Recreating 7 Pinterest Outfits Using Items I Already Own

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I don’t know about y’all, but I often struggle with impulse shopping…especially when it comes to clothes and shoes. At this point, I *know* I have more than enough clothes, and I can’t really afford to keep adding to my wardrobe. In the past, I’ve often looked to Pinterest as a source of inspiration for items I want, but this week I turned to Pinterest to help me make the most of items I already have. Over the course of the week, I re-created 7 outfits from Pinterest using clothing items I already had.

Initially, I wasn’t planning to write a blog post about this. I ended up changing my mind for a couple of reasons: 1) my science-oriented content takes me a while to research. I’m currently working on several posts (including accutane, teeth whitening products, hormonal IUDs vs “the pill”, and more), but I wanted to post something in the meantime. 2) This challenge ended up being a surprising amount of fun, but also helped me grow a bit as a person (so I wanted to take some time to reflect on it).

My Style & Wardrobe

Up until last year, my wardrobe was pretty simple and unsophisticated (lots of t-shirts, v necks, and leggings). Since I was going to be teaching a college course (and wanted to dress the part), I made a very deliberate effort to rebuild and rebrand my wardrobe.

Generally, I like to ask myself 2 questions before adding any new item to my wardrobe:

  • Is this significantly different from something I already own?
  • Can I picture at least 3 different outfits this item could be a part of?

If I could answer “yes” to both questions, then I would consider buying it. Based on that, my wardrobe is dominated by a lot of versatile staples and neutral colors- things which are mutually compatible with one another. More or less I have a capsule wardrobe, just with a lot more items than you might see in a “traditional” capsule wardrobe. I would say my style is pretty minimalist and casual or chic (depending on the day), and I tend to avoid bold colors and prints.

Here’s a good example of what I might wear on a typical day:

Given the nature of 2020, I ordered most of these items online over the past year. The key to ordering stuff online (in my opinion) is having accurate measurements (in other words, get a tape measure! it will save you a lot of headaches). When possible, also make sure that you read the reviews to see what the material is like, whether it might be see-through, etc.

I’m also a graduate student, which means I don’t make very much money. Inevitably, that means I try and stick to affordable pieces as well. Almost everything I wear costs less than $50 (typically I try to stick below $30, if possible). Occasionally I am willing to splurge on high-quality staples that I know will last me a while, and I’ve had a lot of luck getting those types of items on sale.

The Challenge

Knowing that I have a pretty well-established wardrobe at this point, I wanted to create a challenge for myself: recreate 7 outfits from my Pinterest over the course of 7 days, using items I already own. As an additional challenge, I also wanted to try my best to recreate the images themselves. In other words, for each outfit I had to recreate the outfit, find a similar location/background, and recreate the pose/image as best I could.

The Outfits

For all comparison images, I have the original pin on the left and my recreation on the right. Due to the nature of Pinterest, I’m not sure who the original creators are for many of these pins. If you happen to know, please let me know and I’ll link to their profile/blog. When possible, I’ve tried to include links for the items I used. I’ve also included the particular colors and sizes that I’m wearing. For reference, I typically wear a size 4/S on top, 6/8/M on bottom, and W 9.5 in shoes.

Day 1

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I’ve probably pinned this outfit at least 10 times, so it seemed like a good place to start. I went with a top that I got on clearance a few years ago at Target, Levi’s mile high super skinny in “on the house” (the stretch on these is pretty forgiving, so I wear a size 4), and this belt from Amazon.

Something you may notice rather quickly is that I’m wearing pretty much the same jewelry in every outfit. There’s a reason for this: long story short, I’m doing a separate challenge where I wanted to test the durability of Ana Luisa jewelry for everyday wear. If you’ve read my blog post about rose gold, you’ll know that I’ve had some issues with the durability of gold-plated jewelry from other brands in the past. Check out the caption on this Instagram post for more details about my Ana Luisa wear test:

In this outfit, I’m wearing the onyx layered necklaces set, double hoop earrings (Scarlett), and the “rope slim” Gold twist ring (I wear size 7 for my middle and index finger). I also have the coin necklace set which you’ll see in some of the other outfits in this series.

