over $19, it's super affordable and the shirt dress style is, again, flattering on every body type. 

5. Bookmaking Brunch Dress in Roses, ModCloth - $69.99

I know, $69.99... but please see #2 above. Also, look how cute this dress is! The a-line skirt, the nipped in waist, the neckline. Perfect for a spring or summer wedding, or with a jacket at work, paired with some white or nude stacked heels. Are you on board? Good, because I'm already on board. I love a vintage rose print and this one is absolutely stunning. 

If you enjoyed this blog post (and these spring dresses!), I'd love if you'd take a moment to subscribe to my newsletter here

How to Test Out Festival Style Trends as a Grown Up*

I know it’s only February, but it’s that time of year where we all (or maybe just me?) start dreaming of Spring and Summer. And every year, like clockwork, we all start getting emails about festival trends. 

If you’re like me (that is, over 25, working a full time job, and perhaps even taking care of a very small human), you feel a little left behind by all the denim cutoffs and crop tops. I’m not 18 anymore; are these festival trends something I can pull off—or even just try? 

It’s a struggle, for sure. But as we’re dreaming of warmer weather, I got the opportunity to poke around Splash’s website to check out their latest collection. I wanted to share a few pieces that definitely fit that festival trend, but are a little easier to wear. 

(Note: Yes, this is a sponsored post. However, all ideas & writing is my own. For more information, please see my disclosure policy!

1. Mix up your classic sweater & jeans. 

I am totally obsessed with these Scallywag jeans from Birds of Paradise. That pretty embroidery combined with a high waist and roll up cuffs? Perfect for those chillier spring days, especially topped with this Yacht sweater from Lovers + Friends. You’ll get that festival vibe without having to go whole hog for denim cuff offs and midriff exposure. 

2. Try it at work. 

“Uh, I’m pretty sure festival trends can never be work appropriate.” Wrong! Ok, maybe right—it depends on what kind of office you work in. But this Elsa shirt in Olive from Stillwater would look great with skinny jeans or a pencil skirt in the office. Add these Libby heels in Black from Raye and you’ve got a festival-focused office outfit.

3. Try off-the-shoulder dresses. 

Off-the-shoulder dresses are one of the biggest trends of the last few years. (Remember when every single fashion blogger was wearing that same chambray, off-the-shoulder dress?) They’re super summery and very cute—plus they give a very late-1970s, festival vibe. I love these two dresses from Faithfull the Brand. The Milos dress in Beshka Print would look cute paired with some simple gladiator sandals and a wide-brimmed hat. The Mali dress in Amber Stripe is super similar, except that it has a really subtle stripe pattern (which means it can be paired with just about anything!) Add some cute boots (like these Free People ones) for a very retro vibe or some cute sunglasses and gold sandals for a simple look. 

Want more inspiration? Be sure to check out Splash

5 Outfits for Late Winter Inspiration

We're at that time of the year where, if you're like me, you've been cycling through the same few tops and jeans. I have 4 outfits that I wear in rotation. That's boring! But as the winter wears on, it's hard to feel inspired, especially if you're saving your money (like I am!) for Spring. 

I thought I'd share some Polyvore sets to help us all be a little bit more inspired with our late Winter style. I went with sets that included items we all probably have (especially if you, like me, are a minor hoarder that has saved multiple years worth of trends). Here we go! 

1. Go Full Christmas

Once Christmas passes, I tend to set aside my fair isle sweaters and beanie hats. I don't know why! I always feel like the time for them is over. But this set is really making me question that decision! A cozy fair isle paired with coordinated beanie & scarf and topped with your usual winter coat is an easy, cute outfit. Totally Instagram worthy, to be honest. 

2. Change the Color Palette

Have you been wearing black for four weeks straight? Listen, me too. That's probably why I'm loving this outfit. I really want a top in this dark, cognac color now! Paired with an olive, military jacket (I am in the firm belief that everyone owns one--mine, embarrassingly, is maternity!) and some leopard print (!!) booties... it's an almost-neutral outfit that just brightens up the late winter, right? 

3. Pretend You're French

The minute I saw this outfit, I swooned a little. That top! That skirt! Add some black tights and maybe replace the heels with your trustiest knee high boots, top with a coat... it's late Winter, but it's not boring. You can also pretend that you're walking through Paris, ala Carrie Bradshaw, and feel very fancy while doing it. 

4. Treat Yourself to Something Lovely

A striped dress is a total staple. A floral print coat? Um, not so much. But let's be real... it's gorgeous. And it's perfect alongside a striped dress, or plain top and jeans. I know I said these outfits only included items most people would have anyway... well, that was a teeny tiny lie. I want to live the life of someone who just happens to have an extremely fashionable coat lying around! 

In fairness, a striped dress paired with a cardigan and a floral print scarf will be just as cute--and just springy enough to get us through February without losing our minds. 

5. Redo Your Denim

Nothing--I repeat, nothing--is as classic as a denim jacket. I love this outfit: the unique denim jacket, the gray jeans, the flowy, pretty top, the suede booties. Totally gorgeous, top to bottom. I don't own a denim jacket like that, but I do own a pair of gray jeans; I do own a floaty top; and I do have some boots that fit the bill. Why did I never think to put them all together before? Rookie move! 

Well, are you feeling inspired? What's getting you through this long, late Winter days?