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Madewell’s Oakbrook Anniversary Event

We had macaroons and lavender-infused lemonade at the Oakbrook Madewell last Thursday, and spent the evening celebrating the store’s one-year anniversary. I was a special guest of the store, and I had a lot of fun dressing up the mannequins in my favorite looks.

Madewell Looks

Look #1: Dotted ScarfLinebreak DressEveryday Clutch • I restrained myself from adding this dotted umbrella to the mix
Look #2: Silk Drop-Waist DressJournal CardiganArrowstack NecklaceCamden Tote • Bug Scarf (in store)
Look #3: Heartdot BoyshirtSoftstripe SweaterDrifter ShadesSkinny Skinny Ankle-Zip JeansThe Kensington Satchel

Madewell Look #3

Madewell Details

Madewell Look #2

Oh, man. Dressing up those mannequins was fun. HEY… future style post opportunity! (Just kidding. I won’t do that to you.)

I also pulled a rack of my favorites. You know, what I wish would magically appear in my closet.

Nicole Balch's Madewell Favorites

And I have a new favorite pair of jeans! Skinny, ankle-length, without the low-rise fit, and super-flattering. YES. Madewell just redesigned all of their denim so that it doesn’t stretch out or bag, and the store let me choose a pair a couple of weeks ago to wear to the event. (Everything else you see me wearing was mine, except for the bag which I carried around the store with the tags on, like a weirdo.) I’ve been wearing those jeans a lot lately, and they still fit like new, so A+.

Nicole Balch

My outfit: Black and White Shirt (similar) • Leafstitch SweaterHigh Riser Skinny Skinny Ankle JeansFrankie Suede PumpMallory Glasses • Hexagon Earrings (similar, but smaller) • Braided Friendship Bracelet • On the Dot Scatter Bracelet (seen here) • Botanical Rose iPhone Case • Crossbody Bag (in store)

Thank you to Madewell for having me, and a big thank you to all who came out for the event!

Style: Over it All

I’m in need of a new winter coat. I bought a fantastic one way back in 2003 by DKNY that I still love: military styling, to the knee, double-breasted eggplant wool with fuchsia lining, buttons, and contrast stitching. It was crazy-expensive to me, especially since until that coat, I had always bought cheap ones at places like Target, Old Navy, NY&Co, or The Limited. But when I was buying a new coat every year because they pilled and fell apart, they no longer seemed like such a bargain. I think I spent $475 on that eggplant coat, but considering I’ve worn it every year for a decade, that’s not so bad.

It’s a size 14 though, which is too big for me now. It was too big last year too, but I didn’t want to buy an nice replacement when I wasn’t sure if my weight loss would continue. (Nope! Size 8/10, looks like you’re here to stay.) I bought a smaller cheap coat last winter, and guess what? The wool is pilling, the shoulders don’t lie right, and it’s missing two buttons. Time to buy something of better quality.

I know what shapes tend to suit me, and I usually choose something with a little definition in the waist. I love coats like this or this, but I have a tummy and a booty; if a coat doesn’t nip in at the small of my back, I look huge. (Unless it’s a cape! Then I just look awesome.)

These are some of the coats I’m considering. Do you have any others you’d recommend? Certain brands that have held up exceedingly well for you?


  1. Eryn Coat, Kate Spade

  2. Long Peacoat, Navy — Emerson Fry

  3. Double-Cloth Tipped Coat, J. Crew

  4. Stella Coat with Haircalf Collar, Club Monaco at Shopbop

Style: Add Some Sparkle

Nicole Balch

I turned 33 on Sunday, and we had family over to celebrate. I wanted to dress up a little for my birthday, but it felt silly to go too over the top at home, surrounded by still-unpacked boxes. So I went simple — a boat-neck top with a zipper in the back, cropped skinny pants and cute shoes, glasses (the better to see you with), and some sparkle.

The necklace came from HauteLook. It’s a free, members-only site owned by Nordstrom, and they feature great brands at up to 75% off (with new sale events starting each morning at 8am Pacific). Since everything is marked down like crazy, it goes fast. My necklace is no longer available, but I picked a few other great options from the site.

HauteLook Sparkle

Those sparklers above from HauteLook will go fast (the shoes, too!), but you can sign up here to stay on top of their latest fashion, home, and beauty sale events.

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