Day 2

With this outfit, I’m wearing WearMe Pro women’s oversized full mirrored sunglasses in tortoise/black, A New Day women’s elbow sleeve high neck rib t-shirt in black (size: S), Levi’s women’s 721 high rise skinny jeans in “soft clean white” (size: 28/US 6), and A New Day women’s Rebecca ballet flats in cognac (size 9). If you’re in the market for white jeans, I highly recommend these. They’re closer to true denim than jeggings and in my experience are not see-through. I wear a larger size because they don’t have as much give as the mile-high super skinny jeans I have from Levi’s (which are more like jeggings). As for the rest of the outfit, I’m holding my A New Day women’s bi-stretch twill blazer in black (size 4), my Ello 16 oz ceramic Aspen travel mug in white, and my Universal Thread zip closure crossbody bag in cognac.

Day 3

With this outfit I wanted to go for something a little comfier and cozier. I’m wearing a hat my mother-in-law made for me, my “Scientist” sweatshirt from StemBabe (I’m wearing a size M but could have gotten a S), Amazon Essential Women’s mid-weight puffer vest in black (size S), these high-waisted leggings in black (size S), and these canvas sneakers from Target in white (size 10). I’ll note that these shoes don’t have a lot of arch support, so I usually wear them with insoles.

Day 4

I really liked this outfit. I’ve had this turtleneck literally since I was in high school, so I honestly couldn’t tell you where I got it. I’m wearing Levi’s mile high super skinny jeans (in “new moon”) and these women’s Bessie wedge bootie from Target in black (size 10). The coat was a gift from my mother-in-law, so I’m not *exactly* sure where she got it. I know that it’s Calvin Klein, and it looks similar to this Cashmere wool blend coat on Amazon. (Side note, I’ve decided that the Minnesotans show love by trying to keep you warm, since she gave me a hat, scarf, and coat for Christmas this year.)

Day 5

This was *probably* my favorite outfit. Both my blazer and shirt are from Target, but I was really disappointed to learn they’d been discontinued. I’m wearing Levi’s mile high super skinny jeans in “Quebec Storm” and these sunglasses in gold frame/grey lens. The shoes are Nine West women’s flax dress pump (size 9.5). These are my favorite pair of heels I own- aside from being cute, they’re surprisingly comfortable. I’m also wearing the Ana Luisa coin layered necklace in this photo (whereas most of my other outfits feature the onyx necklace set).

Day 6

This outfit has a few repeats from previous days, so I’ll just highlight the new items: this hat in color A-khaki and these Nine West women’s loafer flats (in size 9.5). Yes, I have multiple pairs of snakeskin shoes- remember that I study lizards (so I get pretty excited about anything related to reptiles).

Day 7

Like the outfit on day 6, there are several elements of this outfit that are repeated from previous days. The new pieces here are my Levi’s womens Original Trucker Jacket in “Jeanie” (size M) and Jockey women’s cowl neck sweatshirt in “heather oatmeal” (size M). If you’re looking for an outfit that is both comfy and cute- this is the one for you.

Bonus Outfit

When I initially planned out my week, I chose 8 outfits instead of 7. Apparently I can’t count, but I still wanted to recreate the image anyways.

I’ve had most of these items for a while. I’m wearing a tunic top I got several years ago from Old Navy (this is probably the most similar item they carry now). The SiiZU shawl was part of my Winter Causebox a couple of years ago, and you already know the details of the jeans and jewelry. I just liked the picture and thought it would be fun to share!

Takeaways & Reflections

There’s several things that I noticed over the course of the week:

  1. Almost every Pinterest outfit features a coffee cup and/or sunglasses. Don’t believe me? Go to Pinterest and check.
  2. My wardrobe has definitely grown and evolved a lot over the last year, and this challenge helped me look at a lot of my wardrobe staples with new eyes. In a couple of cases, I rediscovered clothing items I had completely forgotten about.
  3. I ACHIEVED MY GOAL. Forcing myself to wear clothes I already had helped me realize the massive potential my wardrobe already has, and I’m no longer finding myself obsessively wanting new clothing items.
  4. This challenge was a lot of fun, but it also helped push me out of my comfort zone. I have no previous experience doing any kind of modelling, so going and taking pictures of myself with a tripod in public is not something I felt terribly comfortable doing. I had to work through my anxieties about what people would think about me or if they would judge me for what I was doing. At a certain point, I had to accept the reality that it didn’t really matter what those people might think.
  5. Recreating pictures like this is NOT easy. I didn’t have anyone taking photos of me, so there was no one to tell me where to put my hands, where to look, what to do with my hair, etc. Recreating these photos involved a lot of running back and forth to my phone, but the payoff was sooooo worth it.
  6. I was absolutely blown away by the amount of support I got throughout this series. I honestly had *no* idea if people would be interested in this content. I just figured since I was doing it, I might as well generate content from it. I received SO MANY comments and messages on Instagram from people saying how much they loved the series (so you can guarantee it will be back sometime in the spring or summer).

