Monday, February 4, 2013

Featured Blogger: Courtney

To kick off the return of our Featured Blogger Monday, we bring you a woman who gets to wear jeans every day of the week. Yes, we sort of hate her too! Kidding, we actually love Courtney. She is a working momma who still has killer style. You can read more about her and her little family on her blog, Bowdenisms.

::: Describe your work environment from a style perspective :::
I am incredibly lucky to have a job where I can wear pretty much anything I want. We’re a casual clothing retailer, so that translates to a pretty laid back office environment. My role as a visual merchandiser means I’m pretty active throughout the day (building window displays, climbing ladders...basically rolling around and getting dirty while we “make pretty”) so I tend to skew on the more casual (i.e. practical) end of dressing. And it means heels are a non-option, which is fine by me.

::: What are your nine to five staples? :::
Because I work at AE, people always ask if I have to wear all their clothes, but that’s not required at all. I do end up wearing a ton of it because it’s stuff I like (and I get a sweet discount!), but I still mix in a ton of other brands as well. My look day to day is pretty similar- almost always jeans, with boots or flip flops (depending on the season) with a basic top. Most days I add a scarf (I’m scarf obsessed), and I pile on the jewelry. I tend to rotate favorite pieces and similar outfits (I wear navy and grey a lot) but then have fun by changing out the scarf for a different pattern, or throwing on a bright cardigan to add a pop of color. Now that I’m pregnant, I find my style hasn’t changed much at all...I just have to size up a bit, and shift the belt a little higher.

::: Does blogging make you a better employee at your day job? :::
Yes and no. I think my awareness and involvement in the blogging community helps me to make connections with ideas. You never know where the next creative spark is going to come from, and with the endless amount of inspiration out there in the blog world, its a hugely valuable resource for me. As for my actual blog though, I intentionally keep it pretty separate from my work life. I rarely post about my job, and in general use my site as a personal account of what I’m thinking or feeling at the time, rather than a space to collect creative ideas. The “work me” and the “blog me” are the same girl, so my style and personality is incorporated into both 9-5 just cares a lot less about seeing my baby’s pictures.

::: Do you view blogging as a means of recording life, or as the start of an alternative career? :::  
I guess you should never rule any possibility out, but for now it’s just an online scrapbook for me. I’ve been writing for five years, and I’m so thankful for the memories, thoughts and emotions that I have recorded on my tiny corner of the web.

::: Is blogging your main outlet, or do you also write novels, run marathons, and knit all of your own sweaters? :::
Ha! Yes. I do all of those things...most days. Plus, I grow my own organic vegetables, organize a local soup kitchen and host a karaoke night on the weekends. I’m pretty much unstoppable. Except not at all. Between working full time, raising a one year old, and preparing for a new baby (in June), there’s not a ton of time for hobbies. I do tend to have my hands in all kinds of different things passions just rotate pretty regularly. Sometimes I’m obsessed with sewing baby legwarmers, and then the next week I’ll have a dream to learn to play the banjo. I find no matter how busy I am I have to have a steady stream of things I’m learning or working on, to keep my creative drive satisfied. (Plus I love some reality TV. An outlet for sure.)

::: How do you find time to do it all? When do you blog? :::
Isn’t that the million dollar question? I’m actually pretty fascinated by the idea of how people (and specifically women) “do it all”. I shared a typical day in our lives on my blog recently, in order to “show our real”- getting rid of the façade of over achievement and perfect lives, and showing what a real day looks like. Each day is different, based on schedules, priorities, or even just my mood, but the idea of striving for balance in total versus trying to make sure every single day is structured to include everything helps keep me sane. Sometimes I blog every day ( I don’t) and sometimes I only manage to write once a month. The same goes for every other area of life. I may not give my kid a veggie at every single meal, but in general she gets the nutrition she needs. I think it’s so important to share these realities with others- especially in the world of blogging which can get so competetive and fake. (Join in on instagram- #showyourreal)

::: Finally, what have you been pinning lately? What are the items you are just dying to add to your work wardrobe? :::
I don’t pin a ton of fashion...I'm more of a recipe and DIY project type of pinner. (Check out my pinterest profile here) But I just bought a leather clutch I'm super excited about. Because my job is so casual (and my weekends even more so) I find it hard to invest in things I need, but will only use rarely, like dressy shoes, or a fancy dress. I have to force myself to buy those types of things sometimes to keep my wardrobe from getting too heavy on my formula of "jean + striped shirt".

::: Outfit Details :::
Top: Collective Concepts from Stitchfix

Tank: Old Navy They actually call this shirt a “tami” because it’s a cross between a tank and a cami....I like the thinner straps with the lower scoop in the back. Plus they’re long enough to cover my ever expanding belly. Love that.

Boots: Macy’s. These are the perfect go-with-everything (seriously everything) boots. I featured them in one of my Closet Crash Courses, and started a small all my friends have them too!

Jeans: AE (gotta rep my company!)- Jegging in Dark destroy. I know not everyone is as lucky as I am to be able to wear jeans to work (and destroyed jeans no less...) But this outfit could easily be made office appropriate with a quick pant swap. Another maternity tip? Skip buying maternity jeans for a while. I get jeggings or skinnies in a size or two larger than normal. This gives me room at the waist, but the stretch still preserves a good fit in the legs. (maybe I ended up going 3 or 4 sizes larger by the end of my pregnancy last time....ignore the number and just go for what works).

Owl Ring: Forever 21

Boyfriend Watch: Fossil. This was a gift from my husband a few years ago (ok 4 years ago) and I still wear it constantly.

Bracelets: AE

Necklace: Chain + d (or b, or p!) + heart whistle: Anthropologie // Dot feather: Madewell
The necklace and charms were a valentine’s day gift last year. I love that the “d” stands for my husband’s name, but can also be interpreted as a B for our last name or a P for our little girl. I added the feather when I got it on super-super sale at Madewell (seriously, I paid in change.)

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If you would like to apply to be part of our Monday Featured Blogger series, email Shannon.

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  1. Fun fact! For a really long time I thought about becoming a visual merchandiser for Gap! So I'm super jealous of her job and I'm actually really obsessed with those jeans. They're the perfect distressed pair!

  2. These questions + answers are fabulous! I love that this is a place to celebrate how work & life intersect. You look adorable Court!

  3. I can attest for the fact that Courtney started a small sensation with those cognac Style & Co boots! I wear mine daily and it does seem like they match everything! She puts the fun in fashion and helps even us fashionably wayward folks (like myself) feel like we can kick up our heels in a great pair of boots and feel put together! One of the coolest people I know!