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My Black Friday and Cyber Monday sale picks

I've been giving thanks and practicing gratitude all week and one of the things I'm most grateful for is you, dear readers. Your pageviews and comments keep me going, and I'd like to thank you for your support this year and throughout the years—it means a lot to me! One of the most important ways you help support me is by clicking on and making a purchase from my affiliate links; since I receive a small commission from many of them—at no cost to you—that money helps me provide content to you for free. That said, we're going into the biggest shopping season of the year, and if you're in a position to spend money right now, there are a lot of retailers out there who would appreciate it. I will be featuring small, local, and/or POC-owned businesses in my upcoming gift guide, but for now, I'm focusing on the ah-MAY-zing deals to be found at the larger retailers. These items are things I will likely buy for myself, plus I've listed even more sales below. Read on, click through, and pat yourself on the back for supporting content creators like me and the retail industry as a whole. We appreciate it!

What to wear for the holidays

Well, friends, we've (almost) made it to Thanksgiving, which means we have slightly over a month left of this godforsaken year, and for that, I'm thankful. I am also thankful that in spite of the global Covid pandemic, Sean and I are getting out of town (alone!) for a few days; while I am thankful for my beautiful apartment, I really need a break from it. And while our Thanksgiving celebration will look much, much different than normal, I am nonetheless thankful that we are healthy and safe, and that we can afford to put food on the table. Speaking of food, I am wrapping up a three-week detox as we speak, so I am going to go to town on Thanksgiving dinner. Coupled with the fact that this year's event will be a little more casual than in years past, I am planning on dressing down for the occasion. This year, the holidays are about leggings (stretchy!), sweater tunics (camouflage!), and boots (what are heels?). So here's what I'll be wearing. 

What to wear with a fisherman sweater

I went to Ireland for the first time three years ago, and if you've never been, I highly recommend it. It's a gorgeous country, the food was surprisingly good, the beer was even better, and the people were the kindest I've ever met on vacation. But of all the things that pleasantly surprised me on that trip, I was perhaps most blown away by the sweaters. Which makes sense, because there are sheep literally everywhere in Ireland—you've got to do something with all that wool, so why knot knit a sweater or several thousand? Ireland introduced Aran sweaters to the world—the cable-knit patterns are meant to evoke fishermen's ropes, hence why they're also known as fisherman sweaters—and Grace Kelly really put them on the map by famously wearing one on the cover of Vogue. Like most things associated with Princess Grace, a fisherman sweater is a classic that never goes out of style, but they seem to be especially trending this season, possibly because of their extra coziness and comfort in these up-and-down times. And while I've featured an Aran knit here before (way back in 2018), this time it's the real deal, straight from Ireland. Here's how I'm styling my fisherman sweater. 

Beauty advent calendars under $100

Remember when you were a kid and got one of those countdown-to-Christmas advent calendars where you got to open a new door every day and inside there was a piece of chocolate? (Mmm, chocolate.) I used to beg my mom to open more than one per day because clearly I was a sugar addict, but I think the true joy was enjoying a small daily treat leading up to the biggest treat-fest of them all, Christmas. Of course, you don't have to be a Christian to enjoy an advent calendar, and apparently you don't have to be a kid either, because a bunch of beauty brands have started creating their own, after the success of the original Liberty of London advent calendar. (Note: this year's version has sold out twice already, but I am praying it comes back in stock, because it's goooood.)  Speaking of selling out, I had intended to post this next month as part of my gift guide, but since so many beauty advent calendars have sold out already, I thought I'd better jump on it. So while you can spend $200-$300 on a luxury brand's version, there are a bunch of amazing advent calendars out there for under $100. Here are my eight favorites. 

An honest review of Spanx faux leather leggings

As I noted in Tuesday's post, Spanx sent me two pairs of their famous pants to try, the first being the Perfect Black Pant, 4-Pocket Ankle version. Up next: the Faux Leather Leggings, which nearly every influencer on earth owns. I may be late to the party, but better late than never, right? Keep reading for my honest and unfiltered opinion. 

An honest review of Spanx perfect black pants

Like many women, I have worn Spanx undergarments under various clingy dresses and/or when I've needed a little squeeze to feel my best for a special event. And while they're probably best known for their shapewear, Spanx has ventured into clothing, particularly pants, in the last few years, and by all accounts, everyone pretty much loves them. I am generally not a big leggings person—I think I look better in a more tailored silhouette—but when Spanx reached out to me to try their knit pants and leggings, I agreed in the name of service journalism. After all, I'm not dressing up as much as I used to, but while comfort is key, I still want to look good. And who says we can't have it all? Enter the Spanx Perfect Black Pant, 4-Pocket Ankle edition. 

7 Thanksgiving outfit ideas

Thanksgiving is three weeks from today, and while my celebration will be more intimate than normal, it will still be a celebration. I'm thankful for all of the lessons I've learned this year, for my and my family's health and safety, and for many other things in my life. And in case you need to take your mind off of what's going on in our country right now, there's nothing wrong in starting to plan your meal—and what you're going to wear to it. So without further ado, here are 7 Thanksgiving outfit ideas, from dressy to more on the casual side. 