What did y’all think? Are there any specific outfits you’d like to see me recreate in the future? Drop a comment, send me an email, or shoot me a message on Instagram at @missalenius_science!

Rose Gold: Everything You Need to Know

Either I’m crazy, or rose gold has gained a *lot* of popularity in recent years. It seems like almost every technology device from phones to Fitbits now come in a metallic pink color dubbed “rose gold.” (The same goes for office supplies and home d├ęcor.)

Rose gold was never something I thought much about prior to getting my engagement ring. Something that I never realized is that true rose gold isn’t pink at all- it’s copper. Being the science nerd that I am, I immediately wanted to know why.

In this post, I wanted to take a deep dive into rose gold, including how I became interested in it, why we use gold for jewelry, what rose gold even is, whether you should get a rose gold engagement ring, what it means for jewelry to be gold-plated, and more.

My Engagement Ring

Personally, I’ve never liked the look of yellow gold, so I had always assumed my engagement ring and wedding band would be white gold. Rose gold simply wasn’t something I had really seen before I got my engagement ring.

My husband worked with my best friend (who could access my Pinterest) to design a custom engagement ring using the diamonds from my mother-in-law’s rings. They knew I didn’t like yellow gold, but ended up choosing 14K rose gold. It really surprised me, but I immediately loved it. The contrast between the copper color of rose gold and the diamonds made my ring pop in a way that white gold never could.

Why Wear Gold Jewelry?

Why do we use gold so much for jewelry in the first place?

Generally, metals are elements or compounds which are shiny (“metallic”) and conduct heat and electricity well. Many metals undergo a process called oxidation– chemical reactions with molecules in the air that alter their properties or appearance. A common example is oxidation is when metals like copper and silver tarnish. Tarnishing occurs when metals react with chemicals like oxygen or sulfur dioxide to form a dark, grey, or black film that covers the metal surface. This reaction is usually limited to the surface of the metal, so it can be removed via polish or chemical reaction.

Another familiar example of oxidation is rust, which forms when iron reacts with oxygen to produce reddish brown iron oxide. Over time, a sufficient buildup of rust can compromise the structural integrity of iron, which has contributed to numerous building and bridge collapses.

Iron products (like this chain) have a tendency to react with oxygen to form iron oxide, aka rust. Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

There are a handful of metals which tend not to react with oxygen in the atmosphere- including palladium, platinum, and (surprise!) gold. It isn’t just oxygen: gold doesn’t react with most chemicals (including most acids and bases). In other words, it stays nice and pretty and shiny without much upkeep. It’s also fairly soft, which makes it easy to form into jewelry. (Fun fact: gold is also a great conductor of electricity, so it is used in a fair amount of electronics too).

Is rose gold “real” gold?

In short, yes. (Or at least, it’s not any less “real gold” than most yellow or white gold rings)

In its pure form, gold is a bright, soft, yellow metal. When we think of gold in jewelry, most people think of yellow gold, which is more or less the color of pure gold. However, pure gold is very soft, which makes it poorly suited for jewelry (especially rings). Most yellow gold rings are made of 14 or 18 karat gold- which are only about 58% and 75% gold, respectively. In other words, yellow gold rings are made of a gold alloy: a mixture of gold and other elements, typically copper and zinc. Alloys are substances which are formed by a mixture of metals and one or more other elements. Combining metals to form alloys can alter their properties. In the case of gold, alloys tend to have increased hardness or a different color compared to pure gold. The purity of gold is measured by Karats, topping out at 24 Karat gold (which is 99.9% gold).

Most people are probably familiar with white gold. White gold is a gold alloy made with silver-toned metals such as nickel, silver, and/or palladium. Rings which are 14 or 18 Karat white gold are as much gold as 14 or 18 karat yellow gold rings- the only difference is what the gold is mixed with. It is worth noting that white gold can potentially be irritating if you have nickel allergies.

