Why Understated Classics?

Dread, fear and overwhelming feelings.  That’s what came over me when I crossed the stage and collected my degree at my undergrad graduation.

The real world is upon me!

Paying bills, decorating an apartment, cooking for yourself, exercising without college friends laughing at you, getting a real job, and the ultimate, looking good while doing it all. No one said it would be easy.  And then there are others who make growing up look so fabulous, that you just get that twinge of “How is that possible?”

Sound familiar?  Then you found the right place to help calm you down.   Or, maybe just to calm me down- venting about growing up- a forum for those who are growing up, it’s all the same.  A place for us to grow up together.

Welcome to Understated Classics!

The idea of Understated Classics was to really navigate how to manage life after college.  Being 5 years removed, and working in a college environment, the blog has held true to its purpose.  How else is a college student or “recent grad” going to learn about life?

Someone has to be real.  Why not learn a lesson from someone who already learned the hard way?

I’m Clare, a 20-something with no idea what I am doing every day.

Mission: Navigate daily life in a grown up world and write about it.

This is Understated Classics.



Weekend Wear

Cherry Blossom Sightseeing
Okay so it’s that time of year.  Cherry Blossom season.  They are absolutely stunning this year.  Stunning.  Too bad they are killer on the allergies.   And of course, I forgot to add Zyrtec to this picture, but since the weather will be so super warm, and there will be tons of people (since no one was around the last few weekends, and this is PEAK bloom…) I went for the more casual yet sophisticated touristy look.
I am one of those people who dress up for the work week but all I want to do is slum around in jeans and a tee for the weekend.  I think I managed a cool balance.  (If you are in DC this weekend, this is basically exactly what I will be wearing.  Be sure to say hi if you see me!)  I also wanted to make sure that my accessories made it looked pulled off yet goes along oh so well with the event.  And since I get really hot, really fast, I kept it as cool as a cucumber…
Enjoy the sightseeing in DC this weekend, folks.
Follow me on Instagram for some pretty awesome pictures!

Maxi Dress and Vienna

I know.  You read the title and thought “you have got to be kidding me.”  And yes, I am actually kidding you.  But seriously.  I wore this to work.  Granted, I threw on a navy cardigan, but it was a laid back “running around the office all day” kind of day.  Students in and out of my office, crazy noises, loud music, the occasional dance party.  I can’t keep up sometimes.  And today, I’ve really listened to the words of Billy Joel’s Vienna  a lot today.  Why the heck haven’t I followed this song’s advice?  A quiet, yet powerful ballad that just grounds someone.  Also, makes me think of that scene from “13 Going On 30″ when Jennifer Garner’s character realizes just what the heck she got herself into.

Today was one of those days.  My cell was buzzing from texts from students, students in my office, students coming in and out of my office, the phone ringing, no quiet. (I swear, at the end of the day, I absolutely love my job, and love being surrounded by the crazy, I thrive on it!) Yet, when the dust settled, Vienna came onto my Pandora, and well, for those 3 minutes, everything stopped.  And let me tell you, sometimes all you need is a simple song to reground you.  One of those “right place right time” situations.  It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it?  Just something to “speak” to you right when you need it.  TELL ME I AM NOT CRAZY. 


Totally a Marshalls #fabfound type steal.  (Now I have to remember to link this up to Marshalls so they know NEVER EVER GO OUT OF STOCK OF AWESOME STRIPED 3/4 SLEEVE MAXI DRESSES).  Oh yeah, the necklace, (which every single student that saw me today, commented on how awesome it is) I “borrowed indefinitely” from madre.  Can you believe my mother has such great J.Crew taste?  *I double checked since I didn’t believe the woman would even step into J.Crew.  Sure enough, the little hang tag on the toggle clasp, is J.Crew.  Ten points for mom!


Side note: check the nail polish. One of my students gave me one of the best manicures I’ve had in a long long time. Kudos.

It is Thursday.   One more day closer to posting about my hair cut and the very SPECIFIC “DO IT OR I WILL NEVER CUT YOUR HAIR AGAIN” directions my stylist (10 years and counting) gave me.  I think I’ll schedule it for Saturday…

Let us celebrate.  That means one more day closer to the weekend.  One more day of allergies.  One more day of work.  One more day of silly stories, and Spring fever!  #thursday   Don’t forget, this is what I wore to work, and I’ve linked up with Tara for her “Wear to Work” Thursdays! 

Dress: Marshalls (similar, similar, similar)

Necklace: J. Crew  (similar, similar, similar)

Blog Signature



Outsmarting the Fog

I get it.  The Spring weather does not want to be nice and come out and play.  Or if it does, my allergies certainly do not get along with it.  They hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am suffering from the grossness that is post-nasal-drip.  I’d rather that than sneezing, itchy watery eyes, and puffy face.  (I felt like a puffer fish last year…)  But in combat, I am getting smart.  I learned my lesson from yesterday when I wore all gray and felt gray too.  So I win at life today.

Dark Royal Navy in Peach

Simple enough.  Thankfully, the pictures perfectly disguise the bruises I have.  I was working on a quilt for a friend’s baby shower (post on “Figuring out a hobby that’s not college partying” coming soon!) and I either must have pinned my knee down hard enough that it bumped into a CLOSED safety pin, or I am just a klutz that stumbles into everything…but regardless- no awkward color bruises for me!

Peach Trench:  thrifted (similar, similar, similar)

Navy sheath: old NY&Co. (similar, similar, similar)

Shoes: flip flops from Old Navy

(casual “sit at your desk all day but the heels are nude pumps in case you have to leave your desk” day at work)

(nude pumps:similar, similar, similar)

Happy Wednesday.  Thank goodness.  But not really, cause I’m running another 10 miler race on Sunday…I wish this week was longer…

pleated poppy

The weather is as gray as my wardrobe!