What to wear with red shoes

Here we are in November, the second to last month in a year that has seemingly dragged on forever and yet flew by at the same time. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty much ready to skip straight to New Year's Eve and wrap this thing up. Of course, there's a certain matter to attend here in the United States today, November 3rd. I voted weeks ago by mail—we've been doing it for years here in California, so all of the controversy seemed a bit unnecessary to me—but will pretty much be glued to the TV tonight (and possibly for days afterward) until we have a president. I am a weeee bit anxious about all of this, not to mention Covid anxiety, job/financial anxiety, family-member's-upcoming-surgery anxiety, and anxiety about my anxiety. I am trying to hold it together the best that I can, so for me that means exercise and meditation every morning, eating as many vegetables as I can (easier said than done), CBD every night, and doing things that bring me joy. And right now, the thing that's bringing the most joy is wearing this pair of red suede Calla loafers with everything in my freaking closet. 

7 things to buy during the Sephora sale

Mark your calendars, beauty-holics: Sephora's holiday sale is coming! Rouge members get 20% off staring 10/30, VIBs get 15% off starting 11/3, and Insiders get 10% off starting 11/5, all with code HOLIDAYFUN through 11/9. As I've noted before, I work at Sephora's corporate headquarters and am thus an expert on everything we sell. Kidding, I'm not an expert, but I do get the inside scoop, and I am constantly being plied with free stuff, and don't you hate me right now? That said, I do form strong opinions on this stuff, so here are 7 of my favorite products right now—take advantage of the sale and get them at a discount!

What to wear with combat boots

Trends come and go, but one of the benefits of being a woman of a certain age is that I now have the confidence and the wisdom to know which trends to try and which ones to skip. I featured chunky Chelsea boots in my fall trend report, and was super eager to try a pair; yes, I wore combat boots back when they were last popular in the '90s, and normally my rule is that if you wore a trend the first time around, you should pass on it the second (or third, or fourth...) time. I decided to give these Chelsea boots a go, because they're a bit more streamlined than lace-up combat boots, plus they seem very practical for the upcoming winter months, and I wanted to style them in a way that was true to my own sense of style—feminine and sophisticated (I hope) versus the more streetwear-influenced, casual way that Gen Z would wear them. To be totally honest, after seeing these photos, I'm not sure that the boots are "me." But they may be "you," so I thought this was a post worth writing anyway. Here's how I styled my chunky Chelsea boots. 

7 ways to wear a leather jacket

 It is finally looking like leather jacket season in San Francisco (not to be confused with the rest of the year except for September and October, which is also leather jacket season), so in honor of my favorite time of year, I thought I'd bring you another Cheryl's Greatest Hits featuring seven ways to wear one of my favorite wardrobe workhorses, the leather moto jacket. As longtime Cheryl Shops readers know, I bought this Banana Republic moto jacket several years ago when I worked at Gap headquarters, and while I can't always advocate for Banana's clothes, this jacket is one of the best items they make, which explains why they keep bringing it back season after season. They have miraculously not raised the price since I bought mine—it's still $499, although you can usually get it on sale (never pay full price for anything at Banana!)—the leather is buttery soft, and the thing fits like a glove. A good leather jacket is totally worth the investment and you'll have it for years, so without further ado, here are seven ways to wear it. 

An honest review of Wardrobe clothing rental

Back in my late 20s and early 30s, when I had 7 or 8 weddings per year to attend, I used an Excel spreadsheet to track which dresses I wore to which events. This began in the days before social media, but I basically wanted to make sure I wasn't turning up in the same dress at every event with the each group of people. The alternative, of course, was to buy a new dress for each event, which is cost-prohibitive (and wasteful) and is what drove Jenn Hyman to found Rent the Runway. I thought RTR was an amazing idea and I know a lot of people who love it, but to this day, I've never actually used it, because the items I'd actually want to rent are way too expensive. In other words, I'd rent a designer dress for $50 or $60 (or maybe even a bit more), but not $200. There are other clothing rental companies out there (I reviewed one last year), but so far none that really piqued my interest—until now. Wardrobe is like Airbnb for clothes, shoes, and accessories: you rent items from a user's closet for 4, 10, or 20 days at a time; everything is dry-cleaned and stored in a central warehouse (and if you open a closet with Wardrobe, you can make a little extra money renting out your own clothes); and it all comes clearly labeled and nicely packaged. Most importantly, Wardrobe has everything from Alice and Olivia to Herm├Ęs, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. They were kind enough to offer me a credit to try the service for free; here's what I borrowed and my unbiased, honest review of the entire experience.

Get the look: trench coat and cropped jeans

Whew, it's been a week! Mercury is in retrograde, temperatures here have been in the 80s, and I have work coming out of my ears (which I know I shouldn't complain about). Anyway, happy Friday! Let's ease into the weekend with this month's most-pinned look from my Outfit ideas for ageless style Pinterest board—it's casual, it's timeless, it's seasonless, it's perfect. You probably own all the pieces to re-create this look already, but if not, read on. 

A totally secondhand outfit

At the end of last year and the beginning of this year—which feels more like 10 years ago at this point—I was working on a sustainability campaign for my day job. Throughout my research, I kept coming across similar statistics about how horrible fast fashion is for the environment; it was enough for me to make sustainability my main 2020 resolution. That resolution had several parts, one of which was "no new stuff." I was doing a pretty good job until COVID came along, and with it some promo codes and sales that I was too weak to resist. I'm not beating myself up about it; I do feel like I'm being much more conscious about what I'm buying—only things I love, of the best quality I can afford. That said, I have been doing quite a bit of secondhand shopping this year, and while 2020 is almost over (THANK GOD), it's a habit I'm going to stick with. Not only is buying secondhand better for the planet, it's way more affordable than buying something new, and it's not hard to find barely (if at all) used items. So while this post is long overdue, I wanted to celebrate my progress with a totally secondhand outfit. Here's how it all came together.