Similarly, rose gold is also a gold alloy, but is made instead with copper (although it may also include small amounts of silver). A ring which is 18 Kt rose gold is roughly 75% gold and 25% copper (hence why the color resembles copper), although the exact amounts of different metals may vary between sources. Because it is mixed with gold, the copper in rose gold shouldn’t tarnish like pure copper. However, high durability of copper compared to the metals in yellow and white gold supposedly can make it more durable than yellow or white gold.

There are variations of rose gold, depending on the amount of copper used. 18 K Pink gold is rose gold which uses slightly less copper (~20%), whereas 12K red gold is rose gold with a higher percentage of copper (~50%).

Rose, yellow, and white gold jewelry are all made of gold alloys. Image from Diamonds Pro

Things to Consider

Gold Plated vs. Pure Gold Jewelry

I’m not going to beat around the bush- gold is expensive. For this reason, a lot of people (including me) tend to opt for cheaper options- like gold-plated or gold filled jewelry.

What does that mean? This post by Automic Gold illustrates the differences very well.

Gold-plated jewelry is any metal (silver, brass, etc.) coated with a thin layer of gold. It’s cheaper than other options because it uses less gold. Gold-filled jewelry is basically gold-plated jewelry, but with slightly more gold. The drawback of these kinds of jewelry is that the gold can rub off or wear down over time, revealing the metal underneath. Unlike tarnished silver, you can’t fix this because the gold is simply gone. This is something I’ve had a lot of issues with when it comes to rose gold jewelry in particular. As my friend Amanda put it: It’s all rosy until it’s not.

Quite simply, you get what you pay for with gold jewelry. With gold plated jewelry, you may find yourself having to replace the items every few months (a cost which adds up over time). I’ve purchased a number of rose gold plated jewelry, and most of them have not stood the test of time. Not only is this frustrating, it’s not very sustainable either. Gold mining is a major source of mercury and other types of pollution, and that worn-down gold plated necklace will most likely end up in a landfill. For items you wear regularly, it might be better to purchase solid gold. When you consider the cost of having to regularly replace gold-plated items, the cost of one solid gold piece may not actually be much different. Bonus: there are companies like Automic gold which make solid gold jewelry from recycled and reclaimed gold (which helps minimize the impact from gold mining, since roughly 50% of new gold production goes towards jewelry).

There is a time and place for gold-plated jewelry- especially for items you don’t wear often. Ironically, I would recommend gold-plated options for special occasion jewelry (like wedding jewelry). For my wedding, I opted for rose-gold plated earrings and bracelet, which has been fine since I’ve only really worn them once. By contrast, my engagement ring and wedding band (which I wear everyday) are both solid gold and have held up extremely well.

For my wedding jewelry, I opted for rose gold plating since I knew I would not be wearing the pieces regularly.

Style & Fashion

Personally, I’ve really come to love rose gold. As someone with fair skin, I like the warmth that it brings while contrasting nicely with my skin. However, it’s definitely not as common as yellow or white gold. If you have a rose gold wedding band or engagement ring, it can be hard to find everyday, durable, affordable jewelry in rose gold.

If you’re considering a rose gold engagement ring, I would ask yourself a couple of questions:

  • Do you mind mixing metals? In other words, will it bother you if your necklace is silver and ring is rose gold? Your everyday rose gold options may be pretty limited, so rose gold may not be a good fit for you if you like wearing jewelry but don’t like wearing mixed metals. (If that sounds like you, white gold may be a better fit since sterling silver jewelry is pretty easy to come by. Even if it tarnishes, that can be remedied pretty easily with some polish and a cloth).
  • What colors are in your wardrobe? Personally, I don’t think rose gold goes well with all colors. Take stock of your wardrobe and ask yourself “do I like how this looks with the color copper?” If you feel like it clashes, you might want to pick a more neutral metal. Most of my wardrobe is neutral colors, so rose gold meshed well with most of my clothing.

If you don’t think either of those will be an issue for you than rose gold might be a good option for you! Although each type of gold alloy has their pros and cons, they are all well suited for rings. At the end of the day, your choice of metal for an engagement ring, wedding band, or other jewelry should largely be based on your personal preference.

Final Thoughts

To recap:

  • Gold tends not to undergo chemical reactions, which is part of why it is so popular in jewelry.
  • Yes, rose gold is “real” gold.
  • When it comes to jewelry, solid gold pieces are more sustainable and durable than gold-plated ones.
  • I really love my rose gold engagement ring, but it’s not for everyone. It’s something that should likely be left to personal preference.

How do you feel about rose gold? Would you get a rose gold engagement ring? Let me know in the comments down below!