April showers bring May flowers.  Okay, I am totally fine with that.  But I would really appreciate that it would only rain at night and not be 40 degrees throughout the day.  That would be great.  Especially so the Cherry Blossoms can bloom, I can run and play outside, softball fields will be bone dry so I won’t get muddy, and I can wear cute dresses again.  Today’s “lunch club topic” was how dreary we all felt.  After the hellish winter, we could only hope and pray that Spring would come faster.  But alas, it has not.  Watch.  I am predicting it now…

The second DC gets dry (so Wednesday), Thursday/Friday- BAM!  All the trees/blossoms will just pop up.  You know what that means, folks?  Itchy, watery eyes.  Sneezing, congestion, and hatred of the outdoors.  Too bad too, it’s supposed to be so warm and sunny… If only that day was today…

I’ve definitely worn this outfit before.  Yet when I saw the forecast on the news, I decided to go for comfort and a mirror reflection of the weather.  I used to be one of those girls who would wear bright colors on days like today.  Is this my sign of getting older?  I hope not.

Oh- BTW!  Important sharing to share.  I am working on a post about a life reflection about the importance of a haircut.  (Hint: I got yelled at by my hairdresser of 10 years, cause she was disappointed in the way I had been getting my haircut and how I’d been taking SUCH GREAT SARCASTICALLY GREAT CARE of my locks)  I figure as graduation season is coming, it’s important for college grads to understand the importance of taking care of something as simple as their hair.

Gray Striped Sweater Dress


Check it.  My fave.  So easy and so warm.  But very reflective of my mood.  Then again, I was tired this morning.  I wanted nothing to do with work.  I almost had hoped that work had been cancelled due to lack of interest.

Basic White Shirt, Leopard Belt

The other day, Belle from Capitol Hill Style went in depth on how to pick out an outfit.  After much debate with many a student, I finally gave in and tried what the fashion majors and just regular students were telling me.  I guess it took me 2.5 years of blogging and getting over my being stubborn to really get it through my thick skull.  Okay, yeah, this is a basic outfit, I agree, but at least I finally realized to jazz it up with a funky belt.  (okay, not funky, but hey I’m trying!) ???????????????????????????????   Recently, (the last few days) I’ve been complimented like CRAZY on the way I’ve been dressing.  Okay, honestly, I have just been tucking a shirt into a skirt and just wearing heels, showin’ a lil’ leg.  Nothing scandalous.  But really, a boring white button down shirt “Clare, you look so good today.”  *rolls eyes*  Hey, if I didn’t try these outfits, how would you be able  to know if this works or not?!  After all, someone’s gotta be a role model, right?

Shirt:  Polo Ralph Lauren (similar, similar, similar)

Skirt: Banana Republic (similar, similar, similar)

Belt: Gap (similar, similar, similar)

Shoes: (sorry about #fail pictures, my photography skills are subpar) Nine West (similar, similar, similar)

Join the link up party!


Monday Must Haves

Monday Must Haves

Okay, so over the weekend I made a “Mr. UC, I love you so much that if I leave this list out for you, maybe you’ll surprise me” list.  (Yes, I make these sorts of lists for the hubs.  Not home improvement lists, but things like “If today I’m having a bad day, these things make me smile.” – typically chocolate or a movie night work…)


Now, I’ve become a little more organized in my list making.  I’ve made a “Monday Must Haves” list.  Specifically, this list is made up of items that I’ve been lusting over, or noticing on other bloggers sites.  Yes, today, they are very basic items.  This is good.  Basics help build the foundation for a wardrobe.  Right?  Of course right.


1.  This Gap shirtdress.  Just braid your hair, wear some ruby slippers, click your heels, and tell everyone “There’s no place like home.”  No seriously.  I have an oddly strange fascination with shirtdresses lately.  Too bad they make me look 29307589 months pregnant.  But I recommend this dress.  I actually tried it on- good quality material.


2.  A black and white striped tee shirt.  Can you believe how versatile this thing is?  Pair it with jeans, chambray shirt, leggings, skirts, the list is endless.


3.  Double breasted trench coat.  Okay, I know that many bloggers out there like the single breasted coat, but for me?  Sometimes a girl’s got to go against the grain and just stand out.  There is something classy about this coat, and maybe you don’t agree, but come on, a classic trench coat, no matter how many breasted it is, definitely is classy.


4.  Wide Leg WHITE pants.  Okay, yes, I picked the beautiful Alexander McQueen pants, but I am on the hunt for white professional pants that a girl can wear to work.  If you know of anywhere right now that is either on sale, or of good decent work appropriate quality, let me know!


5.  D’Orsay flats.  I giggle everytime I read the word “D’Orsay.”  Makes me think of how tired, jetlagged and annoyed I was the day I went to the Muse d’Orsay in Paris.  And I like to think “these shoes are not practical museum walking shoes!”


6. Chuck Taylor trainers.  I need a comfortable and fashionable walking shoe.  No more clunky athletic sneakers, or shoes that will make my knees and back hurt by mid afternoon.  Gotta invest. After all, I’m not young anymore.


7.  Crossbody satchel.  This time last year I was on the hunt for the perfect cross body, smaller bag.  I found it at a consignment shop (Coach!) and love it.  But seeing as my bag has become Mr. UC’s “hey can you hold this” bag, I’ve got to upgrade to something bigger.  The color and shape of the Dorothy Perkins’ bag caught my eye.


8.  Heart necklace.  Okay, I am not one to wear a lot of jewelry, but if one day I was to find the perfect delicate necklace that I wouldn’t be tempted to play with all day, a heart would be perfect.  Something smaller probably than the one above, but still.  Delicate, feminine.  Pretty.


What’s on your Monday Must Have list?!